Autism: the French historical background behind criticisms against psychiatry and psychoanalysis (I)

Abstract. In France, psychiatry and psychoanalysis are seen as dominant in the support given to austitic persons. There is a gap between the role both plays which is in reality marginal and the dominant representation described by some of its partisans and opponents. Both those disciplines are still seen by parents with the fear of a corporatist influence that can be harmful to their kids’ life and the support they receive. In France, child psychiatry was the instigator of the con-asylum movement between 1955 and 1975. It was then inspired by the “restoration of the subject”, a psychoanalytical ideal. Later on, parents had also to maintain a con-asylum perspective against psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Since 1980, those two disciplines have not always support with discernment the development and the demands of modernisation asked by the family or the society. Those development have widened the useful technical propositions, far beyond the “taking care”, the drug only treatment, and the institutionalsupport ranging from childhood to adulthood, which isfragmented by desertion and rejection by society. For as long as there are discourse from psychiatric and psychoanalytical point of view which purport a so called supremacy concerning the origins of autism or on how to support those individuals, psychiatry and psychoanalysis will provoke hostility.

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Autism: does the imperialism of care exists in the support units ? (II)

Abstract. Since the years 1960, although not represented in support units per se, psychiatry and psychoanalysis have occupied a dominant position in French sanitary and medical-social institutions. In opposition, other disciplines have brought new support modality for autistic persons. Yet, the “everything is therapeutic” era never really existed. This was a fiction that was maintained by psychiatric and psychoanalytical point of view, that didn’t take into account other part of support such as simple childcare in asylum, or, on the other, schooling, or social and educative activity. “Supremacy” of psychiatry and psychoanalysis has declined, but it remains in the vocabulary of many support unit. For family there is a large confusion between “treatment”, “care”, “therapeutic”, “psychotherapy” and “institutional psychotherapy”. The later is not a single approach to analyse actions and interactions in the teams, and forge a constructive criticism which lead to innovation.

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