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Miller, J.S. (1949). Handbook of Psychiatry: By Winifred Overholser, M.D. and Winifred Richmond, Ph.D. Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott Company, 1947. 246 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:95-96.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:95-96

Handbook of Psychiatry: By Winifred Overholser, M.D. and Winifred Richmond, Ph.D. Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott Company, 1947. 246 pp.

Review by:
Joseph S.A. Miller

This is an interesting and readable elementary book on psychiatry written by the Superintendent and the late Chief of the Department of Psychology of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C.

While mainly descriptive, it includes simple references to general psychodynamics, beginning with an outline of the interrelations between psychiatry and psychology, and going on to describe the more prevalent views on the causation of mental disorders. It is interesting to note that under the chapter on the causes of mental disorder, one portion is devoted to 'psychoanalytic theories', whereas the succeeding portion is entitled 'psychobiology', the inference being that psychoanalysis is still highly theoretical while psychobiology is a well-established and proven science. Nevertheless, this chapter is well written and should be informative to the lay reader.

The chapter on mental hospitals, also well written, is intended to allay the anxiety of relatives and the public concerning 'incarceration'. It describes the admission routines, as well as the physical and shock treatment procedures. Unfortunately, the authors do not emphasize sufficiently the fact that the mental hospital is still principally a place for custodial care, and that the treatments are only those which can be given to large groups at a time. While it is a fact that hospital care has become much more humane and that considerable attention is paid to the physical needs of the patient, still little or no psychotherapy is given to the large numbers who need and could benefit from it.

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