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Am J Psychiatry 1954;111:371-378.
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The Veterans Administration Central Office, Washington, D. C.

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We are perhaps now in psychiatry where physicians treating infectious disease stood before the days of antibiotics. We have relatively little in the way of weapons to attack the disease process directly. But we have acquired a vast and important knowledge of how to promote and how to provide conditions favorable for the living effort of the human organism to make itself whole. This knowledge can make the difference between very favorable and very unfavorable discharge rates.Here is a point at which the values of democracy, religion, and medicine agree—the value and dignity of the individual, the value of human understanding and of kindly relations with and assistance to another person, who must himself continue his unremitting struggle to find an adjustment and meaning in his life.While we strive to go forward toward more definitive methods of treatment, however much they may extend our success, they can never replace for the mental patient–as for the normal person–the need for understanding, constructive, human exchange.

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