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April 25, 1931


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1931;96(17):1351-1358. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720430001001

For about thirty years psychoanalysis, a theoretical concept of the personality, a precise and elaborately described method of psychologic research and a therapy of mental disturbances, has been living a peculiar, isolated existence on the borderline of medicine and of the natural sciences. This borderline existence is not due entirely to the unreceptive attitude of medicine toward psychoanalysis, for psychoanalysis itself has also been undecided as to where it belongs. Many psychoanalysts, in fact, question whether psychoanalysis should not be considered a distinctive discipline, related to medicine but essentially independent of it, just as archeology, though related to history, is nevertheless itself a self-sufficient science, or as paleontology is related to geology but is different in its methods and purpose. Even those psychoanalysts who, like myself, are convinced that, so far as psychoanalysis is a therapy, it belongs to medicine cannot overlook the fact that its subject matter, methods and

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