Dorothea lead the movement for more "humane" treatment of criminals and people suffering from insanity. She had believed that the living conditions for these people was inhumane and unacceptable. She ultimately aided in the establishment of five mental hospitals in America and fought for reform in Europe, pleading her case with queen Victoria and the Pope
Dr. John Galt
Dr. Galt began his superintendence of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in 1841 with some revolutionary ideas for the treatment of the insane. His advancement to the system was aided by the fact that he was the superintendent of one of the first publicly supported asylum. His new methods sought to help a patient return to the world as opposed to stay locked up forever. Galt was also one of the first men to use medications for treatments as well as establish "Talk Therapy" as a way to aid the insane.
Early on, conditions for patients within the asylums was abysmal. Patients were kept in small cells behind all metal bars and they were treated like criminals. The use of inhumane methods to essentially beat the insanity out of the patients was usually ignored by the common public as no one had researched or looked into the actual cause of insanity at the time. "Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience" was Dorothea's impression of the treatment of the asylum patients, as if they were brutal murderers.
Under the aid of Dix and Galt, asylums grew to be more like hospitals, comfortable for the patient and methods involved more psychotherapy and the use of some drugs in attempt to nurse the insane back to health. they were no longer prisoners, but they were patients. The insane would be able to see their families again and leave at their (or their caretaker's) will.