November 1983

The Teacher as Impediment to Learning: The Problem of Focal Conviction

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center 525 E 68th St New York, NY 10021

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(11):1257. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790100103020

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To the Editor.—  Trainees typically enter psychiatry with formed, often erroneous, ideas concerning its practice. These images commonly derive from adolescent experiences: seeing Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound, reading I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, or studying derivatives of Freud or Erikson. These models have generally been unifocal and primarily present long-term, intensive, individual psychotherapy experiences. Biologic intervention is either missing from most trainees' adolescent images or caricatured, as in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In addition, the milieu is shown primarily for color and family and social factors are ignored. Recently, images of white-coated, objective, nonhumanistic scientists have also become prominent in the media.Our faculties often contribute to these skewed impressions; those who trained in the 1950s, 1960s, and even in the 1970s share this imagery with their trainees. They know the data on psychotherapy v drug treatment for hospitalization outcome, but persist in the belief that

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