The NYT Comes Out In Defense of Psychotherapy

Analytic therapy is under assault from multiple groups, including the neurobiologists, the pharmacologists, and the genetic determinists. Yet the chief issue with psychoanalysis is not that it’s archaic or ineffective; it’s simply that this form of therapy simply doesn’t have an adequate mouthpiece. At least that’s what the New York Times recently contended in a thoughtful piece, pointing out that most patients crave in-depth and emotionally attuned therapies:

As well they should: for patients with the most common conditions, like depression and anxiety, empirically supported psychotherapies — that is, those shown to be safe and effective in randomized controlled trials — are indeed the best treatments of first choice. Medications, because of their potential side effects, should in most cases be considered only if therapy either doesn’t work well or if the patient isn’t willing to try counseling.

Yet the article rightly asserts that “there is no Big Therapy to counteract Big Pharma.” That is, there exists no powerful lobby flush with cash to make the point so many of us consider self-evident: that psychotherapy works, and that a great deal of evidence suggests it works better than many alternatives.

Our only quibble with this particular article is the short shrift it gives to true psychodynamic therapies, citing only studies that stop at 20 weeks. Psychoanalysis and its offshoots may take longer than that to work, but the effects can be permanent and life-altering in ways that are not easily quantified.

If you or someone you love is interested in finding psychoanalytic psychotherapy for the treatment of depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties or other long-term issues, please contact PPSC here today.