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November 1957

A General Theory of Treatment in Psychiatry

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;78(5):491-499. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330410055009

Introduction  An empiric is defined as follows:1 "1. a A member of an ancient sect of physicians who disregarded all theoretical study and based their knowledge and practice on experience alone. b One who deviates from the rules of science and regular practice. 2. One who follows an empirical method; one who relies upon practical experience; hence, a quack; charlatan."On the other hand, to be eclectic means to be "selecting; choosing what is thought best in doctrines, opinions, etc., from various sources or systems..."The clinical psychiatrist is accordingly in somewhat of a dilemma. He certainly wants to be free to pick and choose, from among various methods of treatment, that which seems most appropriate for each individual patient. Naturally, such choice must be based on practical experience, yet not on superstition or on sheerest expediency, for to do so implies "empiricism" in its more unfavorable sense.To