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The fields of psychology and psychiatry have a rich history in Russia. Though the two seem interchangeable to many, they have quite different histories. The term “psychology”, often referring to the study of the mind, has had a diachronically changing definition; though, “psychiatry” has often been referred to the medical study of those with mental and cognitive issues. The ways by which psychology and psychiatry have evolved has depended on many factors, including societal and government influence. Furthermore, psychology and psychiatry have, in turn, also influenced the development of society and government. Thus, throughout Russian history, this influential relationship between the fields of psychology and psychiatry and society and government was mutualistic. In the 18th century, before the term “psychology” had actually been coined, mental illness in Russia was typically viewed as madness, with theories based on philosophical thought and logic rather than science. In fact, “insanity or disease of the imagination became one of the most popular themes in the second half of the eighteenth century” (Brintlinger and Vinitsky 28). This type of illness, among others, was thought to be brought on by an excess of black bile, a bodily humor that was believed to be associated with being melancholy, and made people symptomatic of someone with depression or anxiety. Rather than being derivative of a physiological deformity in the brain, mental instability was theorized by philosophers to originate from an imbalance in any of the four bodily humors, phlegm, black bile, yellow bile, and blood (Ashton 102). Society began to attribute this behavior to the supernatural. Rather than understand it from a psychological and physiological perspective, Russians sought to explain it through literary and anecdotal stories. Folklore and tales emerged that contained very similar themes and elements. Specifically, those with mental issues were called “madmen” and exhibited characteristics akin to someone with a psychological ailment. The “madmen” in literature of this time, however, were not human (in fact, they might be viewed as wolves, butter, or glass). Thus, having a mental illness in the 18th century associated one with nonhuman characteristics and forms. At this time, Russian government first established mental hospitals. Those who were sent to asylums during this time were dangerous people who threatened the safety of others. These institutions, often called “yellow houses” or “madhouses,” were, as Brown states, “regarded by the populace with fear and dread as places of horror to be avoided if at all possible” (269). The buildings were well-built so that the inhabitants could not escape. The asylums that were established were designed for the safety of society, rather than the welfare of the sick. Thus, the Russian government used the idea of mental illness as insanity/madness as grounds for developing unkempt psychiatric institutions to keep instable people off the streets. Because these asylums were not set up as healing centers, doctors and psychiatrists did not take good care of their patients. Rather, they checked-up on them infrequently, allowed for unhealthy living conditions, and ignored the many cries that rang throughout the halls each day. Some psychiatrists were angered by these conditions, because they felt as though they were not serving their proper roles as healers. Others, however, felt the conditions were justified, since they did not have a deeper concern for psychological ailments and agreed with government placement. In the 19th century, things began to shift slightly. Ivan Pavlov performed his famous experiment’s, coining the phrase “classical conditioning” at the end of the century. With the development of the field of psychology as an experimental science, many began to view mental illness in a different light, albeit with many traces of 18th century thought very present. Psychiatry began to evolve as a medical science used to treat the mentally ill, and people became more understanding of mental ailments. Society, previously relying on philosophy, started relying more on science than ever before. During this time, mental illness came to mean more than being a madman or having qualities of insanity. Psychiatry became the “medical study of mental illnesses.” Books on topics of mental illness began to appear along with the rise of new medical terminology. Furthermore, physicians began to specialize more in the field of psychiatry. People who were previously diagnosed as mad/insane were now considered to be pathological – their ailments came from more concrete physiological changes. Society, in turn, began shifting in thought as well. Though many still held the idea that psychological ailment was a sign of madness, they believed it to pathological. Rather than rely on supernatural explanations, people began to delve into the idea that mental illness was physiological. Literature began to evolve as well; authors began to ridicule the mentally ill less, though not completely. This shift has also been attributed to both scientific advancement and understanding and government reform. The government at this time began putting