Philippe Pinel

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Philippe Pinel
Philippe Pinel (20 April 1745 - 25 October 1826) was a French physician who was instrumental in the development of a more humane psychological approach to the custody and care of psychiatric patients, referred to today as moral treatment. He also made notable contributions to the classification of mental disorders and has been described by some as "the father of modern psychiatry”. Pinel believed in developing specific practical techniques, rather than general concepts and assumptions. He engaged in therapeutic conversations seeking to dissuade patients of their delusions. He offered benevolent support and encouragement. Patients who persistently resisted or caused trouble might be threatened with punishment if they did not control themselves. He argued that psychological intervention must be tailored to each individual rather than to a diagnostic category, and must be grounded in an understanding of their perspective and history. For example: "the treatment of insanity without considering the differentiating characteristics of the patients has been at times superfluous, rarely useful, and often harmful”. Pinel's psychiatric therapeutics, his "traitement moral," represented the first attempt at individual psychotherapy. His treatment was marked by gentleness, understanding, and goodwill. He was opposed to violent methods - although he did not hesitate to employ the straitjacket or force-feeding when necessary. He recommended close medical attendance during convalescence, and he emphasized the need of hygiene, physical exercise, and a program of purposeful work for the patient. A number of Pinel's therapeutic procedures, including ergo therapy and the placement of the patient in a family group, anticipate modern psychiatric care. So that’s why we refer to him as the father of modern psychiatry.
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