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Lief, V. (1975). Discussion of “the Relationship Between the Individual, the Culture, and Psychopathology”. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(3):251-253.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(3):251-253

Discussion of “the Relationship Between the Individual, the Culture, and Psychopathology”

Victor Lief, M.D.

I have read Dr. Rubins’ paper several times and each time have learned or relearned something worthwhile. One cannot help being impressed with this paper's scope and scholarly quality. Dr. Rubins has asked many thought-provoking questions and has surveyed the present era of rapidly changing social conditions and their cultural consequences. He has summarized admirably the contributions of such important figures as Harry Stack Sullivan, Erich Fromm, Abraham Kardiner, and Karen Horney. He ends his paper with a synthesis of his own, relating sociocultural factors to the development of the individual and of psychopathology.

In the book that is to follow, Dr. Rubins will expand the vast subject of “The Relationship Between the Individual, the Culture, and Psychopathology.” In it I hope he would include a summary of the great contributions of Erik Erikson to the field of psychosocial analysis. Erikson has added to psychology the individual's psychosocial development at critical stages in life. You may remember that Erikson starts by showing how, in the first two years of life, the infant may develop either trust or mistrust. Erikson goes on through succeeding periods and shows that later years may end in either a feeling of integrity or despair. I believe Dr. Rubins is mistaken when, at one point in his paper, he says that Erikson did not visualize the possibility of healing and growth in every stage of life but that this process ends with adolescence. My own work at the Silver Hill Foundation is for the most part with depressed, elderly people.

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