The Mental Health Field Has A Branding Problem

For over two centuries, the mental health field, and psychiatry in particular, has actively cultivated a “brand,” distinguishing itself as a remedy for societal ills, largely by adapting its philosophy and methods to the dominant social agenda. In 1793, when Dr. Philippe Pinel initiated reforms in the Salpêtriere and Bicêtre Hospitals in Paris where the insane were often held in chains, the field cast itself as moral reformer and protector of human rights, and thus mirrored the values promoted by the French Revolution and the Enlightenment.

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