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June 30, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(9):827-836. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970090053011

• Experience with 180 alcoholics referred by 14 industrial organizations to an independent joint clinic for alcoholism showed that 135 were able to maintain a sufficient degree of control over their drinking to hold their jobs, and those who took treatment showed a reduction of absenteeism to one-third of the pretreatment figure.

In many patients a firm, judicious probation policy unquestionably turned the balance in favor of relatively high motivation for psychotherapy. The employee was made aware that he played an important part in the rehabilitation process. At the same time he could be dissuaded from his conception of the clinic as an extension of the company that employed him. The initial interview by the psychiatrist in charge of the clinic established rapport, stimulated motivation, and initiated the treatment program.

Of 23 alcoholics who were referred to the clinic but who refused treatment, 13 were able to retain their jobs. Only one patient, with a chronic type of paranoid schizophrenia, was considered to be untreatable at the clinic. Valuable data as to predisposing factors in personalities and environments have been obtained, and it is believed that the careful use of a probation system can be recommended to other large institutions and agencies dealing with alcoholism.