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July 1966

Reduction in Symptomatology in Ambulatory Patients: The Combined Effects of a Tranquilizer and Psychotherapy

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(1):45-53. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730130047008

THE USE of tranquilizers in conjunction with psychotherapy has been variously described as beneficial because of a "damping of anxiety" effect,1 because it permits better contact with the therapist,2 and because it catalyzes the potential of the psychotherapeutic process.3 One of the major arguments against the use of drugs along with psychotherapy is that pharmacologic reduction of anxiety may become so great that further motivation for treatment is removed. On a more subtle level, use of a drug to attack symptoms may be seen as a form of resistance to more probing, uncovering, insight-oriented techniques which is approved of by the therapist, so that the patient's reluctance to take more active responsibility for his distress is reinforced.

This study was designed to examine the combined effects of a tranquilizer and once-a-week psychotherapy on ambulatory neurotics with manifest symptoms of

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