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Thumbnail of Harry Stack Sullivan (source)
Harry Stack Sullivan
(21 Feb 1892 - 14 Jan 1949)

American psychiatrist who developed a theory of psychiatry based on interpersonal relationships.


Harry Stack Sullivan
“Enthusiasm about psychiatry is preposterous”

Illustrated Quote - Large (800 x 400 px)

“An enthusiasm about psychiatry is preposterous — it shows one just hasn’t grown up; but at the same time, for the psychiatrist to be indifferent toward his work is fatal.”
— Harry Stack Sullivan
The Psychiatric Interview (1954, 1970), 10.

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This quote appears in Harry Stack Sullivan’s book, The Psychiatric Interview (1954). Reflecting on the work of a psychiatrist, he writes:

“If you do not feel equal to the headaches that psychiatry induces, you are in the wrong business. It is work - work the like of which I do not know.”

He concludes the paragraph with:

“So an enthusiasm about psychiatry is preposterous—it shows one just hasn’t grown up; but at the same time, for the psychiatrist to be indifferent toward his work is fatal. The more dependable attitude of the psychiatrist in a psychiatric interview is probably simply to have a very serious realization that he is earning his living, and that he must work for it.”

The beginning of Sullivan’ paragraph on the psychiatrist’s work is shown on this page, with the quote that begins, “There is no fun in psychiatry…”.

From The Psychiatric Interview (1954, 1970), 10. (source)


See also:

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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