Chapter

Conclusion: The Psychiatric Dilemma

Janet Oppenheim

in “Shattered Nerves”

Published in print July 1991 | ISBN: 9780195057812
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854394 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195057812.003.0010
Conclusion: The Psychiatric Dilemma

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Crichton-Browne's admission of defeat was clearly much more than a reflection of the general postwar anxiety that afflicted British literary culture in the 1920s and 1930s, often finding expression in images of impotence. It revealed the crisis of confidence that disabled British psychiatry, from the collapse of professional optimism in the third quarter of the 19th century through the horrific challenges of World War I. With such pessimistic attitudes, British psychiatry at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th was not likely to prove receptive to the theories of another Viennese doctor, Sigmund Freud. Moreover, the tragedy of British psychiatry in the 19th and early 20th centuries was that the genuine desire of its practitioners to cure people who suffered from elusive neurotic ailments was nullified in large part by the doctors' own endeavors.

Keywords: British psychiatry; hypnotism; Crichton-Browne; Victorian alienists; somaticism; Sigmund Freud; psychoanalysis

Chapter.  13910 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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