March 1967

Causal and Action Models in Social Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

From the Community Mental Health Center, Dept of Psychiatry, Temple University, Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(3):290-296. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730210030006

A GROWING appreciation for the limitations of psychoanalytic theory has developed within recent years. Although still the most comprehensive and fecund theory of human psychology, it has left important gaps in both theory and practice which have pushed us on in new directions, ever in search of more inclusive models. It has been accepted as a fundamental principle of scientific theory construction that "if you don't know why certain things happen then invent a mechanism (in accordance with the view you take of how the world works)—but it is better still if you find out how nature really works."1 This, of course, is the process of model construction. In science we strive for the development of laws governing the phenomena to be "explained." In the realm of behavior and its psychological roots we are deeply committed to the construction of models since we are a

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