In this series of posts about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP) researchers Dr. Judith Libow and Dr. Herbert Schreier, I reflected in previous posts on Dr. Libow’s professional background. In this post, I concentrate more on Dr. Schreier’s professional background.
Professional Background of Dr. Herbert Schreier
In contrast to Dr. Libow, Dr. Herbert Schreier is a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. This means that, like other psychiatrists, he got an
undergraduate degree, graduated from medical school, and then graduated from a residency in psychiatry.
He has been a psychiatrist at the same place Dr. Libow has been working since 1977. It seems that they teamed up with each other as good colleagues – the psychologist working together with the psychiatrist – since they established employment there. This symbiotic and catalyst cooperation may provide some insight into why they were so successful in publishing many papers on the disputed and controversial subject of MSbP.
Libow & Schreier as MSbP Heroes?
I admit, from an MSbP survivor’s perspective, I have a high level of discomfort with Dr. Schreier’s profile as listed on the Children’s Hospital web page. Admittedly, Dr. Libow’s profile is sparse, so it leaves less to criticize. But Dr. Schreier’s post really plays up his role in the MSbP literature – among other things. Here is a quote from the web page:
“Munchausen syndrome is named after an 18th-century German baron who became famous after a book detailing fantastical tales he had told about himself was published. People with the disorder consciously do things to make themselves sick or appear to be sick, so they’ll get attention from healthcare clinicians. The “proxy” part comes when a disturbed parent does something to make her child ill, instead of herself. Parents with the disorder may bring their child to a hospital, getting the attention they’re seeking through their child’s illness—by proxy.”
That’s it. And, it’s not even correct. Dr. Schreier’s work is not with Munchausen Syndrome patients, it’s with MSbP families. Adult Munchausen Syndrome patients tend to be estranged from their family, and are written about by adult psychologists and psychiatrists in the adult literature. This is not Dr. Schreier’s expertise, and it is unclear why this is listed. Along with that, he’s an expert in: “gender-variant traits” in children, Tourette Syndrome, bipolar disorder, Asperger’s, and non-verbal learning disabilities.
Dr. Schreier as an MSbP Survivor’s Advocate?
I admit that I have trouble with Dr. Schreier’s public professional identity as reported on the Children’s web page. I want to ask Dr. Schreier:
- How can you be an expert in MSbP without having done anything at all to address it or prevent it?
- How can you, a leader in the field, describe MSbP on your web page with such a focus on the perpetrator and no focus on the victim?
- What is your response to the accusation that you used MSbP to further your career, but didn’t do anything for us, the victims?
- You have not even scratched the surface of MSbP, nor has anyone else. How can you specialize in so many subjects and still call yourself an expert in MSbP – someone who has literally wrote the book on it?
Maybe Dr. Schreier will read this blog post and answer my questions. Let’s hope so!
In any case, my next blog post with get on with describing what Drs. Libow and Schreier found through their research on MSbP, and what we can all take away from this to use for public health purposes.
Who is best at treating trauma – psychologists or psychiatrists?
Or is it some other profession – like social workers, yoga teachers, massage therapists, or spiritual healers? What do you think? Comment below and tell us your opinion!