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Communication, the social matrix of psychiatry (1951) PDF book by Jurgen Ruesch

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Communication, the social matrix of psychiatry


Excerpt
Today, in the middle of the twentieth century, scientists and clinicians alike strive for mutual understanding. To renounce dogmatic views and to abandon scientific isolation is the fashion of our time. Psychiatrists have moved out of the enclosing walls of mental institutions and have found a new field of activity in the general hospitals of the community and in private practice.


 The transformation of the former alienist into a modern therapist and the change from static to dynamic principles necessitated a revision of psychiatric theories. While, in the past, theories of personality were concerned with one single individual, modern psychiatrists have come to the realization that such theories are of little use, because it is necessary to see the individual in the context of a social situation. Our technical civilization has reduced the intellectual isolation of people to a minimum, and modern means of communication and transportation accelerate the dissemination of information to such an extent that in the not too distant future we can expect that no individual or group will be able to escape such influences for long.

The authors have attempted in this book, which is dedicated to a presentation of the broader aspects of communication, to conceptualize interpersonal and psychotherapeutic events by considering the individual within the framework of a social situation. Focusing upon the larger societal systems, of which both psychiatrist and patient are an integral part, necessitated the development of concepts which would encompass large-scale events as well as happenings of an individual nature. We have sketched this relationship in a unified theory of communication, which would encompass events that link individual to individual, events that link the individual to the group, and ultimately, events of worldwide concern.


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