Archive for November, 2013

Guardian article: “Antidepressant use on the rise in rich countries, OECD finds”

The use of antidepressants has surged across the rich world over the past decade, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Guardian has just published an article on this issue, with a video containing exclusive rare footage from patient interviews which shows the inside story of anti-depressants. The piece reads that “doctors in some countries are writing prescriptions for more than one in 10 adults, with Iceland, Australia, Canada and the other European Nordic countries leading the way”.

To read the entire article, click here.

The video can be accessed at

Announcement: New issue of “History of Psychiatry”

home_coverThis year’s last issue of the History of Psychiatry has just been published online. The december issue 2013 contains the following articles:

1. Johan Schioldann and Ib Søgaard: Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55): a bicentennial pathographical review

Researchers in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, medicine and theology have made exhaustive efforts to shed light on the elusive biography/pathography of the great Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55). This ‘bicentennial’ article reviews his main pathographical diagnoses of, respectively, possible manic-depressive [bipolar] disease, epilepsy, complex partial seizure disorder, Landry-Guillain-Barré’s acute ascending paralysis, acute intermittent porphyria with possible psychiatric manifestations, and syphilidophobia.

2. Pauline Prior and Gillian McClelland: Through the lens of the hospital magazine: Downshire and Holywell psychiatric hospitals in the 1960s and 1970s

An exploration of the pages of two psychiatric hospital magazines, Speedwell from Holywell Hospital, Antrim, and The Sketch from Downshire Hospital, Downpatrick, reveals the activity-filled lives of patients and staff during the 1960s and 1970s. This was a time of great change in mental health care. It was also a time of political turbulence in Northern Ireland. With large in-patient populations, both hospitals had a range of occupational and sporting activities available to patients and staff. The magazines formed part of the effort to promote the ethos of a therapeutic community. While hospital magazines may be viewed as one aspect of an institutional system that allowed people to cut themselves off from the wider society, they also provided opportunities for budding writers to express their views on life in a hospital from the service-user perspective. As such, they offer some valuable insights into the lives of psychiatric patients.

3. Massimiliano Aragona: Neopositivism and the DSM psychiatric classification. An epistemological history. Part 2: Historical pathways, epistemological developments and present-day needs

Little is known about the concrete historical sources for the use of neopositivist operational criteria by the DSM-III. This paper suggests that distinct sources operated implicitly. The current usefulness of the operational approach is questioned. It is shown that: (a) in epistemology, neopositivism has been replaced by more adequate accounts; (b) psychologists rejected operational definitions because these were unable to define the majority of mental phenomena; (c) mental symptoms cannot be directly described as such, because they already make part of the psychiatric diagnosis to which they belong. In conclusion, diagnosing is based on the hermeneutical co-construction of mental symptoms. The failure of the neopositivist programme suggests that it is time to reconcile scientific formalization and semiotic activity.

4. Matthew Large: The relevance of the early history of probability theory to current risk assessment practices in mental health care

Probability theory is at the base of modern concepts of risk assessment in mental health. The aim of the current paper is to review the key developments in the early history of probability theory in order to enrich our understanding of current risk assessment practices.

5. Berend Verhoeff: Autism in flux: a history of the concept from Leo Kanner to DSM-5

In this paper, I argue that a new relation between past and present – a supposed historical continuity in the meaning of autism – is created by the histories written by the discipline itself. In histories of autism written by ‘practitioner-historians’, a sense of scientific progress and an essentialist understanding of autism legitimize and reinforce current understandings and research directions in the field of autism. Conceptual discontinuities and earlier complexities and disputes concerning classifying and delineating autism are usually left out of the positivist narrative of autism. In an alternative history of the concept of autism, I demonstrate that there have been major shifts in the type of symptoms, signs and impairments that were – and are – thought to be essential and specific for autism.

