Dr. Malik's Method of Research

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Even though Dr. Roy Basch moved from the BMS to study psychiatry at Mount Misery he was faced with a similar conflict: being taught conflicting methods of research. With each new rotation Roy was exposed to a different type of psychiatric research exposing him to a plethora of different ideas and theories. One of the most effective methods Roy was taught was introduced to him during his time under the care and teaching of Dr. Malik. Dr. Malik’s methods were effective because he was humble and connected with his patients as human beings, allowing them to recover because their terrifying sickness was “just apart of being human” (page 158).
Malik displayed his humility in a number of ways. First of all, he was not afraid to admit his limitations. He did not try to heal every patient on his service but instead acknowledged “most of the patients would be better off outside of Misery and that we would discharge as many as possible…. The ones who needed to stay, he’d go to bat for” (page 32). Mr. K was an example of the “harm done by shrinks trying to fix people” (page 36) because many shrinks failed to recognize the difference between something that is “organic-medically treatable-as opposed to mental”, adding, “You don’t treat brain tumors with psychotherapy.” (page 36). He also “had a healthy respect for how crazy, and unreachable, some people were” (page 158) and for those people he suggested, “if you cant help ‘em, at least don’t hurt ‘em” (page 158). Thus he realized in some cases his own abilities and the wonders of modern medicine were not enough.
Furthermore, Malik did not rely on his own knowledge to help his patients recover. He was humble enough to admit, “The problem aint not knowin, it’s not askin”. That is why Malik ...

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...s to “start moving toward vitality” (page 158). That is why psychiatry actually has the power to cure people. As Malik pointed out to Roy, “With a basically healthy young women like this who wants to kill herself, if you can connect with her right now, at this shit-moment in her life, shell probably never try to kill herself again! If that aint a cure, what is?” (page 68). Even though most people think “cures” are only derived from labs and test tubes, in psychiatry a cure can require something as simple as a conversation or even just a question.
Ultimately, Malik’s method of research is effective because he approached it with humility and carried it out to build a connection with his patients. Just like the brain relies on the connections between neurons to carry out its functions, the connection between the doctor and patient is a critical part of psychotherapy.
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