Should Parents Ever Deceive Their Child to Get Them Psychiatric Help?
I'll be honest--normally I hate celebrity "news." But one story recently provoked a lot of strong feelings--Amanda Bynes was tricked into going into a mental health facility. It raises a question: Should parents ever deceive their child to get them psychiatric help?
How Amanda Bynes was Tricked in Psychiatric Help
According to TMZ, Bynes' parents worked with a friend to get her to come to Los Angeles. Once in L.A., she used a car service to go to what she thought was a lawyer's office to discuss suing her parents. The driver took her to a building that resembled an office building, but once she was inside, she was restrained and involuntarily committed on a 72-hour hold. Doctors extended the hold to a 14-day detention.
Bynes said her relationship with her parents is "destroyed forever." She's on the women's lockdown unit showing "fits of anger"--and who can blame her? Her parents are seeking conservatorship, and are expected to get it.
The question is basically, "Do the ends justify the means?" And to be honest, I don't know.
According to Mark on TMZ's comments sections:
"A deceptive method to get her to rehab was the wrong method. You're dealing with a mentally ill person who already have major trust issues. This latest stint in rehab will not end well. The psychological damage will take a lifetime to undo. Individuals with personality and bi-polar disorders typically hit rock bottom when they're 'betrayed' by loved ones."
I'm inclined to agree. Once, a therapist thought I would benefit from a hospital stay--I disagreed. She had me escorted over to the psychiatric ward at the hospital and told them I'd pulled out a knife and started cutting on myself. It was relatively easy to prove I hadn't, so I was allowed to go home--but I never trusted that therapist again.
Sometimes people can not rationally see their need for help. Most of the time, however, they can. That's why I, personally, would not use deception to get someone psychiatric help.
It's Tough to Say Whether Deception is Appropriate in Getting Someone Help
To be honest, I don't know the answer to my own question. I personally believe that a person should not be hospitalized and forcibly medicated unless they are a danger to self or others. That said, all I have to do to see the cost of that philosophy is walk through downtown Indy and look at some of the homeless people. Many would benefit from psychiatric treatment, but they're not dangerous, so they go without it. It seems inhumane to have that philosophy.
When I first started having symptoms in high school, I was terrified I'd be involuntarily treated. I believed that my parents were going to send me off to a Christian boarding school for troubled teens. In college, I once hid in my refrigerator because I was afraid the campus police were going to commit me. I was a classic case of a person that deception would have only damaged.
Some people are like that. In such a case, deception will only backfire. It's far better to try to reason with them and be open and honest with them.
How to Involuntarily Hospitalize Someone
I'm technically an involuntary psychiatric patient; I have a court order for mental health treatment. But no one went behind my back to get the order. I was hospitalized one time too many, and I knew I was running out of chances. My psychiatrist came to the hospital, explained what would happen, and advised me not to fight the commitment. Staff at the hospital explained how the court hearing would go and how the transfer to the state hospital would go. Everyone involved in my treatment was honest, which made things go a lot more smoothly.
This is the way it should be done. If involuntary treatment is necessary, say so, and explain why. Don't go behind the person's back. They will only resent you for lying, even if the treatment helps.
Open and honest communication can make or break a person's attitude toward treatment. That's why it's vital not to use deception.
Oberg, B. (2014, October 14). Should Parents Ever Deceive Their Child to Get Them Psychiatric Help?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2014/10/should-parents-ever-deceive-their-child-to-get-them-psychiatric-help
Author: Becky Oberg
"We could sing it ya know." (Marilyn Kallet, poet)