the responsibility of treatment on the shoulders of local governments, called zemstvos. The zemstvos were created in an 1864 reform to help rid Russia of serfdoms. However, they fought some of the multiple powers and responsibilities that they were given, especially the care of the mentally insane. The local governments argued that this was, in fact, a responsibility of the central government. Furthermore, “little was accomplished in the way of provincial madhouse reform during the first decade of zemstvo operation” (Brown 270). The combination of the ambiguity of where the responsibility lay and the lack of positive madhouse reform caused there to be little progress made in the institutionalization of madmen in asylums and madhouses. Thus, societal thought had changed greatly, but the practice of institutionalizing and treating mentally ill patients did not. Doctors during this time grew increasingly irritated. They had begun to become more specialized in the field of psychiatry so to diagnose and treat mental illness as a pathology. However, treating the mentally ill proved to be a task they did not accomplish. Rather, they wound up with patients who were actually criminals and dangers to society, since small successful reform was made by the government. Physicians began to feel as though they were policemen working at detention institutions rather than caretakers working at psychiatric wards. Furthermore, conditions in these institutions either remained relatively unchanged, or even worsened: zemstvos were prohibited from limiting the number of inhabitants in psychiatric institutions, but could not afford to expand buildings or invest in more resources to care for the increasing population. Literature during this time became more reflective of public opinion. Many incredible Russian authors began to write about mental illness. Core themes and elements were unmissable throughout the literature of this time: stories had mentally ill patients that society deemed insane, but the audience was often left questioning, “Who is really insane here?” For example, in Fyodor Sologub’s “The Petty Demon,” Peredonov is depicted by society as insane because of his irrational behavior and characteristics, yet each member of society seems to exhibit similar behaviors and characteristics, so the reader is left pondering whether Peredonov is really a madman. Thus, Russian authors sought to satirize madness during this time, allowing writers like Gogol, Tolstoy, Sologub, Chekhov, and Dostoevsky to emerge and produce great works of literature. Though public opinion and medical advancements seemed to be indicative of progression in the diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of mental illnesses, a lack of government reform and unclear shifts in responsibility and power prevented the field of psychiatry to advance. On the one hand, the field of psychology advanced – that is, it developed more into the scientific study of the human psyche rather than a philosophy. However, psychiatry was thwarted from much advancement because of the shackles placed on the field by government. As Russia entered the 20th century, both psychology and psychiatry took devastating turns. During this time, the USSR emerged as a communist nation. In the USSR, “psychology and other social sciences were under the ideological control of the Communist Party” (Grigorenko et al. 39). The Party had a very strict hold on the field and controlled much of what psychologists studied and published. Thus, it prohibited advancements in psychological thought and abusively used psychiatric institutions as a means to punish dissidents who had agitated the State. During this time, researchers and professionals in the field of psychology were forced to refer to Marxism-Leninism in their statements and publications. Government attempted to import philosophy and ideology into psychology to influence society. Though this made it difficult for anyone to publish honest work, psychology did make some advancements in Soviet Russia. Many of Pavlov’s theories were studied and expanded on, and extensive research was done on the psyche and reflexes. Government did much to limit the study of psychology during the Soviet Era. In fact, Bauer notes that “psychology changed from an empirical, relatively independent science … to a relatively unempirical science” (4). Psychology no longer enveloped a broad discipline; rather, it narrowed to the study of normal, human children. Rather than theorize about human nature and then investigate, researchers were forced to put practice before theory. Thus, the Soviet State was able to assure that any theories developed embodied ideas surrounding normal subjects. Because government controlled much of what was published, society got a distorted view of psychology. Since most research pertained to normal children, and little was investigation into abnormal subjects was pursued, many were concerned when certain behaviors became “unprecedented.” As the government used propaganda to instill certain ideologies into the minds of its subjects, people began to fear that their behaviors and attributes categorized them as outlaws. In fact, the “New Man” in Soviet society must fit a series of categories to be considered