A new article in History of Psychiatry may interest AHP readers: “Elton Mayo and Thomas Henry Reeve Mathewson: the forgotten Australian pioneers of the treatment of patients with shell shock, neurasthenia and nervous breakdown” by Avi Ohry and Mandy Matthewson. Abstract:
The contributions of Australians on shell shock are absent from the literature. However, two Australians were pioneers in the treatment of shell shock: George Elton Mayo (1880–1949) and Dr Thomas Henry Reeve Mathewson (1881–1975). They used psychoanalytic approaches to treat psychiatric patients and introduced the psychoanalytic treatment of people who suffered from shell shock. Their ‘talking cure’ was highly successful and challenged the view that shell shock only occurred in men who were malingering and/or lacking in fortitude. Their work demonstrated that people experiencing mental illness could be treated in the community at a time when they were routinely treated as inpatients. It also exemplified the substantial benefits of combining science with clinical knowledge and skill in psychology and psychiatry.