Psichiatria, psicologia e inconscio nell’Italia del primo Novecento

  • Andrea Piazzi


This article traces the historical development of Italian psychiatry since its birth in the 1920s, with particular reference to clinical psychology studies. From the earliest experimental psychological studies of the positivists, the different research paths adopted by Italian scholars are described and special attention is given to the study and contribution made by psychiatrists in founding psychology in Italy. The causes of the crisis of Italian psychology which led to its progressive disappearance from academic studies and teaching in Italian universities during the years of fascism are then explored. The article, maintaining a prevalently clinical outlook, describes the theoretical debate surrounding the problem of the unconscious which took place at the same time, before the advent of the cultural predominance of psychoanalysis. Starting from the positivists’ rejection of the mental reality of the unconscious, the different positions adopted by Italian psychiatrists are described. In spite of the fact that they adopted an organicist position, these psychiatrists showed interest in studies on automatisms and carried out autonomous and original research into oniric activity and the interpretation of dreams in the therapeutic dynamic.