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June 1960

To the Editor.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(6):707-709. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590120115013

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The articles by Thomas Szasz, “Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychology” and by Joel Handler, “Psychotherapy and Medical Responsibility,” in the November, 1959, issue of the A.M.A. Archives of General Psychiatry illustrate clearly enough two conflicting value systems in modern psychiatry.

Dr. Handler presents the value system of the physician as it applies to the field of psychiatry. He is concerned about skill in the diagnosis and treatment of patients and sees the public welfare best served by a medical profession which is gradually becoming psychiatrically sophisticated and a psychiatric specialty which should not lose its medical sophistication. He emphasizes the complexity of the psychosomatic problems encountered and the need for preserving the integration of medical practice. The value system presented by Dr. Handler includes the restriction of medical practice to qualified licensed physicians and the control of psychotherapy by physicians. It also implicitly includes the assumption of full responsibility for the

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