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Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental

Print version ISSN 1415-4714


RAMOS, Fernando A. da Cunha. Jean-Pierre Falret and the definition of the clinical method in psychiatry. Rev. latinoam. psicopatol. fundam. [online]. 2010, vol.13, n.2, pp.296-306. ISSN 1415-4714.

Jean-Pierre Falret can be considered the third greatest figure in French mental medicine during the first half of the 19th century. It was he who, following Pinel and Esquirol, gave the final touches to works that constituted the foundations of clinical psychiatry and mental pathology. Falret lived during the time of French cultural and political domain in the West, a time that also corresponded to the high point of French mental medicine. After his death, French psychiatry entered a slow process of decline, as leadership in the field was gradually taken over by the German school of psychiatry, which, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, further developed many of his ideas. His most important work is entitled Des maladies mentales et des asiles d'aliens, published late in life, and many consider its opening chapter a masterpiece. There the author presents a synthesis of his intellectual career and clinical practice, consisting, as it does, of critiques of numerous concepts in the mental medicine of the times. One of Falret's greatest contributions is his precise definition of the clinical method in psychiatry, with its three main aspects: the dialectic framework, the evolutionary perspective and the supremacy of the psychic subject.

Keywords : Clinical method; Falret; dialectic; evolution; psychopathology.

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