Jane Freebody

This chapter challenges the view that all French, Tuscan and British treatises advocating moral treatment for the insane written between 1750 and 1840 recommended patient work. While most early authors recommended bodily exercise, in line with the six non-naturals, this tended to be some sort of sport or physical activity, rather than actual work. The chapter maintains that advocacy of therapeutic work emerged in different territories at different times during the period and links its manifestation to socio-economic, political and cultural factors, such as the level of industrialisation, religious considerations, and evolving attitudes towards class, citizenship and productivity. The chapter also examines the association between recommendations for patient work and the author’s preference for establishing self-control in the patient, over external methods of controlling behaviour.

in Work, psychiatry and society, c. 1750–2015