October 10, 1990

The Values of Psychotherapy

Author Affiliations

Baltimore, Md

Baltimore, Md


by Jeremy Holmes and Richard Lindley (Studies in Bioethics, P. Singer, ed), 256 pp, $33.95, ISBN 0-19-217759-1, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 1989.

JAMA. 1990;264(14):1879-1880. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450140101046

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"One may reasonably expect that at some time or other the conscience of the community will awake and admonish it that the poor man has just as much right to help for his mind as he now has for the surgeon's means for saving his life." (Freud S. Lines of Ad-vance in Psychoanalytic Therapy. London, England: Hogarth; 1919;17:1953-1973, quoted page 85 in the "Values of Psychotherapy.")

This book is an articulate, even passionate, defense of psychotherapy as a treatment that should be available to all in need. In it psychotherapy is defined in the broadest of terms as "the systematic use of a relationship between therapist and patient—as opposed to pharmacologic or social methods—to produce changes in cognition, feelings, and behavior." It is described as a treatment that not only brings symptomatic relief, but also allows the individual a much greater sense of experience, enhanced autonomy, and self-esteem.