Moral Therapy And The Origins Of Psychological Treatment

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Physical treatments dominated sixteenth and seventeenth century mental healthcare. One important change was a greater role for psychological treatments or ‘moral therapy’ in the eighteenth-century. Moral therapy drew on the associational theory of the physician and philosopher John Locke, who argued that people were the product of their environment and upbringing. This profoundly optimistic approach to psychology meant that the mad, who had mis-associated ideas, could be brought back to sanity by a carefully constructed programme of re-education in an appropriate setting: what we now call psychotherapy.

Image of the week: William Hallaran’s spinning chair, 1810
Full Bibliographic Record: Wellcome Library Catalogue L0001487
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

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