6. Holger Steinberg, Dirk Carius, and Hubertus Himmerich: Richard Arwed Pfeifer – a pioneer of ‘medical pedagogy’ and an opponent of Paul Schröder

Richard Arwed Pfeifer (1877–1957) was one of the initiators and foster fathers of the renowned child-psychiatric and special needs education workgroup at Leipzig University under Paul Schröder (1873–1941) in the 1920s and 1930s. This paper is an account of their dispute concerning the interrelations between child and adolescent psychiatry and special needs education, as well as their disagreement about whether adolescent psychopaths should be admitted to specialized child psychiatric wards or elsewhere. Moreover, Pfeifer questioned the practical relevance of the separation of constitutional and environmentally-based psychopathy and fought eugenic research, which he found incompatible with the ethics of his profession as a remedial teacher and child psychiatrist.

7. Pascal Le Maléfan, Renaud Evrard, and Carlos S Alvarado: Spiritist delusions and spiritism in the nosography of French psychiatry (1850–1950)

At the turn of the twentieth century there was a wave of delusions which had a direct link to spiritism in their form and content. These so-called spiritist or mediumistic delusions were the object of detailed study, and clinicians assigned them a place in nosography, especially in France. This work of classification was carried out as a function of the convictions and paradoxes that these delusions aroused; it also made it possible to question the relationship between pathology and belief. It is therefore important to emphasize certain ideological views of psychiatry on para-normality. We observed both a reductionist discourse concerning these domains, and at the same time their utilization in the construction of psychiatric knowledge.

Also check out the book reviews, news and notes in the table of contents of this issue.

Announcement: Journée d’étude “Névroses ordinaires et extraordinaires d’hier et d’aujourd’hui”

pierre-marie-felix-janetJournée d’étude du réseau Janet


siège de l’Institut Métapsychique International – 51 rue de l’Aqueduc

Paris, France (75010)


samedi 14 décembre 2013



La notion de « névrose extraordinaire » fut au centre de débats au sein de la Société médico-psychologique (SMP) à partir de 1857. Pierre Janet critiqua cet adjectif qui ne rappelait que l’ignorance passée du médical face aux névroses, « comme s’il était raisonnable d’employer ce mot pour l’examen de phénomènes naturels ». Il s’agissait alors de mettre un nom sur un ensemble de cas à la limite des connaissances psychiatriques de l’époque, mêlant entre autres somnambulisme, double personnalité, crises hystériques et phénomènes de lucidité. De nos jours, cette notion de « névrose extraordinaire » pourrait aussi trouver sa place dans la nomenclature en tant qu’alternative diagnostique à la psychose pour une autre clinique : celle des hallucinations et délires non-psychotiques. Le destin de ce débat initié à la SMP n’est-il pas d’améliorer notre compréhension des névroses, à une époque tentée de les ignorer ?


La notion de « névrose extraordinaire » fut au centre de débats au sein de la Société Médico-Psychologique à partir de 1857. Pierre Janet critiqua cet adjectif qui ne rappelait que l’ignorance passée du médical face aux névroses, « comme s’il était raisonnable d’employer ce mot pour l’examen de phénomènes naturels » (Janet, 2008, p. 372). Il s’agissait alors de mettre un nom sur un ensemble de cas à la limite des connaissances psychiatriques de l’époque, mêlant entre autres somnambulisme, double personnalité, crises hystériques et phénomènes de lucidité. Les années 1870 connurent une résurgence de ces « névroses extraordinaires » dans la suite du cas de la mystique belge Louise Lateau soumise à l’expertise des médecins, avec la formulation du diagnostic d’hystérie extatique (Lachapelle, 2004 ; Gumpper & Rausky, 2013).

Pierre Janet a hérité de ce matériel clinique qu’il a été amené à observer et classifier, d’abord lors de ses études de somnambules, médiums et possédés réunies dans L’Automatisme Psychologique (1889) ; puis dans d’autres études sur les mystiques et les mécanismes des croyances. Ainsi a-t-il pu faire le pont entre deux époques, mais également entre l’extraordinaire et l’ordinaire, découpant le champ des « névroses ordinaires » que sont par exemple l’hystérie, la psychasthénie et les phobies.

