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January 1958

"The Old Timers' Club"An Autonomous Patient Group in a State Mental Hospital

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;79(1):113-121. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340010131012
Abstract

Recently there has been a reawakening of interest in the formation of patient groups in mental hospitals. The focus has been their meaning to the patients and their value as therapeutic instruments. One area that has been the subject of little investigation is the autonomous patient group—its functions, meanings, and areas of communication. Such an autonomous group developed at the Chicago State Hospital * and functioned for some time. Its history reveals something of the significance of such a club to the patients and some further insight into the therapeutic and antitherapeutic attitudes of hospital personnel.

History  Early in 1950 an occupational therapist, having had some success in organizing patient groups previously, decided to try the same thing at the Chicago State Hospital. She chose isolated, uncommunicative, chronic hospitalized patients who were (1) parole patients, i. e., had the freedom of the hospital grounds, and (2) engaged in no specific hospital

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