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February 3, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXVIII(5):355-360. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.04270020035011

Not infrequently a discussion purporting to relate to a given subject expresses nothing more than the unsophisticated views of the speaker concerning some notion or other which he mistakenly conceives the subject to be. Perhaps no theme has suffered more from the disfigurements of these naive tendencies than psychanalysis, so that one does well to distinguish between psychanalysis and rumors of psychanalysis.

The truth is, psychanalysis labors under the grave difficulties surrounding any subject which offers us an entirely novel point of interpretation; and far more frormidable than the barriers of novelty and strangeness is the fact that psychanalysis is a method which is essentially revolting to our conventional social consciousness, entailing harsh incriminations from which we would prefer to turn away. It is a therapeutic procedure which our moral conventions hold in natural repugnance; it is an unpleasant discipline that thrusts before us those things which we dislike tolook