find a therapist in new york

Neuropsychoanalysis: A New Field?

As analytic therapists in New York, we are constantly buffeted by the various crosswinds of academic ideas. Whether it is cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, or neuroscience, we believe that interdisciplinary consideration is the surest way to stay relevant and effective in our work. This recent article caught our eye, as it concerns an ongoing search for the biological underpinnings of the self. One scientist is exploring the intersection between neurology and the various constructs of psychoanalysis:

As Solms told me: “There can’t be a mind for neuroscience and a mind for psychoanalysis. There’s only one human mind.”

Experiments on injury and disease are helping point the way toward the physical “addresses” of things such as the unconscious and the executive functions we call the superego. Ultimately what may come out of this research is a firmer support for Freud’s architecture of the mind, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, talk therapy remains the least invasive way to explore the passions and concerns of being human – no MRIs necessary. To find a therapist in New York today, contact the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center.

Find a Therapist in New York at PPSC

Are you searching for an experienced, professional psychotherapist to help you through some difficulties in your life? Many people start here on the Web, Googling terms such as depression and anxiety, searching for the one vetted resource that might point them toward an effective course of therapy. At PPSC, we offer patients a broad array of credentialed therapists who specialize in a number of issues, including:

Look around this site and you’ll see why our commitment to a psychoanalytic approach is the best choice for deeper, lifelong problems: analytic therapy is the only form of therapy that seeks to uproot some of the most basic causes of your distress.

To find a therapist in New York who can help you with the issues that may be holding you back in life, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at PPSC today. We look forward to speaking with you.

A Clear Eyed Endorsement of Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy is effective for many millions of people, but somehow this remains a topic of debate within the media. Thankfully there are voices such as this one explaining why psychoanalytic therapy works, and doing so with measured, rational language that anyone can understand:

‘One of the distinguishing features of psychoanalysis is that it focuses on people's experience rather than just their behaviour,’ says Keogh. In doing so, he believes that psychoanalysis has a particularly important role to play in helping people who have experienced ‘very protracted and intense developmental histories’, such as ongoing abuse.

But abuse alone cannot explain the great number of people who seek out psychoanalytic therapy; there must be something else at work. Indeed, our understanding of the human unconscious is the key, as it undergirds a great many issues of anxiety, compulsion and depression which touch us all:

However, he adds that tapping into the unconscious may also help people with recurrent problematic behaviour, where the patient cannot pinpoint a reason for their distress. ‘So we are very interested also in that which is not immediately conscious to patients, that may have some bearing on their emotional pain and the problems that they recurrently suffer,’ says Keogh.

PPSC is the nation’s leader at integrating the best ideas from analytic therapy with other modalities such as mindfulness. Our ultimate goal is to help our patients with the issues that ail them, and do so in a safe environment where the many benefits of talk therapy can flower. To find a therapist in New York today, contact us.

Dispelling the Mysteries of Psychotherapy

As one of the premiere New York psychoanalytic therapy programs, we field a lot of questions from patients who want to understand how this sort of talk therapy compares to other techniques. The short answer is that we are principally concerned with causes, not symptoms: analytic therapy’s mission is to understand what lies behind the issues of depression, anxiety, doubt and other concerns. But there is perhaps an even simpler answer, published recently in this short column:

Psychotherapy works very simply – it enables you to see things about yourself or your life that you can't currently see and that is affecting how you feel, what you do, and what happens to you. Once you can see what has been making the things happen that have been happening, you can get your hands around it and do something to improve how you feel, what you do, or what happens to you.

The best reason to get into psychotherapy is relief: relief from pain, sadness, isolation, stress. Some of these elements originate in the world around us, but others originate from within, powered by many years of personal history. Talking through these personal stories is a way to steal their power, and to make sense of the choices we all make on a daily basis.

At PPSC, we specialize in low cost therapy, sliding scale therapy, and LGBT therapy throughout New York and the region. If you are looking for a specific area of expertise, don’t hesitate to find a therapist at PPSC today.

How Psychotherapy Helps Depression

A recent Dutch study was intended to explore whether psychotherapy can be helpful for treatment the symptoms of depression in diabetics. Because the study was randomized and controlled, a number of respected journalists have pointed to the study as good strong evidence of the efficacy of psychotherapy for depression:

Results revealed that both MBCT and CBT have persistent beneficial impact on depressive symptomatology and related symptoms, validating the evidence from previous researches regarding the long-term clinical outcomes of either MBCT or CBT.

