Shein Lecture (plenary)

Shein Lecture

Title: My Journey Through the Madness of Psychiatry

Everyone becomes psychotic in his or her own way. Still, a person’s rich description of what this feels like could increase understanding of the patient experience. In the same way, hearing about the factors that have led to recovery could help others. Finally, suggestions are made as to ways psychiatrists can best help their patients—what is the optimal way for them to approach patients who may be terrified by their psychosis.


SAKShoriz1c_schein_speaker_for_web.jpgElyn R. Saks is Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; Director of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics; Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; and Faculty at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. Professor Saks received her J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in Psychoanalytic Science from the New Center for Psychoanalysis. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D., Hon.) from Pepperdine University.

Saks writes extensively in the area of law and mental health, having published five books and more than fifty articles and book chapters. Her memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, describes her struggles with schizophrenia and her managing to craft a good life for herself in the face of a dire prognosis. She has won numerous honors, including a 2009 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship (the so-called “Genius Grant”).

Saks has taken part of that grant to found the Saks Institute at USC law school, a think tank that studies issues at the intersection of law, mental health, and ethics.

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Ken Wells, MD (UCLA/RAND) has written and produced an opera about the life of Elyn Sacks, lawyer, advocate, and person living with schizophrenia. The opera (that shares the name of her memoir, The Center Cannot Hold) is a powerful educational experience and inspiring depiction of the best and worst parts of healthcare; one that challenges us to consider the dignity of those living with severe mental illness. You can view the opera here: