From Bierer (1976).
I have just discovered a treasure trove of
The Jun. 23, 1961 issue of Time magazine described Dr. Bierer as a proponent of tearing down mental hospitals:
Hospitals Without LocksIn Western countries, mental hospitals are big and numerous—yet crowded beyond capacity; they cost too much—yet cannot get enough psychiatrists to staff them. The solution to these paradoxes, says British Psychiatrist Joshua Bierer: tear down most of the hospitals.With a prophet's zeal, the modern Joshua who wants the walls to come tumbling down has preached his doctrine more than 120 times in the last three months to hundreds of U.S. and Canadian psychiatrists and mental health workers. Many of his hearers sputtered, "You don't really mean it!" But Dr. Bierer does. He seriously proposes the wiping out of most of the present mental hospitals, and certainly the big ones where patients are kept round the clock for months and years.Dr. Bierer ran the Marlborough Day Hospital in London, which was part of the therapeutic community movement. According to Campling (2001),
The term ‘therapeutic community’ is usually used in the UK to describe small cohesive communities where patients (often referred to as residents) have a significant involvement in decision-making and the practicalities of running the unit. Based on ideas of collective responsibility, citizenship and empowerment, therapeutic communities are deliberately structured in a way that encourages personal responsibility and avoids unhelpful dependency on professionals.The community is "informed by systems theory and organisational management theory as well as psychoanalytical and group-analytical ideas." It seems to me, however, that some of Dr. Bierer's ideas -- his diagnoses and treatments -- were... um... "unusual" to say the least. Here's the trigamist syndrome (Bierer 1980):
A BIGAMIST is a man who is "legally" married to two women. A "TRIGAMIST" (according to my definition) is a PERSON who is "married" (in the sense of being deeply attached) three times over to such an extent that there is little or no room left for a "permanent" commitment. The three "marriages" are to: a) a parent b) an occupation c) an ideal figure which exists only in the mind of the beholder. Parts of this syndrome have been described separately in scientific and literary form innumerable times but the syndrome as a WHOLE has never been recognised or described in spite of the fact that it is responsible for influencing millions of human relationships and destroying the life of countless people.After that abstract, the text of the article begins in a rather colloquial fashion:
"HOW is it, that I, a psychiatrist of 55 years’ experience who has, through his work, helped thousands of people to gain insight and live a happier life, should have to marry four times?"In a stroke of LONG-delayed genius and insight, the good doctor then diagnoses himself with the trigamist syndrome: "...I only now made the great discovery that every one of my marriages was bound to fail since I had already been married three times..."
But my favorite is the titular E.I.M.P.S., which appeared in his 1976 Zombie article [yes, really]:
The "Zombie" is brought up, from early childhood, in an emotional and social desert. Such women never learnt to develop the ability innate in most humans, the ability to accept and reciprocate the emotional signs given out by other people. This makes them unable to communicate with other people-and no wonder they land in the mental hospital, with a label of "schizophrenia" pinned on them. In the past the label "catatonic" was not unusual-sometimes it was "deep depression". These labels mean very little.... . .Zombies have, on the whole, a poor prognosis, unless one is able to establish a strong transference and able to help the patient to train very slowly the "Emotional Antenna" or the "Love Receiving Apparatus", without which no-one can accept, register and acknowledge the emotional signals.I, too, have always thought that zombies have a poor prognosis given they are already dead.
And who hasn't heard of the next sad type?
The nymphomaniac female is well known and well documented. Their complete frigidity by various factors, more often than not of traumatic nature makes them run from man to man, trying to find the solution to their problem instead of looking into themselves and trying to change themselves and their whole outlook on LIFE.
I did not realize that 1976 was in the 19th century!! Have we identified the true source of Dr. Bierer's marital problems?
Finally, we have T.S.T. for E.I.M.P.S. (Bierer 1976b).
Over 50 female patients (both in-patients and out-patients) were found and studied, who had in common the points previously enumerated. Theye [sic] were variously diagnosed as suffering from manic depressive insanity, agitated melancholia, reactive depression, obsessional neurosis, hysteria and anxiety state, but it is noteworthy that there was no case of schizophrenia among the group. In addition it was found that they all had one feature in common-a kind and considerate husband.Dr. Bierer said the T.S.T. method of treatment is especially valid under the following conditions:
1. When the female is an active, extroverted person.If a ‘therapeutic community’ psychiatrist calls most of his female patients frigid, sex-hating cornered rats who may hate and/or despise men [what's the difference??], it's time to bring on the drugs and a get new shrink...
2. She was considered to have been a tom-boy.
3. She looked for and had the admiration of many men.
4. She had a traumatic experience in childhood, usually with her father.
5. She felt that her parents interfered unduly with her development to complete independence.
6. She had a strong, subconscious desire to leave home.
7. For that reason she believed that she had fallen in love with the first man who came along.
8. She looked younger than her age.
9. She remained unaware that she had married, not of her volition, but forced by circumstances.
10. She was emotionally immature, not being ready for married life. She was unable to experience any emotions when intimate relations with her husband took place (frigidity).
. . .
15. She felt like a cornered rat, who hits out, bites and scratches blindly in the fury of a desperate struggle for self-preservation.I suppose the simplest way of letting a cornered rat feel that it is not cornered is to remove either its aggressors or the walls around it and let it feel that it can run wherever it likes.
Bierer J. (1976). Zombie. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 22 (3), 200-201 DOI: 10.1177/002076407602200306.
Bierer J. (1976b). The total separation treatment (T.S.T.) A method for the treatment of marital difficulties and disharmonies in patients suffering from the E.I.M.P. syndrome. Int J Soc Psychiatry 22:206-13.
Bierer J. (1980). The trigamist syndrome: (A syndrome not described so far which is responsible for the breakup of innumerable marriages). Int J Soc Psychiatry 26(4):242-5.
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