Both psychotherapy methods (MBCT and CBT) are effective in treating depressive symptoms in a variety of clinical populations.

Although the study only focused on two modalities: MBCT, or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy; and CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it nonetheless showed strong value in the notion that depression can be treated with talking rather than through medications alone. Psychoanalytic, or psychodynamic therapy, wasn’t included in the study, but we know from similar research that all modalities tend to show something close to parity over short time frames when it comes to issues of depression.

Analytic therapy can also produce longer results that are slower and therefore harder to measure, partly because psychotherapy resists easy quantification. Yet we know that therapy designed to treat the root causes of depression can result in lasting relief, especially in individuals who don’t show a genetic or neurochemical predisposition to hopelessness.

Our depression therapy experts are among the finest therapists in New York, and our extensive training courses have developed top-rated Boston counselors, Philadelphia psychotherapists, and many more professionals. To begin speaking with an experienced analytic therapist today, contact PPSC.

Making Sense of Psychotherapy

We talk a lot in this space about the benefits of psychotherapy and the various emotional difficulties which psychotherapy can help. One area we don’t cover quite as often is logistics: things like insurance, screening and plans. This recent article offers a nice primer to some of the nuts and bolts of psychotherapy, including what to can expect from insurers and first visits. It does a fine job of addressing one of the biggest concerns about therapy – confidentiality – and it provides a simple overview of what it feels like to begin this journey with your therapist:

Psychotherapy can seem daunting initially, however, many patients feel more comfortable once they have had their first session. You are there to be heard, assessed, provided feedback and treatment so that you can work on ways to help you feel healthier overall.

Psychotherapy is based on trust and on shared goals, and the surest way to find a good match is to speak with people who understand the issues that are most important to you. At PPSC, we specialize in psychotherapy for depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties and many more subjects. Contact us to learn more today.

Talk Therapy Best for Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is more than just shyness or awkwardness; for many people, it is a paralyzing disorder that hinders their ability to lead a productive life. For years, mental health professionals have wrestled with the best mode of treatment for SAD, especially as new techniques and medications continue to crop up every year. Now a new study has demonstrated that talk therapy remains the most effective and long-lasting of the major modalities, and that it may be uniquely suited to easing the pain of social anxiety:

CBT and psychodynamic therapy were efficacious in treating social anxiety disorder, in both the short- and long-term, when patients showed continuous improvement. Although in the short term, intention-to-treat analyses yielded some statistically significant but small differences in favour of CBT in several outcome measures, no differences in outcome were found in the long-term.

As psychoanalytic therapists, we have seen firsthand how our patients’ anxieties can ease once the underlying issues behind them have been addressed. Analytic therapy is a powerful way to surface these issues, and to explore what emotions and meanings patients associate with social settings.

If you’d like to begin treatment with the gold standard in therapy, please contact PPSC to find a therapist in New York today.

A New Look at Relationship Therapy

At PPSC, we are proud to offer psychoanalytic services which focus on a number of issues, from depression therapy to anxiety therapy, to the subject of this post: relationship therapy. Not to be confused with the far more cerebral topic of relational therapy, relationship therapy is precisely what it sounds like: a form of analytic therapy which focuses on the relationships we build in our lives, and on the patterns which can sometimes keep us from finding true rewarding intimacy.

Although couples therapy is not a specific focus within our therapeutic ranks, we do also offer continuing courses that touch on some of the issues faced by couples. This spring we are offering two such courses:

“Couples and Money” Barbara Mitchell, LCSW

“Psychotherapy and Couples Counseling When Pornography is an Issue” Mary Klein, Ph.D

Making sense of common problems through the lens of a psychologically sophisticated worldview is one of the best ways to resolve relationship issues for good. We invite you to read further on these courses here, and feel free to contact the New York psychotherapists of PPSC if you’d like to talk to someone about the relationship issues in your life.