an ideal citizen by his fellow members of society and the government. Thus, society began to view psychology as an ideal to live up to, rather than a field to study abnormal behavior. Psychiatry in the 20th century began to revolve around government control. Psychiatrists typically acted in the interests of the authoritarian state, and would use their work to exert social control (Grigorenko et al. 59); they would treat “patients” more like outlaws. Those who began the 20th century as psychoanalysts and dared to continue either killed themselves, sought refuge, or lived in constant fear because the Soviet government would not allow them to continue work. Those who were typically placed in psychiatric institutions during this time were dissidents who had agitated the Soviet state in some way. Agitating the state could anywhere range from practicing religion to showing a desire to emigrate. Thus, institutions were a cruel place. Dissidents were treated horribly; they were broken down mentally. For example, an article written for the NY Times in 1983 states that dissidents were “given injections that caused abscesses, convulsions and torpor, or wrapped in wet canvas that shrank tightly upon drying” (Reich). Government appointed psychiatrists made sure to prevent dissidents from spreading their rebellious thought.The writing and studying of literature also experienced dramatic change. Those who wrote of “harmful” topics to the Soviet State were banned from the masses. Authors who wrote about mental illness, specifically those who satirized it, or wrote allegorical tales were marked as enemies of the State. In fact, Dostoevsky, among others, wrote with an ideology that “was completely opposed to that of democratic and socialistic intelligentsia,” and was thus barred from the public eye (Slonim 119). Even some authors who were loyal to the State were disbarred. The Soviet Era was a time of complete censorship and authoritarianism. Psychologists who dared to practice or research psychotherapy were hunted down and removed from the public’s eye. Psychiatrists, loyal to the State, performed horrible acts on the dissidents that were placed in institutions. Literary scholars who wrote about anything that may slightly oppose or agitate the State were banned. No one was free, and individual thinking came to a halt. Psychology saw little advancement, while psychiatry became a Soviet application of control. Thus, society was spoon-fed the idea that psychology meant becoming the “New Soviet Man,” and psychiatric institutions were a place of horror.In 21st century Russia, there is no longer an authoritarian control. Censorship has lessened since the Soviet Era, and psychologists have been given more freedom to explore and analyze theories. Psychology has developed into a field based on science and experimentation, more so than ever before. However, because of the intense censorship of the Soviet Era, contemporary psychologists in Russia face the task of catching up to the rest of the world in many aspects of the field, and society faces the challenge of accepting completely new schools of thought.Though, “Contemporary Russian professional community formed on the remains of the paradigm of Soviet psychological science,” Russian culture today is more cultivating of advancements in the fields of psychology and psychiatry (Mironenko). Thus, society has become more open to the fields and the advancements they’ve made. Specifically, psychology, psychotherapy, and research methods are all being taught at universities throughout Russia. Thus, people are again able to enter the field and develop a clearer understanding of the human psyche, as taught by professionals and researchers.Russian literature has again become a flourishing field in which authors are free to write about many more topics without fear of being sought out than previously. Thus, Russian authors have explored the concept of the human psyche more, allowing readers to interpret and develop ideas and perspectives on that state of mental illness. Many readers have begun to study and appreciate many of the once-barred authors from the 19th century, which has led to a new perspective on psychological illness and ailments, as well as the treatment of mental illnesses in psychiatric settings. Throughout Russian history, it is clear that psychology and psychiatry have played diverse roles in the development societal beliefs and ideas. Society and government, on the other hand, have also influenced the development and advancement of psychological thought and psychiatric practice. Psychology has gone from a philosophy to a science – psychiatry from a means of treating to a means of policing and punishing. Literature, in particular, that has pondered psychological thought and explored psychiatric conditions has influence public thought, before being banned in the Soviet Era, and contributed heavily to the advancements of the fields. As one studies the rich history of psychology and psychiatry, analyzing the distinction between the two and exploring the relationship they have to society and government, it is clear to see that both have had many applications and have developed in unique ways.

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