Book announcement – Psychiatry in Communist Europe

Screenshot from 2015-07-24 21:53:14This is the first book to address the history of psychiatry under Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, from the Soviet Union to East Germany. It brings together new research addressing understandings of mental health and disorder, treatments and therapies, and the interplay between politics, ideology and psychiatry. It challenges assumptions about the extent of political control, exploring beyond the instances of punitive abuse of psychiatry, and recognizing the international exchanges which informed the development of research and practice in the region.
The authors discuss:
• Treatments such as work therapy, insulin shock therapy, antipsychotic medications
• International exchanges between the USA, Western Europe, USSR and Central Asia
• Environmental, social and biological explanations of mental health and illness
• The relationship between psychiatry, ideology and the Communist state
• Soviet reponses to antipsychiatry and ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

For more information, click here.

Call for Papers – Cultures of Harm in Institutions of Care Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Bellevue Hospital, New York City, 1885-98. © Wellcome Library, London

Bellevue Hospital, New York City, 1885-98. © Wellcome Library, London

15-16 April 2016

Birkbeck, University of London

In 1921, Dr Montagu Lomax published a searing indictment of Prestwich Asylum exposing an entrenched sub-culture of malpractice, negligence and abuse. Recent historical research has shown that many of the same practices were still taking place at Prestwich fifty years later.

Similar abuses continue today. Stafford Hospital, Winterbourne View and the crimes committed by Jimmy Savile are among the more recent examples of how systemic violence and neglect can be visited upon some of society’s most vulnerable individuals in institutions that have been charged with a special duty of care.

This two-day conference will explore the shifting political, socio-economic, cultural and medical influences that have formed and perpetuated cultures of harm from the eighteenth century to the present day across the world. We are particularly interested in the production of harmful practices – physical, sexual and psychological violence directed by one person or group against another – in therapeutic and caring environments. These might include hospitals and infirmaries, psychiatric facilities, religious institutions, care homes, children’s homes and educational establishments, as well as infirmaries and medical spaces in prisons and correctional institutions, military barracks, camps and workhouses.

We welcome papers from all academic disciplines. Suggested themes include:

  • Institutional contexts that contribute to specific cultures and social relationships between individuals and groups
  • The impact of wider societal factors on institutional cultures and contexts
  • Shifting power relations and cultural differences and similarities between staff, patients and other groups
  • Issues around individual and collective agency, resistance and complicity, as well as coercion, scapegoating, ‘whistleblowing’, bullying and negotiation between individuals
  • The role and use of space such as seclusion, locked wards, single/mixed-sex wards
  • Effects of the institutional environment around activity and stimulation, privacy, communication, and support for staff
  • Treatments, medication, the use of restraints, issues around consent
  • Staff recruitment, conditions and training
  • The role of emotions such as fear, pain, shame, humiliation, guilt, anger, sadness, pleasure, desire and nostalgia
  • The role of narrative, language and silence, reporting and non-reporting, including the use of the language of care and therapy to justify violent practices
  • Representations in art, literature, film and drama
  • Factors that have disrupted or changed harmful cultures for the better
  • The role of wider public institutions and agencies such as medicine, the law, social services, academia, religion, government and the media
  • Theoretical, methodological and ethical approaches and challenges.

Whilst this is primarily an academic conference, we would be delighted to receive proposals for artistic work such as a short film, a poetry reading or performance art.

Confirmed speakers: Allan Young, an anthropologist and the Marjorie Bronfman Professor in Social Studies in Medicine (McGill) and Richard Bessel, Professor of Twentieth Century History (York).

Please submit an abstract of up to 300 words together with a brief outline of your academic affiliation to trauma@mail.bbk.ac.uk by 20 September 2015. You will be informed whether or not your paper is successful in early October. Some travel and accommodation bursaries may be available.

This event is organised by Professor Joanna Bourke, Dr Louise Hide and Dr Ana Antic in association with the Birkbeck Trauma Project supported by the Birkbeck Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology

Psychiatry’s Identity Crisis

American psychiatry is facing an identity crisis, writes Cornell psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman in a New York Times opinion piece published this week:

AMERICAN psychiatry is facing a quandary: Despite a vast investment in basic neuroscience research and its rich intellectual promise, we have little to show for it on the treatment front.

With few exceptions, every major class of current psychotropic drugs — antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications — basically targets the same receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain as did their precursors, which were developed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Sure, the newer drugs are generally safer and more tolerable than the older ones, but they are no more effective.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Call for Papers: The History of Psychotherapy in North and South America

michael-rougier-psychiatrist-carl-rogers-leading-a-panel-discussing-mental-health-issuesHistory of Psychology invites submissions for a special issue on the history of psychotherapy in North and South America.

The history of psychotherapy is a topic that cuts across disciplines and cultures. In North America, psychotherapy pre-dates Freud in the faith healing and liberal protestant movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, even as Freud took the limelight, the practice passed through many professions including neuropathology, psychiatry, social work, the ministry and clinical psychology, as well as marriage and family counseling, nursing, and a host of others. Psychotherapy also became the darling of cinema and literature. And yet, psychotherapy has never been a licensed profession. Anyone can hang out a shingle as a “psychotherapist.” Psychotherapy has thus been both a staple of, and a lens onto, medicine, science and culture for nearly 125 years.

How can we make sense of this ubiquitous and yet historically elusive practice? This special issue of HOP opens up the conversation to historians from a broad spectrum of specialties. We welcome contributions on any aspect of the subject in North or South America, but ask contributors to keep within the time-frame of late 19th century (when the term “psychotherapy” originated) to the present.

