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Berke, J.H. (1987). Commentary on Bertram Karon's ‘The Treatment of Acute Schizophrenic Patients in Private Practice’. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(2):141.

(1987). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(2):141

Commentary on Bertram Karon's ‘The Treatment of Acute Schizophrenic Patients in Private Practice’ Related Papers

Joseph H. Berke

Bertram Karon is Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University and a person who has wide experience in the psychotherapeutic treatment of schizophrenia over several decades. While such work is currently out of fashion in the United States, it has long and honourable history which Karon has continued in the tradition of John Rosen, Frieda Fromm-Reichman and Harry Stack Sullivan.

Karon's views are a combination of analysis and instruction, a mixture with which not everyone would agree, but which is essentially containing and empathetic. Nonetheless his great strengths lie not only in what he says to his patients but in his obvious sympathy for the dilemmas they present, his absolute fearlessness in the face of psychotic material, and his capacity for constructing support systems among friends and relatives. Many therapists would not consider treating an acute psychotic patient on an outpatient basis and Karon's preference for such treatment and wide experience in doing so must be respected.

Finally it is relevant and very interesting that Karon works without the adjunctive use of ‘antipsychotic medication’. Again many therapists would not consider such an approach. But the damaging effects of the major tranquillizers are now widely noted and it is worth considering that Karon gets good results from working on a purely psychotherapeutic basis.

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