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March 1967

The Continued Nonpatient: An Adolescent Dilemma

Author Affiliations

Topeka, Kan
From the Children's Hospital of the Menninger Foundation, Topeka, Kan.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(3):359-363. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730210099015

AT ALL age levels there are certain patients who outwardly refuse to enter into a formal treatment program, yet who still maintain a continued relationship with treatment personnel. With some of these patients it is most difficult, and possibly nontherapeutic, to terminate this continuing process; but it is equally impossible to involve them totally in a responsible, integrated plan of treatment. At one level, clinically and legally, these are indeed patients; at another level, since they outwardly refuse to commit themselves to the full responsibility of patienthood, they are not patients. They present the clinician with the treatment problem of the continued nonpatient, who is most common in the adolescent patient group. The task of adolescence is to establish personal identity and emancipation, and to evolve the optimum use of personal and environmental strengths for continued growth and mastery.