Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Joy Holloway

Second Advisor

Tom Hamilton

Third Advisor

Barry Ferst

Abstract

There has been much progress in the treatment of mental illness in the last few decades. Having been a patient of mental health professionals during the 1970’s, I know this to be true. This thesis explores the effects of significant events in my life that brought about a time of serious emotional illness. I write about the events in narrative form and use techniques of creative writing to bring the reader into the story. Although there have been authors who have been accused of using the memoir style as an occasion to fabricate and “embellish” in the name of literary license, it is my intention to relay my story as factually as possible. Some characters and events have been compressed for narrative economy, and although I remember the gist of conversations, I may not remember them word for word. Significant events, however, can be historically verified. During my years of education as a psychology major at Carroll College, I have been able to see how present research has impacted treatment for emotional illness in a way that I did not have access to at the time I experienced my own problems. I believe that a decade of suffering could have been averted with these improved treatments and that ten years of anguish may have been reduced to ten months or less. This thesis not only tells my personal journey out of mental illness, but also reviews the latest research in therapy methods that could have made a significant impact on my recovery.

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