A new article in History of Psychiatry will be of interest to AHP readers, “Infanticide and the influence of psychoanalysis on Dutch forensic psychiatry in the mid-twentieth century,” by Willemijn Ruberg. Abstract:
This article demonstrates how psychoanalytic thought, especially ideas by Adler, Reik, Deutsch, and Alexander and Staub, informed forensic psychiatry in the Netherlands from the late 1920s. An analysis of psychiatric explanations of the crime of infanticide shows how in these cases the focus of (forensic) medicine and psychiatry shifted from somatic medicine to a psychoanalytic emphasis on unconscious motives. A psychoanalytic vocabulary can also be found in the reports written by forensic psychiatrists and psychologists in court cases in the 1950s. The new psychoanalytic emphasis on unconscious motives implied a stronger focus on the personality of the suspect. This article argues that psychoanalysis accelerated this development in the mid-twentieth century, contributing to the role of the psy-sciences in normalization processes.