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Hill, D. (1971). On the Contributions of Psychoanalysis to Psychiatry: Mechanism and Meaning. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 52:1-10.

(1971). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 52:1-10

On the Contributions of Psychoanalysis to Psychiatry: Mechanism and Meaning

Denis Hill

The choice of a psychiatrist to give the Ernest Jones Lecture is a precedent of which I am deeply appreciative. While psychoanalysis has by common consent exercised a powerful influence in every field of human activity where man's relationship with man is at issue, it owes its origins to medicine and its main practical endeavour has always been to alleviate individual suffering, an aim which it shares with medicine and psychiatry. Yet the history of the relationships between our two disciplines has not been an easy or a happy one. I therefore count it a great honour that I should have been invited to give this lecture. When I set my mind to preparing it, I became increasingly aware of the difficulty of the task and of the heavy responsibility which I had undertaken. The choice of my title 'The Contributions of Psychoanalysis to Psychiatry' reflects my view that they have been great, but with Ernest Jones (1956) I do not believe that we can yet assess how great, nor can we foretell what the future will hold. I do not therefore propose to attempt a historical reconstruction of past events for others well qualified have done so, and notably of course Ernest Jones himself.

Rather I wish to consider some of the difficulties which appear to me to have stood in the way of the integration of our two disciplines. Some of these are of a theoretical, some of a practical nature; I propose to take only the first, and then only a part of it—for the subject is vast. It is always unwise to predict the future.

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