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World-Renowned Psychiatrist is Writing COVID Prescriptions… For Daily Poetry Reading


Dr. Rosenthal, Poetry Rx

The Good News Network need not tell you that there are many people whose minds and moods have been darkened over the past 14 months.

The mental health crisis that many immediately saw as a major threat from business closures, quarantines and government-imposed travel restrictions was a very real thing before COVID-19, and as a report from the global knowledge provider health care. BMJ states, 2018 saw more than 70 million prescriptions for antidepressants issued in the US, compared to just 36 million ten years earlier.

However, Norman Rosenthal MD, a renowned figure in the field of psychiatry, is approaching both crises with a different kind of prescription: a bit of “Don’t be nice on that good night” or a 30-day course of ” How can I love you? Let me count the ways. “

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“You know, when I was a teenager, when I was a teenager, I wrote poetry and I loved it, but I was not really destined to become a poet,” said Dr. Rosenthal. GNN. “But fortunately, even though I was unable to produce wonderful poetry, I was always able to appreciate it, not just intellectually, but for the emotional gifts it presents.”

Separated into five parts, entitled: Loving and losing, That inner eye, The human experience, A design for living and the search for meaning, and Into the Night, Rosenthal offers a variety of literary keys to unlock the words necessary for internal dialogue one’s. to initiate, strengthen, or complete the healing process from the trauma, pain, or perhaps general discomfort of COVID-19.

“Over the years, I collected poems that seemed wonderfully useful to me, my patients or clients, and the effect of that is that I had this collection and I thought, ‘You know it would be a wonderful book.’

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The pandemic, like many of us, provided the time and isolation needed for Rosenthal to organize these poems into the different parts and write all the accompanying stories, including short biographies about the poets and excerpts from the experiences of friends and clients. . with poems.

Literary healing

“I could prescribe exercise, prescribe meditation, prescribe rest … and in that sense I could also prescribe a poem, they are [clients] They are not going to go to a pharmacy but they might take it as a serious suggestion, ”says Rosenthal.

As the book has circulated through the public relations circuit, it has earned accolades from The New York Times’ “High Priestess of Health” Jane Brody, who for over 40 years has been his personal health columnist.

“The special beauty of Dr. Rosenthal’s book to me is his discussion of what each poem says, what the poet was probably feeling, and often how the poems helped him personally, such as when he left his biological family in South Africa. for a rewarding career in the United States “, wrote in his column.

“The wonderful thing about poems is that they are relatively short, so in just a few minutes you can read, enjoy, appreciate and benefit from a poem; as such, they can often get caught between all the things in a busy life, ”says Rosenthal, whose extensive work also includes a publication on the practice of transcendental meditation and pioneers in understanding and treating seasonal affective disorder.

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The collected poems, largely originating from English poets, include not only those that he or his friends and family have enjoyed, but those that he uses in his psychiatric practice. In particular, he told GNN about a passage from Rumi, drawn from memory, that he often reads with clients who are having marital difficulties.

Beyond the ideas of doing wrong and doing what is right
There is a field
See you there

“When the poet says: ‘I’ll meet you there’, he is taking the first step, he wants to improve things, he wants to suggest taking the dispute to a different plain, to a plain of sharing,” explains Rosenthal.

A daily dose of a poet’s intuition

“Personally, I collect information in chunks, and I think a lot of people do, especially these days, very few people have time to read. War and peace or lost paradise“Says Rosenthal.” We like to get information in satisfying parts, so I thought it would be more digestible if I divided it into logical groupings. “

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Poetry Rx It really works like a 30-day recipe, with poems and the related commentary satisfying the value of a day’s weights, while grouped into various stages of life’s emotional journey, one can jump to the words that are needed in a particular moment. .

Another way of looking at it could be as a Poetry Almanac, which gives the book tremendous potential for rereading, as there is no guarantee that a reader will identify with all of the content in a single period of their lives.

“Loving and losing was obvious for the first time [section], poems are things we turn to when we are in love or without love. They comfort us when we are in love and encourage us when we are in love, ”he says. “The second is the ability to respond to nature, because poets tend to be extremely sensitive to their environment.”

“Above all, it is [a book] about human beings and how to experience your life in a way that improves it, and if you are suffering in any way, ease that pain.

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