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Re: Anyone have any experience with Menninger (cli

Posted by Derek Sudonim on January 9, 2004, at 12:31:55

In reply to Re: Anyone have any experience with Menninger (cli, posted by stavros on January 6, 2004, at 0:06:53

Stavros, I understand. You must hold on. Nothing is permanent, including not-so-good health or life circumstances. My depression quite immobilized me before Menninger's. Yet had I given up, as I wished to several times, I would never have experienced a later new life as I have since then. And my change has indeed been stable from that time so long ago, even though at the time I felt I would never get out of it. Menninger's was my "last card," as I said, because I felt so much in a rut for years.

Remember, as far as a "cure" goes, there's really no such thing, but rather finding new and constructive ways of dealing with things and achieving satisfaction. You should run away as fast as you can from anyone that hints or says they will "cure" you. I still get roundly depressed sometimes, but I know how to respond to it, and not let it affect my goals, life-attitude, job, family, or other relationships anymore. And, after Menninger's, I went on over the years to get a doctorate in mathematics, get married (and stay married!), and establish a nice family.

One hallmark of Menninger's while I was there, compared to other therapy situations or hospitals I had been in, was the emphasis on humane treatment of a patient. I never felt treated as though I were second-class for having a mental/emotional problem. Second, Menninger's was not just one philosophy, but rather an eclectic blend of the best ideas of several philosophies. I identified strong Freudian, Jungian, "Skinnerian," and Rogerian influences to name a very few. The "Skinnerian" was almost non-existent, thank goodness, I must emphasize, and I repeat that the humane and respectful treatment of patients was an obvious hallmark.

Again, I can only speak for myself. There are others who may criticize Menninger's soundly, but not me. As for me, the basic tenet of mental problem solution is the bottom line: a person has to want to change. Given that, you can probably use any sound therapeutic situation to help make that change. Any treatment is vicious for one whom it doesn't fit. But change really comes from inside a person, anyway. The best therapist helps you discover and create change inside yourself. Again, it's really a matter of finding new and constructive ways of dealing with things.

Well, I could speak on and on about it, I suppose! The Menninger's I knew is not the Menninger's that exists now, I might add. I was there in the late 1970's during a kind of golden age of Menninger's, in Topeka, Kansas, and they have since scaled down considerably and also moved to Houston, TX. Two things remain I expect, however--the high cost, no doubt, but the humanity and respectfulness of their employees toward patients are still probably highly valued among them.

Interestingly, I was not Christian while at Menninger's, but became so several years after leaving. There were, I believe, several Christian staff members there, looking back on things. Like any place, I'm sure there were as many or more non-believers as well. But now I can say that faith in God is primary in my life. I still use the tools I gained at Menninger's--why not?--but the deepest and more stable foundation for my life and health now come from my faith in God and Bible study.

Thanks for writing. Hope that helps. Good luck, and don't give up!




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