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He was one of the first people to draw a connection between events in the subject's past life and his or her present day trauma, and coined the words ‘dissociation’ and ‘subconscious’. He studied under Jean-Martin Charcot at the Psychological Laboratory in Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, in Paris. In several ways, he preceded Sigmund Freud. Many consider Janet, rather than Freud, the true 'founder' of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
He first published the results of his research in his philosophy thesis in 1889 and in his medical thesis, L'état mental des hystériques, in 1892. He earned a degree in medicine the following year in 1893.
In 1898, Janet was appointed lecturer in psychology at the Sorbonne, and in 1902 he attained the chair of experimental and comparative psychology at the Collège de France, a position he held until 1936. He was a member of the Institut de France from 1913.
In 1923, he wrote a definitive text, La médecine psychologique, on suggestion and in 1928-32, he published several definitive papers on memory.
While he did not publish much in English, the fifteen lectures he gave to the Harvard Medical School between 15 October and the end of November 1906 were published in 1907 as The Major Symptoms of Hysteria and he received an honorary doctorate from Harvard in 1936.
- Brooks III, J. I. (1998). The eclectic legacy. Academic philosophy and the human sciences in nineteenth - century France. Newark: University of Delaware Press.
- Carroy, J. & Plas, R. (2000) . How Pierre Janet used pathological psychology to save the philosophical self. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 36, 231-240.
- Lombardo G.P, Foschi R. (2003). The Concept of Personality between 19th Century France and 20th Century American Psychology. History of Psychology, vol. 6; p. 133-142, ISSN: 1093-4510, doi: 10.1037/1093-4510.6.2.123
- a short biography
- bibliographic site
- reading guide
- an 'autobiography' of his early years
- Pierre Janet & the 'Reality Function'
- A reader's guide to Pierre Janet on Dissociation: A neglected intellectual heritage
- Pierre Janet Institute (a French/English site dedicated to Pierre Janet)
- JANETIAN STUDIES electronic journal of the Institut Pierre Janet
Works of Pierre Janet
- La Médecine Psychologique Important book by Pierre Janet. It clarifies what he thought about Suggestion. (PDF download in French)
- Books by Pierre Janet on line
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