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To the Editor:—
In The Journal of July 21, 1956, page 1160, Dr. Gitelson eulogized Freud's discovery of unconscious mental processes as rivaling Einstein's in physics. Such statements call for challenge. Freud's "unconscious mind" is an extremely vague entity. It has never been located in the human anatomy and is purely a metaphysical concept. Moreover, as he acknowledged himself, Freud was a metapsychologist and not a scientist. I would also challenge his status as a physician. As he admitted close to the end of his career, he had "never been a physician in the proper sense." This implied he had not used or prescribed medicines, performed surgery, utilized the concepts of physiology, biochemistry, or pathology, or diagnosed by medical standards. Such was actually the case, he treated with the spoken word and nothing more.However, Freud did practice hypnosis before originating his own school. He professed to have discarded hypnotism,
Turkel H. FREUD. JAMA. 1957;163(7):580-581. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970420062021