In "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest," what form of therapy did the hospital use on the mentally ill? Did it work? Describe the common routine that all patients had to follow.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The hospital employed several kinds of therapy. The first kind was drug therapy which was one routine that all patients on McMurphy's ward followed. The hospital also employed group therapy. In the novel, the group atmosphere, McMurphy is able to challenge Nurse Ratched's contol of the ward. If patients became agitated or the hospital doctors felt it was necessary, patients were given electric shock therapy. Electrodes were attached to the patients and they were given a sharp electric shock which seemed to have a calming effect. This was given to McMurphy, Cheswick and the Chief after an incident during group therapy. The final solution seems to be frontal lobotomy in which part of the frontal lobe of the brain is removed. It was also thought to have a calming effect, although it left people with almost no personality. This is what occurs to McMurphy and is the catalyst for the Chief's escape from the hospital. If the novel is to be used as a guide, most of the time the therapy was ineffective because after McMurphy's death, most patients check themselves out.

Nurse Ratched was obsessed with the daily routine which included getting the men up at a certain time, having them clean up and take their medication, group therapy, field trips and individual for patients to interact. Then, they all went to bed at the same time.


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