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September 1967

Psychiatry: Why "Medical" or "Social" Model?

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and the Institute of Psychiatry, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(3):347-360. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730270091013

IN RECENT years there has been an increasing controversy over the problem of mental illness. For many reasons, some of which will be discussed in this paper, a group of individuals, for the most part professionals from the behavioral and social sciences, have been attacking what they call the "medical model" of mental illness. These attacks range over a broad spectrum. At one extreme, there is a complete denial that the medical model is relevant to the manifestations, which the psychiatrist would consider to be within his realm. Perhaps the best known advocate of this view is Szasz, who wrote The Myth of Mental Illness.1 His position is a rather simple one, mainly that there is no such thing as mental illness. He has written for both the "scientific" and popular press. In an article in the New York Times Magazine, he states his

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