Thursday, January 11, 2007

The famous psychiatrist in "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" by Hannah Green was modelled on the famous psychiatrist who treated Joanne Greenburg, who wrote under the pen name Hannah Green.

Joanna Greenburg's husband was a mental health professional who, naturally, was friends with other mental health professionals. They believed that severe schizophrenia could not be cured by talk therapy.

She had had severe schizophrenia cured by talk therapy with the famous shrink, so for that, among other reasons, it took her a while to sign her book with her real name. By the time she signed it with her real name, it had sold a lot of copies.

When the psychiatrist is decided whether or not to take on the case of the young woman in the mentally hospital who was way out there, she thought of the lectures she couldn't give and the teaching she couldn't do if she took the years of frequent meetings it would take to have a chance of making a difference.

She decided that sometimes you have to work like God, and take on people one at a time.

The young woman's inner world was intense and beautiful and also horrible. It got more horrible with time. The beauty was still there. The pain living in that world cause her increased with time.

In the conversation in the book the title comes from, the young woman points out that the world the psychiastrist is trying to bring her back to is awful in many ways.

The doctor says, "I never promised you a rose garden. I never promised you a world of perfect justice."

Justice is not the only issue. It's this vivid inner world designed for herself by herself versus the dull institution she actually lived in.