Wrestling with Fertility in Analytic Therapy

We have written before about what happens when the veil of privacy lifts between a psychoanalyst and her patient, and about how such personal disclosures (by the therapist) can change the tenor of “the room.” This recent piece explores one of the most common issues that prompts therapists into candid conversations : pregnancy. As the author describes:

Traditional psychoanalytic theories envision the therapist as a blank slate on which patients project their thoughts and fantasies, a distant expert interpreting the patient from behind an inscrutable facade. Patient’s concerns are seen as problems the doctor can “fix” through psychological suturing. Contemporary psychoanalytic viewpoints, by contrast, have given rise to a very different understanding of the therapeutic alliance, one in which the relationship itself is ultimately what’s curative. But the therapist’s quasi-anonymity remains a central tenet. Patients might inquire about a therapist’s personal life, but unless it benefits the patient’s growth to answer the question directly, the therapist usually explores what the question means to the patient.

In practice, such questions become harder to avoid when a visible pregnancy enters the therapeutic space. The author of this piece wrestled with a number of approaches to manage and explore the feelings her growing belly inspired, but the responses for her and patients were often more personally charged than other conversations.

After negotiating a heartbreaking miscarriage and another pregnancy, the author describes how she has come to a sense of accommodation about discussing some personal issues surrounding pregnancy and childbirth with her patients, and how the work is often more beneficial for it:

There was a time when I would have reflexively asked Maya what my maternity might mean to her. But instead I considered revealing a small but profound piece of my life. What I hope to offer my patients now, in both subtle and demonstrative ways — shared and silent — are the arduous lessons learned through personal pain and reflection. Far from a blank slate, but no longer a focal point of the therapeutic relationship, I’ve landed somewhere in between, a much more ideal middle ground.

“Yes,” I began my reply to Maya. “I have two children.”

Psychoanalytic therapy is a deep and lasting process such feelings are worth exploring and where patients can make great strides in a safe space. To speak with an expert psychotherapist in New York today, contact PPSC.

New Findings on the Origins of Depression

As New York City’s premiere source for analytic depression therapy, we hear and read a lot of research about the causes of clinical depression. Recently a pair of stories caught our eye: two studies that have each found a link between the struggles of childhood and depression in adulthood. The one article addresses a strong connection between feelings of excessive guilt in childhood, and depression in later life:

Some scientists now believe that extreme feelings of guilt in children, such as the ones Thomas felt, can be a strong warning sign for mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and bipolar disorder later on in life . . . The question is whether guilt causes later life mental disorders or if a biological predisposition to mental disorders causes early symptoms of excessive guilt.

That is indeed the question. The study focused on a particular part of the brain, the anterior insula, whose development may influence emotional health in both stages of life. But the jury is still out on whether biology precedes psychology in this case, or whether it works the other way around. Ultimately the question is moot; what matters is how therapists can treat depression armed with this new knowledge:

Luby says that they are in the early stages of looking at how psychotherapy affects child behavior and how it affects brain function. "We are still in the first year, but my clinical impression is that these kids are getting a lot better," Luby said.

Similar findings have appeared in a second study linking childhood trauma to depression in adulthood. This study perhaps states the obvious, but the accompanying article makes a few valuable points about how patients respond to medical versus talk therapy:

These new studies also have implications with regard to the treatment of depression. Psychiatry, viewing depression for the most part as a chemical imbalance, treats it with chemicals (medications), or in severe cases with electroshock therapy. However, psychotherapists focus on the traumas of childhood and try to bring about change by helping clients to talk through those traumas. Psychotherapy has proven to be effective with all but the most severe cases.

To learn more about how you can find a good depression therapist in New York, including low cost therapy, contact PPSC today.

In-Person Therapy Is Still the Best

Technology is bringing rapid changes to the field of psychotherapy. A number of recent stories have discussed the possibilities and limitations of so-called teletherapy, or therapy that is performed remotely. Most New York psychotherapists have at least a passing familiarity with this notion; many patients use their phones to “call in” to appointments if traffic renders an in-person visit impossible. And because so many patients now sport smartphones and webcams, the notion of “Skype therapy” comes up often.

Someday it seems inevitable that the pace of progress will make these remote sessions commonplace, and essentially indistinguishable from their real-world counterparts. But for the moment, teletherapy bumps up against a difficult set of practicalities, not least that most video-chat software remains poorly secured, and unable to offer the same protective privacy as a closed office.

