Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830-1890

By Jenny Taylor; Sally Shuttleworth | Go to book overview
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1. Moral Management and the Rise of the Psychiatrist

MORAL TREATMENT AT THE RETREAT

Samuel Tuke, A Description of the Retreat, an Institution Near York, for Insane Persons of the Society of Friends ( York: Alexander, 1813), 157-8, 178.

Samuel Tuke's description of the mild, humane system of management followed at the asylum founded by his grandfather, William Tuke, had an immediate, widespread social impact. By exciting public interest in the plight of the insane, it brought about the exposure of maltreatment at both the rival York Asylum and the famous Bethlem Hospital in London, which in turn led to the setting-up in 1815 of the parliamentary Committee to consider the regulation of madhouses.

In an early part of this chapter, it is stated, that the patients are considered capable of rational and honourable inducement; and though we allowed fear a considerable place in the production of that restraint, which the patient generally exerts on his entrance into a new situation; yet the desire of esteem is considered, at the Retreat, as operating, in general, still more powerfully. This principle in the human mind, which doubtless influences, in a great degree, though often secretly, our general manners; and which operates with peculiar force on our introduction into a new circle of acquaintance, is found to have great influence, even over the conduct of the insane. Though it has obviously not been sufficiently powerful, to enable them entirely to resist the strong irregular tendencies of their disease; yet when properly cultivated, it leads many to struggle to conceal and overcome their morbid propensities; and, at least, materially assists them in confining their deviations, within such bounds, as do not make them obnoxious to the family.

This struggle is highly beneficial to the patient, by strengthening his mind, and

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