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November 1959

Psychotherapy and Medical Responsibility

Author Affiliations

Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry. From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois College of Medicine.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1959;1(5):464-468. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1959.03590050032002

“But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”1

“If psychotherapy is to be considered as any procedure or process which changes behavior or influences an individual towards a more adequate or satisfactory adjustment to his environment or encourages peace of mind, then its roots reach back into prehistoric ages.”2 The term itself is of more recent origin, first used by Reil in 1803.3 In its broader sense, as above, psychotherapy is not strictly a medical discipline and is obviously the common professional property also of the clergy, teachers, social workers, and psychologists (I believe I am naming them in order of their numerical prominence, not necessarily implying any scientific rank order), and there need be no ghost from the grave to tell us this. A question arises, however, if we use as a more cogent definition: “Psychotherapy is a planned tech

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