In Rearview: A Psychiatrist Reflects on Practice and Advocacy in a Time of Healthcare System Change Dr. Barry B. Perlman, a graduate of Yale Medical School, offers an overview of his career in medicine. From his first inklings of interest in mental health tied to his grandmother's bouts of severe depression and his mother's volunteer work with persons discharged from psychiatric hospitals, to his summer jobs in hospitals, through to closing his practice and retirement, Perlman recounts the entire arc of his psychiatric and medical career.
Through recalled anecdotes Perlman brings readers along by writing about experiences from medical school and his psychiatric residency. He describes his first professional experiences with dying, his cadaver, and clinical rotations such as neurosurgery and psychiatry. He experienced the English National Health Service when taking his OB/GYN clerkship in London. Readers will be introduced to several of his dedicated professors and their eccentricities. Other chapters introduce topics central to the practice of psychiatry. They include consideration of suicide, violence, poverty, and electroconvulsive therapy. One chapter is revealingly illustrated with art done by patients and ponders the question of what makes art, art.
Many of the chapters include interesting case presentations. Dr. Perlman, an activist psychiatrist, served as president of the New York State Psychiatric Association. He was appointed by NYS Governor George Pataki as chair of the NYS Mental Health services Council and to the State Hospital Review and Planning Council. Based in participation, he describes the process and tensions involved in shaping public policy. Readers of Rearview will be taken on a tour of the multidimensional life of an activist psychiatrist whose professional life encompassed provision of direct clinical care, running a psychiatric department under challenging circumstances, and trying to improve the lives of persons serious mental illness.