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Letters to the Editor
February 1998

The Demise of Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998;55(2):183-184. doi:

In reply

In their zeal to dismiss the views expressed in our article, Clemens and Gabbard seem to assume that we also disagree with several points on which we expressed no opinion. The cornerstone of medicine—all of medicine, not just family practice, psychiatry, or neurology—is the patient-physician relationship. The skill to deal candidly yet sensitively with the patient and family is a universal requirement of the medical profession. Thus, the attributes that our critics say currently define psychiatry—communicative, diagnostic, and therapeutic skills—are not the sole domain of our discipline, nor is there evidence that psychiatrists are more sensitive to patients' needs than are other physicians. Nowhere in our article did we suggest that the "clinical neuroscientist" was anything other than a physician with the same responsibilities to patients and families borne by all who have accepted the Hippocratic oath.