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Deutsch, F. (1944). Civilian War Neuroses and their Treatment. Psychoanal Q., 13:300-312.

(1944). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 13:300-312

Civilian War Neuroses and their Treatment

Felix Deutsch, M.D.

In October, 1942, the Psychiatry Clinic of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute opened its doors. Its object was both practical and scientific: the treatment of mentally ill individuals rejected by the armed forces—at or after induction—to prevent their undermining the mental health of the community, and the development of an emergency psychotherapy based on psychoanalytic principles. To reach such individuals it was necessary to contact those community institutions (hospitals, social agencies, the Red Cross, induction boards and similar organizations) which take care of social and mental health needs in peacetime and still more in wartime.

So far the clinic has dealt with case material referred for the treatment of conflicts arising in men anticipating induction, rejected at the induction station or discharged from service, and with the problems of their relatives and friends. Rejection or discharge orders were given because it was thought that the recruit would not be able to stand the stresses and strains of Navy or Army life (inaptitude discharge), or because of a psychotic or psychoneurotic condition (medical survey discharge), or because of undesirable character traits, including psychopathic personalities and borderline cases (Section VIII and disability discharges, respectively).

Of all the cases referred to date, sixty-one have been accepted for treatment, forty-five men and sixteen women. Two-thirds of the patients were between seventeen and twenty-nine and one-third between thirty and forty-nine years old. Strikingly enough, fifty percent of the male patients were the youngest or only child or the single boy among girls. (The number of patients is obviously too small to be conclusive.)

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