Thierry Najman

Places of Asylum Should We Open Psychiatric Wards? Publication date : September 16, 2015

Thierry Najman is a physician, psychiatrist, hospital practitioner and chief of psychiatry in a large hospital in the Paris area.

Psychiatric hospitals are places where medicine is practised behind closed doors and where patients are kept under lock and key. According to some reports, patients have even been strapped down for months. In 2011, a French legislative reform ordered that constraining measures could even be enforced on patients receiving psychiatric care in their homes.
The aim of this book is not just to denounce the inhumanity of certain practices, the infringement of patients’ rights, and the failure to provide patients with treatment and care, but also to demonstrate — backed by the author’s professional experience — that it is possible and desirable to care for psychiatric patients in a different manner, notably through the use of psychotherapy.
The usual practice of locking up patients in psychiatric wards is ineffectual, clinically counterproductive and, in addition, illegal. But fantasies surrounding psychiatry, including among healthcare professionals, are tenacious. Deconstructing them is Thierry Najman’s goal.

• A bold, original reflection on one of society’s taboo subjects: psychiatric hospitals.
• The growing obsession with security — and not only in hospitals.
• A major issue in the history of medicine as well as in general history: imprisoning those regarded as ‘abnormal’.
• France has recently legislated on the obligation to provide psychiatric care.