Essay Autonomy Vs. Paternalism In Mental Health Treatment

2815 Words 12 Pages
Autonomy Vs. Paternalism In Mental Health Treatment

The assignment for this Ethics class was to review Mr. Jacob's treatment, as described by the New York State Commission on Quality of Care for the
Mentally disabled (1994). The class was further asked to comment on the major issues for each of the three perspectives. The agencies, family and review board were to be included. This student will begin with a fourth perspective; that of Mr. Gordon.
In the Matter of Jacob Gordon (1994), is the story of the last eight years of a psychiatrically disabled man's life. Mr. Gordon appeared to vacillate between striving for autonomy and accepting the support of his family.
Unfortunately, it appeared by this account that the families support was
…show more content…
He continued to need her support and assistance although this met she continued to be overly involved in his life.
It was his mother he turned to when he had problems with a roommate. It was his mother who was utilized when Mr. Gordon was less compliant. It was Mr. Gordon's family who assured that he had continued mental health counseling and services.
It was also Mr. Gordon's family who appeared to be the focal point of any plans for Mr. Gordon. "......expectations, soon to be dashed by programs more devoted to servicing neurotic families than people with schizophrenia" (Rubenstien, 1994,
p.55). Mr. Gordon remained safe and close to his family by relinquishing his autonomy. Mr. Gordon's safety was the most important issue for the family.
Secondarily to his safety, Mr. Gordon's family wished him to have the opportunity to participate in programming that would assist in his wellness.
For Mr. Gordon's family, wellness seemed to equate to a standard of behavior that his mother personally viewed as normal.
The family were not bound to any code of ethics or compelled to understand their biases or prejudices in their son's case. Certainly, to say that the family operated on the premise of paternalism is an understatement. Ethically, the Gordon's believed that they were the most justified to speak in the best interests of their son. The energy that the Gordon's put into advocating for what they believed, was in their son's best interest, is a…