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November 19, 1938

The Occupational Treatment of Mental Illness

JAMA. 1938;111(21):1957. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790470069030

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In the foreword of this interesting book by an English physician there is a quotation from Dr. Samuel Tuke of York Retreat, written in 1841, in which he gave credit to Sir William Ellis for introducing work on a large scale to asylum patients in England well over a century ago. But to Dr. Simon of Gutersloh is given the credit, early in this country, for using work as a "soothing potion in the hands of every nurse."

The purposes and aims of occupational therapy are discussed in the introduction. These deal freely with human nature, especially as it may react to success or failure. The value of work treatment does not depend on the quality of the thing made but more on the favorable reactions of the patient. The ability to work is usually a more wholesome commentary on recovery from fatigue than almost anything else that may happen.

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