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November 1961

Meaning and Methods of Diagnosis in Clinical Psychiatry

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(5):808-809. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620110148030

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In his preface, Dr. Loftus tells of his objective in writing this book for the psychiatric beginner: to meet the challenge of defining psychiatric nosology in terms of universally reducible concepts. His efforts take him much beyond definition however, and we find chapters on "Psychiatric History Taking," "The Psychiatric Examination," and "Psychiatric Consultation."

The first third of the book is given to a chapter curiously titled "Meaning and Method of Diagnosis" which regrettably winds up the discussion of methods of diagnosis in a page and a half, less a discussion of methods than an effort to steer the beginning student away from utilizing psychoanalytical methods in psychiatric diagnosis. The remainder of the chapter concerns itself with historical and theoretical attempts to outline and define psychiatric diagnostic entities. The effort is diligent and admirable and has produced a serviceable reduction-to-essence of relatively standard textbook descriptions. Unfortunately the human being who is

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