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Från samhällets barn till egna individer: Barnpsykiatrisk behandlingsideologi 1945-1985
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1833-5506
2012 (Swedish)In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, Vol. 78, no 2, 40-67 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article the changing development of treatment ideology and policy in Swedish child psychiatry for the period 1945 to 1985 is discussed. Psychoanalytical ideas had been a source of inspiration in the development of municipal child guidance services in the interwar period. From 1945 and onwards Swedish child psychiatric clinics were introduced as a part of the medical health services within the realm of the county councils. The aim of this article is to examine the role played by psychoanalytic and psychodynamic thinking in this development of Swedish child psychiatry as a medical specialty. A rhetorical analysis of official government reports and policy documents dealing with the child psychiatric services in Sweden has been carried out. The analysis has specifically focused intellectual knowledge traditions underpinning the evolving treatment ideologies, including ways of defining problematic children and diagnostic categories. When mental health services for children were introduced in the mid-1940s, psychoanalytic thinking was intertwined with the social democratic vision of the future Swedish welfare state in which children were symbolizing the future. In practice, however, treatment ideas during the first years were on the whole sparse and psychiatric treatment for children was not yet developed in this context. The child guidance tradition of testing children and guiding parents appeared to be the usual way of addressing parents and children. From the early 1960s, child psychiatric services expanded and the number of units increased immensely. By now a treatment ideology based on psychodynamic theories began to evolve and child therapy became more and more common treatment approach. In the 1970s this treatment ideology actually gained hegemonic status, only challenged by family therapy ideas.  The conclusion is that psychoanalytical ideas have been influential for child psychiatry as an institutional practice for the whole period of time. Even if psychoanalysis was less influential in treatment arenas in the beginning years, the way it was intertwined with political visions of welfare and health care for all children, paved the way for the coming years development psychodynamic treatment ideology. The treatment ideological development however led to a change in how children were perceived. In the first decades of child psychiatry children were defined as society's children, a notion which emphasized social factors as critical to children's well-being and mental health. The coming decades the image of the child changed and was increasingly individualized and children's mental health became rhetorically more and more tied to relational circumstances in early childhood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Scandia , 2012. Vol. 78, no 2, 40-67 p.
Keyword [sv]
barnpsykiatri; behandling; ideologi; syn på barn; hegemoni
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85925OAI: diva2:573820
FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, 2005-0643
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2016-05-04

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Zetterqvist Nelson, Karin
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Department of Child StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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ReferencesLink to record
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