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Piotrowski, Z.A. (1947). Richardson, Henry B. Patients Have Families. [New York: The Commonwealth Fund, 1945. Pp. XVIII + 408. $3.]. Psychoanal. Rev., 34(2):246.

(1947). Psychoanalytic Review, 34(2):246

Richardson, Henry B. Patients Have Families. [New York: The Commonwealth Fund, 1945. Pp. XVIII + 408. $3.]

Review by:
Z. A. Piotrowski

The book describes the organization and the results of an investigation financed by the Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation. The main theme of the work seems best expressed in the following quotation: “Far-seeing doctors now are beginning to realize that just as the diseased organ cannot be considered apart from the person, so the patient himself cannot be considered apart from his family and his community. His illness may be profoundly affected by the stresses and strains of these human relationships.” The author is associate professor of clinical medicine in the Cornell University Medical College. His book is divided into three parts, “The Family as the Unit of Illiness”, “The Family as the Unit of Treatment”, “Present and Future”.

The first part outlines various socio-psychological organizations of the family, the implications of family organization for the different members of the family and for the significance of illness occurring in the family. The family was investigated not through the reactions to it of one of its members, the patient, but through the reactions of the other members of the family as well. Attention was paid to the type of equilibrium maintained within the family and to the attitude taken by the family as a unit toward the environment. The second part deals with the organization of treatment of the family. The role of the psychiatrist, of other medical specialists, and of social service is described. Definite advances have been made in the treatment of the family as a unit.

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