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April 27, 1984

The Intellectual Basis of Family Practice

Author Affiliations

Edmonds, Wash

JAMA. 1984;251(16):2148. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340400074029

"What exactly is family practice?" That is one of the questions patients ask most frequently in my clinic. Patients and physicians have been unclear about this new, yet ancient, specialty. In a succinct, enjoyable, softbound book printed on beige

"This is not an office book. One should... read it from an armchair..." paper, Dr Stephens explores the scope of family practice.

The Intellectual Basis of Family Practice is an anthology of Stephens' essays, lectures, and thoughts spanning 15 years at both the bedside and the chalkboard. Although he is parsimonious with words, he is complete.

In the introductory essay, which bears the book's title, Stephens describes family medicine through Mortimer Adler's five conditions and describes patient treatment as both a science and an art. He sees the physician himself as a "drug" and postulates that "it is necessary for the physician to learn how to use himself and his relationships