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Payne, S. (1958). Dr. Ernest Jones. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 39:307-310.

(1958). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 39:307-310

Dr. Ernest Jones

Sylvia Payne

A great deal has been and will be written about Ernest Jones, from the standpoint both of his personality and his achievements, for he contributed as a thinker, speaker, writer, and administrator to the advancement of the scientific understanding of human nature.

Freud's recognition of the unconscious mind, and his discovery of a method of investigation of a region of mental functioning which concerns both physical and mental activities, were the essential starting-points from which Jones developed progressive understanding, and the ability to apply and defend the truth of his opinions against formidable attacks from the majority of scientists. At the present day, when the concept of unconscious mental functioning is taken for granted, it is usually forgotten that forty years ago it was not considered worthy of scientific consideration.

The First World War exposed man's susceptibility to physical symptoms of psychogenic origin, which could no longer be denied owing to the very large numbers of soldiers who succumbed to so-called 'shell-shock'.

In an atmosphere of unprecedented need for the understanding of psychical illness and its relationship to physical processes, Ernest Jones stepped into the arena in England and started the work of training others to recognize the necessity for exploring the region of the mind characterized by unconscious mental activity as an essential part of the human organism, on which physical as well as mental health depend.

The fact that in the past an almost complete separation between body and mind had prevailed unchallenged in medical education aroused in the profession a fear that medical science was threatened if mental processes not identifiable or recognizable, or measurable by accepted scientific methods, were admitted amongst known etiological factors in the causation of physical and mental illness.

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