Has deinstitutionalisation led to the loss of the therapeutic landscape in mental health care?

Eileen Clark, Jennifer Munday, Alison Watts

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review

Abstract

Wilbert Gesler (1992) used the term “therapeutic landscape” in 1992 to explore why certain places or situations were perceived to be therapeutic. He drew on extensive literature from the social sciences and philosophy and devised a three-factor conceptual framework that considered physical, social and symbolic domains. Gesler emphasised that the concept was an analytic framework rather than an ideal type, and that it could be applied in practice to investigate places where healing took place. Subsequently, it has been widely used in studies of asylums and mental health care. In the first part of my presentation, I will critically analyse the concept and provide examples of its use, drawn from my study of the former Beechworth asylum. I will then consider aspects of contemporary mental health care, asking whether deinstitutionalisation led to the loss of the therapeutic landscape and consequent shortcomings in care. I take a broad view of “therapeutic”, extending from patients to include their families, asylum staff and the wider community.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventThe Australian Sociological Association Conference - University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 22 Nov 202323 Nov 2023

Conference

ConferenceThe Australian Sociological Association Conference
Country/TerritoryAustralia
CitySydney
Period22/11/2323/11/23

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