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September 16, 1944


JAMA. 1944;126(3):142-145. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850380004002

Major Spiegel and I have described brief, dynamic psychotherapy as applied to various types of war neuroses.1 We have indicated the standard technical methods found by experience to be the most effective in the treatment of typical cases. However, psychotherapy is always an individual procedure, variable for each patient, requiring on the part of the therapist not only scientific knowledge but skill or art and a sense of timing. The following steps are carried out in most cases:

  1. Release of repressed emotions in a process of so-called "abreaction."

  2. Support of the patient's weakened and regressed ego through identification with the therapist's strength.

  3. Desensitization from the memories of the anxiety producing situations by repetitive recounting of traumatic experiences, as the therapist helps the ego to discriminate between past danger and present safety and between dangers of the world of reality and inner anxieties.

  4. Neutralization of the

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