Cognitive-behavioral Therapies in Hospitals

As part of a PhD research started in 2010 and supervised by Nicolas Dodier and Alexandra Bidet, I am interested in the history and the appropriation of cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) by patients, therapists and institutional bodies in the hospital and liberal sectors. I stress the therapeutical, economical and social issues of this phenomena and explore it as part of public health policies intended to optimize and homogenize an efficient and accessible course of treatment to a wide audience.

The protocolary character of these therapies is illustrated by a specific definition of mental illness organized around the notion of "disorder" that permanently modifies the diagnostic approach and the field of activity of professionals (psychiatrists and psychologists).

My goal is to offer a global sociological perspective on this profound recomposition of the mental health's field by focusing on two areas of investigation: first, a local monographic study of the genesis of cognitive therapies and behavioral focused around a hospital-university to identify the issues of dissemination, appropriation and criticism of such a therapeutic innovation. Secondly, a detailed observation of how these therapies are put into practice and tested by professionals and patients to understand the trajectory and "native" patient experience as well as the types of rationality mobilized by the actors. institutions and practitioners. 

The ethnographic approach thus makes it possible to grasp what the practitioners –psychiatrists and psychologists– hold in a field strongly marked by controversies between several theoretical orientations (psychoanalysis and cognitive and behavioral therapies) as much as it makes it possible to envisage and put back in perspective the expectations of patients.

Finally, this thesis focuses on the emergence of cognitive and behavioral therapies in France, based on a corpus combining scientific articles, archives and biographical interviews with actors who contributed or participated in the dissemination of these psychotherapies during the 20th century.