new york psychoanalysis

Can Depression Therapy Prevent a Heart Attack?

The connection between mind and body is a mysterious one, hardly better understood today than it was in the age of Pericles. Clinicians are well aware that such a connection exists, of course; we have a surfeit of evidence to suggest that the power of belief can transform meditations into medications. But just how far does it go? A new study has concluded that treating depression with drugs and psychotherapy may significantly reduce the chance of a cardiovascular event later in life:

Patients who had no evidence of heart disease at the study start who received antidepressants and therapy for their depression almost halved their risk of a heart attack or stroke during the eight years of the study, compared with the standard care group, the researchers found.

This is provocative data because it seems to resolve one of the great questions about depression and poor health: which precedes which? Is depression a causal factor in developing heart disease, or its inevitable byproduct? Reducing the chance of heart attack by treating depression seems to illuminate which way cause and effect flows here: first comes depression, and then, the deluge.

Here at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center, we offer a strong foundation in depression therapy through analytic techniques. If you’d like to improve your quality of health, and possibly stave off future health difficulties in the bargain, we urge you to contact our New York psychotherapists here.


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.

Welcome to the Revamped New York Psychoanalysis Blog!

Finding a therapist in New York City can be a confusing and fraught experience. You want to find the right therapist, with the right approach, and the right background. And you want to accomplish all these things on a budget that makes sense, and within a timeline that’s actually useful to you. At the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center, we are constantly exploring what makes a good therapist, and how people are best served by the therapeutic process. We read the latest studies, surface cutting edge research of our own, and train some of the finest candidates for psychoanalysis in the nation.

Our intention with this blog is to create an online touchstone for some of the most important questions, ideas and news in the field of psychoanalysis. We’ll be posting regularly on a number of subjects that continue to generate interest among our faculty, including LGBT therapy, relationship therapy, and therapies focusing on OCD, depression, anxiety and other psychological symptoms. We’ll also address some of the most common questions about psychoanalysis, from readers and patients alike.

We are truly excited to relaunch this blog and share compelling new material with you each week. Please bookmark this site and check back often. Welcome aboard!

The Limits of Psychiatric Diagnosis

 “Back to Normal,” by Enrico Gnaulati

This thoughtful piece in the New Yorker On-line has gotten some attention in recent weeks. It discusses this recent book by Enrico Gnaulati and its take on the difficulties of diagnosis, focusing particularly on what to do when fairly normal behavior becomes “pathologized” in the popular imagination.

The question of overdiagnosis is an ongoing conversation within New York psychology and psychoanalysis circles. Although many people fall into one camp or another – either believing wholeheartedly in the gospel of the DSM, or rejecting any checklist-like approach altogether – the truth is often far more nuanced.

There is no question that some disorders of the mind are likewise disorders of the brain – witness the chemical storms of schizophrenia and psychosis. Other symptoms may be more hybrid in nature – for example, Depression or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, both of which can exist either as wholly chemical, or as wholly psychological maladies. And then there are those issues which are clearly emotional in origin – such as loneliness and relationship difficulties. At least for this last category, some labels do little to illuminate or alleviate the problems.

As the author notes, the principal limitation with the book is that it paints Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders with the same reductive brush:

Psychiatric labels in kids have large consequences, and overdiagnosis carries risks: unnecessary pharmaceutical treatment, self-image questions, and the potential for long-term stigma. Yet underdiagnosis does, too, because early intervention can greatly improve outcomes for children, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The surest way to discover what is causing your emotional symptoms and distress is to talk about with an expert in analytic therapy. PPSC is comprised of several psychotherapists who specialize in particular subspecialties of talk therapy such as LGBT therapy or depression therapy. You can begin your search here today.

Can Neuroscience Replace Psychology?

A debate has been raging for some time now; recently it has been heating up. It’s a debate about the exploding field of neuroscience, and specifically about whether a greater understanding of the chemicals inside our brains will ever unlock the mysteries of the mind. A number of voices have entered the fray, but one response has caught our eye over here at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center: this measured opinion piece by legendary New Yorker writer Adam Gopnick.

Gopnick gamely reviews several new books that have entered the arena, concluding something that some in the field of psychoanalysis consider self-evident: that neuroscience is still in its nascency, and has little to teach us about the complex emotional underpinnings that drive human behavior:

[N]euroscience can often answer the obvious questions but rarely the interesting ones. It can tell us how our minds are made to hear music, and how groups of notes provoke neural connections, but not why Mozart is more profound than Manilow.

The process of psychotherapy is concerned principally with the many nuances of personal history and symbolic meaning that color our experience as people. To be sure, these things must be located somewhere – there is no doubt that the brain houses the mind – but our crude fMRIs and imaging technologies can only tell us what we already know: that our brains are doing something.

Neurology is a promising field that augurs well for the science of the mind. But we aren’t remotely at the point where understanding biochemistry could supplant the far more complex enterprise of talk therapy. One day, the sciences of psychology and neuroscience will perhaps converge into a single whole that captures the fullness of human experience. Until then, your best bet for addressing emotional issues remains the quiet wonder process of psychoanalysis.