De nos jours, cette notion de « névrose extraordinaire » pourrait aussi trouver sa place dans la nomenclature en tant qu’alternative diagnostique à la psychose pour une autre clinique : celle des hallucinations et délires non-psychotiques. Plus précisément, les récentes théorisations lacaniennes sur les formes ordinaires et extraordinaires de la structure psychotique induisent, par symétrie, une réflexion sur ce que seraient les formes ordinaires et extraordinaires de la structure névrotique (Evrard, 2013). Le destin de ce débat initié à la Société Médico-Psychologique n’est-il pas d’améliorer notre compréhension des névroses, à une époque tentée de les ignorer ?


9h-10h : Accueil (café, croissants)

10h-10h15 : Introduction, par Isabelle SAILLOT (coordinatrice du Réseau Janet) et Renaud EVRARD (Université de Strasbourg)

10h15-11h00 : Les aliénistes face aux névroses extraordinaires, par Pascal LE MALÉFAN (Université de Rouen)

11h00-11h45 : Extraordinaire et psychopathologie chez Janet, par Renaud EVRARD

11h45-12h30 : Fonction heuristique des « mystiques » dans l’œuvre de Pierre Janet , par Stéphane GUMPPER (Université de Strasbourg)

12h30-14h : Pause (repas libre)

14h-14h45 : Dépersonnalisation à l’adolescence : une étrangeté ordinaire ?, par Manuella DE LUCA (Université Paris-Descartes)

14h45-15h30 : Les défaillances obstinées (« névrotiques ») de la mise à distance transcendantale du monde, par Lucien OULAHBIB (Université de Lyon 3)

15h30-16h15 : Des maladies extraordinaires aux troubles fonctionnels : histoire et actualité des névroses sous l’angle « janétien », par Isabelle SAILLOT

16h15-16h45 : Pause

16h45-17h45 : Table-ronde avec tous les intervenants (questions du public)

17h45-18h : Conclusion, par Isabelle SAILLOT et Renaud EVRARD


Renaud Evrard

courriel : evrardrenaud [at] gmail [dot] com


Trouvé sur:

Colloque – “Le genre : quel défi pour la psychiatrie ?” (Paris, Décembre 2013)

Le genre : Quel défi pour la psychiatrie ?

Biologie et société dans les classifications de la clinique

4 et 5 décembre 2013

Salle du Conseil

Faculté de Médecine Paris Descartes

Le nombre des places étant limitées, merci de vous inscrire -gratuitement- en envoyant un simple courriel à :

Mercredi 4 décembre 2013

8h30 Accueil des participants

9h00 Ouverture par Rebecca ROGERS – Paris Descartes – CERLIS

9h15 Introduction:
Jean-Christophe COFFIN – LEM EA 4569/ CAK, Francesca ARENA – AMU-TELEMME, Silvia CHILETTI – CAK
9h45 – 12h45

1. Genre et santé mentale : une histoire entre subjectivités et politique

Présidente de séance : Christine BARD – Université d’Angers –Cerhio

9h45-10h15 Catherine FUSSINGER – IUHMSP, Lausanne

La question de la dépression dans le champ « genre et santé mentale »

10h15-10h45 Nausica ZABALLOS – CAK / IRIS – EHESS

Le genre dans l’espace médiatique à la fin des années 1990 : le « cas » Guillaume Dustan


11h00-11h30 Gabrielle SCHNEE – Paris 13

La clinique des homosexualités, un renouveau avec le débat public ?

11h30-12h00 Arnaud ALESSANDRIN – Centre Émile Durkheim UMR 5116 / O.D.T.

Que reste-t-il du « transsexualisme » dans le nouveau DSM ?

