The era of moral treatment in American psychiatry has been little known until some of its history was presented in 1956.1 Its importance and relevance within the framework of our discipline had not, however, been assessed. That is, not until the publication of this work by Miss Ruth Caplan, with the collaboration of her father, Dr. Gerald Caplan.
Characterized as a history of ideas, the work presents the varied and sometimes disparate views of psychiatry in the 19th century as a necessary background to, and means of understanding, our present knowledge of the treatment of mental disorders. The recurring concern with the physical and social environment of that period is instructive, particularly in view of the frequently and inaccurately stated notion that what is new about community psychiatry is its emphasis on what is external (environmental) vs what is internal (psychological). In fact, what
Rubin B. Psychiatry and Community in Nineteenth Century America.. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(6):761-762. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740240121016