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Cormac Gallagher – Blessed are the Pacemakers – Dementia, Psychosis, and the Psychoanalytical Discourse


THE LETTER 55 & 56 Spring/Summer 2014, pages 1-11


Dementia has been described as the major mental health epidemic of the 21st century.   Yet far from being the living death it was seen as up to the 1980s, revolutionary new research, lead by Tom Kitwood, has shown that, while people suffering from the illness have undergone severe cognitive impairment, they retain a deeply subjective, visceral intelligence that allows carers to communicate with them to a degree formerly thought impossible.  Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who work with psychotic patients have much to learn from this re-discovery of the subjectivity of dementing patients and the need to counteract the ‘malignant social psychology’ that affects both groups. In return they have much to contribute to an enrichment of ‘reminiscence therapy’ now seen as a key technique in the treatment of dementia.

Dementia, Psychosis, and the Psychoanalytical Discourse

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