University of Toronto: Seminar for Clinicians on the History of Diagnosis and Therapeutics in Psychiatry


The seminar, envisioned as a combination lecture-discussion format, will be open to all residents, medical students and faculty who enroll. There is no cost for participation in the seminar.

Led by: Dr. Edward Shorter, PhD, FRSC, University of Toronto
Time and place: September 2013, location to be determined.
Sessions: 6 seminars a year, Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30 pm.


Clinicians need to have some understanding of the pathways that have led to constructing the main diagnoses in psychiatry. Similarly, they will find useful some grasp of the benefits and side effects of yesteryear’s psychopharmacological agents, compared to those of today. The seminar will introduce members to the road that has led to DSM-5 and, in a sense, to “the road to the SSRI’S” and other “blockbuster” agents, which have affected perceptions of mental illness in modern times.

Topics: the three fall sessions will concern diagnosis; the three spring sessions pharmacotherapeutics.

  • Fall, session 1: affective disorders
  • Fall, session 2: psychosis
  • Fall, session 3: the future of diagnosis: catatonia, melancholia, and hebephrenia
  • Spring, session 4: antianxiety agents, “antidepressants”
  • Spring, session 5: antipsychotics
  • Spring, session 6: electroconvulsive therapy

To enroll, contact: the History of Medicine Program by sending an email to: [email protected]