A Psychiatrist and His Patient Reconnect and Recollect 🙋

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A Psychiatrist and His Patient Reconnect and Recollect 🙋


November 29, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue

In 1987, when college freshman Keith Cunniffe sought help for his depression from Dr. Barry Perlman, neither of them could have anticipated the tumultuous 27-year journey that lay ahead. Hospitalized for psychosis and treated with courses of electroconvulsive therapy, Cunnife managed to work towards recovery and is now a licensed social worker.

Join this remarkable patient-doctor duo as they reunite to share the story of Mr. Cunniffes’ path to recovery — and all the obstacles and setbacks he faced. Unusual in its success, this story illustrates the struggle and essential ingredients needed to help individuals with serious mental illness persevere and reach their full potential.

Read the new article co-authored by Dr. Perlman and Mr. Cunniffe, titled “Here Comes Jimmy Hendrix”: A Psychiatrist and Patient Reconnect and Recollect,'” published in Psychiatric Times.



Dr. Barry Perlman, a graduate of Yale Medical School, completed his residency in psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center where he remained on the faculty until becoming the Director of the Department of Psychiatry at Saint Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers. He served as president of New York State Psychiatric Association. He was appointed chair of NYS Mental Health Service Council and member of NY State Hospital Review and Planning Council by Governor George Pataki. His career has incorporated clinical practice, teaching, research, administration and advocacy for persons with serious mental illness. In 2021 his memoir, “Rearview: A Psychiatrist Reflects on Practice and Advocacy In a Time of Healthcare System Change,” was published.

Keith Cunniffe is a social worker who received his Master of Social Work degree in 1996. He also has a postgraduate certificate in the Treatment of Trauma from the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. He is currently the Chief of Social Work at VA Hudson Valley Health Care System. He has lived with a serious mood disorder for over 35 years.

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