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October 2021

Impact of the seclusion room experience

Author(s): Carpenter, William T.

Journal/Book: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 1976; 163: 318-328.

Abstract: Presents data from 62 acute schizophrenic patients hospitalized on a National Institute of Mental Health clinical research unit. Pharmacotherapy was not used during investigative periods and was used sparingly or not at all during noninvestigative periods. As a result, the seclusion room was used frequently for severe management problems. Systematic collection of art productions was a part of the research protocol. Patients attended 3 individual art therapy sessions: during drug-free periods 2-3 wks after admission, 2-3 wks before discharge, and at follow-up 1 yr after admission. The patient was asked to draw a free picture (patient's choice), a self-portrait, a picture of his/her psychiatric illness, a picture of any hallucination experienced, and a picture of any delusion experienced. After completing each picture, the patient was encouraged to discuss it. In no instance was a patient requested to draw a picture about a seclusion room experience. Nevertheless, over one-third of the patients did so, underscoring the prominence of the experience for them. Furthermore, these pictures emerged not from a large array of patient art, but from only 3 art sessions per patient. The nature of the pictures fell into the following patterns: (a) pleasurable hallucinations occurring while in seclusion; (b) frightening delusions connected with the experience of seclusion; (c) strong nondelusional feelings about being in seclusion; and (d) special focus on the staff member in attendance outside the seclusion room door.

Note: confinement seclusion room for management problems; delusions & reactions as expressed verbally & in drawings & hallucinations; acute schizophrenics

Keyword(s): Acute schizophrenia; social isolation; hallucinations ; emotional responses; delusions

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