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(1935). Pastoral Psychiatry and Mental Health. By John Rathbone Oliver. New York and London: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932. Pp. 330.. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(1):101-102.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(1):101-102

Pastoral Psychiatry and Mental Health. By John Rathbone Oliver. New York and London: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932. Pp. 330.

The material of this book comprises the Hale Lectures for 1932, delivered at the Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. The eight chapters, each representing a lecture, have been elaborated with additional comment and clinical notes, to round out the subject matter, and a descriptive list of books on morals, moral theology and psychiatry as well as a bibliography of pastoral psychiatry have been added to the text.

The “book is addressed to clergymen, seminary students and social workers—in fact to any persons without definite medical training and experience whose work brings them in touch with the mental illnesses and maladjustments of their fellow men.” The various subjects are presented in an interesting way and in a fine literary style characteristic of the author.

An experienced psychiatrist may find fault—one always can—with some of the, perhaps less important, statements scattered through the text such as “As long as a person ‘fears he is losing his mind’ just so long may he be sure that he has a fast hold on the tail of it. For the victim of real ominous mental illness has no such fear.” and again, “So among physicians you will not hear the word ‘syphilis’ very often…. We speak of ‘lues venerea’ or simply ‘lues.’” Also, “A woman is born with homoerotic desires.” This last statement is a fair example of the loose and inaccurate usage of the word “desires” where probably potentialities are inferred, and which is a misdemeanor by no means limited to the author of the present book.

The modern psychiatrists who have opposed medieval notions and superstitions so consistently in their attempts to place psychiatry on a scientific foundation with the other medical subjects should not be pleased with the author's stand on the ancient question of demoniacal possession.

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