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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an autobiographical account of Jason M. Thompson’s psychiatric treatment for depression in February 2005. The author evaluates his experience in terms of the extent to which his treatment either upheld or violated the axiomatic bioethical principle of respect for patient dignity. The concept of dignity is discussed with reference to the idea of autonomy and the ideas of social identity and meaning-making. The author outlines the challenge for clinicians in upholding the dignity of a patient whose capacity for autonomy is undermined as a consequence of mental disorder. Thompson derives a proposal, based on his own experience, that the dignity of the psychiatric patient can be upheld by redefining the cultural meaning of psychiatric hospitalization from asylum to retreat.

Keywords: depression, psychiatric hospitalization, dignity, autonomy, ethics

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