Institutionalizing battered women in psychiatric hospitals is as old as prostitution. It’s an effective way to silence and discredit them.
In My Own Practice
I remember a case over 30 years ago, in my own mind body medicine psychotherapy practice, of a patient referred by a social worker for a stress-related neuromuscular disorder. The referring social worker informed me that the young man’s birth mother was a schizophrenic who had been institutionalized when he was around five years old.
In my diagnostic interview with the patient, I was struck by the fact that it was very clear to me that this young man had distinct, authentic memories of his mother’s involvement in his formative years. His recollections revealed their apparent bonding.
Following the evaluation, as I was writing my interpretive report, I kept saying to myself, “Schizophrenic mothers don’t bond with their babies. There must be something wrong here.”
So I called the social worker and asked how she knew of the patient’s mother being diagnosed with schizophrenia. And she said, “It said so in the court papers.”
That was my first encounter with legal psychiatric abuse. It changed me on a level that took me years to fully appreciate. I remember vowing to myself that I’d never be involved in fraudulent psychological conduct.
In My Own Life
My next encounter with this tradition was close to home. Roughly 20 years ago, I witnessed the custody evaluator in my own divorce seeking to back me into some psychopathology of my ex-husband’s choosing.
In the doctor’s frustration, he declared, “You’re not cooperating.” And I thought, “You’re right…you are not going to use me to fabricate something that I’m not.” Fortunately, his report revealed no findings of any psychopathology with respect to me.
Epidemic Plaguing Battered Women
Now fast forward to today. In more cases that come to me than not, I’m asked to help someone facing institutionalization or fabricated psychopathology by a disgruntled controlling partner as part of their divorce.
When I see what this threat does to these women, I’m disgusted by the actions of those carrying out my profession in violation of these patients. Giving the benefit of the doubt to those involved, I’m assuming some mental health providers do this knowingly and some inadvertently.
It is my hope by addressing this issue publicly that more psychologists and psychiatrists will be mindful of these ploys that entrap battered women everyday.
It is estimated that 95% of battered women going through the domestic abuse shelter resources will be labeled with some psychopathology in their route to safety from domestic violence.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you will want to know everything you can about this grand legal-psychiatric ploy before it defines you. For more information about “crazy making” as it relates to domestic violence divorce, I encourage to read Crazy Making Legal-Psychiatric Abuse: Signs and Prevention.
Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize and end domestic abuse at home and in family court.
© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention