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Joseph Hersey Pratt (1872–1956): An Early Proponent of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy in America
Journal of Medical Biography (2014)
  • Charles T. Ambrose, University of Kentucky
The treatment of mild psychoneuroses in America began shifting in the 1950s from Freudian psychoanalysis to various forms of psychotherapy that do not delve into patient’s subconscious. Some of the new approaches were termed cognitive, behavioural or cognitive behavioural therapy and in America were practised notably by Joseph Wolpe, Albert Ellis and Aaron T Beck. Modern psychiatric literature makes little mention of two prior innovators in this area – the French neurologist Jules Dejerine and his Boston disciple Joseph H Pratt. In the early 1900s, Dejerine treated patients at La Salpêtrière in Paris using techniques adopted subsequently by Pratt during the 1930s and employed by the trio some decades later. This paper revisits the early history of psychotherapy in America and includes a brief summary of Pratt’s medical career.
  • Joseph H. Pratt,
  • Jules Dejerine,
  • cognitive behavioural therapy,
  • thought control,
  • American psychotherapy,
  • Boston Dispensary
Publication Date
February 1, 2014
Citation Information
Charles T. Ambrose. "Joseph Hersey Pratt (1872–1956): An Early Proponent of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy in America" Journal of Medical Biography Vol. 22 Iss. 1 (2014) p. 33 - 44
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