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January 21, 1974

Whither Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

Encino, Calif

JAMA. 1974;227(3):324. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230160052017

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To the Editor.—  In his editorial "Quo Vadis, Psychiatry?" the writer ends with the warning that "the need for psychiatry may soon become questionable." I find that hard to believe, treating some 50 patients a week, in addition to teaching, writing, research, and executive responsibilities in professional organizations. Most of my colleagues in psychiatry also seem to be quite busy professionally, while only internists and surgeons are busier than psychiatrists and pediatricians. It seems to me that the need for psychiatry is substantial.It is true that much remains to be understood, and there is diversity of opinion on diagnosis, treatment, pathogenesis, and etiology. But that is true in other branches of medicine, too. I agree that clinical skills and a scientific medical attitude are crucial to psychiatry, and in my experience most physicians, including psychiatrists, have those skills and attitudes. Further, I agree that all physicians should consider their