September 2020 issue of History of Psychiatry

AHP readers may be interested in the newly released September 2020 issue of History of Psychiatry. Full details below.

“Alteration of consciousness in Ancient Greece: divine mania,” Yulia Ustinova. Abstract:

Ancient Greece was unique in its attitude to alteration of consciousness. Various altered states of consciousness were commonly known: initiates experienced them during mystery rites; sacred officials and enquirers attained them in the major oracular centres; possession by various deities was recognized; and some sages and philosophers practised manipulation of consciousness. From the perspective of individual and public freedom, the prominent position of mania in Greek society reflects its openness and acceptance of the inborn human proclivity to experience alterations of consciousness, which were interpreted in positive terms as god-sent. These mental states were treated with cautious respect, but never suppressed or pushed to the cultural and social periphery, in contrast to many other complex societies, ancient and modern.

“History of the opposition between psychogenesis and organogenesis in classic psychiatry: Part 2,” Yorgos Dimitriadis. Abstract:

This paper is the second of two to explore historical concepts of causation in psychiatry. Psychogenesis (as opposed to organogenesis) is superficially attractive but ambiguous, as it can apply either to something that is produced by the psyche or alternatively to the effect on the psyche from external factors. The term endogenous may be contrasted to exogenous or reactive, but the meanings of each have become blurred and ambiguous. Difficulty also arises when contrasting the process versus comprehensibility of mental disorders, as the limits of what may be understood are imprecise. A fourth comparison is between temperament and constitution against types of reaction, and again there is a tendency to circularity. Finally, a way forward is suggested using the notion of psychosomatic brain diseases.

“Freud and Albert Moll: how kindred spirits became bitter foes,” Harry Oosterhuis. Abstract:

This article explores the antagonism between Sigmund Freud and the German neurologist and sexologist Albert Moll. When Moll, in 1908, published a book about the sexuality of children, Freud, without any grounds, accused him of plagiarism. In fact, Moll had reason to suspect Freud of plagiarism since there are many parallels between Freud’s Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie and Moll’s Untersuchungen über die Libido sexualis. Freud had read this book carefully, but hardly paid tribute to Moll’s innovative thinking about sexuality. A comparison between the two works casts doubt on Freud’s claim that his work was a revolutionary breakthrough. Freud’s course of action raises questions about his integrity. The article also critically addresses earlier evaluations of the clash.

“The electroshock triangle: disputes about the ECT apparatus prototype and its display in the 1960s,” Elisabetta Sirgiovanni, Alessandro Aruta. Abstract:

In the early 1960s, a climate of public condemnation of electroconvulsive therapy was emerging in the USA and Europe. In spite of this, the electroshock apparatus prototype, introduced in Rome in 1938, was becoming hotly contended. This article explores the disputes around the display of the electroshock apparatus prototype in the summer of 1964 and sheds new light on the triangle of personalities that shaped its future: Karl and William Menninger, two key figures of American psychiatry in Topeka; their competitor, Adalberto Pazzini, the founder of the Sapienza Museum of the History of Medicine in Rome; and, between them, Lucio Bini, one of the original inventors of ECT, who died unexpectedly that summer.

“Malaria therapy in Spain: 100 years after its introduction as a treatment for the general paralysis of the insane,” Olga Villasante. Abstract:

This article addresses the implementation of malaria fever therapy in Spain. Neuropsychiatrist Rodríguez-Lafora first used it in 1924, but Vallejo-Nágera was the main advocate for the technique. He had learned the method from Wagner von Jauregg himself, and he worked in the Military Psychiatric Clinic and the San José Mental Hospital, both in Ciempozuelos (Madrid). Vallejo-Nágera worked with the parasitologist Zozaya, who had travelled to England with a Rockefeller Foundation grant in order to learn from British malariologist, Sydney Price James. This article details the results of the uneven implementation of this treatment in Spanish psychiatric institutions. Although syphilologists and internists used fever therapy for the treatment of general paralysis of the insane, they were much less enthusiastic than psychiatrists.

“Patients behind the front lines: the exchange of mentally-ill patients in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War,” Daniel Argo, Vladislav Fainstein, Edgar Jones, Moshe Z Abramowitz. Abstract:

The British Mandate in Palestine ended abruptly in 1948. The British departure engendered a complex situation which affected all areas of life, and the country’s health system was no exception. Gradual transition of the infrastructure was almost impossible owing to the ineffectiveness of the committee appointed by the United Nations. The situation was further complicated by the outbreak of the Arab–Israeli War. We relate for the first time the story of 75 Jewish patients who were left in a former British mental hospital in Bethlehem – deep behind the front lines. Despite the hostilities, there were complex negotiations about relocating those patients. This episode sheds light on the Jewish and Arab relationship as it pertained to mental institutions during and immediately after the British Mandate.

“Foucault’s Folie et déraison: its influence and its contemporary relevance,” Andrew Scull. Abstract:

Michel Foucault remains one of the most influential intellectuals in the early twenty-first century world. This paper examines the origins and impact of his first major work, Folie et déraison, on the history of psychiatry, particularly though not exclusively in the world of Anglo-American scholarship. The impact and limits of Foucault’s work on the author’s own contributions to the history of psychiatry are examined, as is the larger influence of Madness and Civilization (as it is known to most Anglophones) on the nascent social history of psychiatry. The paper concludes with an assessment of the sources of the appeal of Foucault’s work among some scholars, and notes his declining influence on contemporary scholars working on the history of psychiatry.

“Naum Efimovich Ischlondsky: a forgotten protagonist of the concept of reflexology,” Birk Engmann. Abstract:

The present article reports on the life and work of a protagonist of the concept of reflexology. While the concept itself has its roots in Russia, in Ivan Petrovich Pavlov’s research on conditioned reflexes, and was then shaped to a large extent by Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev, the contributions of Naum Efimovich Ischlondsky (Ishlondsky) have been largely forgotten. Moreover, he developed this concept throughout his life up to the 1960s, by which time he was living in the USA. In contrast, in the Soviet Union, the concepts of reflexology based on the work of Bechterev and his followers had already been abandoned by the 1930s for largely political reasons.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.