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December 1968

Teaching Psychological Evaluation to Psychiatric Residents: An Area Suited to Bridging the Theory-Practice Gap

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis
From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(6):737-742. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740120097013

ACCORDING to Kurt Lewin, "Nothing is so practical as a good theory."1 However applicable this truth might be in clinical psychiatry, the message is a difficult one for first-year psychiatric residents to appreciate. Specifically, the new resident is confronted with a marked discontinuity between immediate clinical problems and conceptual frameworks that purport to order complex human behavior. Too often psychiatric education appears to accentuate rather than diminish this schism.2 Didactic theory-oriented seminars are apt to remain irrelevant to psychiatric practice for too long. This is an important, though not unfamiliar, learning dilemma.3 On the one hand, the resident is typically instructed in theory (usually psychoanalytic). On the other hand, he is immersed in a myriad of clinical data and behavior which does not easily submit to application of his new found theoretical base.

There are many ways in which the resident