No man is an Hand,
intire of itselfe;
every man is a peece of the
a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea,
Europe is the lesse ..."
The well-known observation of John Donne (1573-1631) is an eloquent metaphor that predated the obligatory interdependence that exists in nature and is especially evident in Man's relationship with his environments. The French physiologist, Claude Bernard, in the last century alluded to the same natural phenomenon when he termed Man's internal environment the milieu interieur. Walter Canon in this century coined the term hemeostasis to illustrate the remarkable stability in the presence of continual dynamic change that replicates the interaction of the milieu interieur. Further, the foregoing has been subsumed in the now-recognized discipline of ecology. It has system derivatives such as ecosystem and econiche. These subsystems conceptualize the complexity of this vast interdependent, integrated network of dynamic forces. As such, their operations are seen in every level from the macroscopic harmony that characterizes the behavior of the universe in progressively decreasing scaler units to the sub-molecule.
In another dimension, human affairs may be construed in a parallel way. We have been witness to one of its more recent tangible expressions in the economic sphere of corporate behavior. National monetary specie nowadays attest to the interdependence - The dynamic interaction among the many monetary systems that undergird international commerce and in effect require a consensual integration in an effort to stabilize the world economy. This is only one of many such illustrations that Henry Bergson conceptualized as constituting the pervasive elan vital. From this perspective, it appears that this process has relevance to what has happened to psychiatric theory and its practices as Dr. Henry Babcock and his collaborators have reported in this issue of Psychiatric Annals. Happily their collective presentations summarize in a very persuasive way the historical antecedents of what may be seen as an evolutionary theoretical process of formulating hypotheses.
This has not been an invariant linear progression: there have been what in this context may be likened to the usual variety of epigenetic ventures with the usual mixed report on their clinical validation. The outcome today may be seen as being the emergence of two approaches that may be categorized for the sake of convenience as PhysicalisticBehavioral and Mentalistic-Cognitive. At first glance, these two strategic approaches to the resolution of those kinds of conflicts seem to be polar approaches to the daily grist of psychiatrists' mills.
Our contributors in this issue describe in a persuasive way the benefits that follow an appropriate mixture of the useful approaches of each of these conceptual models. It has been observed that misery loves company because in the company of fellow sufferers, misery wanes. When a person is anxious and perplexed in his effort to appropriately resolve the quandary with which he is struggling, he finds it beneficial and comforting to have the support of others - particularly those others who have experienced similar problems. Group therapy in one of its many forms has proved its value over and over again. There is incontrovertible evidence that the very presence of understanding others contributes the affective ingrethent of acceptance and is taken to signify "I am not the only one." Also, when this comforting palliative is joined with individually centered psychotherapy, there is the potential of additional dynamic insight contributing both a cognitive and affective dimension to the combined process. This is the context in which an agreed upon goal is more likely to be achieved.
Drs. Henry Babcock, lohn M. Rhoads, Perry London and Mary Palmer. Douglas H. Powell, and Lee Birk have presented not only the historical background but also the empirical evidence of the value of the combination of behavioral and analytic approaches to the traditionally vexing problem of understanding and remedying human conflict.