Évolution Psychiatrique (L'-) (Developments in Psychiatry)

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Before becoming the title of the review first published in 1929, with chief editors Henri Codet and Eugène Minkowski contributing to the first issues, L'Évolution psychiatrique was already the title of a collective work in two volumes (1925 and 1927), directed by Angélo Hesnard and René Laforgue.

In 1930 a study group was formed around the nucleus of collaborators in the review. This group contained no fewer than seven of the founding members of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society in 1926, but it did not seek to institutionalize psychoanalysis. Psychiatry was constantly evolving thanks to new acquisitions, including psychoanalysis which, although it appeared to be the most innovative, was not the only one, and the members of the group wanted their discipline, which was still stuck in declining alienism, to evolve. The philosophical ideas of the time would also contribute to this movement.

The name chosen was an obvious indication of the influence of Henri Bergson and hisÉvolution Créatrice (Creative evolution; 1907). L'Évolution psychiatrique (EP) would present the work of Eugène Minkowski, who published the first French-language volume of phenomenological psychopathology, Le Temps vécu (Time lived; 1934), and also Ludwig Binswanger, Karl Jaspers, and Viktor von Gebsatell. In 1934, Henri Ey used the review to present Eugen Bleuler's ideas on the group of schizophrenic psychoses (1911), an application of the nascent psychoanalysis to Emil Kraepelin's dementia praecox. Jacques Lacan's thesis, De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité (Paranoid psychosis and its relations to the personality; 1932) is another example of this psychoanalytic rereading of Kraepelin's entities that was to renew psychiatry. After the war, the exchanges between Ey and Lacan were milestones in the life of the society, which had interrupted its activity during the German occupation of France and suspended the publication of the review between 1940 and 1947. On the occasion of the Journées de Bonneval, Ey brought together psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and philosophers, and their debates on the psychogenesis of neuroses and psychoses (1946), schizophrenia (1958), and lastly the unconscious (1960), would go down in history.

In 1950, L'Évolution psychiatrique organized the first World Congress on Psychiatry in Paris, the presence of Anna Freud and Melanie Klein testifying to the importance attached to psychoanalysis. And in 1956 the centenary of Freud's birth was marked by an issue devoted to his work.

In 1955, the publication, under the direction of Ey, of the Traité de psychiatrie (Treatise on Psychiatry) in the Encyclopédie médico-chirurgicale (Medical and surgical encyclopedia) written by one hundred and thirty-two authors, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts and almost all of the members of L'Évolution psychiatrique, marked a major moment in the history of the society. The unity in diversity thus realized was shattered soon afterwards, when psychiatry was recognized as a medical specialty distinct from neurology. The distinction was influenced by various factors: schisms in Freudian France, progress in psychopharmacology, different "anti-psychiatries," the success of behaviorism and cognitivism, and the appearance of the "neurosciences." The Seventh World Congress on Psychiatry, held in Vienna in 1984, could have declared psychoanalysis dead. For a quarter of a century the astonishing increase in the number of psychiatrists in France caused a multiplication in the number of societies with one approach and made L'Évolution psychiatrique the only place where phenomenologists, structuralists, biologists, psychotherapists, cognitivists, and analysts from different schools could confront each other's views. It is therefore not surprising that when psychiatrists again felt the need to reflect together on recent progress in their discipline, L'Évolution psychiatrique played an essential role in the creation of the French Federation for Psychiatry (1992).

Jean GarrabÉ

See also: France; Hesnard, Angélo Louis Marie; Laforgue, René.


Ey, Henri. (1955). Traité de psychiatrie clinique et thérapeutique, Paris: E.M.-C.

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Évolution Psychiatrique (L'-) (Developments in Psychiatry)

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