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Irene Geerts MA

PhD candidate

E-mail: irene.geerts@ou.nl

Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, History of Medicine

It’s all in the family. The movement of family members of people with psychiatric problems and/or addiction in The Netherlands, 1960-2000

Open University
Promotor(es): Prof. dr. Gemma Blok
Aanstelling: vanaf april 2018

In the 1960s family members of people with psychiatric problems and/or addiction in The Netherlands started protesting against the stigma on those who suffered and against the bad circumstances in the institutions where their loved ones were treated. Two decades later this activism would broaden to the needs of the family members themselves, as they often bear heavy consequences of the illness and the bulk of the care for their loved ones. Family members stood up to be acknowledged as equal partners in the patient-Prof. dr.essional-relative triangle, and in doing so they engaged in ideological struggles about what causes mental disorders and addiction and how they should be treated. Like 20th century psychiatric practice and addiction care, the historiography of psychiatry and addiction has largely neglected these family members. By focusing my research on the social movement they formed during the later decades of the 20th century, I hope to add them and their perspectives to the history of psychiatry and addiction where they are an indispensable part of.