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July 1961

The Psychiatrist and the General PractitionerReported Treatment of the Emotionally Disturbed Patient

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;5(1):1-6. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710130003001

It is a truism that psychiatry, more than any other specialty, has difficulty fitting into medical practice. Bartemeier, for instance, writes that "Many medical men find it difficult to think and feel about psychiatrists as they do about other physicians. Psychiatry appears to them strange, unfamiliar, and unlike other medical specialties."1 And a sociologist makes the claim that psychiatrists differ from their fellow physicians in "technical skills, conceptual systems, scientific orientation, historical background, and (attitudes toward) problems of confidentiality."2

What is likely to be the effect on treatment practices of such divergence? One study suggests that the usual physician is lacking in psychiatric skills and is relatively disinterested in psychiatric problems. Thus, observers of 88 North Carolina general practitioners found that none took a planned psychiatric history, while 83% "seemed either indifferent or uneasy when faced with psychological problems."3 Studies of medical

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