The Rise and Fall of a 19th-Century Medical Mesmerist

The story of a flamboyant doctor whose famous fans included Dickens. But his experiments with hypnosis eventually met with establishment disapproval. By Wendy Moore / 04.23.2018 Journalist and Medical Historian We think of libraries as places of quiet solitude where information is reassuringly organised, ordered and catalogued. Yet for me one of the best things about[…]

Kurt Freund: The Beginning of the End of ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ in the 1950s

In the 1950s, many psychiatrists thought that homosexuality could be reformed. Czech psychiatrist Kurt Freund found that it couldn’t – and his discoveries led to a change in the law.      By (left-to-right) Dr. Charlie Williams, Dr. Sarah Marks, and Dr. Daniel Pick / 09.20.2018 Williams: Postdoctoral Researcher, Hidden Persuaders Project Marks: Postdoctoral Researcher, Hidden[…]

The Historical Development of the Interface between Law, Medicine, and Psychiatry

From the Guild-Book of the Barber-Surgeons of the city of York / British Library, Public Domain Medicine and law were related from early times. This relation resulted as a necessity of protecting communities from the irresponsible acts of impostors. By Magdaleen Swanepoel, LLB, LLD Professor of Law University of South Africa (UNISA) History, despite its wrenching[…]

Sacred Psychiatry in Ancient Greece

John W. Waterhouse, “A Mother Bringing Her Sick Child to the Temple of Asklepios”, 1877 (Image in public domain) From the ancient times, there are three basic approaches for the interpretation of the different psychic phenomena: the organic, the psychological, and the sacred approach.   By Georgios Tzeferakos, MD, PhD (left) and Athanasios Douzenis, MD,[…]

William Sargant’s World of Psychosurgery, Brainwashing, and Exorcism

William W Sargant, 1948. Wellcome Library reference: PP/WWS/A/19. Mike Jay delves into the personal papers of one of the first ‘media psychiatrists’ of the 20th century. By Mike Jay / 04.02.2014 Author and Cultural Historian In some respects, Sargant was a distinguised establishment figure. He was co-author of ‘An Introduction to Physical Methods of Treatment in Psychiatry’, the[…]