Short view of Francesc Tosquelles’ work and its influence in Catalonia


We review the work of Tosquelles, which developed in the field of psychiatric hospitals, but integrated elements from the fields of art and politics in a bidirectional way, with contributions of mutual enrichment. He developed it initially in Reus and, after the civil war, in France. He had a great impact there that later reached Catalonia through himself, through disciples and followers and also, in a more diffuse but undeniable way, through the general evolution of psychiatry and mental health, and psychoanalysis. In particular, we refer to some of our own experiences in teams where significant elements of their innovative contributions were found.

Institutional psychotherapy, anti-psychiatry, community mental health

[Automatic translation from Spanish]:

The focus of his attention, beyond mental illness, was undoubtedly the person, his relationships and his suffering.

This line starts from the basis that the other is a human being amongst others, without distinction or stigma, and that his suffering makes the therapist suffer, who must not defend himself against him, but must prepare himself to help him, first and foremost, by understanding it. Thus, the key to the therapeutic device is the coping with the pain and fear caused by insanity and the analysis of the defensive reactions it causes: distancing itself through protocols and from psychiatric conceptualization itself, which does not lead to understanding but quite the opposite. This positioning stemmed from his first contacts with the madness, but it also coincided with his attention to the characteristic countertransference of the Eiminder’s Hungarian school, his analyst.

On the other hand, he conceived the person enrolled in the community and reacted to the characteristics of the community. Thus, the psychiatric institution had to be therapeutic not only in «medical acts», but as a whole. Patients had to be cured through to cure the institution. As he had said, «the hospital had to be a school of freedom because then, in ordinary social life, there is only the school of administrative alienation» (Nerin, 2018).

In addition to the actions arising from these principles, Tosquelles wanted part of Sench Aubanh staff not to have medical-psychiatric training but a humanized approach to patients […]

Pere Llovet Planas
leave a comment

Read full text on screen

unsupported browser

Download full article (text in Spanish)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *