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Stengel, E. (1964). Psychogenic Psychoses: By Poul M. Faergeman. (London: Butterworth, 1963. Pp. 268. 42 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:608-609.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:608-609

Psychogenic Psychoses: By Poul M. Faergeman. (London: Butterworth, 1963. Pp. 268. 42 s.)

Review by:
E. Stengel

The concept of psychogenic psychoses has remained controversial among clinical psychiatrists ever since it was proposed by Wimmer of Copenhagen in 1916. The organicists rejected it because it seemed to postulate the psychological origin of mental disorders which they believed to be invariably due to organic causes. The psychogeneticists had no use for it either, at least not with the meaning attached to it, because its acceptance would have implied that the psychoses not described as psychogenic were organic in origin. The original term was to be reserved for psychotic conditions which followed demonstrable traumatic psychological events. Pathogenic unconscious conflicts could sometimes be inferred though never excluded. This is why most clinical psychiatrists prefer the term 'reactive' for cases of psychotic illness which appears to have been precipitated by emotional trauma. The author, who is both a psycho-analyst and a clinical psychiatrist, has in this book attempted to differentiate between psychogenic and other psychoses, especially the schizophrenias. He limits the former concept to acute states of depression and elation and states of disturbed consciousness with dissociation and deliria; all these conditions were expected to clear up within a few weeks or months. The author re-examined the validity of the diagnosis of psychogenic psychosis made in 160 cases of first admissions to the Copenhagen psychiatric department fifteen to twenty years previously.

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