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DisalienationPolitics, Philosophy, and Radical Psychiatry in Postwar France$
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Camille Robcis

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226777603

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226777887.001.0001

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François Tosquelles, Saint-Alban, and the Invention of Institutional Psychotherapy

François Tosquelles, Saint-Alban, and the Invention of Institutional Psychotherapy

(p.15) Chapter 1 François Tosquelles, Saint-Alban, and the Invention of Institutional Psychotherapy
(p.iii) Disalienation

Camille Robcis

University of Chicago Press

This chapter recounts the birth of institutional psychotherapy in the hospital of Saint-Alban, in the Lozère region of France, during the Second World War. It begins with the life and work of the Catalan-born psychiatrist François Tosquelles, one of the most important theorizers of institutional psychotherapy. After fighting alongside the POUM during the Spanish Civil War, Tosquelles fled to France and was placed in the refugee camp of Septfonds. This experience of activism in radical politics and of war-time psychiatry shaped his thought and his practice in fundamental ways. He arrived in Saint-Alban in 1940 where he met the cast of characters who all contributed to the development of institutional psychotherapy, including Lucien Bonnafé, Georges Canguilhem, Georges Daumézon, Paul Éluard, and others. Saint-Alban during the war became a center of psychiatric innovation and intellectual effervescence but also of political resistance against Vichy and fascism.

Keywords:   François Tosquelles, Saint-Alban Hospital, Spanish Civil War, POUM, Jacques Lacan, Lucien Bonnafé, Spanish refugee camps, art brut, war psychiatry, Georges Canguilhem

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