GENTLE ASYLUM: Life at a Mental Hospital by Isabelle Andersen

GENTLE ASYLUM: Life at a Mental Hospital

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In sharp contrast to the sadistic, manipulative environment of Cuckoo's Nest comes this temperate account of Hunter's Landing, a fictional institution inspired by Andersen's experiences as a psychiatric social worker. For many patients the hospital does provide asylum--a resting place, a brighter alternative that assures both material necessities and staff support. During her sixteen years there, Andersen watched successive waves of administrators and physicians implement this new practice, that new technique, generally based on compassion rather than bureaucratic fiat, ostensibly transforming the policy of custodial care to one of treatment. Chronic patients--a joyless bunch--are introduced, their symptoms presented, but there is little evidence of therapy offered, few signs of improvement. An antidote to the more customary indictments of mental hospitals, this depicts the revolving-door syndrome but fails to convey the elusive dynamics of psychiatric care.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury