Exploring the (apparent) critique-resistance of psychiatry: Historical illustration and future prospects of theoretical psychology in psychiatry

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The concept of the measurable mind might be most explicitly formulated and practiced in psychiatry. Rationalistic ideals, standardized practices and a diagnostic logic have been cornerstones for understanding, conceptualizing and treating mental illness since the birth of psychiatry as a medical specialty in the 19th century. Psychiatry as a standardized institution is an interesting field of attention for theoretical psychology: psychiatry is for the most part equivalent to a search for simplicity and unambiguousness, which is in stark contrast to psychological knowledge of the complex intra- and inter-individual processes that constitutebeing a human subject in the world. Throughout the history of psychiatry, numerous criticisms have been presented from within the field of theoretical psychology, albeit with surprisingly little impact in relation to current psychiatric practices. In this presentation, we aim to explore the role of psychological criticisms towards psychiatry via historicalexamples, and discuss why these criticisms seem to have fallen short (in the bigger picture). How has psychiatry managed to stay so (apparently) critique-resistant, and what can we learn from this, if we wish for a more theoretically grounded view of the human mind where complexity is not (completely) overwritten by the quest for efficiency and simplicity? By understanding practice as a historical becoming, we enable a critical view of the contemporary field of psychiatry; this, we hope, will point to new ways of insisting on the relevance of theoretical psychology in the understanding, conceptualization and treatment of mental illness
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event18th Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology: Measured Lives - Theoretical Psychology in an Era of Acceleration: Measured Lives - Theoretical Psychology in an Era of Acceleration. - Aarhus University / DPU, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 19 Aug 201923 Aug 2019


Conference18th Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology: Measured Lives - Theoretical Psychology in an Era of Acceleration
LocationAarhus University / DPU
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