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May 22, 1954


JAMA. 1954;155(4):335-339. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.03690220009003

In a recent article discussing the early training of psychiatrists, Dr. Bernard H. Hall1 points out that one reason medical students reject psychiatry as a career is that "psychiatry is irreligious." While some astute observers question whether religion and psychiatry can really be compatible, a careful examination of the relationship between psychiatry and religion suggests that psychiatry might be more religious than commonly supposed and religion more psychiatric than ordinarily suspected. What are the facts?

FREUD AND RELIGION  It was no surprise that religious groups looked with suspicion, if not with horror, at the sexual theories of Freud. Many religious leaders feared Freud's concept of sexuality threatened the foundations of morality, while his teachings concerning the unconscious and free association endangered the traditional theological doctrine of the freedom of the will. Freud's attitude toward organized religions did not win him many church friends or influence religious people. His statement

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