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March 1960

Specificity in the Psychotherapeutic Approach to the Psychotic Patient

Author Affiliations

Clinical Director, Cleveland Psychiatric Institute and Hospital.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(3):350-355. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590090106015

Having followed for 10 years the suggestion of Boston’s Dr. E. V. Semrad to spend at least a little time during each week on the back wards of the state hospital, I should like to present from this experience observations concerning the effect of my various attitudes and behavior patterns on some of the denizens of these wards, directing attention particularly to the critical problem of how to get through to the chronic psychotic patient. Literature on the problem of making contact with the uncooperative, apathetic, and mute patient is not very extensive. Azima and Wittkower1 attempted, with some success, to make contact with such patients, using a variety of media representing symbolic materials, such as mud, Plasticene, finger paints, baby bottles, balls, and bean bags. They found there was some object specificity; that is, not all patients responded to the same objects.

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