12h00-12h30 Discussion

12h30-14h00 Pause déjeuner

14h00 – 17h15

2. Genre, sexe et sexualités : vers une épistémologie des identités ?

Président de séance : Pierre Henri CASTEL – Cermes3 CNRS

14h00-14h30 Nicole EDELMAN – Paris Ouest Nanterre

Pouvoir psychiatrique et folie hystérique (fin XIXe siècle, France)

14h30-15h00 Thibault POLGE – Paris 1

Le genre, émancipation ou parachèvement de la différence des sexes ? De l’inversion sexuelle au transsexualisme

15h00-15h30 Anne BOISSEUIL – Service de Pédopsychiatrie de Valvert, 13

Féminin/masculin, identité et sexuel chez l’enfant


15h45-16h15 Sebastien SAETTA – École de Santé Publique -Université de Lorraine, EA APEMAC

Analyse critique des discours « psy » autour des troubles psychiques de la grossesse et du post-partum

16h15 -16h45 Eric MACÉ – Centre Emile Durkheim UMR 5116

Des troubles de genre aux troubles dus au genre



Jeudi 5 décembre 2013

9h30 – 12h15

3. Médecine, savoirs et institutions : questionner les pratiques cliniques

Président de séance : Michel DUGNAT – Pôle universitaire de psychiatrie de l’Assistance publique – hôpitaux de Marseille

9h30-10h00 Lucille GIRARD – LEM EA 4569

Le médecin face à la demande de soin des personne transsexuelles : les risques d’un jugement de valeur

10h00-10h30 Laurence HÉRAULT – AMU – IDEMEC

Le Trouble de l’identité de genre et son usage dans la pratique psychiatrique française


10h45-11h15 Stéphanie PACHE – IUHMSP, Lausanne/ IRIS -EHESS

Une brève histoire du mouvement féministe américain pour transformer les théories et les pratiques en santé mentale

11h15-11h45 Anne – Sophie VOZARI – IRIS – EHESS

Les dépressions périnatales : des troubles « normaux » ? Penser les coûts sociaux de la maternité

11h45-12h15 Discussion

12h15-13h45 Pause déjeuner
13h45 – 17h00

4. Le genre sous le regard des experts : science, normes et société

Présidente de séance : Irène FRANÇOIS – CHU de Dijon –

Université de Bourgogne/LEM EA 4569

13h45-14h15 François VIALLA – Université de Montpellier –CERDES

Transidentités : les troubles du droit

14h15-14h45 Alain GIAMI – Inserm – CESP

Les classifications de la sexualité : entre le DSM 5 et la CIM 10

14h45-15h15 Nicolas MOREL-JOURNEL – CHU Lyon

La place de la médecine dans la question du genre


15h30-16h00 Erik SCHNEIDER – Intersex & Transgender Luxembourg

Peur des psychiatres de prendre la mauvaise décision et influence

des normes de genre

16h00-16h30 Denise MÉDICO – Fondation Agnodice, Lausanne/Université de Genève

Subjectivités trans*, la psychologie confrontée au genre et au sexe

16h30-17h00 Discussion

Conclusions du colloque par Christian HERVÉ – LEM EA 4569

New book: “Colonialism and Transnational Psychiatry: The Development of an Indian Mental Hospital in British India, c. 1925–1940” (Waltraud Ernst)


Colonialism and Transnational Psychiatry

The Development of an Indian Mental Hospital in British India, c. 1925–1940

Waltraud Ernst

The first detailed and comprehensive historical assessment of South Asian psychiatry in the twentieth century, breaking new ground on questions of globalisation and medicine in colonial India.


