THIS CONFERENCE is testimony to the increasing interest which psychiatrists and psychotherapists of all persuasions are taking in the normal aspects of behavior. This new direction of research is surely a sign of vigorous health and energetic growth in our field. Sullivan once warned a persistent questioner never to ask a psychiatrist for a definition of normality; the psychiatrist, he said, never sees a normal person professionally, and he can't count on his friends, or even himself, for this rare and ill-defined property. But a professional limitation must have a professional remedy. Now that we are beginning to study nonpatients systematically, with a view to seeing how the normal processes of adaptation go astray, we may not find ourselves so tongue-tied and embarrassed when ordinary people ask us, as presumed experts, to define normal behavior.
Still, despite our current determination to broaden our horizons, many
Spiegel JP. Classification of Body Messages. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(3):298–305. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730270042008