To peruse the one hundred and forty years of publications of the "Rivista Sperimentale di Psichiatria (Journal of Experimental Psychiatry)" allows the reader to follow the complex development of psychiatry. R.S.F. is in fact one of the major Italian psychiatric journals. This review brings to light the cultural background of the field. In particular, the style in writing and the presentation of the case studies capture the historical evolution of the diverse perspectives and theories: naturalistic reports, during the era of positivism, corroborate classical nosography; the descriptions of trauma underline the psychiatric knowledge of the period of World War I; phenomenology and psychodynamic theories examine human beings’ lifes and their pathological transformations; finally, papers on the process of deinstitutionalisation and the building of community psychiatry describe contemporary mental health.
Keywords: History of psychiatry, narrative, clinical case study