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September 1957

From Custodial to Therapeutic Patient Care in Mental Hospitals: Explorations in Social Treatment

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;78(3):326-327. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330390108015

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Recently a large number of American psychiatric hospitals have undergone reorganization, and many have made great progress in the transition toward the creation of a "therapeutic" atmosphere. These changes have been facilitated by increased allocation of funds, qualitative and quantitative improvement in personnel, and enthusiasm regarding the therapeutic potentialities of psychotherapy, group therapy, tranquilizing drugs, and sociotherapy. The authors have done an excellent job in describing the current spirit of renewed optimism and humanism in hospital psychiatry. Primarily, however, their enthusiasm is limited to the treatment possibilities inherent in altering the social environment of the psychiatric hospital. They have graphically described stages in the evolution of the social structure of three hospitals in the Boston area—the Boston Psychopathic Hospital; Veterans' Administration Hospital, Bedford, Mass., and the Metropolitan State Hospital, Waltham, Mass. Formerly each of these institutions was predominantly a custodial center, geared toward encapsulating frequently occurring emergency situations. Since the

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