Magaly Tornay
ifk Research Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. March 2019 bis 30. June 2019

Talking Cures: A Translational History of Psychoanalysis


In postwar Europe, psychoanalysis took place not only on the proverbial couch, but also in psychiatric clinics. In some places, psychotherapy was not restricted to patients but included doctors and nurses who were submitted to the so-called “talking cure” and whose dreams, life stories, and daily routines were recorded in psychotherapeutic protocols. Here, psychoanalysis was entangled with information and gossip from the wards, caregivers were transformed into patients, and language itself became a medicine, often combined with or in contrast to somatic approaches. This research project examines translational processes in the history of clinical psychotherapy, where both the clinical order and broader social changes were negotiated.


Magaly Tornay studied History, Spanish and German literature at the University of Zurich and received her Ph.D. in 2014. Her dissertation examines the history of hallucinogenic and psychoactive drugs and personhood in the postwar period. Her postdoctoral work at the Chair for the History of Technology at the ETH Zurich investigated configurations of the recent past since the 1980s. She is currently part of a research group examining the history of drug trials at the Psychiatric Clinic in Münsterlingen. She teaches and researches at the Universities of Zurich and Berne and is also an associate member of the Center for the History of Knowledge in Zurich.


„Wechselwirkungen und Grenzziehungen zwischen halluzinogenen Drogen und psychoaktiven Medikamenten in der Nachkriegszeit“, in: Robert Feustel, Henning Schmidt-Semisch, Ulrich Bröckling (Hg.), Handbuch Drogen in sozial- und kulturwissenschaftlicher Perspektive, Wiesbaden 2019, S. 93–104; gem. mit David Gugerli, „Das Zeitalter der Konfigurationen, 1980 bis 2010. Ein Beitrag zur zeithistorischen Debatte“, in: Historische Anthropologie 2018/2, S. 224–244; Zugriffe auf das Ich. Psychoaktive Stoffe und Personenkonzepte in der Schweiz, 1945 bis 1980, Tübingen 2016.

13 May 2019
  • Lecture
Magaly Tornay


Am Anfang steht ein Quellenfund: Protokolle von Psychotherapie-Sitzungen einer Schweizer Klinik, wo nicht nur PatientInnen, sondern auch "Schwestern", also Pflegerinnen, der "Talking Cure" unterzogen wurden. Die Blackbox der Geschichte psychotherapeutischer Praxis gibt so einen Einblick in deren Inneres.            >