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July 21, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(12):1160-1161. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970120042011

The centenary of the birth of Sigmund Freud is being observed this year. Throughout the world psychoanalysts and members of other sciences and professions are pausing to recall and review his enormous contributions to psychiatry, to medicine, and to the humanities. Freud's discovery of unconscious mental processes has had the same impact on these fields of knowledge as have Einstein's discoveries on the physical sciences.

Psychoanalysis is not simply the designation of a psychotherapeutic procedure. It also identifies a specific technique for investigating the structure and functioning of the human mind, the body of knowledge that has been acquired through the use of this technique, and, finally, the scientific hypotheses— genetic, structural, economic, and dynamic—that have been derived from this knowledge. Inclusive of all these hypotheses is the principle of psychic determinism, according to which it can be said that "the individual's total makeup and probable reactions at any given