17 OCTOBER 1931, Page 30

A Challenge to Neurasthenia (Williams and Norgate, is. 6d.) is

written by, and from the point of view of, a patient suffering from the disease which she discusses. Miss Armitage, whose name appears only on the last page, here gives an enthusiastic account of the methods employed in effecting her cure, together with a high encomium of its ministrant, the late Dr. L. S. Barnes, a general practi- tioner of the finest type. To a patient, his or her doctor is likely to appear unique, and his methods peculiar to himself. Fortunately there are, scattered over the country, many doc- tors locally appreciated and admired, whose names and reputa- tions rarely extend beyond the area of their personal influence ; yet whose attitude and technique closely resemble those here attributed to Dr. Barnes. Miss Armitage was evidently a subject specially fitted for the treatment she has described—by direct appeals to intelligence," by detailed and patient argu- ment—but every experienced practitioner is too well aware that such therapy, however sympathetically and understandingly applied, is successful only with some patients. As Miss Armitage herself says, " a disease of the imagination is by no means an imaginary disease." Even in her case it is doubtful if the appeal to " fact " and reason played quite so important a part in her cure as she here suggests.

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