Abbé de Coulmier
Psychologist, Deceased Person
1741 – 1818
Who was Abbé de Coulmier?
François Simonet de Coulmier was a French Catholic priest, originally a member of the Premonstratensian canons regular, and an active member of the French legislature at the start of the French Revolution and again during the First French Empire.
Coulmier was born at Dijon in 1741. While serving as the pastor of Abbéville, he was elected as a representative of the First Estate in the Estates General, later serving in the National Constituent Assembly. It is not clear whether or not he was a part of the juring clergy, who swore to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. He again served in the French legislature under Napoleon.
After that period, Coulmier became the Director of the Charenton insane asylum, despite his lack of any professional degree in the field of medicine. He was often criticized by the medical establishment for his "overly liberal" methods of treatment, as he favored allowing patients the right to express themselves via art, and discouraged the widespread practices of physical restraint and punishment of asylum inmate in that day. He did not believe in many of the treatment practices which are nowadays termed brutal, including locking patients in a wicker cage, as well as the use of straitjackets and dunking. He also employed treatments that at the time were considered quite advanced, including diet, bleeding and purges. After Napoleon's fall and the restoration of the Bourbons, Coulmier was relieved of his duties, probably because of his revolutionary past.
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