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Friis, S. Vaglum, P. (2006). Jarl Jørstad 1923-2006. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 29(2):128-129.

(2006). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 29(2):128-129

Jarl Jørstad 1923-2006

Svein Friis and Per Vaglum

Jarl Jørstad died on the 21 st May 2006, 83 years old. For decades he was one of Norway's most prominent psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. After having completed a comprehensive clinical training, in 1964, he was head of Division Lien at Dikemark hospital outside Oslo. From 1976 to 1990 he was head of Psychiatric Department B at Ulleval hospital.

Through his way of being, and his comprehensive clinical knowledge, he influenced a whole generation of co-workers. He was passionate in his struggle for the values in which he believed, and was in many ways a standard-bearer. He promoted especially four sets of standards.

(1)  Young psychotic patients ought to be offered psychotherapy. He made psychotherapy an important ingredient of the treatment at division Lien.

(2)  All psychiatrists should have a minimum training in psychotherapy. In the early sixties, he led the struggle to make supervision of psychotherapy a mandatory part of the curriculum for psychiatric residents.

(3)  We must acknowledge the importance of unconscious and irrational forces in patients as well as in therapists.

(4)  Clinicians ought to have a critical attitude towards their own clinical practice. Continuous clinical research is necessary to determine whether patients really benefit from the interventions we believe to be beneficial.

The promotion of the three first standards had to overcome strong resistance. Jarl Jorstad fought for a psychiatry that integrated biology and psychology, in opposition to a view that biological factors alone could explain mental disorders.

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