Feb 13th Discussion


Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria

Girl Interrupted


Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria

  1. If the patient is incapacitated or otherwise mentally impaired, does published research violate the confidentiality of the patient if that patient is unable to give consent?
  2. Freud sees the cause of hysteria to be an unwanted or unpleasurable sexual experience. Considering, also, that hysteria was a catch-all diagnosis almost exclusively given to women, does Freud illuminate a time that was rife with sexual violence towards women? Was he trying to demonstrate the harm that sexual violence caused, or was his purpose more aligned with developing psychoanalysis and the nature of the subconscious?
  3. Is it better for the mental well-being of a victim of sexual violence to talk about their experience to a psychologist even if it means reliving the source of their trauma?
  4. If mental health can dictate physical health, does the ability of doctors to interpret doctor-patient interactions become more important? Should doctors be familiar with psychoanalytical practices too?
  5. Is psychoanalysis essentially a question of truth? How does Freud’s theory on unconscious thought and action change the debate on what is truth and what is illusion?

Girl, Interrupted

  1. What can we learn – so far – from the characters in the book?
    1. Polly
    2. Lisa
    3. Valerie – the nurse
    4. The doctor that diagnosed Kasen
  2. Based on Kasen’s point of view of her experiences at McLean, what aspects of her life feel common to the human experience, and what aspects of her life seem confusing or unrelatable?
  3. Kasen writes about Bobby Seale (the Black Panthers leader on TV) “always having something that the [girls] in the ward would lack: credibility”. What instances throughout the rest of the book depict the effects of having no credibility? Who is at the short end of the stick, and why? Who is at the other end?
  4. What is the effect of age, class, and culture on the way the patients are treated? In other words, do those factors influence the care they receive?
  5. What aspects of the care would you consider “medical” care, and why?
  6. In what way – if any – should those factors affect medical care at large? What about mental health care? Is there a difference?