McLean Hospital


McLean Hospital
   (Waverley, Massachusetts)
   from 1818. The Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts General Hospital opened an asylum for the insane at Charlestown in 1818, christening it The McLean Asylum after receiving a legacy in 1823 from Boston merchant John McLean. One of the earliest asylums in the United States, the McLean Asylum became synonymous with scientific care in American psychiatry and was among the mental institutions affiliated (via the parent organization the Massachusetts General Hospital) with the department of psychiatry of Harvard University. In 1895, the institution, now renamed McLean Hospital, removed from Charlestown to Waverley (Belmont). It was Adolf Meyer’s opinion that the scientific breakthrough in American psychiatry took place first at McLean at the end of the nineteenth century: a pathology department was organized in 1888, a chemical laboratory in 1900, and a psychological laboratory in 1904. The staff at McLean were mindful of the scientific advances in European psychiatry and attempted to keep abreast: Swiss-born August Hoch (1868–1919), an early McLean pathologist and leader of the laboratories, had studied in Germany with Franz Nissl and Kraepelin. (See Depression: Emergence: benign stupor [1921].) After 1955, under the influence of psychiatrist-in-chief Alfred H. Stanton (1912–1983), the hospital pioneered concepts of the therapeutic community in the United States (See Psychotherapy: "therapeutic community.") In 1978, with the opening of the Mailman Research Center, the hospital acquired leading-edge research facilities in the neurosciences; Seymour Kety (1915–2000) was director of psychiatric research laboratories until his retirement in 1983. It was at McLean that neuropathologist Philip S. Holzman (1922–2004) (who had been recruited by Kety) and coworkers continued their research on abnormal eye-tracking dysfunction (ETD) in many schizophrenics and family members. The work first appeared in Science in 1973.

Edward Shorter. 2014.

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