Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 14-16, 2014
Posted by Maria Mangicaro
“Catatonia in Children & Youth: A First Person Account Discerning the Effectiveness of Viable Alternatives from ECTs”, a presentation by Grace Summers, Ph.D.
Grace Summers experienced a complete psychotic break and catatonia at the age of 14. During her hospitalization, she initially received both ECTS and anti-psychotic medication. However, simultaneously, she received the doting affections of two young women, an LPN and a young volunteer. This presentation is intended to discern, and illustrate, the variables of what truly worked “to bring her back.” From a first person account and perspective, she illustrates the dynamic inner thought processes that remain intact in the catatonic state, the importance of gentle, humane and noninvasive interventions to promote movement and preservation of the will to live, and the central role of identity reformation in recovery. Additionally, Grace will critically examine the current literature concerning catatonia in children and youth, and implications for the use of ECTs and benzodiazepines as primary interventions. Finally, literature that supports viable alternatives will be presented.
1) To understand and appreciate a first person perspective of catatonia from an
adolescent’s point of view.
2) To realize the potential for full recovery from an “acute schizophrenic break” in
children & youth.
3) To gain an appreciation for safe, effective humane interventions that are supported by
alternative theoretical frameworks (to the medical model).
4) To critically examine and discern the current literature on catatonia in children and
youth that supports ECTs and benzodiazepines as primary interventions.
Grace Summers suffered an “acute schizophrenic break” at 14, but fully recovered and
went on to obtain multiple degrees. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor
of Social Work in a small liberal arts college in New York State. She holds a Bachelor’s
Degree in Child & Family Services; a Master’s Degree in Social Work; and a Ph.D. in
Social Welfare. As a licensed master-prepared social worker, she worked in medical and
school social work settings, and briefly in private practice. She has taught both undergrad
and graduate courses in social work for approximately thirteen years as well as worked in
research for eight. She has strong interests in child development, psychiatric and mental
health reform, attitude-behavior research and social policy. Grace is currently working to
complete, “An Absence of Concern,” an autobiographical account of her life from early
childhood to her middle years as a college professor.