Psychiatry developed as a modern branch of medical knowledge in Western societies and arrived in Southeast Asia in the late nineteenth century. Dutch colonialism brought psychiatry and psychology to the Dutch East Indies as part of the development of European therapeutics in that part of the empire. During the twentieth century, psychiatry was naturalized in Indonesia (and other Southeast Asian countries) and integrated into the national health care system. In the post-independence period, most Indonesian psychiatrists – there are currently about 450 – received training at Western universities and brought the knowledge of this subject back with them to their home country.
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