Though much about psychotherapy is ‘obscure, uncertain and controversial’,1 such elements of it as suggestion are used by every doctor and in particular by every psychiatrist. Its contribution to medicine is explicitly recognised in the report of the Royal Commission on Medical Education.2 Psychotherapy is a specialised technique making use of the relationship between the psychotherapist - a doctor or a layman - and the individual, to reduce disability, to elicit insight or to describe, understand and improve relationships. The emotional and intellectual relationship which develops between a doctor and a patient is a factor for good or bad in every illness and can never be ignored, but in strict psychotherapy it is the major instrument of therapy.
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