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April 1993

The Professional Historical Error

Author Affiliations

Shalvata Mental Health Center PO Box 94 Hod-Hasharon, 45100 Israel

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993;50(4):319-320. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820160089010

To the Editor.—  Everyone makes mistakes and erroneous decisions. The personal error is usually referred to in the past tense (when an error is recognized in the present, it is already in the process of correction). Can an entire profession err, and do so over a prolonged period, when existing knowledge may prevent the error? "Case analysis" shows that such professional historical errors (PHEs) may indeed occur.

The Sexual Revolution.—  Masters and Johnson's research1 pioneered an important therapeutic approach, sometimes called "the sexual revolution," on which many studies and therapies were based. The sexologists of the 1960s and 1970s reexamined previously accepted solutions and definitions (eg, the definition of homosexuality, the "normal" female orgasm, and precoital foreplay). Perhaps the sexological movement's main achievement was in stepping outside the strict Psychoanalytic viewpoint that any sexual dysfunction is but a marker of a considerable mental disorder requiring in-depth and prolonged treatment.

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