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Clinical Psychiatric Medicine

John P. Callan, MD
JAMA. 1982;247(15):2156. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320400066041.
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Psychiatry is redefining its identity once more. Psychiatrists are shifting from a major emphasis on psychodynamics, psychotherapy, and psychological causes of disease to a closer alliance with clinical and laboratory medicine. Ten years ago, few social or vocational ills were considered to be outside the realm of psychiatry; many psychiatrists naively thought themselves then to be as well equipped to fight poverty as psychosis. They actively threw themselves into the social fray and enthusiastically assisted in developing a network of community mental health centers throughout the country. But their energetic efforts were not greeted with the success they had anticipated, and the limitations of psychiatry in the social sphere became apparent. The incidence and prevalance of mental illness have not dropped in the past decade.

Now, the community mental health centers are staffed largely with social workers, and psychiatrists are turning from the psychosocial arena toward a more limited medical


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