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Doctoring the MindIs Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good?$
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Richard P. Bentall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791486

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791486.001.0001

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Therapeutic Innovation at the End of the Asylum Era

Therapeutic Innovation at the End of the Asylum Era

(p.42) 3 Therapeutic Innovation at the End of the Asylum Era
Doctoring the Mind

Richard P. Bentall

NYU Press

This chapter explores the treatments developed during a period of innovation that followed the Second World War. The discoveries of this period revealed a constant dialectical tension in the history of mental health care: between those who seek technical remedies for psychiatric problems, and those who argue that empathy and warmth are the most powerful therapeutic tools available to the clinician. The emergence of the new therapies coincided with the end of the asylum system. The most common term given to this trend is deinstitutionalization, a term that acknowledges the harm that long-term incarceration does to those contained within the asylum walls. The chapter demonstrates how the availability of new drug therapies played an important role in establishing psychiatric treatment in the community, and that, without crucial advances in pharmacology, the closure of the asylums would not have been possible.

Keywords:   mental health care, psychiatric problems, asylum system, deinstitutionalization, long-term incarceration, new drug therapies, pharmacology

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