ABSTRACT

PsY CHI A TRY down through the ages has provided afertile soil for the genesis and growth of explanatory theories of mental functioning and malfunctioning but an impoverished atmosphere for their survival. Astrology, phrenology, mesmerism, galvanism, orgone therapy, hydrotherapy, are but some of the speculative fancies that have masqueraded as scientific truths and that have commanded immense intellectual status together with the assent and patronage of the established scientific figures of their day. It might be anticipated, with some legitimacy, that such a historical foundation would induce a certain degree of hardheadedness and a strong seam of scepticism in contemporary psychiatrists, yet who would declare with unbridled confidence that today we lack our astrologists and our phrenologists or that we can always discern the genuine from the spurious, the valuable from the fake.