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July 9, 1938

In the Name of Common Sense: Worry and Its Control

JAMA. 1938;111(2):197. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790280087035

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The author began his professional career in engineering; later he became a Ph.D. in psychology and, because of his own neurosis, became interested in emotions. At present he is director of a private "group psychological research." According to the author, worry is a luxury and increases with practice and decreases with lack of practice. Exercises are presented to enable patients to shift from unpleasant to pleasant thoughts, thus breaking the habit of worry. Emotion can be willed away. This book has been written for the lay person by a lay person whose only degree in academic psychology does not deter him from assuming the role of physician to the mentally ill. His lack of understanding of human psychologic problems and naivete in his confidence seem colossal. Yet his therapeutic exercises carried out with neurotic groups may in short periods of time give help to a large group of patients unable to afford the time or expense of rational therapy, for his methods are those of reassurance and "covering up" particularly adapted in group therapy. Such a confident leader can sometimes exert a strong temporarily beneficial effect on neurotic groups.

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