And then there is the legal issue, which remains the principal obstacle for many of us in the field of analytic therapy:

The legality of Skype therapy is a gray area because most state laws require the professional to hold a license in the state where the client resides. . . . Some therapists call themselves “life coaches” when they work across state lines; others simply ignore the law. The arrival of distance therapy and telemedicine is rapidly rendering state-by-state licensure impractical. As usual, the law lags far behind technical innovation.

We’ll get there, of course. And it is heartening to see that the tremendous value of talk therapy continues to find its way into national conversations about health and technology. But for the time being, the easiest way to find a therapist in New York remains the old-fashioned way: let your fingers do the walking, and then follow them to your doctor’s doorstep.

The Death of Psychology? Not So Fast

A recent NPR story used this widely shared satirical article from The Onion as a touchstone to talk about something that rarely comes up in the media: is psychology science? Leave aside the overwhelming body of affirmative evidence amassed by social psychologists over many generations, and the empirical results netted by researchers who have confirmed the benefits of talk therapy. The bigger question is whether we can adequately describe the nuanced dynamics of our own minds, and whether there is any advantage to exploring the mind as something separate from the brain.

Since the mind makes its own patterns, evinces its own behaviors and finds its own predilections, is there any value to studying these on their own merits, as narratives and not numbers? The NPR piece takes a detailed look at various biases against the “hardness” of psychology of a science, before circling back to a familiar viewpoint:

Psychology is, in most ways, like any other science: It tackles easier and harder problems, and it faces empirical and conceptual challenges. It's hard but it's also important. Let's double our efforts, not doubt them.


Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the Huffington Post

It’s not often that the mainstream media takes a moment to pause and define psychoanalytic therapy for the masses. Although this form of therapy has been considered the gold standard in for more than 100 years, these days analytic therapy is often drowned out by glitzy headlines touting the latest discoveries in neurobiology. Yet talk therapy remains a timeless asset for many people, one unlikely to be replaced by chemical regimens anytime in the near future. This recent piece explains the practice and benefits of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, beginning with a wonderfully succinct definition up front:

Your unconscious thoughts and feelings affect what you do without your even knowing it. When you're unaware that it's happening, you can feel and do things and not know why. This can lead to anxiety, depression, difficulties with relationships, and problems with self-esteem -- all caused by things going on in your unconscious mind. Bringing them into awareness can help you to understand them, rather than be controlled by them. This is what psychodynamic psychotherapy is all about.

The full article is a very clean and lucid piece of writing that should help anyone interested in learning more about analytic therapy.

If you’d like to find a New York therapist trained in psychodynamic techniques, please contact the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center today.

Are Stressful Relationships…Fatal?

For the second week in a row here at PPSC, we are delving into the thorny question of how relationships influence mental health. Last week saw a discussion of the various ways having a stable partner can relieve neurotic tendencies; now we have the converse, a new study which suggests stressful relationships actually shorten your life. The article in question was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Danish researchers gave nearly 10,000 people a standard questionnaire about how often they experience conflict with friends, neighbors, family members and other people. A longitudinal follow-up found a strong correlation:

Eleven years later, 422 of them were no longer living. That’s a typical number. What’s compelling, Rikke Lund and her colleagues at University of Copenhagen say, is that the people who answered "always" or "often" in any of these cases were two to three times more likely to be among the dead. (And the deaths were from standard causes: cancer, heart disease, alcohol-related liver disease, etc.—not murder. . .)

The question with all associations like this is which is the chicken and which the egg. Do conflict-ridden relationships lead to early death, or do people who instigate conflicts already suffer from poor health, when then drives the conflicts? Although the researchers applied the standard regressive statistical tools to determine what was going on here, the study’s design still doesn’t really answer these basic questions.

Yet the correlation is powerful. Stress and conflict are clearly associated with poor health and diminished life spans. It would make sense, then, to take active steps to repair combative relationships and end destructive ones. One of the easiest ways is to do so is to understand yourself better.

PPSC offers focused relationship therapy as part of an ongoing commitment to analytic therapy in New York. If you want to understand where your conflicts come from and why they seem to persist no matter how hard you work, contact us today to learn how you can find a therapist in New York.

