Signs of Transformance from the Asylum
This article concerns the persistence of love and caring in a despairing and chronically damaging (iatrogenic) environment called a mental hospital. I’m going to tell you about my experiences, first as a young adult working in one of these hospitals, and, more than a decade later, as a psychologist working in a subsequent iteration of the mental hospital, now called an inpatient unit. I am still integrating those early experiences, and they continue to shape my work as a psychotherapist.
This article is also about transformance (Fosha, 2008), that driving force within each of us to grow, to heal, to actualize, to preserve and sustain our humanity in the face of forces, both internal and external, which might encourage us to pull back from human contact, contract and hide our core selves, and submit to dehumanization and alienation as a means of preservation.