Pierre Janet and the History of Psychological Treatments


In this piece for¬†Holistic Elephants, Bernard Guerin discusses Pierre Janet’s book¬†Psychological Healing: A Historical and Clinical Study, which describes a variety of mental health treatments that have been¬†provided throughout history. Guerin argues that the mental health treatments provided years ago are not so different from those offered today.


  1. Actually, it’s a very young field, psychology is. William James, William Wundt, and Pierre Janet–writer in point–are seen as founding fathers. Next question, how much do psychological practices of today differ from those practiced way back when (as opposed to what you’ve got here, how similar they are), and have we gone anywhere in the interim?

    Psychoanalysis, of course, is more closely aligned with psychological practice than more biological models of psychiatry, and this leads to two forms of critique. One aimed at medical model treatment as a form of fraudulent practice and the other aimed at psychoanalytic, psychological methods of medicine (medicalization) as a form of fraudulent practice (more alt medicine).

    Should one not take sides in this debate, I would imagine the possibility of a third path also arises, and pretty distinctly if you were to ask me.

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