Review of “On Being Sane In Insane Places” by David L. Rosenhan
Say you are a “mentally ill” patient. You are there for whatever reason whether it be you, that goes in yourself, or possibly court mandated or just a suggestion by a doctor. As you walk into the hospital you are immediately evaluated, possibly given certain clothing to wear to distinguish you as a patient and given a pretty basic room. The doctors will treat you as if you are an experiment or just another crazy person. They will poke and prod at your problems and try to “assess” you. What I mean by “assess” is they try to figure out what is wrong with you. The whole time you are there you are constantly told that there is something wrong with you and that you don’t function as a normal person in society, hence why you are here in the first place. Isn’t this enough to make you go insane just from being there?
Labeling theory can work against the person or group you are observing due to the fact that it does exactly what it says, labels you. Much like in society if you are labeled as a genius, you feel like a genius and probably will tend to do better in school due to the fact that people see you as such. This is not true of all cases, but most you will see that the person being labeled will program themselves to think so.
Especially in a mental health setting, if you begin to label your patients a schizophrenic won’t they begin to really think they are? Possibly bringing out these behaviors due to the fact that they now are programmed to think as such?
Especially in this article when they did the experiment and asked the staff at the mental institution who were psuedopatients and who were not they answered that 41 patients out of 193 were in fact psuedopatients and the kicker was the fact that there were actually no psuedopatients in that particular facility. It makes you think whether or not all of these people in institutions should really be there.
I agree with the fact that certain people are clearly mentally disturbed but the majority of the population is not. There is so much diversity among us that it will create differences in emotions, how we act, and more importantly how we perceive the world. Which is another important note to mention, just because we perceive someone a certain way does not mean that they are abnormal, it could just simply be due to the fact that they are different than us.
In order to properly diagnose and treat people based on what they really are having a tough time with there should most certainly be some guidelines to follow. First and foremost, do not make the patient seem like they are abnormal. They must feel comfortable with themselves and you in order for the doctor or psychologist to really get to know the person. If someone feels threatened or uncomfortable with the fact that you think they are indeed crazy, chances are they won’t open up to you.
Second, the environment must be completely non-threatening. The patient should feel sort of like they’re at home or in a friends house. Comfy chairs, nice paintings on the wall and possibly some soft music.
Third, they must know that there is nothing wrong with them coming to get help or even if they are there against their means they must understand that a psychologist or even a mental health facility does not mean that they are crazy. Explain to them that just because there is a label on mental clinics and hospitals as being for people that are “insane” is just a labeling by society. With that, you can even explain to them the labeling theory and start off with an educational and interesting conversation.
Thoughts © Maria Campagna