The Foundations of Psychiatry

By Silvano Arieti | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3

RECENT PSYCHIATRIC
DEVELOPMENTS (SINCE 1939)

George Mora


Introduction: General and
Methodological Issues

A SUCCINCT PRESENTATION of the development of psychiatry in the last three decades is not an easy task, especially in view of the great deal of progress made in this field since the end of World War II, of the difficulties involved in carrying on meaningful research in this area, and of the lack of adequate historical perspective to evaluate properly the events related to this progress.

The fact remains, however, that in the period under consideration psychiatry has gained acceptance in the overall realm of medicine370 and, even more, in the American culture by and large. Psychiatry has now reached the point of being able to look comfortably at its present situation and to draw from the past inspiration for the future.

In this country, following Albert Deutsch's The Mentally Ill in America149 and Gregory Zilboorg's A History of Medical Psychology,618 a number of general histories of psychiatry,4,8,12,96,336,522,581 biographical studies7,63,79,603 (mainly the thorough, yet biased, study on Freud by E. Jones),306 histories of diseases,296,572 of institutional care, 137,262,506,510 and of basic concepts and trends related to psychiatry74,136,142,165,227,274,430,439,502 (such as the important volume on the development of the unconscious by H. Ellenberger)175 have appeared.

Moreover, the emphasis on newly published primary sources—for example, Freud's correspondence with pupils and admirers—and on the historical dimension of sociological attitudes toward the mentally ill has become significant. Even the American Psychiatric Association, which has taken many initiatives

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