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October 1963

Conservation of the Self

Author Affiliations

Psychiatric Treatment Research Center, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(4):311-323. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720160001001

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. —Max Planck

I feel very greatly honored to have been invited to give one of a series of lectures commemorating the achievements of a great civic leader, businessman, and philanthropist, Albert D. Lasker. My topic is that of psychotherapy and I have been interested in some resemblances between modern psychotherapy and Mr. Lasker's own field of advertising. Both psychotherapy and advertising emphasize conscious choice, and both are typical of the twentieth century and the American scene. Both attempt to persuade, but to persuade at a voluntary level; in sharp contrast, methods of persuasion seen in the twentieth century in other places have been coercive and brutal.

We find an