We are excited to announce that this special issue will be coordinated with a special issue of History of the Human Sciences on the history of psychotherapy in Europe (guest editor Sarah Marks). This simultaneous publication of two special issues on the history of psychotherapy marks the beginning of an international conversation about what psychotherapy is and how its practices have proliferated across time and culture.

The submission deadline is January 1, 2016.

The main text of each manuscript, exclusive of figures, tables, references, or appendixes, should not exceed 35 double-spaced pages (approximately 7,500 words).

Initial inquiries regarding the special issue may be sent to the guest editor, Rachael Rosner <rachael@denenberg.com> or the regular editor, Nadine Weidman <hop.editor@icloud.com>.

Announcement: Fulbright-Freud Visiting Scholar of Psychoanalysis, 2016-17

Wartezimmer_1Fulbright-Freud Visiting Scholar of Psychoanalysis, 2016-17

Deadline: August 1, 2015
Length of Grant: 4 months
Starting Date: March 1, 2017
Location: Sigmund Freud Foundation and Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna
Benefits: This award includes a travel grant of Euro 800, medical and accident insurance, and a monthly stipend of Euro 3,300 per month for four months.
Language: The Austrian Fulbright Commission expects Fulbright-Freud scholars to have a high level of German proficiency, although English may be used as the language of instruction.
Qualifications: Open to associate and full professors. Several years of teaching/lecturing or professional experience in relevant fields of psychoanalysis.
Grant Activity: Conduct research at the Sigmund Freud Foundation in Vienna and teach between one or two courses or seminars on a topic related to the research project at a Viennese host institution. Applicants should explain why their research needs to be conducted in Vienna. Details of teaching assignment are to be arranged by the Sigmund Freud Foundation and the Austrian Fulbright Commission in consultation with grantee.
Specialization(s): human sciences, cultural studies, theory and/or practice of psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic studies, neurosciences in relation to psychoanalysis, arts related to psychoanalysis.
Comments: Applicants must solicit a letter of invitation from the Sigmund Freud Foundation by submitting a curriculum vitae and research/lecturing proposal. Grantee will have a workstation in the library of the Sigmund Freud Museum. Visit www.freud-museum.at for more information about the Freud Museum.
Contact person: Dr. Daniela Finzi, Research, Sigmund Freud Foundation, Berggasse 19, A 1090 Vienna; ph. +431 319 15 96 0; fax: +431 317 02 79; e-Mail: office@freud-museum.at.
Link to Application:
http://catalog.cies.org/

New Issue – Medical History

MDHThe latest issue of Medical History, dedicated to Skill in the History of Medicine and Science, contains at least one article that interests the readers of h-madness.

Social Skills: Adolf Meyer’s Revision of Clinical Skill for the New Psychiatry of the Twentieth Century by Susan Lamb

Adolf Meyer (1866–1950) exercised considerable influence over the development of Anglo-American psychiatry during the first half of the twentieth century. The concepts and techniques he implemented at his prominent Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins remain important to psychiatric practice and neuro-scientific research today. In the 1890s, Meyer revised scientific medicine’s traditional notion of clinical skill to serve what he called the ‘New Psychiatry’, a clinical discipline that embodied social and scientific ideals shared with other ‘new’ progressive reform movements in the United States. This revision conformed to his concept of psychobiology – his biological theory of mind and mental disorders – and accorded with his definition of scientific medicine as a unity of clinical–pathological methods and therapeutics. Combining insights from evolutionary biology, neuron theory and American pragmatist philosophy, Meyer concluded that subjective experience and social behaviour were functions of human biology. In addition to the time-honoured techniques devised to exploit the material data of the diseased body – observing and recording in the clinic, dissecting in the morgue and conducting histological experiments in the laboratory – he insisted that psychiatrists must also be skilled at wielding social interaction and interpersonal relationships as investigative and therapeutic tools in order to conceptualise, collect, analyse and apply the ephemeral data of ‘social adaptation’. An examination of his clinical practices and teaching at Johns Hopkins between 1913 and 1917 shows how particular historical and intellectual contexts shaped Meyer’s conceptualisation of social behaviour as a biological function and, subsequently, his new vision of clinical skill for twentieth-century psychiatry.

Call for Papers – Faire l’histoire du pouvoir “psy” après Foucault

"Stone BKH1". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 de via Wikimedia Commons

“Stone BKH1″. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 de via Wikimedia Commons

4es Journées suisses d’histoire – Faire l’histoire du pouvoir “psy” après Foucault

Les travaux sur les disciplines psychiques se rangent en deux catégories : les démarches critiques du pouvoir « psy* » (psychiatrie, psychanalyse, psychologie, psychothérapie) d’une part, contre les approches bienveillantes à l’égard de ce pouvoir, soit par une défense délibérée, comme Marcel Gauchet par exemple, soit simplement en évitant d’évoquer les dimensions politiques des pratiques et des discours psy. La tradition critique se donne comme pères fondateurs — il n’y a que des hommes — des chercheurs tels que Erving Goffman, Robert Castel, et bien sûr Michel Foucault. Elle est liée à des mouvements sociaux qui contestent le pouvoir psychiatrique, que l’on qualifie souvent d’ « antipsychiatriques », notamment des mouvements de personnes psychiatrisées, mais qui compte aussi des psys célèbres comme Franco Basaglia, Ronald D. Laing, David Cooper ou Thomas Szasz. Cette première vague critique s’en prend principalement à la psychiatrie comme « régime disciplinaire » (Foucault), à l’asile comme « institution totalitaire » (Goffman) ou au « mythe de la maladie mentale » comme prétexte d’un contrôle étatique politique (Szasz). Continue reading

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