... During the last months of my stay in Flechsig's Asylum I stood in dread of certain dangers which... seemed to threaten my body and my soul... The most disgusting was the idea that my body, after the intended transformation into a female being, was to suffer some sexual abuse, particularly as there had been talk... of my being thrown to the Asylum attendants for their purpose.
- Daniel Paul Schreber
Read any serious work on the cause and treatment of serious mental illness and you will encounter sentiments similar to those of the author and scholar Andrew Scull (2015), “Much as psychiatry might wish it otherwise, madness remains an enigma, a mystery we cannot solve” (pg. 409).Speak to the loved ones of those suffering from serious mental illness and they too will describe the seeming impossibility of adequately addressing their loved one’s pain.And for us clinicians, not a day goes by where our patients do not struggle to experience some relief from their symptoms and look to us for guidance. Yet if we are honest, we too experience our own bewilderment in the face of such intense suffering.In this module, we will explore these sentiments, the symptom itself and their relationship to the register of impossibility or as I’ve termed it, impasse-ability. In so doing, we will show that what is at stake for understanding and treating serious mental illness is not an absolute answer or so-called cure, but the representation of an exclusion.Join us in exploring how the representation of an exclusion informs our work and affords our patients the possibility of relief amidst the impass-ability of their symptoms.
To learn more about this teaching series please see our page In All Seriousness.