Anthem Press


ISBN 9780857280190

October 2013

294 pages

£60.00  /  $99.00

This is the first comprehensive case study of an Indian mental hospital. It focuses on the largest psychiatric institution in south Asia prior to Indian independence and assesses the demographics of its patient population, death and illness statistics, diagnostic categories and medical treatments. Earlier work has examined the role of British psychiatry within the context of nineteenth-century colonial expansion. This study breaks new ground by exploring how the changing imperial order during the early twentieth century, with a particular focus on the ‘Indianisation’ of the medical services, affected institutional trends. These local developments are set within the wider purview of transnational networks. Themes covered include gender, culture and race, and changing medical theories, conceptualisations and plural clinical practices within the context of medical standardisation. The limitations of institution-based data and statistical analysis and the pitfalls of post-hoc assessment and comparison of diagnostic categories and classifications are explored. The book is based on a range of original sources, including hospital reports, medical journals and textbooks, and official and private correspondence. It is relevant to historians of colonial and western psychiatry, comparative and transnational history, as well as social historians of south Asia more generally.



 ‘Ernst paints a fascinating picture of a mental hospital in India where doctors and patients struggle with the problems and paradoxes of modernity during an era of dramatic political change and medical innovation on a global scale.’ 

—Joseph Alter, Pittsburgh University

‘A very important and original contribution to the growing literature on psychiatry and colonialism, notable for its tight focus on a single mental hospital for Indians rather than the imperial ruling class.’ —Andrew Scull, University of California, San Diego

‘An in-depth account wherein individual and institutional histories coalesce, a work of honest scholarship which will be useful for medical historians, sociologists and lay readers alike.’ 

—Deepak Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University



Chapter 1 | Indianisation and its Discontents

–  Towards Indianisation

–  Structural Inequities

–  Medical Politics and European Racial Prejudice

–  The Medical Market and Indian Competition

–  Professional Discrimination and Historiographic Marginalisation

–  Professional Closure and the Pathologisation of a Successful  Community

–  The Decline of the ‘Good Parsi’

–  Collaborators, Competitors and Ambivalence

–  Indianisation and Histories of Medicine

–  Subalterns

Chapter 2 | The Patients: The Demographics of Gender and Age, Locality, Occupation, Caste and Religion

–  Gender Confined

–  ‘Criminal Lunatics’

–  Intellectual Disability and Patients’ Ages

–  Occupational Background and Caste

–  Religion

Chapter 3 | Institutional Trends and Standardisation: Deaths, Diseases and Cures

–  Mortality

–  Death and Illness by Gender

–  Causes of Death

–  Towards Standardisation

–  Mortality and Morbidity

–  Disease Prevalence

–  Suicide, Escapes and Patients’ Freedom of Movement

–  Cures

Chapter 4 | Classifications, Types of Disorder and Aetiology

–  Standardisation and Variation of Classifications

–  Ruptures and Continuities

–  Male and Female Maladies?

–  Aetiology – ‘the outstanding problem of psychiatry’

Chapter 5 | Treatments

–  Indigenous Herbs

–  ‘Modern’ Drugs

–  Wonder Cures and ‘Disappointing’ and ‘Indifferent’ Results

–  The Shock Therapies

–  Justifying the Need to Shock and Sedate

– Psychoanalysis

– Western and Indian Tubs: Hydrotherapy

– Dutt’s Bratachari

– Feasts and Religious Therapy

–  Work and Occupational Therapy

–  Diet

–  Sports and Entertainments


About the Author

Waltraud Ernst is Professor in the History of Medicine in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oxford Brookes University, UK.

Book announcement: “With the mad. A social history of psychiatry in the 20th century” (Benoît Majerus)

H-Madness co-editor Benoît Majerus has a new book out entitled Parmi les fous. Une histoire sociale de la psychiatrie au XXe siècle (“With the mad. A social history of psychiatry in the 20th century”).

The challenge of this book is to tell the story of psychiatry in the 20th century not through psychiatric handbooks or nosological controversies, but through the daily life of one asylum. This approach enables to discover  actors that are still largely excluded from the traditional narrative on psychiatry be it patients but also nurses, social workers… This historiographical gaze gives new readings of classical themes in the field such as the spatial settings of enclosure or the link between knowledge and power. It also questions the chronology by revisiting the so-called chemical revolution in the 1950s or the deinstitutionalisation from the 1960s on.

