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January 20, 1951

The Meaning and Practice of Psychotherapy

JAMA. 1951;145(3):189-190. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920210061030

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This is a comprehensive commentary not only on the meaning and practice of psychotherapy generally, but also in the description and interpretation of the mental symptoms encountered in the various functional mental disorders. However, no mention is made of any of the organic types of mental disorders, and some readers may be led to believe that patients with organic mental disturbances are generally excluded from and considered not especially suitable for psychotherapy.

Exceptions can be taken to some of the author's views. He advocates "the recognizing and licensing of members of his profession" for the practice of psychotherapy. This would not appear to be a practical procedure. There exists grave doubt as to whether ancillary personnel are adequately equipped scientifically to practice this branch of medicine. Psychotherapy requires not only a knowledge of abnormal psychology, mental mechanisms and the art of counseling, but also a knowledge of the medical sciences.

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