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Greg Eghigian, PhD

Greg Eghigian, PhD

Greg Eghigian, PhD, Section Editor for Psychiatric Times History of Psychiatry, is Professor of Modern History and former Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Penn State University, University Park, Pa. He writes and teaches, among other things, on the history of madness, mental illness, and mental health in the Western world. He is the editor and author of numerous books, including The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health (Routledge, 2017) and From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and its Treatment in Western Civilization (Rutgers University Press, 2010). He is also founding co-editor of the scholarly blog, h-madness.

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While there has been a robust interest for decades among scholars in the history of psychiatry, comparatively little has been shown the history of clinical psychology, despite its marked impact on mental health care.

Alcohol has had a long and checkered history in human affairs. Dating back millennia to ancient Egypt, its consumption has been associated with sacredness as well as frivolity.

In the interest of giving readers of Psychiatric Times a glimpse into this rich past, from time to time, H-Madness would like to share some examples of lesser known, yet enlightening, primary sources from the history of mental health.

On January 24, Dr Ronald Pies posted a thoughtful piece titled “Who Can Forgive Jared Loughner?” which advocates the importance of relinquishing hatred in cases like the ones in Tucson and transforming “our revulsion and rage into something higher and nobler.”

Just what exactly are university and college students being taught about the history of psychiatry these days? We editors at H-Madness were interested in finding out.

Photography has been a part of the history of psychiatry and mental illness since at least the last quarter of the nineteenth century. French clinicians Henri Dagonet and Jean-Martin Charcot were among the first to use photography in the 1870s to aid in establishing reliable diagnostic criteria for particular maladies. Charcot especially was renowned for taking photographs of patients suffering from hysteria in order to analyze their hysterical episodes, breaking down their postures and gestures into discrete stages in order to enable a more accurate diagnosis.

The DSM-5 looms, prompting mental health professionals, clients, and caretakers to look ahead with a mixture of eagerness, dread, and bewilderment. As we look at the state of things now and project forward toward possibilities for the future, it pays to also look back into the past.

Among the many changes in psychiatric practice often attributed to the psychotherapist Carl Rogers was a shift in the therapist’s relationship with the patient. In particular, Rogers is rightly famous for advocating a “client-centered” or “person-centered” therapy.


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