Friday, June 26, 2015

Interrogation by Hostile Psychiatrists

My friend Steve Griebling who served as a Clinical Director and Mentor to me.

Dr. Cooper was a fantastic Psychiatrist and a wonderful man. Had it not been for him we would not have survived. He agreed to be our Medical Director in addition to being the Medical Director of the entire hospital. That gave us amazing leverage with the Doctors that were hostile, defensive and very aggressive.

I had to meet with the Medical Staff to present out plan for opening a unit that was Dual Diagnosis, based on Christian values and included a huge Psycho-Spiritual-Education program in addition to the usual Psychotherapy. We had on average 8 hours of Clinical Contact with the Residents as opposed to two or three in traditional units. (This was an extremely radical and unusual move but I learned at on my Dissertation and by trial and error at CHPC how to develop a Therapeutic Community.)

We also mixed Addicts with the Psychiatric Residents and that was, in 1989, a radical shift. (It is the norm now but we were very innovative.)

The Docs were loaded for bear when Dr. Cooper and I met with them. Their attacks were visceral, emotional, and irrational. Thankfully I had learned how to deal with irrational church members so these immature and scared Doctors were no different. One recovering fundamentalist, so he said, asked me in a hostile voice, what I was trying to do. I turned around and faced the Crucifix hanging on the wall with the statement of faith written below it that said:

"We are continuing the healing ministry of Jesus Christ"

I said, "I agree completely with the statement of the Franciscan Sisters. What part do you disagree with?" He was silent.

Then a Doctor said, "I am of a different faith and most of my Patients come from Therapists of my faith. I am afraid that if they hear we have a Christian Unit they will not refer to me. It will cost me money."

I said, "I appreciate your honesty. However, this is a Catholic Christian Hospital and that has not stopped people from referring to you." Second, the Federal and State Law requires hospitals to provide care and therapy that is consistent with the culture and background of the Patient. That is what we are doing.

There were many other attacks both personal and professional but I survived without a heart attack. With the recent actions of the Federal Government to squelch religious freedom and freedom of speech we need to prepare for a lot of this kind of irrational hostility. But God will guide us so fear not. Even under Communism Christians learned how to be faithful and so did we.

When the Doctors saw how successful we were, several of them with other faith preferences changed their minds and requested to work with us.

Dr. Cooper was, as usual, a wonderful support for us. 

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