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Henri Ellenberger

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Henri F. Ellenberger was a Swiss medical historian, considered by some to be the founding historiographer of psychiatry. [1] He is chiefly remembered for his 900-page encyclopedic study of the history of dynamic psychiatry, entitled The Discovery of the Unconscious (Basic Books, 1970). This magisterial work traced the origins of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy back to its 18th century beginnings in the attempts to heal disease through exorcism, as practiced by the Catholic priest Johann Joseph Gassner, and from him through the pioneers of hypnotism, Franz Mesmer and the Marquis de Puységur, to the 19th century neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and the giants of 20th century psychoanalysts, Pierre Janet, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Carl Jung.

Ellenberger was born in Switzerland, but grew up and received his education in France. He studied medicine in Strasbourg, Paris, and Berne, and earned his MD degree in 1934. He was appointed Professor at the Menninger School of Psychiatry in 1953, and served in this capacity until 1959. In 1959 he moved to Montreal, Canada, to practice psychiatry at the Allan Memorial Institute (McGill University). From 1962 until his retirement he served as Professor of Criminology at the University of Montreal. [2]

The Institut Henri Ellenberger in Paris was named in his honor. [3] During his lifetime he received many awards, including the Gold Medal of the Beccaria Prize in 1970 [4], and the Jason A. Hannah Medal of the Royal Society of Canada. [5]

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