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November 11, 1922


JAMA. 1922;79(20):1701-1702. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640200051021

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The Dangers of Psychanalysis  In his presidential address to the Medical Society of London, Lord Dawson described psychanalysis as an "exploratory operation on the mind," which, if it did not accomplish good, might be fraught with harm. The mind did not always heal by "first intention"; baneful influences might enter. The treatment should be undertaken only by workers with specialized training which ensured skill, restraint and good judgment. These conditions were often not fulfilled. Too many practitioners were fanatics who had eyes for nothing outside their narrow cult. The duration of the treatment was long and uncertain, extending into months or even years. There was a great strain on the mind of the patient who lived, with a quickening sense of his own abnormality, and, if the treatment did not suit him, the danger of doing him harm was intensified. The analyst could not control with precision the range of

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