Patients’ records are a fascinating material to get access to psychiatric practice. The organisation of work, the forms of knowledge, the medical gaze, the experience of mental illness by the patient or the physician are all topics that are too often described and analysed through medical reports or through the published literature in psychiatric journals. Considering these questions from below offers an intriguing insight in the tensions between discourse and practice, between representation of a field and its actual functioning.

This book is part of a larger narrative that goes beyond a historiography of psychiatry still too often entangled in a dichotomous narrative: medical progress or disciplinarisation. Combining micro-history and sciences studies, it hopes to participate in the historicisation of a topic difficult to grapple, but particularly rich for a history of the 20th century through the margins.

To get the two first chapters, click here.

“The Uses of Psychoanalysis: Britain, France and the USA, 1920-2000” (Mellon Teaching Seminar, Cambridge)

The Uses of Psychoanalysis: Britain, France and the USA, 1920-2000

An Interdisciplinary Mellon Teaching Seminar

University of Cambridge

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)

October, November and December 2013

Professor Peter Mandler (Faculty of History)
Professor John Forrester (Department of History and Philosophy of Science)

With the possible exception of Marxism, psychoanalysis has had both a broader and a deeper influence on intellectual life in the West than any other movement. Developed as a therapeutic and psychological programme at the turn of the century, occupying like no other epistemic and institutional project could the no man’s lands between the human and the biological sciences and between the figures of ‘care’ and of ‘knowledge’, it also had great influence on the fledgling social sciences – psychology, sociology and anthropology – in the first half of the twentieth century and fused with revolutionary enthusiasms in politics and in social reform (relating in particular to sexuality and to the position of women).  Above all it stood at the head of the diverse array of ‘technologies of the self’ developed by Western cultures increasingly absorbed by the cultivation of ‘personality’ in an age of alleged massification.  This seminar will examine some of the uses to which psychoanalysis was put, focussing on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary developments and on the local milieux in which psychoanalysis developed most vigorously – urban, cosmopolitan, intellectually and artistically vibrant cities.

The interdisciplinary rationale of the seminar reflects accurately the interdisciplinary scope of psychoanalysis itself. In Cambridge, aspects of psychoanalysis figure in several different disciplines: in history, in philosophy, in psychology, in anthropology, sociology, modern languages (in particular in German and in French, on account of the enormous influence of psychoanalysis on twentieth century French and German cultures) and inevitably in the history and philosophy of science. The 8-week Seminar will bring together approaches from social and cultural history, intellectual history, and history and philosophy of science to survey and take stock of a range of episodes, drawn from US, British and French psychoanalytic cultures, across the twentieth century. The seminar leaders hope that graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from a very wide range of disciplines will be attracted by the Seminar.

The leaders of the proposed Mellon Teaching Seminar are senior figures in the Faculty of History and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. Mandler, principally a cultural historian, has a long-standing interest in the history and influence of psychoanalytic ideas (and on the popular dissemination of social-science concepts more generally), most recently palpable in his work on mid-twentieth-century cultural anthropology, Return from the Natives: How Margaret Mead Won the Second World War and Lost the Cold War (Yale University Press, 2013). Forrester has worked on various aspects of psychoanalysis, particularly, but not only, its history, for forty years; his recent research projects include the reception of psychoanalysis in Cambridge, 1908-1927 and the development of the concept of ‘gender identity’ in Los Angeles by the psychoanalyst Robert Stoller, c. 1963.

The syllabus will consist of 8 independent historical ‘episodes’, situated in different places and at different times across the period 1920-2000. Each week’s reading will consist principally in three sources, most of them ‘primary sources’ from the episodes in question. Extensive background reading, both primary and secondary, will be supplied for each week’s seminar, but requirement for participation in the Seminar will consist solely in reading the three sources (or thereabouts) for each week.

For additional information, click here.

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