[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 12, 1973

Approaches to the Mind: Movement of the Psychiatric Schools From Sects Toward Science

Author Affiliations



by Leston L. Havens, 385 pp, $10, Little, Brown & Co., 1973.

JAMA. 1973;226(7):796. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230070054028

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


All psychiatrists agree that their purpose is to help people who are mentally or emotionally disturbed. But that is about all they agree on. Are the people they treat suffering from a disease, reacting to a social situation, or merely playing a role? Should they be treated physically, intellectually, or emotionally? Should the psychiatrist try to make a definite diagnosis, attempt to understand the development of the patient's problem, or offer symptomatic treatment? Many authors have attempted to compare the various schools of thought and to bring about a synthesis or at least to find some common ground. Leston Havens compares several schools and pleads for a pluralistic approach.

Havens identified four major schools. The objective-descriptive school, introduced by Kraepelin, utilizes careful examination and history taking, regards the patients as suffering from a definite disease that it is the doctor's duty to identify and treat. The behavior therapists, lobotomists, practitioners