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May 4, 1994

Psychiatric Consultation in the Workplace

JAMA. 1994;271(17):1375. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510410093042

I keenly anticipated reading Dr Len Sperry's Psychiatric Consultation in the Workplace. I was prompted by his extensive experience as a psychiatrist working with large corporations, his frequent publications, and the growing demand for such consultation. Sperry's work is a useful guide, especially now when many psychiatrists, attempting to balance their clinical schedules during a decline in demand for typical services, seek alternative roles.

Workplace psychiatry includes most of the functions performed by psychiatrists, but in the work setting they deal not with individual family systems but with the stresses of larger systems in the workplace. Consultations also differ because most workplaces are directed primarily toward making money. Hence, humans, with all their foibles, operating under psychological drives toward pleasure, physiological drives toward rest, and various character structures, face with different degrees of success the requirements of productive work.

It is incorrect to repeat the cliché that most people love

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