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June 1966

Life and Death of a Mental Hospital.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;14(6):666-669. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730120106025

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This book is the history of a private hospital that lived out its brief life in the decade of the 1950's. It was born under auspicious circumstances. The staff was mostly trained at the Menninger Foundation, and all regarded themselves as genuinely psychoanalytically oriented. There was every expectation that the success of the Menninger Foundation in the midwest was going to be transferred to the west coast. The new hospital, which was given the fictitious name of Crest by the authors, seemed to be the answer to many unmet needs in the psychiatric community. No other hospital in the area stressed milieu therapy with a psychoanalytic orientation. The milieu therapy was a "total push" program with the staff's attitudes for each patient determined by individual prescription.

Despite the note of high hope on which the hospital started, its history is a series of disillusionments and defeats. The authors explain the

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