WINNER: Christian Hageseth – Warm fuzzies and teddy bears

hags.jpgChristian Hageseth III promoted himself as the “Compassionate” Shock Doc. And he lived up to his name, sharing his passion with a former patient and losing not only his license to practice, but a lawsuit filed by the husband of his paramour.

Hageseth first made the ect.org Hall of Shame when I was contacted by a former patient of his, who had bad things to say about him. This was before his sexual scandal began.

She introduced me to one of Hageseth’s books about the use of laughter. While I agree emphatically with the idea of using humor as a way of coping with stress and unfortunate circumstances, I found the book to be condescending and lacking substance.

This guy promotes himself as a compassionate humorist. That’s a laugh. Instead, read what he has to say about persons diagnosed with psychiatric illness, in his book “A Laughing Place.”

Humor for Psychiatric Patients This is almost too broad a subject because of the variety of disorders which may require psychiatric intervention. In general, I would avoid giving this book to any person in crisis and I would avoid applying humor until he is showing definite signs of recovery. Maybe the book could serve as a thoughtful gift when he is “Out of the woods.” But, early in the process, there is no telling how your attempts at humor might be interpreted – or misinterpreted. “Black Hole” People Black hole people are those negative, humorless individuals who seem to suck humor out of any environment. Like black holes in space, they are so heavy that not even light can escape from them.

I’ve been a “black hole” person myself, during deep depressions, and humor was my savior. I completely disagree with the paternalistic thinking that humor might tread dangerous ground for someone who is very ill. Instead, it’s a lifeline, and I’ve found this to be very true for most persons I’ve known, no matter how bad they were feeling. Basically, his best advice is give this book as a gift. It’s repeated on nearly every page.

I had gotten the impression that Hageseth was condescending and paternalistic *before* he had his son and wife do his dirty work and contact me about his entry into the Hall of Shame. After hearing from the son, my worst fears were confirmed. Anyone who says that “My daddy is a doctor and went to school a lot of years” and you’re just a “crazy bitch” with a website is someone who uses a psychiatric diagnosis against people when it’s the only ammo they have. That kind of attitude is learned somewhere, and I doubt that Christian the fourth (IV) picked it up in the Fort Collins schoolyard. Hey, IV, couldn’t your daddy even buy you a name of your own? (Ha, that’s a joke for the humor-impaired. Well, *I* thought it was funny!)

Seriously, though, there’s something not quite right when a man doesn’t have the guts to contact you himself, and instead, sends his son and wife to do so. Most of all, I was embarrassed for the whole family. Enough said.

In 1996, at a meeting in Washington, DC at Center for Mental Health Services (SAMHSA/CHMS), one of the reviewers, Linda Andre, brought Hageseth’s ECT video for review. It was not well-received by those who viewed it.

Read Linda Andre’s review of the video (which is probably no longer for sale, now that the doctor has gone out of business).
Mr. Rogers on shock

Christian III also had a website where he hawked his books and video, but it disappeared shortly after the sex scandal went public. However, thanks to the fantastic Wayback Machine, the site is archived for posterity, as part of its Internet history collaboration with Alexa.

Read the news accounts of the scandal. (click this link, then see possibly related posts at the bottom of each post for more) In short, the doctor had a patient, then had an affair with her and eventually married her. The jury awarded nearly a quarter million dollars to the husband. Hageseth’s medical license was revoked, but an appeals court later reinstated it. According to the State of Colorado, it now has been “surrendered.”

Currently, the happy couple produces a bird dog show. In his bio at the bird dog site, he says he “decided to take a new direction in life” after practicing medicine. As a dog lover myself, and as someone who grew up around hunting and bird dogs (most of them, oddly, were named Old Joe…and our main horses named Star and gray cats named Goober – I can’t explain why our animals kept having the same names), I cannot find fault in that. I wish all of them, especially their lovely dogs, well. (Note to Chris & family, the dog lovers: if I can find and scan a copy, you might like a picture of myself with my (now deceased) dog Sharik when we were featured on the cover of Woman’s Day Magazine for an article I wrote. From one dog lover to another…{{hugs}})

Interesting, though, that his birddog bio seems to say he left medicine voluntarily to devote time to the birddog show. I’m not sure that’s accurate.

Read the emails from his son and wife to me. (Note: Christian IV asked if I would open the website up to free debate, and I invited him to the message board where free debate occurs daily, but he didn’t show up. He’s welcome there, and welcome to post here in the comments section. *Hugs Chris 4*)

Update: He’s got a new website – wahoo!

Now you can download a condensed version of his humor book. It’s free! Warning, the photos on the page are very disturbing. Kind of like Creepy the Clown.
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Some facts about psychiatrists and sexual abuse of their patients:

* The majority of psychiatrists who sexually abuse their clients are never reported.

* The number of disciplinary actions against physicians regarding sexual abuse doubled from 1994 to 1996

* Less than half of those disciplined lost the ability to practice.

* Among all physicians disciplined for sexual offenses, psychiatrists made up the majority (27.9 percent). Child psychiatrists represented 2.5 percent, indicating that even our most vulnerable are not entirely safe from the professionals they may turn to for help.

(from a study by Public Citizen Health Research Group)

A huge database of psychiatrists in trouble.

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