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February 19, 1955

Introduction to Psychiatry

JAMA. 1955;157(8):691-692. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02950250065045

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This textbook should be popular in medical schools. It presents psychoanalytic views in the form that students like. The definitions are short and easily memorized. There are no complicated discussions of metaphysics, art, or psychology. The authors frankly say that they describe that system of psychiatry most generally accepted in American practice. Each case history is short and to the point. The trouble with other psychoanalytic texts is that they are concerned less with what to do than how to think. Medical students are rightfully suspicious of matters that cannot be reduced to some sort of ritual for satisfying patients or board examiners. This book shows that psychiatry can be an empirical practice like surgery or dermatology. In the absence of any legitimate science of mental disease it is well to have an official and conservative form of treatment guaranteed at least not to harm the patients. Our state hospitals

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