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De Saussure, R. (1946). J. B. Felix Descuret. Psychoanal. St. Child, 2:417-424.

(1946). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 2:417-424

V. History of Child Psychiatry

J. B. Felix Descuret

Raymond De Saussure, M.D.

Freud made such an impact on child psychiatry that all observations prior to his appear very superficial. However, the facts he elucidated oblige us to recall to memory physicians whom a classic era threw into oblivion. J. B. Felix Descuret, for one, was interested in psychosomatic medicine, like so many physicians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; but he also observed the fact of children's conflicts.

Descuret was born at Châlons-sur-Saone on June 5th, 1795—a year rich in the birth of psychiatrists. Scipion Pinel, the eldest son of Philippe Pinel, who wrote a great number of books on the mentally ill; Jean Etienne Georget, Esquirol's best pupil; Alexandre Bottex, who wrote the first French treatise on Forensic Psychiatry (Lyon 1838); Ulysse Trélat, a good historian of Psychiatry; James Braid, the founder of hypnotism; all were born in the same year. Descuret studied in Paris, first literature, then medicine. He was very erudite and published a first book on Cornelius Nepos, followed by a bibliography of ancient and modern literature in thirty-one volumes. He was an active collaborator of Bibliographie, a magazine which completed the Grand Dictionnaire des Sciences Médicales.

A very active physician, he was in charge of the clinic for poor people in the Twelfth District of Paris, and in 1831 became officer of the Public Health Commission in the "Observatoire". Descuret did not belong to the Société Médico-Psychologique and therefore was never cited among the classical psychiatrists of his time.

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