Therapist and Critic of Psychiatry Thomas Szasz (1920-2012)

The well-known psychotherapist and vocal critic of psychiatry Thomas Szasz has died.

Both the New York Times and the Boston Globe have printed and posted obituaries describing his career and life.  Szasz’s own website also features a more personal obituary about the man.

His categorical rejection of coercion and psychopathologization in mental healthcare and his collaboration with the Church of Scientology made him one of the most divisive figures in the history of 20th century psychiatry.  It is often forgotten, however, that Szasz was trained in psychoanalysis and practiced psychotherapy.

YouTube showcases numerous videos of Szasz’s lectures and interviews.  But one particularly interesting video comes from a panel discussion held at the first “Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference” in 1985.  There, Szasz speaks on the topic “Role of Therapist, Role of Client,” along with colleagues Rollo May, Carl Rogers, and Virginia Satir.  The video, which is ideal for using in the classroom, offers a rare opportunity to see Szasz situate himself vis a vis some of the most influential psychotherapists of his time.

Parution de livre : “Nuits savantes : une histoire des rêves, 1800-1945” (Jacqueline Carroy)

Nuits savantes : Une histoire des rêves (1800-1945)

Jacqueline Carroy

Éditions de l’EHESS

Comment les rêves sont-ils devenus des objets de science ? En nous restituant les pratiques oniriques de savants rêveurs, illustres ou amateurs cultivés, l’auteur propose une histoire inédite des songes et revient sur  l’orgine de la psychanalyse.
Pourquoi des savants se sont-ils intéressés à leurs songes et appliqués à les noter minutieusement? Centré sur l’Europe francophone, ce livre prend comme objet d’étude une figure qui s’affirme au cours du XIXe siècle et se perpétue jusqu’à la Seconde Guerre mondiale, celle du «savant rêveur». Dans un but scientifique, philosophes, médecins et psychologues, mais aussi amateurs cultivés, utilisent leurs propres exemples pour construire une psychologie fondée sur les rêves, interprétés comme résultant de perceptions extérieures transformées, d’impressions intimes, parfois sexuelles, ou d’associations d’idées. Ces expériences nocturnes leur apparaissent principalement comme des retours d’un passé soit récent, soit très ancien, demeuré le plus souvent inconscient. Par ailleurs, on continue à donner aux visions nocturnes un sens prémonitoire, en particulier dans les clefs des songes, largement diffusées à l’époque. Enfin, lors de la Grande Guerre, les consigner par écrit devient un précieux refuge pour fuir une réalité vécue comme un cauchemar.
En permettant de redécouvrir les « nuits savantes» de personnages comme Maury, Hervey de Saint-Denys, Tarde, Delbœuf ou Halbwachs, l’auteur propose une histoire inédite des rêves et revient sur les débuts de la psychanalyse. Jacqueline Carroy montre que Freud, savant rêveur de son temps, a suivi les pas de ses prédécesseurs, tout en posant les bases d’une nouvelle approche des songes. Cet ouvrage novateur exhume des conceptions et des pratiques aujourd’hui oubliées, bien qu’à l’origine de notre modernité.

En librairie le 4 octobre 2012

Fall Schedule – Harvard Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

The Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, McLean Hospital And The Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine present


David G. Satin, M.D., DLFAPA Director

Open to students of history and those valuing a historical perspective on their professions.

Fall 2012 Schedule

September 20 [CANCELLED]

October 18

Pain Management: From René Descartes to Spinal Cord Stimulation and Beyond

Joe Ordia, M.D., FACS: Professor of Neurosurgery, Boston University School of Medicine; Attending Neurosurgeon, Boston Medical Center

November 1

The EEG Comes of Age at Harvard 1934-1936: Confirmation of Brain Electrical Activity in Seizures

David M. Dawson, M.D.: Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital

December 20

Disappearing Neurological Diseases: Derek Denny-Brown and 50 years of Changing Neurology

Thomas D. Sabin, M.D.: Professor and Vice Chairman, Department of Neurology, Tufts Medical School; Lecturer in Neurology, Harvard Medical School

4:00 P.M.—5:30 P.M.

Ware Room, fifth floor, Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical Area

For further information contact David G. Satin, M.D., Colloquium Director: phone/fax 617-332-0032, e-mail:

Cfp – AfterShock: Post-traumatic cultures since the Great War

Excerpt of one of the founding articles on shell shock by Myers published in 1915

This cross-disciplinary conference focuses on genres of post-traumatic stress as identified and studied in military and civilian psychology, social and cultural history, film studies as well as literary and art criticism. Post-trauma’s elusive, psycho-social, inter-relational complexity requires such an interdisciplinary approach to place the after-effects of recent conflicts, for instance in Iraq and Afghanistan, within the complex narratives of war-related stress from 1914 onwards. Body, mind and emotion inflected by time and locality should be explored together with the interconnected histories of individual (combat) and collective (civilian) aftershock.

The organizers hope to compare varieties of post-traumatic stress as well as its expressions across societies and cultures in film, literature or visual arts. The interactions between returnees and the traumatized society which they re-enter creates communal, political and media conceptualizations that deserve more extensive study. While military psychology research on returnees thrives, other areas, for instance the dysfunction of post-war family relations, await more comprehensive examination.

