Soldiers in psychiatric therapy: the case of Northfield military hospital 1942-1946

Thalassis, N 2007, 'Soldiers in psychiatric therapy: the case of Northfield military hospital 1942-1946' , Social History of Medicine, 20 (2) , pp. 351-368.

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This article discusses the psychiatric therapeutics of Northfield military psychiatric hospital and suggests that treatment in Northfield was characterised by ideals of citizenship typical of the period and inextricably linked to the military. The two Northfield experiments, for which Northfield has become famous, glorified the group as a social unit and promoted adaptation to the needs and values of society as the route to mental health. In the context of the Second World War, such adaptation meant accepting the duties of a soldier. In the published writings regarding the first Northfield experiment, the psychiatrist Wilfred Bion emphasised his military role in returning patients to their units, a job which he thought was best conducted by men like himself who had experience of leading men into battle. Writing about the second experiment, Tom Main emphasised the importance of including military staff in every aspect of the hospital life from therapy to administration. Some Northfield psychiatrists were less content with this strongly military approach and this led to the conflict which ended the first experiment and continued to spark disagreements throughout the hospital's existence.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Social History of Medicine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0951631X
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2009 14:36
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 22:05

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