Toward Better Psychological Research: The Waitlist Problem

It has often been pointed out that in the field of psychology, it can be difficult to conduct controlled science. The number of mitigating factors, from the varying skill of each individual therapist to the difficulty of quantifying things like emotional improvement, work against perfecting a research process. But there is one mainstay of psychological research that creates predictable problems time and again: the waitlist control group. One recent commentary defined it this way:

In psychotherapy research, there is no pill. So a long time ago, some researchers developed what they believed to be a similar control group as those receiving a placebo — the waitlist control group. The waitlist control group is simply a group of subjects randomized to be placed on a fake “waitlist” — waiting for the active treatment intervention.

The idea here is sound: If you want to take a baseline reading of how people are progressing without any psychological help at all, tell some people that the study hasn’t yet begun. Yet the problems with this approach are manifold, including the possible placebo effect of knowing that help is on the way, and the very real possibility that many people on the list will engage in self-help remedies while the clock ticks. One solution from Psych Central: replace the waitlist with something that more closely approximates therapy, minus the training:

The best way to do this is to throw out the waitlist control group and replace it with a group of participants randomized to receive weekly check-ins with the equivalent of someone showing concern for the individual. This can be an individual one-on-one session, or a small group of participants.

The goal here is to separate the well-known value of generic concern from the putative added value of psychoanalytic psychotherapy – or another modality – conducted by a trained professional. It is an intriguing idea, and of course at PPSC we welcome any chance to demonstrate the lasting benefits of analytic therapy over various alternatives.

Can’t wait for the next study? Find a therapist today by clicking here.

A Hunger for Analytic Therapy in More Places

The benefits of talk therapy have long been known, but innovation continues to touch the world of psychotherapy. Concepts such as mindfulness and specialties such as LGBT therapy are constantly adding ferment to the field, for instance, and the advent of the Internet has added many new topics worthy of study. Recently much of the “talk” in therapeutic innovation has centered around the possibility of Web-based psychotherapy. The idea involves a version of Skype, where patient and therapist meet somewhere in cyberspace and conduct a conversation over an encrypted video connection. As a recent article in Wired described one website peddling such technology, “Patient and practitioner connect via TalkSession’s video platform—no couch required.”

Is Teletherapy Real?

There are some inherent advantages to this approach, including improved accessibility for remote patients, enhanced convenience for both patients and therapists, and freedom from the sigma of mental health appointments in communities where such prejudices remain.

Yet sites such as TalkSession cannot readily substitute for the real thing -- yet. There is a shared experience that takes place in the room which cannot easily be duplicated. (Witness the confusion that arises when your partner on Skype begin reacting to things you can’t see.) And of course there remains a formidable series of regulatory hurdles to surpass, including a byzantine national licensing system that makes out-of-state therapy a legal minefield.

Still, there is no question that teletherapy will arrive someday. What this news demonstrates most clearly to us is that vital specialties such as depression therapy, anxiety therapy and relationship therapy are still needed throughout the country. If you’d like to find a therapist here in New York City, please contact the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center today.

A Rare Candid Conversation on Depression and Therapy

It is rare, albeit less so all the time, for celebrities to open up about their personal battles with clinical depression. Older stars in particular tend to maintain a culture in which all mental health issues came with stigmas attached. Which is why it was unusual this week to see two stars of a more senior generation, Dick Cavett and Stephen Fry, openly discussing their struggles with depression on the Huffington Post. Mr. Fry offered an illuminating assessment of what makes depression unique, namely that its agony, while invisible, may still lead to suicide, even in busy people:

Fry emphasized how seemingly-contradictory the messages we send about depression can be. "Okay, you've got this problem, it doesn't stop you from being a high-functioning individual," he said, and yet on the other hand, it can cause death. It's not to be taken too lightly, he said, and at the same time, it's not to be taken as a death sentence.

Of course this is the point: depression doesn’t have to paralyze you to impair your life in significant ways. The classic image of the depressive who can’t get out of bed in the morning is simply one face this problem wears; other symptoms may include quiet moments of despair, chronic sleeplessness, broken relationships and diminished productivity.

Depression can be caused by genetics, chemistry or psychology. The only way to know for sure is to try analytic therapy and explore whether your issues may are emotionally based, or simply biological in nature.

To find a therapist in New York who specializes in depression therapy, please contact PPSC here.