To create a forum for exchange and cooperation across the human, social and medical sciences the organisers seek contributions willing to engage with other disciplines. Scholars interested in addressing the inter-connectedness of individual and collective mentalities – for example, in families, medical and political policy, representations of post-trauma, and conflicts over memories of trauma – are welcome to submit proposals for a paper or a panel. Contributors are invited to identify common themes for future cross-disciplinary study that will enable comparison and contrast between post-war nation states, communities and individuals. The organizers intend to establish a network for further research.

Submission guidelines: Panels and papers

The organizers encourage contributors to propose their own cross-disciplinary/ comparative panels. Apart from suggested panels, there will be panels formed by the organizing committee: individual presenters will be grouped according to topic rather than academic discipline. Such panels will be led by nominated Chairs. The organizing committee kindly asks contributors to accept nominations.

Each Chair will coordinate the exchange of papers among the panellists at least a month before the conference to inspire responses and facilitate discussion during the conference. Papers should be up to 2000 words. Panels will last 90 minutes – each panellist will have no more than 20 minutes to present their main points; the remaining time should be devoted to discussion moderated by the Chair, who will also incorporate questions from the audience.

Contributors are invited to submit an abstract (up to 300 words) accompanied by six keywords. The abstracts should indicate affinities with other themes and disciplines in order to suggest recommendations for the organization of panels.

Contributors who want to propose panels are asked to send in a panel title, a brief description (300 words) of its themes and all the abstracts.

Keynote speakers

Professor Jay Winter, Department of History, Yale University

Dr Mette Bertelsen, Danish Veteran Centre, Copenhagen Denmark

Professor Michael Roper, Department of Sociology, University of Essex

Professor Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and Director, Kings Centre for Military Health Research Institute of Psychiatry

Professor E. Ann Kaplan, Distinguished Professor of English and Cultural Analysis and Theory at Stony Brook University, NY

Dr Sophie Delaporte, Faculty of Philosophy and Human and Social Sciences, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens.


Conference format

The conference is hosted by the University of Copenhagen together with the Veterans Centre of the Danish Military Academy. The proceedings will be held on the Humanities Faculty campus at 128 Njalsgade, 2300 Copenhagen.

Some sections of the conference will be streamed.

The conference language is English.

Conference dates

The conference will take place from 22 to 24 May 2013 in Copenhagen.

Deadline for proposals: December 15, 2012.

Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered unless an extension has been granted by the organising committee. Selected papers will be published in a collection of essays.

For more information, click here.

New book announcement – Journeys into Madness: Mapping Mental Illness in the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Journeys into Madness. Mapping Mental Illness in the Austro-Hungarian Empire

(Berghahn Bo0ks 2012)


Edited by Gemma Blackshaw and Sabine Wieber


For more see here

Retour sur l’Expo


L’histoire parcourt les Expositions Universelles, les kermesses, les Expositions diverses, et, après l’installation du “secteur” psychiatrique, les Expositions “en ville” (dans les bibliothèques, les mairies, les Centres artistiques). Est présenté aussi un retour sur la démarche originale initiée et développée par la SERHEP à Ville-Evrard depuis 2005 : construire et présenter chaque année dans son Musée des « installations artistiques », où les productions de nombreux ateliers en psychiatrie sont des acteurs de premier plan.

Ainsi, l’atelier Extravagances du Club de La Borde, a apporté au Musée de la SERHEP ses robes imaginaires pour l’Exposition sur la Vêture, les animaux fabuleux du Groupe Séquentiel habitèrent la ferme de Ville-Evrard reconstituée au Musée, l’atelier peinture de Champ Libre compléta l’Exposition sur « l’Enfermement et la Liberté » d’une série de tableaux spécialement créés pour l’occasion, etc. Unité ados de Montreuil, Association Présence de Bondy, atelier d’art-thérapie, ateliers de textiles peints, services techniques de l’hôpital, tous apportèrent leur contribution. La question majeure posée par l’installation étant: où est la meilleure place ? La meilleure étant celle qui parle mieux que les mots.

New Book Announcement: Closing the Asylums (George Paulson)

McFarland & Company has just published a new book by George Paulson, Closing the Asylums: Causes and Consequences of the Deinstitutionalization Movement (214 pp. Paperback, $45).

George Paulson is an internationally known neurologist who worked in and about state mental hospitals during the revolutionary movement to close those hospitals. He combines his personal observations with historical scholarship to produce a fresh perspective on a major change in society and medicine.

The press describes the book this way:

One of the most significant medical and social initiatives of the twentieth century was the demolition of the traditional state hospitals that housed most of the mentally ill, and the placement of the patients out into the community. The causes of this deinstitutionalization included both idealism and legal pressures, newly effective medications, the establishment of nursing and group homes, the woeful inadequacy of the aging giant hospitals, and an attitudinal change that emphasized environmental and social factors, not organic ones, as primarily responsible for mental illness.

Though closing the asylums promised more freedom for many, encouraged community acceptance and enhanced outpatient opportunities, there were unintended consequences: increased homelessness, significant prison incarcerations of the mentally ill, inadequate community support or governmental funding. This book is written from the point of view of an academic neurologist who has served 60 years as an employee or consultant in typical state mental institutions in North Carolina and Ohio.

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