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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

Lawrence Jackson, M.D.

Lawrence Jackson, M.D.

Dr Jackson was selected as the honoree for the 2013 Michigan Psychoanalytic Benefit held at the Detroit Athletic Club on Friday, November 8.

Dr. Jackson was Medical Director of the Detroit Psychiatric Institute (formerly known as the Psychiatry Department of the Detroit Receiving Hospital). This program was the major mental health facility of the City of Detroit and particularly tended the most disturbed and impoverished patients in our community. At first, Receiving was a Detroit funded program and then it became the Detroit Psychiatric Institute, funded primarily by the State of Michigan.

The program was under the constant threat of closure or reduction of its standard of care due to city or state budget cuts. Each time that this would happen, Larry would mobilize the community to preserve the program. Organized labor (UAW), the Catholic Diocese, prominent jurists and lawyers, public health officials, etc. were hastily pressed into service. The entire staff also stood with Dr. Jackson. The Director of the Department of Mental Health accused Dr. Jackson of running a Cadillac program when he wanted a Model-T program. Actually, the treatment was just basic adequate care. The Director wanted to crowd the wards and shorten all treatment. He threatened to fire Larry if he didn’t comply; Larry would not stand down. Each time, the staff and Larry, together with their supporters, prevailed.

Budget cuts also threatened the educational training programs at DPI. Central to his vision was the need to protect the educational integrity of these training programs in mental health. Dr. Jackson knew that preserving the quality of these programs would lead to better care for his patients. He also had the foresight to employ many psychoanalysts in key educational positions.

Others volunteered to teach and supervise the psychiatry residents, psychology interns, and social work trainees. For a quarter of a century DPI had an educational staff that trained many professionals who would later undergo psychoanalytic training. For that time DPI was the best site for training and attracted the brightest and best students who in turn provided intensive, long-term mental health care both inpatient and outpatient to the citizens of Detroit, particularly to the inner city, where the most needy and underserved patients lived.

It was a time when psychoanalysts and community mental health professionals worked harmoniously together to provide quality care for the underprivileged. DPI trained hundreds of professionals, who largely remained in the Detroit area. Many of the leading mental health professionals still working today in hospitals, clinics, and private practice owe DPI and Dr. Larry Jackson their early excellent training.

At a time when DPI unfortunately no longer exists, we honor Dr. Larry Jackson for keeping alive the cause of providing quality mental health care for the citizens of Detroit for over a quarter of a century from 1970 to 1997. By keeping DPI open and viable, thousands of the most needy received adequate care. We are keeping that vision alive in the low fee outpatient clinics of the Michigan Psychoanalytic treatment clinic. We hope in the near future to establish outpatient treatment in the City of Detroit.

The Detroit Psychiatric Institute’s clinical and educational programs were fully accredited throughout the time of his leadership. The much sought-after psychiatric residency was part of the Department of Psychiatry of Wayne State University. Dr. Jackson also served on many local and state wide bodies to promote mental health. He also served on the Board of two Michigan Psychoanalytic Foundations as well as the Foundation of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry of Wayne State University and was a founding member of the Concerned Psychiatrists and the Alliance for Mental Health Services (of which he was President) which was established to protect agencies like DPI and the patients that they served.

Lawrence Jackson came to Detroit from Texas with his two older brothers and his mother, Mabel Jackson. His resolute, hard-working mother took in wash to provide for her family. Larry said his mother never told them that they had to go to college. She had completed the 8th grade. However, they all went and acknowledge gratefully her strong guidance and love. His oldest brother, Arthur Jackson became a prominent local educator, the middle brother, Murray Jackson, became a professor of education at the University of Michigan and was on the Wayne State University Board of Governors. Larry never forgot his roots and dedicated his life’s work to the citizens of Detroit. We acknowledge our deep gratitude by electing him as MPF Honoree of 2013.