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Stephen Sonnenberg


Professor

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Medical Humanities and Medical Ethics

Biography


Stephen Sonnenberg was educated at Princeton University, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree and also received his training in psychiatry, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he was an intern in the Department of Internal Medicine, the National Institute of Mental Health, where he was trained as a researcher, and The Baltimore-DC Institute for Psychoanalysis. He has served as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and is currently Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, where he served as Clinical Professor before moving to Texas. At The University of Texas at Austin he is Adjunct Professor in the School of Architecture, Core Faculty of the Human Dimensions of Organizations Program, Fellow-in-Residence at the Humanities Institute, Fellow of the Trice Professorship in the Plan II Honors Program, and Principal Investigator of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded “Patients, Practitioners, and Cultures of Care” Project, a research and development effort to create a new undergraduate Bridging Disciplines Program emphasizing the relationship of healthcare and the humanities. He is also Faculty Fellow of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, and Affiliate Faculty of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. His most important committee assignments at The University of Texas include The Rhodes, Marshall and Truman Scholarships Selection Committee and the Chairmanship of the Hamilton Book Awards Selection Committee in 2017.  

Dr. Sonnenberg has and continues to serve on numerous editorial boards and peer review panels of leading journals in the fields of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, has contributed scholarly articles to the leading journals in those fields, is the co-author of a textbook Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, (American Psychiatric Press, 1991, 1998, 2004), which has been translated into Russian, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Persian, and Japanese, and the co-author of chapters in important textbooks of psychiatry. He is the co-editor of The Trauma of War: Stress and Recovery in Vietnam Veterans (American Psychiatric Press, 1985). Early in 2013 his co-edited book, CENTER 17: Space & Psyche, was published by the Center for American Architecture and Design, School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin. It has received two awards, the Bronze Medal for Architecture in the 2014 Independent Publisher IPPY Book Awards Competition and second place in the Publications Division of the American Institute of Graphic Arts Texas Show.

His research interests focus on the points of intersection of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, medical education, and other areas of scholarly inquiry. His subjects of study include war, violence, national security, law, decision-making, architecture and design, psychic trauma and post traumatic psychological disorders, addiction and the treatment of addiction, education and effective teaching methods, medical humanities and the doctor-patient relationship, and health and human rights. In the past he has served as Co-Principal Investigator of The Psychology of Deterrence Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Director of Research of the Project on the Vietnam Generation at the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution, and Research Scholar at the Center for Psychology and Social Change, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Hospital.

In 1987 and 1988 he was honored as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Psychiatry at Wilford Hall United States Air Force Medical Center in San Antonio, in 1997 as Master Educator Clinical Consultant at the 150th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, in 2006 as The Charles Brenner Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis at The Medical College of Wisconsin, and in 2014 he received the Distinguished Service Award of The American Psychoanalytic Association for his service to psychoanalysis and lasting contributions to the field.

Dr. Sonnenberg has practiced medicine for more than fifty years, and he still maintains a small practice of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and educational consultation with mid-career psychiatrists.


Courses


T C 358 • Doctor/Patient/Society/Cul

42970 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CRD 007B

Description:

You are a premedical student at UT, but do you think you really know what it’s like to be a doctor? This course will try to put you into the shoes of a physician in today’s world, addressing such issues as the doctor as mediator between the scientific and the non-scientific worlds; the practice of medicine in a multicultural society with class based health and health care disparities; a world in which matters of health are not local, but global; the doctor as societal and cultural insider or alien; the doctor practicing in a world where issues of gender and sexuality are fluid and delicate; the doctor as advocate for health as a human right, environmentally based health and health care, and an awareness of war and violence as concerns of the physician; the physician as ethicist; the physician as advocate for nutritional awareness and change; the role of the doctor as a team leader vs. a person with an intimate relationship with a patient; the physician treating the dying patient; a changing health care system and government regulation of clinical practice; and the doctor as a recent graduate with enormous educational debt and under enormous pressure. We will keep a focus on the role of the humanities in the practice of medicine, the conduct of medical research, and the self-care of the doctor.

           

The course instructor has practiced medicine for fifty years, and class discussions will always include real life examples from his clinical experiences and the experiences of his colleagues and students.

