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A SYSTEM OF COMBINED INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP THERAPY AS USED IN THE MEDICAL PROGRAM FOR MERCHANT SEAMEN
STEPHEN SHERMAN
Am J Psychiatry 1943;100:127-130.
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Abstract

In summing up, it may be reaffirmed that the widely varying personality pictures offerred by merchant seamen necessitates diversity of therapeutic approach. This diversity is likewise demanded by the pressure of time, the need to cover a deal of ground with limited hours at one's disposal.Individual therapy cannot, so far as we have been able to determine to date, be cut short or swayed very radically from its classical form. Allowance must always be made for the spontaneous healing tendency of the acute war neuroses. Many of the acute cases in primarily healthy individuals do best if not tampered with too much. These cases get a great deal out of the contact with the rest home in the simplest sense. Many of them heal and go back to sea in three weeks or less.With those cases complicated by a preexisting neurosis, the task is of course more severe. In the light of our present knowledge, there seems to be no escape from a prolonged and orthodox form of individual therapy with these latter cases. It is possible that some realignment in the therapeutic scheme may ultimately be necessary, enabling us to care for these cases in some special way.Whatever the therapeutic method may be, work with war neurosis among merchant seamen brings its own unique rewards. One would need to travel far to find a group of men more appealing as to personality, more eager to accept what is offered them, and more grateful for help given. It is hoped that work with these seamen will vouchsafe, at the conclusion of the war, a body of clinical data of very special interest and value to medicine.

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