“ . . . here your will is upright, free, and whole,
Catherine, nineteen years old and suffering from severe schizophrenia, sat in a mental hospital—mute, catatonic, and hearing voices. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Dorman, was convinced that his patient’s psychotic behavior was rooted not merely in chemical imbalances but rather in the dramatic circumstances of her family history. He was therefore determined to avoid the mind-numbing medications that had been so detrimental to Catherine’s well being. Dorman fought adamant opposition and criticism from his peers and superiors for a chance to guide Catherine out of madness.
As much the story of a young doctor finding his own path in a controversial new world of antipsychotic drugs, where patients’ advocates have nowhere to turn, Dante’s Cure is the true account of a therapeutic process that took place six days a week, for seven years. Thanks to Dorman’s devotion, persistence, and self-understanding of his role as a therapist aware of his own limitations, Catherine was able to set out on a life of her own. She is now a psychiatric nurse in southern California living free of medication; she speaks out on behalf of patient rights and humanity in the medical profession. Dorman re-creates Catherine’s early life and the onset of her illness in striking detail, covering her treatment prior to his meeting her as a resident at UCLA Hospital, through her recovery and work as a nurse and activist.
Dante’s Cure offers a story of courage and hope. It reveals how madness is inherent to the human condition and therefore ought to be treated as such. To restore patients’ trust in their power to recover, rather than robbing them of their agency in the name of medical knowledge, is the true moral of this remarkable journey out of madness.
|Other Press | Copyright 2004|