Freud bashing

The October Monitor's quote from Dr. Schlosser's presentation on the professional contributions of Jewish psychologists was just Freud bashing. Your heading read, in part, "Freud's drug problems" (sounds like he was a stoner from the '60s and not a young researcher looking for a psychotropic in 1895). You quoted the dumbest part of Schlosser's talk, "Freud, who everyone knows was a self-hating Jew, who did a lot of cocaine and stole his ideas for the Kabbalah." Perhaps Schlosser thinks that Freud's atheism means he was a self-hating Jew. At that time, many Jews converted to Christianity since they had difficulty advancing in society. When Max Graf asked Freud if he should convert his son to Christianity, Freud wrote, "If you do not let your son grow up a Jew, you will deprive him of those sources of energy which cannot be replaced by anything else." I know of nothing in the Kabbalah that equates with Freud's discovery that symptoms may relate to emotional trauma and that a "talking cure" was possible for the first time. All of psychotherapy is based on Freud's theory of talking things out. No wonder after more than 100 years of psychology, we have produced very little as compared to other sciences. We have spent too much time on a psychology of the superficial and bashing a giant instead of standing on his shoulders.

Robert M. Gordon, PhD
Allentown, Pa.

Having access to only the shocking aspersions on Freud's work and character, I, along with many others, am appalled. The brief diatribe, buttressed by those most reliable of scientific data, "everybody knows," labels Freud a "self-hating Jew who did a lot of cocaine and stole his ideas from the Kabbalah." For the Monitor to present only this sentence, detached from the context of the paper in which it was embedded, is either grossly misleading or evidence of a malicious attack on one of psychology's towering figures. From the isolated quote, one cannot tell whether Dr. Schlosser made the statement with tongue in check, dagger in hand, or hay with which to build a straw man.

Irwin C. Rosen, Phd
Topeka, Kan.

Editor's response

The offending quote was spoken in jest. The speaker, Lewis Z. Schlosser, PhD, was illustrating--not endorsing--popular beliefs about Freud, as part of his talk on Jewish thought's contributions to psychology. The purpose of Schlosser's presentation was to highlight the lack of attention to Jewish issues in psychology.

Dr. Schlosser's response

Much has been made of my recent remarks about Freud. As noted by the Monitor's editor, it is easy to misunderstand the quote without the context of the rest of the presentation. I am well versed on Freud and his Jewish identity, and would be happy to dialogue with anyone on this issue. What I find most disturbing is that I chaired an outstanding symposium on Jewish issues in psychology, and this is all the APA membership gets to hear about it.

Lewis Z. Schlosser, PhD
Seton Hall University

Psychologists' military roles

September's articles were refreshing and a good representation of the uniqueness and challenges of military psychology. I was glad to see the Department of Veterans Affairs included as an ally and being allowed to provide meaningful support with active duty personnel. This is critically needed given the present shortage of uniformed mental health providers. The testimonials from the young officers who are still experiencing the adrenalin rush associated with operational medicine and deployment were also inspiring.

However, there are providers who have been treating patients with polytrauma and severe post-traumatic stress disorder for extended times, showing wear and tear, and considerably less enthusiasm. I hope that future articles address this issue and the need for caring for the mental health-care givers.

Dennis Reeves, PhD
Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Springfied, Mo.

I wish to congratulate and thank APA for its continuing attention to the psychological health needs of military members and their families. As co-chair of the now-expired Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, I am well aware of the important work that psychologists do with and for military families. I am encouraged by the detailed plans submitted by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in response to the task force report, but he cannot do it all. I am hopeful that President Bush will request, and the Congress will provide, the funds necessary to ensure that adequate prevention, early intervention and treatment are provided to military families today and in the future as we all deal with the aftermath of the war.

I also hope that psychologists in APA will do all they can to ensure that military families receive the support and care they need. Many military members are exposed to physically difficult and highly traumatic circumstances, and will seek treatment from a mental health provider. While they are away, their parents, partners and children experience a variety of difficult challenges. I hope that APA members will work hard to ensure that providers in training are learning about the sequelae of deployment and combat experiences, that providers already in practice are staying abreast of new developments in clinical treatment guidelines for preventing and treating combat stress reactions, and that research psychologists do all they can to generate the new knowledge that is so urgently needed.

Shelley MacDermid
Purdue University

Duty to protect

We were glad to see Dr. Steve Behnke include discussion of the duty to protect in his September "Ethics Rounds." We would like to expand upon some of his points.

Regarding assessment, we suggest that readers may want to consider the Iterative Classification Tree as one useful measure for assessing potential violence (Monahan et al., 2001; see the measure at http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/reprint/176/4/312). Such an actuarial approach supplements the clinical judgments that result from considering the client's dispositional, historical, contextual, and clinical variables (Scott & Resnick, 2006).

In terms of intervention, we want to add to Dr. Behnke's classification of the state and provincial laws. If a psychologist conducts an evaluation and believes the client might be dangerous to others, a variety of options for intervention exist. Most states and provinces do not mandate breaking confidentiality or attempting involuntary hospitalization (Benjamin, Kent & Sirikantraporn, under review). Unless one lives in a jurisdiction that requires breaking confidentiality, the psychotherapist has other options (e.g., intensification of treatment), and disclosure may be the option of last resort.

Finally, in most cases, the therapeutic relationship forms the foundation upon which assessment and intervention decisions are made. A trusting relationship based on thorough informed consent allows the psychologist to consider many options with the client, even in the face of legal or ethical requirements. However, a poor relationship may restrict the available options. In addition, incomplete informed consent may lead to feelings of betrayal or abandonment--reactions that may increase the potential for violence.

James L. Werth Jr., PhD
Radford University

Elizabeth Reynolds Welfel, PhD
Cleveland State University

G. Andrew H. Benjamin, JD, PhD
Antioch University and the University of Washington

Carol Salacka, PsyD
Dublin, Calif.
Lt. Col. U.S. Army (Retired)