Psychotherapy as generic conversation — Sloppy thinking in psychiatry 4

This fourth installment in my “sloppy thinking” series turns to psychotherapy, or what passes for it in some psychiatric practices. A very brief history: Sigmund Freud, a neurologist, invented psychoanalysis and its offshoot, psychodynamic psychotherapy, about 120 years ago. It was, first and foremost, a treatment that involved talking — not merely a conversation that […]

Movie review: "A dangerous method"

Tonight I was invited to an advance screening of “A Dangerous Method,” a film about the early days of psychoanalysis. It stars Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, and Viggo Mortensen, and will be in wide release by Sony Pictures Classics this month. The invitation was extended to Psychology Today bloggers, among others, in the hope we’ll […]

Efficacy of dynamic psychotherapy

The following post is an adaptation of an argument I presented on Sacramento Street Psychiatry, my blog on the Psychology Today website. As usual, I welcome your comments.

Western medicine’s great strides are largely due to understanding etiology (the biological basis of disease), defining a nosology (a system of categorizing diseases), and testing treatments aimed […]

Therapy for therapists

Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times blog Well featured my prior post, on the feelings some patients have as they imagine whether their psychotherapists have been in therapy themselves. My post was about patients’ fantasies, not the reality of therapy for therapists. Nonetheless, many of the comments argued for the great value of such […]

“Have you seen a therapist yourself?”

Recently a patient asked whether I’d ever been in therapy myself. Without answering his question directly (see my post on psychotherapist disclosure and privacy), I replied that many of us have, and asked what it meant to him. It would be a bad sign: “How can you help if you need help too?” We went […]

Talk doesn't pay: Comments on the NY Times article

I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on the article that appeared in today’s New York Times: “Talk doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns to Drug Therapy.” Gardiner Harris writes about psychiatry’s shift from talk therapy to drugs, and profiles psychiatrist Donald Levin of Doylestown, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia), who felt financially unable to […]

Should therapists accept holiday gifts?

December brings the annual pleasures and challenges of holiday gifts and how to deal with them in dynamic psychotherapy. Although it is relatively easy to follow a simple rule about this, ideally a good deal of thought goes into a therapist’s decision about whether to accept a patient’s holiday gift. Below I will give a […]