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March 1968

The Child Psychiatrist and the Mental Retardation "Team": A Problem of Role Definition

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Child Psychiatry, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(3):360-366. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740030104011

THE LEGISLATIVE provision of federal funds in 1963 for the construction of mental health and mental retardation centers has thus far produced quite diverse effects. "Community psychiatry," for example, has rapidly assumed subspecialty proportions1 in some quarters of the professional ranks, while in others can be heard a sharp cry of dissent about the proper title2 for such activities, to say nothing of question about the legitimacy of the whole venture.3 The specter of medical authority has frequently been raised and as often challenged. In the area of mental retardation we have been treated to a steady flow of state plans and organizational policies proclaiming renewed interest. Indeed, in its first position statement of 1963,4 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced that mental retardation "has always been viewed as an area of special interest within psychiatry." One need not strain to see the questioning glances of those who labored in the understaffed and overcrowded

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