For patients with severe and mental illness that has persisted over many years, a psychiatrist may be the patient’s only stable and lasting relationship as friends and family drop away. 

That’s what author Jay Neugeboren told psychiatrists today at APA's 65th Institute on Psychiatric Services in Philadelphia at the session on “What Families Need from Psychiatrists.”

Neugeboren is the author of Imagining Robert, which describes his relationship with his brother Robert, who has been in and out of psychiatric treatment facilities and institutions for decades. In another of his books, Transforming Madness, he recounted interviewing men and women who had once been institutionalized but had gone on to lead productive lives. While many factors may have contributed to recovery, what he said was common to all stories of recovery was a lasting and important relationship.