On This Day … 06 June [2022]

People (Births)

  • 1900 – Manfred Sakel, Ukrainian-American psychiatrist and physician (d. 1957).

People (Deaths)

  • 1961 – Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist (b. 1875).
  • 2014 – Lorna Wing, English psychiatrist and physician; pioneered studies of autism (b. 1928).

Manfred Sakel

Manfred Joshua Sakel (06 June 1900 to 02 December 1957) was an Austrian-Jewish (later Austrian-American) neurophysiologist and psychiatrist, credited with developing insulin shock therapy in 1927.

Sakel was born on 06 June 1900, in Nadvirna (Nadwórna), in the former Austria-Hungary Empire (now Ukraine), which was part of Poland between the world wars. Sakel studied Medicine at the University of Vienna from 1919 to 1925, specialising in neurology and neuropsychiatry. From 1927 until 1933 Sakel worked in hospitals in Berlin. In 1933 he became a researcher at the University of Vienna’s Neuropsychiatric Clinic. In 1936, after receiving an invitation from Frederick Parsons, the state commissioner of mental hygiene, he chose to emigrate from Austria to the United States of America. In the US, he became an attending physician and researcher at the Harlem Valley State Hospital.

Dr. Sakel was the developer of insulin shock therapy from 1927 while a young doctor in Vienna, starting to practice it in 1933. It would become widely used on individuals with schizophrenia and other mental patients. He noted that insulin-induced coma and convulsions, due to the low level of glucose attained in the blood (hypoglycaemic crisis), had a short-term appearance of changing the mental state of drug addicts and psychotics, sometimes dramatically so. He reported that up to 88% of his patients improved with insulin shock therapy, but most other people reported more mixed results and it was eventually shown that patient selection had been biased and that it didn’t really have any specific benefits and had many risks, adverse effects and fatalities. However, his method became widely applied for many years in mental institutions worldwide. In the US and other countries it was gradually dropped after the introduction of the electroconvulsive therapy in the 1940s and the first neuroleptics in the 1950s.

Dr. Sakel died from a heart attack on 02 December 1957, in New York City, NY, US.

Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 to 06 June 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. Jung’s work has been influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, psychology, and religious studies. Jung worked as a research scientist at the famous Burghölzli hospital, under Eugen Bleuler. During this time, he came to the attention of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. The two men conducted a lengthy correspondence and collaborated, for a while, on a joint vision of human psychology.

Freud saw the younger Jung as the heir he had been seeking to take forward his “new science” of psychoanalysis and to this end secured his appointment as president of his newly founded International Psychoanalytical Association. Jung’s research and personal vision, however, made it impossible for him to follow his older colleague’s doctrine and a schism became inevitable. This division was personally painful for Jung and resulted in the establishment of Jung’s analytical psychology as a comprehensive system separate from psychoanalysis.

Among the central concepts of analytical psychology is individuation – the lifelong psychological process of differentiation of the self out of each individual’s conscious and unconscious elements. Jung considered it to be the main task of human development. He created some of the best known psychological concepts, including synchronicity, archetypal phenomena, the collective unconscious, the psychological complex and extraversion and introversion.

Jung was also an artist, craftsman, builder and a prolific writer. Many of his works were not published until after his death and some are still awaiting publication.

Lorna Wing

Lorna Gladys Wing OBE FRCPsych (07 October 1928 to 06 June 2014) was an English psychiatrist. She was a pioneer in the field of childhood developmental disorders, who advanced understanding of autism worldwide, introduced the term Asperger syndrome in 1976 and was involved in founding the National Autistic Society (NAS) in the UK.

Although Wing trained as a medical doctor, specialising in psychiatry, her focus narrowed to childhood developmental disorders in 1959. At that time autism was thought to affect around 5 in 10,000 children, but its prevalence in the 2010s was considered to be around 1 in 100 following the awareness raised by Wing and her followers. Her research, particularly with her collaborator Judith Gould, now underpins thinking in the field of autism. They initiated the Camberwell Case Register to record all patients using psychiatric services in this area of London. The data accumulated by this innovative approach gave Wing the basis for her influential insight that autism formed a spectrum, rather than clearly differentiated disorders. They also set up the Centre for Social and Communication Disorders, the first integrated diagnostic and advice service for these conditions in the UK.

Wing was the author of many books and academic papers, including Asperger Syndrome: a Clinical Account, a February 1981 academic paper that popularised the research of Hans Asperger. Although ground-breaking and influential, Wing herself cautioned in her 1981 paper that “It must be pointed out that the people described by the present author all had problems of adjustment or superimposed psychiatric illnesses severe enough to necessitate referral to a psychiatric clinic … (and) the series described here is probably biased towards those with more severe handicaps.”

Along with some parents of autistic children, she founded the organisation now known as the National Autistic Society in the UK in 1962. She was a consultant to NAS Lorna Wing Centre for Autism until she died. She was also President of Autism Sussex.

In the 1995 New Year Honours list Wing was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for ‘services to the National Autistic Society’.

One thought on “On This Day … 06 June [2022]

  1. I like the focus that you have on mental health facts for this day. It was interesting to learn about some history and the names of famous people in the mental health field.


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