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Mental ills and bodily cures [electronic resource] : psychiatric treatment in the first half of the twentieth century /
Joel Braslow.
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
xiv, 240 p. ; 24 cm.
0520205472 (cl : alk. paper)
More Details
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
0520205472 (cl : alk. paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 215-231) and index.
A Look Inside
Flap Copy
"Braslow has defined an important subject matter, and his writing is lucid and forceful. . . . This book will become part of a new, behaviorally oriented medical history centered on the patient's experience."--Charles E. Rosenberg, author ofThe Care of Strangers
Flap Copy
"Braslow has defined an important subject matter, and his writing is lucid and forceful. . . . This book will become part of a new, behaviorally oriented medical history centered on the patient's experience."--Charles E. Rosenberg, author of The Care of Strangers
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-03-01:
Perhaps astonishingly, one has to look hard today to find a psychiatric residency that teaches psychotherapy. The history of the somatization of psychiatry is a long one, and the hegemony of somatic approaches today, primarily pharmacological, is almost complete. As Braslow puts it, "[t]he history of twentieth-century somatic therapies is a series of increasingly invasive attempts to control the psychiatric patient through his or her body." Almost as astonishing is the dearth of serious historical treatment of therapeutics. Elliott S. Valenstein's Great and Desperate Cures (CH, Jul'86) deals only with psychosurgery and is diminished by its understandable sense of moral outrage. In contrast, Braslow's welcome book proposes that the very notion of therapeutic efficacy is constructed, and thus must be understood in its own terms and time. While not excusing misguided ideas, this book tries to understand them. There are chapters on sexual sterilization, malaria fever therapy for neurosyphilis, electroconvulsive shock therapy (EST), lobotomy, and a special chapter analyzing the fact that the large majority of lobotomies were performed on women patients. All are grounded in the incredibly rich trove of mental hospital patient records, in this case, Patton and Stockton State Hospitals in California. Such records are, of course, available in numerous other hospitals: dissertation students, get to work! Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. R. Shilkret Mount Holyoke College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 1998
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Long Description
Mental Ills and Bodily Cures depicts a time when psychiatric medicine went to lengths we now find extreme and perhaps even brutal ways to heal the mind by treating the body. From a treasure trove of California psychiatric hospital records, including many verbatim transcripts of patient interviews, Joel Braslow masterfully reconstructs the world of mental patients and their doctors in the first half of the twentieth century. Hydrotherapy, sterilization, electroshock, lobotomy, and clitoridectomy--these were among the drastic somatic treatments used in these hospitals. By allowing the would-be healers and those in psychological and physical distress to speak for themselves, Braslow captures the intense and emotional interplay surrounding these therapies. His investigation combines revealing clinical detail with the immediacy of "being there" in the institutional setting while decisions are made, procedures undertaken, and results observed by all those involved. We learn how well-intentioned physicians could rationalize and regard as therapeutic treatments that often had dreadful consequences, and how much the social and cultural world is inscribed within the practice of biological psychiatry. The book will interest historians of medicine, practicing psychiatrists, and everyone who knows or has seen what it's like to be in mental distress.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Psychiatric Bodyp. 1
Institutional Therapy: Context, Background, Structurep. 14
Discipline or Therapy: Patients, Doctors, and Somatic Remedies in the Early Twentieth Centuryp. 33
In the Name of Therapeutics: Sexual Sterilization as Psychic Curep. 54
Neurosyphilis, Malaria, and a New Therapeutic Rationalep. 71
Where the Mind Ends and the Body Begins: The Practices of Electroconvulsive Therapyp. 95
Surgery as Discipline: Lobotomy at Stockton State Hospitalp. 125
Discipline Gendered: Women and the Practice of Lobotomyp. 152
Conclusionp. 171
Notesp. 177
Referencesp. 215
Indexp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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