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April 1967

Golf and Psychotherapy: The Function of Theory Construction

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Department of Psychiatry, Center for the Health Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(4):437-440. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730220049008

AS A psychotherapist and a golfer, I have been struck by the similarities of both the situational challenges and coping operations in these two apparently quite diverse activities. Both situations are tension-filled and allow for minimal motoric discharge (unlike most sports, in golf no direct aggressive discharge against an opponent is allowed; unlike most medical specialties, the psychiatrist is not allowed to act out his tension on the body of his patients). Both escape complete understanding as to the determinants of success or failure of the undertaking; the adequacy of performance in both activities is a complex function of the participant's emotional state; both are filled with continuous, searching self-examination; both are done in personal isolation with much internal dialogue; and both are associated with desperate, ever shifting efforts to master the almost metaphysical relationship between cause and effect using theory construction.

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