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Other  |   February 1994
Moral Treatment: How a Caring Practice Lost Its Rationale
Author Affiliations
  • Suzanne M. Peloquin, PhD, OTR, is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas. (Mailing address: J-28 University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555–1028)
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Mental Health / Departments / Looking Back
Other   |   February 1994
Moral Treatment: How a Caring Practice Lost Its Rationale
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1994, Vol. 48, 167-173. doi:10.5014/ajot.48.2.167
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1994, Vol. 48, 167-173. doi:10.5014/ajot.48.2.167
Abstract

The 19th-century practices of moral treatment and phrenology serve as historical examples of a narrowing focus in health care and reveal the manner in which theories can shape practice. The story of moral treatment, as it is told in connection with phrenology, emphasizes the push for success and right solutions. The push followed several shifts in the conceptualization of mental illness, the last of which proved moral therapy unreasonable. If practitioners in this century hope to ensure that the heart of moral treatment will withstand the effects of ever-changing theories, they must hold caring attitudes, words, and actions at the center of their practice.