PERSONAL: Male. Education: Received medical degree.
Dante's Cure: A Journey out of Madness, Other Press (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Daniel Dorman, whose background is in family medicine, psychoanalysis, and neurophysiology, has written Dante's Cure: A Journey out of Madness, a book documenting one of his most successful cases, which began in the 1970s. Dorman was a young doctor when he first met Catherine Penney, a nineteen-year-old woman suffering from schizophrenia. With a family background in depression and alcoholism, she was first hospitalized at age seventeen, when she heard voices that suggested she commit suicide and murder. She was prescribed tranquilizers and released, but she developed a tolerance for the drugs, and the voices returned. Becoming anorexic, she weighed only eighty-five pounds when Dorman first met her.
Dorman was convinced that Penney's condition was the result of her family history rather than a chemical imbalance, and he chose to treat her without using medications. He was encouraged because she kept her daily appointments with him and spoke openly. The voices stopped, she gained weight, and after seven years of therapy, she was able to rejoin society. Penney returned to college, became a psychiatric technician, and then a registered nurse. She worked in psychiatric units where she adopted Dorman's policy on medications. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that Penny's "refusal as a psychiatric nurse to administer drugs to mental patients has entangled her in job disputes, which Dorman chronicles with relish." A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that Dorman's "advocacy of a humanist approach that emphasizes patient-doctor collaboration and the growth of soul will be welcomed by all those who value the psychotherapeutic tradition."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2004, Donna Chavez, review of Dante's Cure: A Journey out of Madness, p. 1252.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2004, review of Dante's Cure, p. 117.
Publishers Weekly, February 9, 2004, review of Dante's Cure, p. 67.
Desert Sun Online,http://www.thedesertsun.com/ (May 2, 2004), Kelly O'Connor, review of Dante's Cure.*