“Being with” patients in the office and online

Is there more “presence” during online therapy, or in the office — even while wearing masks? […]

COVID Hysteresis

Hysteresis isn’t hysteria, but it’s irrational all the same. Why relaxed COVID guidelines make us hesitate. […]

Returning to the office

I finally returned to my office after a year and a month. Or more accurately, since I was in my office all along making video calls, it’s some of my patients who returned.

Two weeks ago the CDC issued new guidelines: people vaccinated against COVID-19 can meet safely inside without masks. The guidelines appear […]

Does psychiatry add to political discourse?

Quick, grab a weapon!

Millions of alarmed Americans, and people the world over, grabbed the nearest bludgeon to fend off the Trump presidency. They reached for anything handy: street marches, sympathetic pundits, counter-tweets, progressive infotainment, social media. Unfortunately, most of these reactions only fed a vicious cycle of attack and counter-attack.

For the relatively […]

HIPAA-compliant email: a review

The problem

In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to practice by video and phone, I’ve exchanged much more email with patients than I did before. Previously, I discouraged email from patients. For one thing, I knew it was an insecure channel, not “HIPAA-compliant.” It’s also somewhat less personal than a phone […]

COVID-19 neurosis

Back when traumatic experiments on animals weren’t ethically prohibited, human anxiety was modeled by subjecting lab animals to an irresolvable approach/avoidance dilemma. The oldest and best known example came from researchers in Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory. They classically conditioned dogs to associate food rewards with the sight of a circle, and also trained the same […]

COVID-19 risk tolerance and therapy

I’m increasingly asked by patients and potential patients when I plan to see people in the office again. I had been an exclusively “in person” psychiatrist and psychotherapist until mid-March of this year, when the pandemic forced even skeptics like me to convert completely to remote (“virtual”) treatment. Like many of my colleagues, over […]