Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.


7-8 page paper, written in APA style, on the topic of the history of a prominent psychopathy scholar or someone who you think is rising in the field of child and adolescent psychopathy or someone who has a key relation to the field (e.g., Damasio).


       Philippe Pinel

Psychopathy is a disorder that establishes itself in an individual as a result of one’s habits. This means that the victims can control psychopathy if only they have the willingness to control it. Psychopathy is hard to manifest itself among the victims suffering from it. Experts have described it as a personality trait. Those who spot psychopathy amongst themselves tend always to do something to stop it. The disorder is more psychological than physical. It is never associated with the intellectual capacity of those suffering from it. Psychopathy is not only hard to identify by those suffering from it but also by society. Only experts can easily identify the disorder. Psychopathy is associated with some behaviors such as alcoholism, anti-social behaviors, unwanted egoistic traits and lack of remorsefulness (Patrick, & Brislin, 2014). Psychopathy is common among individuals of all ages, genders, and races. It does not discriminate on any basis. As long as one does not learn to control his behavior at a tender age, then it becomes hard to avoid it. Children and teenagers have fallen victims of psychopathy. This can be attributed to the fact that the children are exposed to many activities which do not favor their growth environment. Apart from that, children tend to copy or do what their parents do. If they learn some unwanted behavior from their parents, then it becomes hard for them to avoid traits which can contribute to the establishment of the disorder. The disorder was discovered in the early 1700s, which led to the rise of well-known individuals in the field. Philippe Pinel is one of the key players and discoverers of psychopathy who played a great contribution to the section. Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.

History and contributions of Philippe Pinel in psychopathy

Philippe Pinel was a French citizen who resided in Paris. He was born in the year 1745 (Irvine, 2008).  He is remembered as a key player in the identification of psychopathy among both young and old individuals. He, however, concentrated a lot on children, because it is from children that he could easily learn about how psychopathy slowly develops among individuals. Pinel was very interested in the sciences. Anything associated with medicine was of key interest to him. His expertise regarding sciences enabled him to establish psychopathy easily. Pinel was not born in Paris. He neither resided in Paris during his early years. He moved to Paris due to his interest in medical sciences. He badly wanted to study medicine although that did not happen due to the restrictions and regulations set aside by the government of France. Due to the restrictions, he had to concentrate on something to do with psychology which led him to concentrate on psychopathy. Pinel did everything he could to ensure that people became aware of psychopathy. Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.

Pinel’s concentration on psychopathy helped him discover new ideologies into the matter. He not only realized that psychopathy is as a result of developed psychological habits but also physical behavior. Many scientists associated with looking into psychopathy tend to concentrate on characteristics such as anti-social behavior, lack of remorsefulness and poor personalities. However, those who consider the works of Philippe Pinel know very well that psychopathy is also widely associated with excessive alcohol use and drug abuse. People who develop such behaviors should also be classified as psychopaths, as established by Philippe Pinel. Pinel looked into alcohol use and drug abuse more than any other known behavior associated with psychopathic traits (Weiner, 2008). Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.

Apart from establishing the main characteristics of psychopaths, Pinel also widely considered how psychopathic people were treated in society. He knew very well that such people were prone to many things which could lead them to do unwanted things. For example, he established that such people are prone to depression, something which can lead to suicidal behavior. He, therefore, did not want society to treat those suffering from psychopathic behavior with aggressiveness. Instead, he considered it a disease more than a disorder. He wanted society to be friendly to the victims to help them in their recovery. If the society neglected them and acted harshly towards them, then they would end up losing themselves. According to Pinel, society should be the one on the forefront in ensuring that psychopaths receive the best treatment (Weiner, 2008). If the society reacts negatively towards their traits, then they, in turn, react negatively. On the other hand, if the society reacts positively towards them, then they too react positively. Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.

Pinel was an intellect who completely knew the amount of influence which he had in society. He always came up with ideologies supported by facts. He knew that everything he did or said would impact the community. Due to that, he ensured that he used his knowledge regarding psychopathy to protect the victims of the disorder. At no point could he let them be embarrassed when he had the opportunity and knowledge of protecting them. He ranked moral support as the best way of managing psychopaths within society. He was able to work with some movements and groups associated with ensuring a stable society. All his efforts were societal-based. Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.

Philippe Pinel knew well that there was a treatment for the disorder. He did not want the victims of psychopathy to be treated as less important. He did not want the societal view against such people to be the same as the one associated with thieves. Due to the love and care for psychopaths and his patients, he was given different ranks within the hospitals he worked in. He was mostly elevated to the top positions because the people of France at large widely respected his ideas and expertise. Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.

