(Continued of “From Peter Pan to Hypnotherapy”)
My psychologist, Dr. Paul M. Cohen, and I also used hypnotherapy for other things. Consequent to menopause, I had developed uncontrolled bleeding. Paul and I went to the gynecologist who insisted that I had to have a D&C, that is, a surgical procedure. Paul and I said, “Give us ten days,” then we did hypnotherapy to stop the bleeding, and it worked. Paul had read a book written by a gynecologist about the use of hypnotherapy to treat gynecological disorders. The book is out of print. One doctor knew what could be done but other doctors wouldn’t learn from him. Why is it that doctors are so in love with drugs?
On another occasion, Paul Cohen and I used hypnotherapy as an anesthetic. I needed a root canal but couldn’t tolerate pharmaceutical anesthesia. The dentist was seriously nervous about the whole thing but, while he was root canaling, I was back at the cottage on the Chesapeake Bay where I used to vacation as a child. They finished the root canal; I came out of the trance, and said, “Well, that was nice!” The dental staff was awed.
So, anyway, I know how to do this hypnosis thing but I haven’t done it for several years. Going into a trance, like most things in life, requires practice to do it well. I hadn’t been practicing so I needed the recovering psychiatrist’s help in getting into a trance. Once there, he started planting suggestions about helpful ways to induce sleep. But somewhere along the line, something went wrong. Monsters started coming out. When I made the clear statement, “I can’t do this,” then the recovering psychiatrist brought me out of the trance and asked what was wrong. I told him about the monsters. They’d been leaking through from my unconscious in recent days when I was in a meditative state or drifting off to sleep—a snapping turtle, a naked man writhing in pain—other images that I pushed away and refused to see. Then I told him about Dr. Jane Kou.
She was the attending psychiatrist when I was hospitalized at Hutchings. She forcibly discharged me without medication, a therapist, or a psychiatrist while I was suicidal. That day I ended up driving out of control in a snow storm and nearly hit a school bus. Ten years later, Kou was left to cover for my psychiatrist when I was inSt. Joseph’s Hospital. I’d been admitted suicidal three times in six weeks. She hadn’t seen me in ten years.
Jane Kou walked into my room, said, “I don’t have much time, what do you want?” and wrote a pass for me to go home alone. At home, alone, I collapsed, took an overdose and passed out. When I didn’t return from pass, Kou told the staff that I was probably out partying and not to look for me. The next day, I was ambulanced to the Emergency Room where I collapsed, was transferred to the ICU, put on life support, and not expected to survive. It was a month before I regained consciousness.
While I was in the ER fighting for my life, Jane Kou was on the psychiatric unit writing a technical discharge based on my failure to return from pass. She was responsible, and she neither knew nor cared where or how I was.
I had been admitted by my psychiatrist “to secure [my] safety.” I voluntarily went behind the locked door and gave the psychiatrist control over my coming and going because I knew that my judgment was flawed and could not be trusted. It was Dr. Kou’s job to keep me safe, and she made no effort to do it.
My mother, who had sat by my bed in the ICU trying to decide where to bury me, asked plaintively, “Why did you have to have a doctor’s pass to leave the hospital if it didn’t mean anything?” Why, indeed?
I filed a complaint against Kou’s license with the NYS Office of Professional Medical Conduct. They investigated me. Kou was interviewed. She was not reprimanded or disciplined.
Do you want to see the monsters in my closet? Dr. Jane Kou. Dr. Jenifer Rich, who poisoned me with unmonitored medication. Dr. Kiyoshi Kimura, who was being sued by everybody in the city and I didn’t know it. Dr. Roger Levin, director of CPEP, who’s major intervention is to flirt with his patients. He’s also a liar, inept, and his patients have a tendency to kill themselves. You show me a psychiatrist and I’ll show you a lying, twisted, arrogant son of bitch who treats his or her patients with contempt, disrespect and incompetence.
You want to see the monsters in my unconscious? Look in the phone book under “psychiatrists.”
When I was 27, I walked behind the casket of my fiancé. Other than that, all the worst moments of my life have had psychiatrists’ names attached to them.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I came into the good graces of Dr. Nasri Ghaly, psychiatrist. He treats his patients with respect and dignity. He talks to them as adults. He gives them choices. He is a humble man who believes in service. He treats God’s people because they are God’s people, without regard to the ability to pay. He treats with drugs and nutrients and Chinese herbs and acupuncture and any other thing he can think of or learn about that might be helpful. Above all, he treats with kindness and good humor.
If psychiatry can be practiced as a loving service, then why are there so many monsters in the field?