Author: Hubbard, L. R.
Document date: 1953, 9 December
Document title: Bodies
Document type: lecture transcript
Event: Second American Advanced Clinical Course
Location: Camden, New Jersey
Document ID: 2-ACC-19
Description: Hubbard speaks of Dr. Winfred Overholser, (1892-1964) Superintendent of St. Elizabeths Hospital 1937-1962, referring to a recent speech he made regarding the acquisition of conscience with childhood beating.
Doctor Upholstered1is in charge of … he’s in charge of the rest home for feeble minded government officials here in Washington, Saint Elizabeths. Doctor Upholstered has just made a great speech which made the front pages. I was very proud, very proud of our newspaper friends and allies when they put it on the front page. He explained that a child is born without any conscience and then is beaten into acquiring one. This must have been great news because it made the front pages of the papers.
The awfullest time a psychiatrist of my slight acquaintance ever had was about an hour I spent giving him a session. Only he didn’t know I was giving him a session. I was trying to make him tell me what his goals were in psychiatry and you don’t believe me sometimes when I tell you that our goals and their goals aren’t the same goals. Psychiatry is an organization that heals people. You’re stuck with this but psychiatry doesn’t know this.
For one hour I tried to make this psychiatrist break down and find some reason beyond keeping them all quiet. He finally came up with that and was fairly satisfied with it but would not agree with me when I said, well don’t you intend to make them sane, don’t you intend to heal them in any way. He could not agree with me that that was a desirable goal. The last part of the conversation went something like this, “Well now doctor, don’t you think it might be desirable if you took the insane in your charge and returned them to sanity and social awareness. Don’t you think this would be a good thing?” “Ohh, good god, no”, I said, “Why not?”. “You want to turn all those insane people loose on society?” I said, “No doctor, you didn’t comprehend what I said. I said, make them sane and return their social awareness so that they could cooperate with their fellows.”
He said, “Yeah, what’s the matter with you? That’s the trouble with all you do-gooders”, he says to me. He had me classified, see, trouble with all you do-gooders, “Do you realize what insane people do in a society?” He just never could accomplish this one little quirk that they would change, and then be turned loose. He couldn’t envision them changing in any way except getting a little more quiet.