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Little, M. (1956). Medical and Psychological Teamwork in the Care of the Chronically Ill: Edited by Molly Harrower. (Reprinted from Texas Reports on Biology and Medicine, Vol. 12, No. 3, Pp. 561–794. Fall, 1954.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:488-489.

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:488-489

Medical and Psychological Teamwork in the Care of the Chronically Ill: Edited by Molly Harrower. (Reprinted from Texas Reports on Biology and Medicine, Vol. 12, No. 3, Pp. 561–794. Fall, 1954.)

Review by:
Margaret Little

This book consists of the 'Reports and Discussions of a Conference held 28–31 March, 1954, at Galveston, Texas, under the auspices of the Josiah Macy Jr., Foundation of New York City, and the University of Texas Medical Branch'.

After some preliminary correspondence thirty men and women from the three disciplines of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and medicine (the last drawn from such varied specialities as bacteriology and pathology, pharmacology, rheumatology, neuro-surgery, and paediatrics) discussed a wide range of problems concerning chronic illness, with a view to developing to the fullest possible extent the various resources available. The 'common denominator' of the conference was defined at the outset by the Chairman, Dr. Frank Fremont Smith, as 'the needs of the patient', and the atmosphere of the discussions that of 'free-floating security'. On this basis the conference met in full session for the first day, divided into three study groups on the second, and joined up again into full session for the third and last day.

Reading the report gives an impression of repetitiveness and overlapping, but it is these very things that emphasize both the striking comprehensiveness of the discussions, the co-operativeness of the members of the conference, the extent and degree of their mutual understanding, and their unanimity.

In the first day's work the personal problems of chronically ill people were considered in their medical and psychological, social and economic aspects, emphasis being laid on the need to help the patient to live with and not by his illness, to adjust to it, and after due mourning for his lost health to become rehabilitated as far as possible.

Alongside of this the problems of those who diagnose, treat, and care for chronically ill people were also considered. It was not only the psychiatrists and psychologists who recognized that doctors, nurses, relatives, and people in the outside world may need patients to be ill for their own reasons, apart from any that the patients may have, so that any illness is far from existing in an emotional vacuum.

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