Re: risness2

Jonathan D Raskin (
Thu, 9 Feb 1995 11:55:17 -0500 (EST)

Bob, Jim, and other pcp-ers:
A constructivist position both assists and hampers clinicians when
they are placed in the position of having to decide whether or not to
release inmates from the hospital. We realize that our constructions of
the inmate are not necessarily "correct" and that we need to be aware of
our own biases. However, I am wary of saying that awareness of our own
biases is necessarily being "scientific" about the whole process, and am
even doubtful that we can be "scientific" about admitting and releasing
patients from the hospital. Perhaps this is just my own way of construing
the term "scientific," but it seems that saying we try to be "scientific"
implies we are no longer hampered by our subjective viewpoint; we can more
readily come to an objectively correct decision.
I doubt that involuntary hospitalization can escape the political
elements surrounding it and be made "scientific." We will always make
deteminations based on our reactions to the client at hand, pressures from
superiors, pressures from the community, our own constructions of behavior
warranting hospitalization, etc.. In the end, as much lip service as we
give to the whole process, and as much soul searching as we do, clinicians
will ultimately always be the ones with the power. To me this raises
questions about why we, as clinicians, accept the power to hospitalize
others. While I realize there are many practical issues that may make
rejecting clinicians' legal right to hospitalize clients impractical, I
also wonder if reexamining the necessity of and/or reasoning behind this
right is important. If our decisions are based on personal constructions
of what we deem normal behavior, what makes clincians any more qualified
to determine who should or should not be detained or released than anyone
else? What special ability to construe normality do clinicians have that
others lack?
I don't have a particular answer or viewpoint I'm pushing here;
just want to stir up some more discussion!
Any and all responses are welcome!