This record cover takes me back to my youth. I first saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was eight years old. I thought they were dreamy. My father thought they were the most ridiculous act that he had ever seen on television. He hated them, and he kept griping about their long hair. He said that they needed a (expletive) haircut. I adored their cute moppy hair, and their cool British accent. My poor parents went insane shortly after they bought me a record player for my birthday. I kept playing Beatle records over and over again until the records wore out. The song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” entranced me. I knew every word in every verse, and I even heard the song in my sleep. That song still comes to mind every time I have to tell patients that they can’t touch each other while they are residing on the psychiatric unit.


I know that you are wondering why patients can’t touch each other on a psychiatric unit. After all, look at John and Paul. They are in each other’s personal space. It’s no big deal, right? It can be a really big deal if you’re touching someone who is paranoid. They may think that you are trying to hurt them. I’ve seen a lot of paranoid patients become violent because they think that they are being attacked. And then there is the issue of abuse. Many patients have been physically and sexually abused in the past, and they really don’t want to be hugged by someone that they have just met. They have boundary issues, and it might be hard for them to tell you that they don’t like to be touched. And let’s not forget about unit romances. I occasionally see patients engaged in a major lip-lock, or trying to slip off into each other’s rooms. The nursing staff never tolerates this. You are on the unit to work on your issues, not to find a date. I remember watching two teenagers who were planning to have sex on the unit. My colleagues and I enjoyed watching their mating dance. It was entertaining. Then the girl made a big announcement at the nurses station that she was going to go take a shower, and that she didn’t want to be disturbed. We watched the boy sneak down the hallway into the girl’s room, and we counted to three before swinging the door open to the girl’s bathroom. BUSTED!!!!!!!

Take John and Yoko’s advice: Don’t hold hands on a psychiatric unit, and give peace a chance.