One of the greatest things which Philippe championed was emotions. He related emotions with many things. Some unwanted vices such as physical fights and pride always came as a result of emotions. He established that people who suffered from psychopathy were likely to develop negative emotions (Patrick and Brislin, 2014). Such people could, in turn, use the negative emotions which they developed to hurt others within the society. For example, if they developed negative emotions but still had wealth and influence, they could use the wealth and influence to hurt others to fulfill their emotions. He, however, did not want society to think that way about psychopaths. He understood that if the society realized such capability from psychopaths, then society would treat them as unwanted people with evil plans in mind. Philippe also had the opportunity to interact with certain leaders in France who had the influence required to change the society’s perspective regarding psychopaths. He was definitely among the most respected individuals in his country due to such influence. Most psychopaths who were treated by Philippe always had something good to say about him. He oversaw the full recovery of some of his patients, and that became one of the reasons as to why he was elevated to higher ranks in most of the places he worked for. He was never a let-down (Patrick and Brislin, 2014). Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry.

One of the biggest and most known psychopathic disorders which came to the attention of Philippe was that of madness. Philippe knew that most madmen did not suffer the disorder due to drug or alcohol abuse. He asserted that the disorder might have been as a result of depression or overthinking and overworking. Pinel did not want such people discriminated. He was aware that many individuals might be prone to such disorders. He was sure that if the society understood such individuals, then more mad patients could come back to their senses after successful treatments. He even believed that kindness alone from society had the capability of healing mad people. His establishment of such facts and ideas was supported by the level of education he had acquired. He was interested in learning a lot about psychology and psychopathy. However, his knowledge regarding the disorders was supported by the efforts he put during the treatment of his patients. It was always on his interest that he learned something new from his patients. His learning was, therefore, a continuous process rather than a one-time process which took several years. During his interaction with most of his patients, he ensured that he took note of any discoveries. The discoveries would help him in his investigations and research. His expertise, therefore, grew each day after his interaction with any of his patients. Pinel was not tired of correcting his mistakes. He knew that during his discoveries or investigations, mistakes could probably happen, which could affect his relevance. He, therefore, had to correct any of his mistakes to be entrusted with patients (De Oliveira-Souza, Moll, Azevedo Ignácio and Hare, 2008).

One of the tactics employed by Philippe when treating his patients was to first learn about the disorder affecting the patients. Although he was aware of many psychopathic disorders, he knew that there was the probability of other disorders arising from different patients. From such incidences, he first had to study the diseases affecting his patients. One of the things he widely studied was the origin of such disorders. Knowing their origin was a good starting point towards accomplishing his mission. He could easily study the disorders after clearly knowing about their origin. According to Philippe, treatment was a process. Taking treatment as a process is also the reason as to why he was able to incorporate some of his recovered patients in his work. He knew that involving patients could create a good platform for him to carry out investigations and treatments because they could act as reference points. He not only used his recovered patients as a reference but also as assists in some cases (Irvine, 2008). The reason why he preferred using some of his recovered patients as assists is that during their treatment, he had learned a lot about them; hence knew about their mental capacities and capabilities. To avoid possible risks during the treatment of his patients, Philippe ensured thorough research was conducted on the origin of some of the disorders he was dealing with. Knowing such origin gave him the platform to incorporate treatments which could not by any chance endanger the lives of his patients. He could not take any chances or risks while treating his patients.

Philippe also knew that it was necessary to learn about the backgrounds of his patients. He suggested that children could easily adopt some disorders from their parents. In his opinion, small children were prone to some disorders through genetic acquisition (Oneal, 2007).  Such children could genetically inherit the disorders from their parents if they did not receive treatment as early as when they were young. From genetic infection, he had to first learn about the background of his patients. That could equip him with the knowledge on whether their patients were prone to the disorders due to genetic inheritance. The background of his patients was also necessary since it enabled him to know the areas which some of his patients grew in. He knew that some areas were frequented by drug and alcohol abuse; hence could be the reason as to why some patients developed psychopathic disorders. Knowledge of such origin helped Philippe in selecting the best treatment processes to incorporate (Oneal, 2007).  It made his work easier as he no longer needed lots of research.

From the above, it is clear that Philippe Pinel was a pioneer in the psychopathic world. Most of the experts in the modern world always look up to him. Many of them have ended up adopting his techniques in dealing with psychopathic disorders. His research has also been used by many in coming up with treatment remedies. He has helped researchers to learn about psychopathic disorders among individuals while they are still young to conduct treatments as early as possible. Many psychopathic experts have widely learned about him during their university courses. Philippe Pinel is, therefore, a prominent person when it comes to psychopathic disorders.



De Oliveira-Souza, R., Moll, J., Azevedo Ignácio, F., & Hare, R. D. (2008). Psychopathy in a civil psychiatric outpatient sample. Criminal Justice and Behavior35(4), 427-437.

Irvine, P. (2008). Pinel, Philippe (1745–1826). Encyclopedia of Special Education. doi:10.1002/9780470373699.speced1616

Oneal, J. C. (2007). Understanding and Interpreting Confusion: Philippe Pinel and the Invention of Psychiatry. Lumen: Selected Proceedings from the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies,26, 243. doi:10.7202/1012071ar

Patrick, C. J., & Brislin, S. J. (2014). Antisocial personality disorder/psychopathy. The Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology, 1-10.

Weiner, D. B. (2008). Philippe Pinel in the Twenty-First Century. History of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology,305-312. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-34708-0_8

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