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Rickman, J. (1957). XV. Guilt and the Dynamics of Psychological Disorder in the Individual (1948). The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 52(1):119-126.

(1957). The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 52(1):119-126

XV. Guilt and the Dynamics of Psychological Disorder in the Individual (1948) Book Information Previous Up Next

John Rickman, M.D.

In this session of the Conference we shall hear the topic assigned to us discussed from several aspects, medical, legal, ecclesiastical and philosophical. Within each of these disciplines there is, as is well known, diversity of opinion, which is a healthy sign; between these disciplines there is even greater diversity, probably because the method of professional approach to persons suffering from guilt is different in each of these learned disciplines. What I shall say from the viewpoint of a psycho-pathologist will be an attempt at a combination of not altogether incompatible opinions.

In addition to the doctor's general responsibility for the physical and mental welfare of his patient, the psycho- patho-logists have, since the early pioneering days of Freud, a common method of work which is shared, so far as I know, by no other profession: they listen to whatever the patient may say in free association about his pains, griefs, dreams, aspirations or joys; they regard no two ideas as irrelevant to one another if the patient has brought them—however unwittingly or however unwillingly—into the same stream of associations. Thus the psycho-pathologist sees guilt in a wide context of personal experiences: not in relation to religious beliefs and ethical codes as the clergy inevitably do, not in relation to abstractions as the philosophers choose to do, but as the patients find and feel it within themselves.

The

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