The Dynamics of the War: Discussion of Dr. Ehrlich’s Paper

  • Fred Gottlieb
Part of the The Downstate Series of Research in Psychiatry and Psychology book series (DSRPP, volume 3)


It is difficult for me to be critical of a person who cites John Milton and Elvin Semrad nicely in the same paragraph, and a person whose first name is also Fred! But I am critical of his presentation. As I understand it, Dr. Ehrlich confers both absolute and pragmatic truth value on both family system and psychoanalytic theory and therapy; he also pleads for “integration” —perhaps in deference to Dr. Brown’s comments yesterday; we should now call this “Brownian synthesis!” As someone who struggled with the problem in physics of treating light sometimes as a wave form and sometimes as discrete particles, I can go along with an open and flexible theoretical view of the world. But heuristically we face serious problems which Dr. Ehrlich presents and then seems to sidestep. Early in his paper, he makes analytic theory schizophrenic: on the one hand he requires “patient and therapist to work together in isolation” and out of context, and on the other hand he says that “as a body of knowledge it can be applied more broadly and flexibly.” Out in the West, we have a saying that goes, “You better put your money where your mouth is.” Yesterday, Lee Combrinck-Graham said it differently: “Action speaks louder than words.” Effective practice ought to reflect theory, or else we need to change the theory to better fit the data derived from revised practice.


Family Therapist Discrete Particle Effective Practice Psychoanalytic Theory Circular Causality 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred Gottlieb
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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