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November 10, 1951


Author Affiliations

Berkeley, Calif.

From the Herrick Memorial Hospital and the A. E. Bennett Neuropsychiatric Research Foundation.

JAMA. 1951;147(11):1019-1023. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670280021005

In his recent book, "The Neuroses,"1 Walter C. Alvarez lists among the triumphs of modern medicine ever more thorough examinations, safer and more brilliant surgery, better-trained practitioners, and finer hospitals. "All of us are getting ever more skilled at finding organic disease," while we are still having difficulty "in recognizing and treating the neuroses and psychoses," he states. Nor is this a difficulty of the poorly trained or equipped physician: "The city consultant has as much trouble as the country doctor—perhaps more."1

This well-pointed criticism of modern medicine by one of its most experienced practitioners is, even so, understated. We should face realistically the errors in modern practice to which one of us (A. E. B.) has elsewhere called attention.2 Psychiatric indications in therapy are so frequently ignored in everyday practice as to cast grave discredit on our professional standing. Cultism flourishes largely from this neglect. A