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Beyond Bedlam's Door: True Tales from the Couch and Courtroom Paperback – May 15, 2017
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PRAISE FOR BEYOND BEDLAM'S DOOR
"BEYOND BEDLAM'S DOOR is one of the most compelling books I've ever read about the realities of mental health treatment. Mark Rubinstein is a seasoned psychiatrist, a thoughtful humanist, and a master storyteller. He has created a page-turning collection of forensic and clinical adventures evocative of The Fifty Minute Hour and the works of Oliver Sacks. This is a book you'd see on the shelves of Alex Delaware's library."
--Jonathan Kellerman, bestselling author of the Alex Delaware series
"Nobody knows the fascinating world of forensic psychiatry better than Mark Rubinstein, and he has given it to us in a brilliant book that is essential reading for everyone who likes crime fiction. BEYOND BEDLAM'S DOOR is bone-chilling and thrilling, full of smart, strong stories. It belongs on your bookshelf!"
--Linda Fairstein, bestselling author of the Alex Cooper series
"BEYOND BEDLAM'S DOOR is a real page turner. As an internist, I see many patients presenting with physical complaints who have undiagnosed emotional problems. These stories are important for all physicians to understand and use in practice to care for the whole patient. Dr. Rubinstein shows us firsthand his skills at listening and investigating beyond the obvious. He is a master storyteller."
--Kimberly Simons Patterson, MD, Exempla Good Samaritan Hospital, Lafayette, Colorado Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine
"These fascinating true stories of discovery in psychiatric practice and court settings are compelling, dramatic, and often stranger than fiction. They are true page-turners--I couldn't stop reading! The worlds of The Law and Psychiatry often are an odd match, but Mark Rubinstein masterfully demonstrates his ability to bridge those worlds through his careful assessments, presented in clear fashion, unfazed by pressures to bend the truth."
--Roger Rahtz,MD, Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, New York City
"With Beyond Bedlam's Door, Mark Rubinstein is once again a master storyteller on the disorders of the mind. By exploring the love-hate relationship between the law and psychiatry, he proves himself to be an expert in the field of forensic psychiatry. But then we should have already known that from The Lovers' Tango."
--Richard C. Simons, MD., Past President, American Psychoanalytic Association
"Truth is stranger than fiction" vividly and compassionately comes to life in Dr. Rubinstein's Beyond Bedlam's Door Twenty-one page-turning stories introduce us to the compelling intersection of mental illness, legal twists, and ethical dilemmas."
--Andrea R. Polans, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, former Clinical Instructor, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
"Beyond Bedlams Door has a range of clinical cases told by a gifted psychiatrist with remarkable story telling ability. The stories are told with the utmost clarity and honesty."
--Warren Tanenbaum, MD, Psychiatrist and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry emeritus, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center
"Beyond Bedlam's Door offers an intriguing glimpse into a psychiatrist's world. Dr. Rubinstein is a skilled story teller and his recollections of provocative and challenging clinical and forensic cases make for a highly enjoyable and fascinating read for psychiatrist and patient alike."
--Donna Sutter, M.D., M.P.H., Psychiatrist and former Clinical Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
"In Beyond Bedlam's Door, Dr. Rubinstein shows a working psychiatrist who is compassionate and curious, always making his patients' welfare his priority, even while negotiating the complex terrain of forensic psychiatry. Very few psychiatrists can communicate the best of what we do with such humble awe and respect for the complexities of the human mind."
--Howard Welsh, MD, Former Director, Psychoanalytic Institute and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center
"Mark Rubinstein's intriguing book, Beyond Bedlam's Door, explores the gritty truths about psychiatric practice. Rubinstein accomplishes an amazing feat - intertwining stories from practice and the courtroom that are simultaneously bursting with resiliency, sordidness, and hope!"
--Helen M. Farrell, MD, Psychiatrist & Forensic Psychiatrist, Harvard Medical School, Instructor, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Psychiatrist
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Top Customer Reviews
I’ve grown up a fan of the legal practice and the core idea of defending those in need of help and treating everyone fairly without regard to the money or fame involved. Dr. Rubinstein continues to show in example after example his dedication to those ideals, while also trying to be understandably humble. Yet in case after case it was clear that when faced with tough choices and outside pressures, he took his work and his ethical promise to heart.
