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Brody, S. (1969). The Sharing of Power in A Psychiatric Hospital. Robert Rubinstein and Harold D. Lasswell. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966. xxiv + 329 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 56A(1):161-162.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Review, 56A(1):161-162

The Sharing of Power in A Psychiatric Hospital. Robert Rubinstein and Harold D. Lasswell. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966. xxiv + 329 pp.

Review by:
Selwyn Brody

The Sharing of Power in a Psychiatric Hospital is one of several recent books on socio-environmental treatment programs—a field of growing interest to researchers.

This book applies the theories of political science concerning democracy at work to the struggle of hospitalized psychotic patients. These principles have been propounded by the senior author, Harold D. Lasswell, who is a professor of political science at Yale University. Dr. Robert Rubenstein, a psychiatrist and co-director of the Yale Psychiatric Institute is the collaborator.

“Challenge and Innovation,” the opening chapter, is one of the best written parts of the book. There is an effective dramatization of the plight of the psychotic patient as a defeated victim and continual loser of protracted power struggles in his family and the community.

The substance of the book is the story of the innovation of democratic practices at the Yale Psychiatric Institute in 1956, and its impact during the eleven year post-innovation span. A major democratic innovation was the establishment of patient-staff conferences, which were attended by all patients and by the entire staff including physicians, nurses and social workers. These conferences were an outgrowth of the group psychotherapy program. The authors found the results favorable for both patients and staff. There was unanimous agreement on their therapeutic value in terms of the patients' ability to take greater responsibility and in the staff's increased confidence in working with their psychotic patients.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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