The Painful Field: The Psychiatric Dimension of Modern War

By Richard A. Gabriel | Go to book overview

6
Development of American Military
Psychiatry

PSYCHIATRY AND WAR

Psychiatry, in one form or another, is as old as human beings. In its most basic form it emerged at the precise moment one human being attempted to help another deal with personal anguish. People have always faced many of the personal tragedies--death of a child, loss of a spouse, fear of the unknown, and an awareness of one's own mortality--that modern people face, and there is every reason to believe that they suffered from the same pain and anguish in dealing with these problems that we do. Moreover, early human understanding of the environment and human behavior was so inexact that people resorted to religion to deal with fears and ignorance. The first shamans earned their keep within primitive societies by providing explanations and rituals that enabled people to deal with their environment and personal anguish. Early people, no less than we, dealt with forces that they could not understand or control and attempted to come to grips with their vulnerability in much the same way we do, by trying to bring some order to their universe. Those who could interpret and explain that universe in whatever terms were the precursors of our psychiatrists.

Psychiatry is a different discipline from psychology although the differences are becoming increasingly narrow. Psychiatrists have historically been defined as "healers of the mind" while psychologists are defined as "those who studied the mind." This distinction, based in the difference between medical doctors who treated mental illness and scholars who studied it, has become less useful in the modern era, especially in military psychiatry, as psychologists have carved out a significant role as clinicians treating those suffering from emotional problems. Traditionally, psychiatry was closely tied to the general practice of medicine and the discipline of psy-

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The Painful Field: The Psychiatric Dimension of Modern War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies Colin Gray: Series Advisor ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - War and Madness in History 7
  • Conclusion 21
  • Notes 23
  • 2 - The Limits of Human Endurance 25
  • Conclusion 41
  • Notes 43
  • 3 - The Face of Modern War 47
  • Conclusion 65
  • Notes 66
  • 4 - Development of Soviet Military Psychiatry 67
  • Conclusion 90
  • Notes 91
  • 5 - Soviet Battlefield Psychiatry 93
  • Conclusion 114
  • Notes 115
  • 6 - Development of American Military Psychiatry 117
  • Conclusion 135
  • Notes 136
  • 7 - American Battlefield Psychiatry 137
  • Conclusion 156
  • Notes 158
  • 8 - The Future of Military Psychiatry 159
  • Conclusion 173
  • Notes 177
  • Bibliographic Essay 179
  • Index 181
  • About the Author 188
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