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Naar, R. (1975). Comment and Critique. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(1):79-81.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(1):79-81

Comment and Critique

Ray Naar

It was with mixed feelings that I, a clinical psychologist, read the latest article of Professor Balint, published both in French and English in 1970.

On the one hand, I must give due credit to this visionary, pioneering, avant-garde analyst who was dedicated to the propagation of psychiatric concepts among general practicioners. On the other hand, I cannot help but feel sad, astonished, and even indignant at the narrow views, obsolete practices and ignorance of experimental methodology that Balint's article infers exist among psychiatrists in general and especially among psychoanalysts.

Revolutionary as they may be in the field of psychiatry, the methods described by Balint, as well as many of his opinions, are years behind the times. And if one looks appropriately upon Professor Balint as an avant-garde psychiatrist and scientist, one cannot help but wonder with discomfort about the methods and opinions of the bulk of the psychiatric profession, especially in view of the latest findings in the United States which demonstrate without much doubt that psychotherapy may damage as well as help.

After this introduction, I would like to document reasons for my disappointment in psychiatry and psychoanalysis by using Professor Balint's article as a target, an admitted act of bad taste so soon after his death.

It was only by 1965 that Professor Balint and Mrs. Balint realized that techniques deriving from the idea of focal therapy were not the answer to the problem of helping general practitioners treat a greater number of their patients with the new techniques of patient-centered medicine.

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