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Behind The Mind.

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Behind The Mind The mind is regarded as the most complex aspect of the human being. Long after the secrets of the body had been discovered, analyzed, and mastered, the enigma of the psyche remained. Eventually, facilities to deal with illnesses of the mind were founded. However, the barbaric manner in which the patients were treated damaged them more often than it helped. As these institutions gained experience, their approach to the therapy of the patients improved and the institutions became more successful at rehabilitating the mentally disturbed. The improvements can largely be classified within two categories; the approach to leisure and discipline by the staff. This transition, from jailhouse to hospital, is clearly illustrated through the analysis of the mental institutions portrayed in the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, written by Ken Kesey, and the film The Dream Team (1989), directed by Howard Zieff. The novel, set in the early 1960s, depicts the attitude of the main caregiver, Nurse Ratched, as a sadistic tyrant more interested in the efficiency of her ward than the state of those in her care. The movie, set in the late 1980s, illustrates Doctor Jeff Weitzman, as an idealistic, kind man who is prepared to stand up for what he believes is best for his patients. These two approaches, while seeming opposite, share many of the same concepts, and differ only in how those concepts are best applied. ...read more.


The Doctor's benevolent attitude creates a bond of trust between himself and his patients. The Nurse's oppressive and restrictive policies create feelings of resentment in the patients towards her. The trust and goodwill that the Doctor creates will end up saving his life, when his patients rescue him from would-be assassins. The resentment that the Nurse creates ends up threatening her life, when a patient snaps and tries to strangle her. The differing approaches to leisure have far ranging effects on the patients. The way they are taught to interact in the artificial environment of the mental institute is how they will interact of their own accord later on. To successfully reintegrate into society, the patients must also be aware of society's norms and sanctions. They must understand their role within the population, and realize that for every action there is a consequence. To this end, disciplining a patient may be necessary. While the Nurse and Doctor both discipline their patients, they polarize on their methods. The Nurse employs a near sadistic approach designed to humiliate the misbehaving patient into submission. The Doctor disarms the anger felt by the patient by finding the humor in the situation. He then takes advantage of the natural human urge to conform to rationally reason with the patient to obtain the desired results. While both approaches provide discipline and obedience, they have wildly different effects. ...read more.


Then, he simply asks in a calm voice if Billy would sit down. Billy has no reason not to, everybody else is sitting, and nobody has given him a reason to continue feeling angry. The social norms have been reinforced without giving Billy a motive to rebel against them. This effectively and expediously ends the problem. The different approaches to two fundamental concepts regarding human psychology offer insight into the changes in how those with mental illnesses are viewed. In the early 1960's, those with authority, like Nurse Ratched, wielded it mercilessly, and their power could not be questioned. By the late 1980's the authoritarian ideal had been replaced with a trust system, similar to Doctor Weitzman's approach, that encouraged the patients to develop their own moral ideals and use them. The Nurses' approach left her with three patients dead, one escaped, and each voluntary patient withdrawing himself from the ward. The Doctor's patients, however, all demonstrated significant improvement. One of those patients, Billy Caufield, was even released. The rest voluntarily returned to the mental hospital, confident that they would also be released when they were ready. Those who were oppressed, regressed; those who were cared for, were cured. The patients treated like animals acted as such, and those treated humanely became balanced individuals. As the mysteries of the psyche are slowly understood, the care for those with mental health issues will evolve. It is merely a matter of time, before we can glimpse at what lies behind the mind. ...read more.

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