One of the first cases that struck the tripwire in my head dealt with a police officer who was suing for workers compensation. After an intense, brave, and successful high-speed chase, the office involved found himself suffering from intense PTSD. He described the chase itself as if he was in a trance and didn’t even register the dangerous speeds or how he was being shot at when finally getting out of his car. Since that day, he couldn’t even look at a cruiser without his heart racing and a panic attack setting in. Definitely not something any police officer can deal with on duty.
The twist to this case was in order for him to actually get compensation he needed to prove actual physical injury first, then connect that to his psychological injury. The state had recently changed the law because they felt too many people were abusing the previous standards for proving psychological impact. Now, in the case of the officer, his own lawyer was asking Dr. Rubinstein to confirm that a small injury to the officer’s knee as he was jumping out of his car was the actual trigger to his PTSD, instead of it existing as a purely mental scar.
Even though it would’ve benefited the officer, whom Dr. Rubinstein honestly felt bad for, he wouldn’t bend to the lawyer’s demand. Not only was the knee injury not connected to the PTSD, but in the initial consultation with Dr. Rubinstein the officer never even mentioned the knee injury. It didn’t come up until three weeks later after the other lawyer was told the PTSD alone wouldn’t allow for compensation.
Time after time the lines of ethics and emotion cross over each other, constantly testing those in positions of power to prove they are worthy of it.
'Beyond Bedlam’s Door' contains a number of other cases involving cheating spouses, elderly widows, a 9/11 survivor, and even one case where Dr. Rubinstein was brought in as an expert witness to testify against another psychiatrist to prove that the other doctor had strayed from proper protocol and directly caused the suicide of one of his patients. In that latter case, the verbal abuse Dr. Rubinstein withstood on the stand will make any reader angry, possibly at the entire legal profession.
The book teaches readers a lot, not only about how the worlds of psychiatry and the law intersect but also how easily they can be abused. Careful consideration needs to be heeded at every step along the way and it is plainly unethical and irresponsible to allow anything else to interfere with getting to the truth.
'Beyond Bedlam’s Door: True Tales from the Couch & Courtroom' is absolutely a must read for people interested in how the brain works and how the courtroom can either protect or destroy it.
*DISCLAIMER* This book was sent to me by the publisher to review, but in no way affected my opinion of the book itself.*
Some of the stories could be a storyline for Law & Order. In fact, they probably have already been done. Although, not all stories are like that. There is the story titled "Remembrance of Things Past" of a loving elderly couple. The husband has Alzheimer's disease. The wife cares for her husband through the good and bad days, knowing that one day her husband will no longer be there. Dr. Rubinstein goes on to explain the different types of dementia in a understandable way.
Another story that really stuck with me was titled "The Arrangement". A woman named Ina, who was 101 and a centenarian. She was living at an atrium. She was still sharp minded. Dr. Rubinstein asked Ina about her secret to longevity. Ina responded that her mother lived until she was thirty seven but she always thought her mother made an arrangement with God that Ina could have her mother's missing years. It is stories like this and the others in this book that make you really look at the human side of all varieties of people.
"Put succinctly, mixing law, medicine, and money can sometimes generate odd situations" (page 48).
"Where money and the law intersect, truth can sometimes be the victim" (page 90).
I'm intrigued by the reality of how much influence one person has over another. This book explores and shows how loved ones can knowingly, and unknowingly, hinder another person's ability to master his or her own mental condition.
The stories in this book are well told, and with each one, the author includes an "afterword" discussing and explaining the legal and medical issues involved in that particular story. While interesting, these afterwords became repetitive, causing me to give the book four stars instead of five. If each medical condition had been explained once, the first time a story was told about it, and then merely footnoted or referred to a glossary each subsequent time, the book would have been more engaging. However, even as is, this book was a terrific read.
I highly recommend this book to anyone in the mental health profession or anyone curious to understand the workings of the human mind.
In A Place at the Table, a psychiatrist exploited his patient and involved him in a possible murder plot driving the patient to go to the police. That was Beyond Bedlam’s Door’s opening story. I found other tales of troubled human beings touching and heartfelt, and some profoundly puzzling. More some stories were tender and reveal the human spirit that thrives against all odds no matter what hardship, including the death of loved ones.
Again, this book is like sitting down with a friend who tells you her most inner secrets. Never once, did I want to put this book down or want it to end.