To a large extent, the study of any psychiatric patient becomes, in the last analysis, a study of his personality. This subtle factor, which controls largely the mode of reaction in any given set of circumstances, is difficult to crystallize into words. A study of case histories gives one the essence of the personality which no formal alliance of nouns and adjectives can offer.
One is accustomed to look for certain lifelong traits in connection with certain well defined types of reaction. For example, in the schizophrenic reaction one looks for evidence of the "shut-in" tendency; in the hysterical, for those traits that keep the patient in the limelight, etc. Too often one's curiosity about the personality of the depressed patient is satisfied if it can be shown that the patient has always been a "worrier." It is then only a step to assume that the unfortunate state in which