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February 5, 1949

Psychiatry: A Short Treatise

JAMA. 1949;139(6):419. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02900230073033

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In his introduction to this volume the author states his intentions of writing a treatise on psychiatry which, though brief, would adopt an integrative and comprehensive approach to the subject. Unfortunately, those who have longed for just such a text will be somewhat disappointed by the chapters that follow. For here, implicitly and explicitly, are the old dualisms of "mind" and "body," the familiar misleading descriptions of "mental symptoms," the same stereotyped discussions of "interview technics" and the tired, sterile kraepelinian and kretschmerian classifications of the neuroses and psychoses. Similarly, the sections on treatment, though they take occasional cognizance of dynamic concepts of abnormal behavior, rarely succeed in presenting an adequate exposition of either the science or the art of modern psychiatric therapy. This inconsistency of formulation is particularly evident in the chapter on "Psychosomatic Disturbances in the Child"; here, an unwarranted emphasis on heredity and typology vitiates otherwise meaningful

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