Between psychotherapy and critiques of madhouses in Transition-era Spain

the role of publications produced in psychiatric institutions

  • Rafael Huertas


The magazines, newspapers, periodicals, etc. produced by patients inside psychiatric facilities constitute a historical source which has been little explored. They offer key insights into the functioning of the institutions, into daily life inside them and into the experiences of patients and staff. The aim of this article is to analyse the role which some of these publications played in the processes of change in care in Spain during the late Franco regime and the Transition. Some of the magazines published in Spanish psychiatric hospitals have been studied partially and individually. Based on this earlier work, we seek to provide an overview which makes it possible to clearly identify two major influences originating in French institutional psychotherapy and the Italian anti-institutional movement. The paper concludes with a brief assessment of the historiographical importance of these sources for the study of the history of psychiatry from the perspective of the patient and mental health activism, both professional and in the first person.


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