Medicine: Psychiatrists in Washington

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Already half the hospital patients of the nation are in insane asylums or their equivalents. Psychiatrists are convinced that within a few years one out of twenty of the inhabitants of the U. S. will be mentally incompetent or emotionally unstable. To cope with that dreary future all sorts of organizations exist such as National Committee for Mental Hygiene, Special Schools Association (to train "retarded" children). Friedsam Foundation (to study children especially), American Neurological Association (which meets in Montreal next week), American Psychiatric Association.

They all have researches under way to investigate the mechanics of mental and nervous derangement, none more so than the psychiatrists who met in Washington last week. Under the presidency of Manhattan's suave Professor Clarence Orion Cheney, whose 24 years' dealing with madmen leaves him nonetheless hopeful for humanity, the psychiatrists considered scores of situations like the following:

Perfumes v. Nightmares. Victims of nightmares are cured by Dr. Valentine Ujhely of Manhattan as follows: Victim wraps his head in thick gauze, stretches out on couch. Phonograph plays soft symphonic music. Dr. Ujhely squirts two-three drops of jasmine or tuberose perfume on the masked face every minute for almost an hour. By & by the patient finds himself daydreaming. A gong softly gongs —signal for the patient to daydream about something else. Gong, gong, gong—reveries change. GONG—the patient deliberately muses about his nightmare, tells it to do its worst, "you're only a dream."

Hitler Purge. A timid 9-year-old Manhattan boy translated his unconscious fear & hatred of his domineering father, a Jewish bank president, into a puerile fear & hatred of Adolf Hitler. Dr. John Levy of Manhattan gave the boy toy soldiers, boats and wooden figures and told him to imagine himself the Protector of the Jews. The boy organized a mimic expedition which captured and executed "Adolf Hitler." That made the boy believe himself bold & powerful, purged him of his fear & hatred of his father.

Deadly Emotions. Compared to doctors and others who realize how destructive diseases can be, very few insane people die of diseases like angina pectoris, in which strong emotions play a part. Reason: the intelligent person understands and worries about his condition, and it gets worse; the madman has no such worries. To doctors, Dr. Donald Gregg of Wellesley, Mass. gave this advice: "Let us lessen our emotional load by avoiding excess of emotional stimuli, by slackening our pace, or bearing it intermittently; by avoiding excessive specialization thereby lessening our dependence on others, and by developing our knowledge of facts and wisdom in applying these facts, and by developing a philosophy and a faith to take the place of that which our increased but still partial knowledge has shaken or destroyed."

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