 

Texts/Readings:

We will begin with an introductory reading by the course instructor, and two of his colleagues: A. ursano, S. Sonnenberg, R. Ursano’s Physician-Patient Relationship in Psychiatry, A. Tasman, J. Kay, J. Lieberman, M. First, M. Maj, eds. (entire chapter)

 

From there readings will consist of sections of books and entire essays, including, by category:

 

mediator between scientific and non-scientific worlds:

 

A. Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto, and Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science (sections from both)

 

J. Groopman’s Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in a Changing World of Medicine, and How Doctors Think  (sections from both)

 

C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (sections)

 

S. Sonnenberg’s A short course in why doctors need a longer education, Austin American Statesman D1, 8, August 21, 2011 (entire article)

 

Video: S. Sonnenberg’s Seduction and Rape: Dora Revisited and the Social Construction of Trauma, online at http://soa.utexas.edu/events/inaugural-lecture-institute-historical-studies-annual-workshop-2013 (42 minutes viewing time)

 

the practice of medicine in a multicultural society with class based health and health care disparities:

 

L. Jones’s  Eliminating Cancer Disparities Through Legislative Action (entire article)

 

A. McAlister’s Moral Disengagement and Tolerance for Health Care Inequality in Texas (entire article)

 

a world in which matters of health are not local, but global:

 

D. Fassin’s  Humanitarianism as a Politics of Life (entire article)

 

the doctor as societal and cultural insider or alien:

 

D. Fassin’s The Parallel Lives of philosophy and Anthropology (entire article)

 

the doctor practicing in a world where issues of gender and sexuality are fluid and delicate:

 

S. Gruskin, S. Ravidran’s Realising ICPD 20 Years Later: Shifting Paradigms for Research and Education  (entire article)

 

the doctor as advocate for health as a human right, environmentally based health and health care, and an awareness of war and violence as concerns of the physician:

 

M. Katz, T. Brigham’s Transforming a Traditional Safety Net Into a Coordinated Care System: Lessons From a Healthy San Francisco (entire article)

 

P. Farmer’s Pathologies of Power: Rethinking Health and Human Rights (entire article)

 

M. Katz’s  Structural Interventions for Addressing Chronic Health problems (entire article)

 

T. Palaima, S. Sonnenberg’s Our Wounds, Our Duty, Austin American Statesman F1, 4, December 6, 2009 (entire article)

 

Video: T. Palaima, S. Sonnenberg’s Podcast: Debating the Cultural Evolution of War, The University of Texas at Austin Know, January, 2010, online at http://www.utexas.edu/know/2010/01/20/cultural_evolution_of_war/ (39 minutes viewing time)

 

the physician as ethicist:

 

G. Annas’s Worst Case Bioethics (sections)

 

S. Ekland-Olson’s How Ethical Systems Change: Lynching and Capital Punishment (sections)

 

the physician as advocate for nutritional awareness and change:

 

R. Patel, et al.’s Cook, Eat, Man, Woman (entire article)

 

R. Patel’s Food Sovereignty (entire article)

 

the role of the doctor as a team leader vs. a person with an intimate relationship with a patient:

 

P. Kramer’s Should You Leave?: A Psychiatrist Explores Intimacy and Autonomy—and the Nature of Advice (sections)

 

L. Weed’s Physicians of the Future (entire article)

 

the physician treating the dying patient:

 

Video: A. Gawande’s Being Mortal, online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/being-mortal/ (54 minutes viewing time)

 

a changing health care system and government regulation of clinical practice:

 

S. Gruskin, L. Ferguson’s  Government Regulation of Sex and Sexuality: In Their Own Words (entire article)

 

S. Ekland-Olson’s Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?: Abortion, Neonatal Care, Assisted Dying, and Capital Punishment (sections)

 

the doctor as a recent graduate with enormous educational debt and under enormous pressure:

 

P. Sinha’s Why Do Doctors Commit Suicide? (entire article)

 

Assignments:

There will be two five-page reaction papers to the readings, with the option to rewrite each, each 20% of the course grade.

 

Each student will lead the class discussion once, that will include a summary of the week’s reading and introducing questions for the class to consider, that accounting for 10% of the course grade.

 

Class participation will account for 15% of the course grade.

 

A final ten-fifteen page paper, and final paper class presentation, will account for 35% of the course grade. Because of the variable interplay of every student’s written and oral work, the weighting of these two components will remain flexible.

About the Professor: 

Stephen Sonnenberg is well known to Plan II as a Junior Seminar teacher and senior thesis supervisor. He is a practicing physician

with fifty years of clinical experience, and an interdisciplinary scholar whose affiliations with UT include the School of Architecture, the School of Law, Plan II, the School of Undergraduate Studies, and the Humanities Institute, where he is Fellow-in-Residence. His most recent major work is the award winning CENTER 17: Space & Psyche  (2012, The Center for American Architecture and Design) in which he and his co-editor, Professor Elizabeth Danze, explore the relationship of psychoanalysis and architecture. In 2014 he won the Distinguished Service Award of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the highest award the Association can bestow.

 

 

 

 

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