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.

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.

The Power of Psychotherapy for Depression

It is no surprise to those of us who work as psychotherapists that real and substantive changes often result from talk therapy. Often these are subjective and self-reported, which can make it difficult for researchers to verify the many positive effects of psychotherapy. Now a new study has attempted to do just that, quantifying patient responses to a set of emotionally resonant questions by peering inside brain scans to detect levels of activity associated with strong mood swings.

The results were clear: psychotherapy shows a strong and beneficial effect, without any need for drugs or medical intervention:

Psychotherapy, the researchers explained, helps patients accept and gain insight into their dysfunctional relations, and as a result, patients do not become emotionally aroused when they are forced to confront their so-called “issues.” For anyone suffering depression, this study validates the benefits of drug-less psychotherapy. Going forward, the researchers expect to report a second follow-up study after 20 months of treatment.

Dealing with depression through counseling is a commonly accepted approach, and one that many millions of people have successfully undertaken in the last century. Here at PPSC, we offer depression therapy for patients that helps them understand the root issues and patterns that give rise to despairing thoughts. If you’d like to find expert analytic therapy today, contact us here.

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.

On the Effectiveness of Psychoanalytic Therapy

Analytic therapy doesn't always play nice with so-called “evidence based medicine,” not least because long-term therapy does not neatly fit into the limited sample sizes and rapid timelines such studies rely upon. More crucially, the subjective improvements that arise from psychodynamic therapy can be hard to quantify and even harder to observe from outside; often they are subtle but essential transitions which resist easy classification. Even so, there is a growing body of research that which consistently confirms the notion that analytic psychotherapy is both useful and persistent:

However, the acid test of the efficacy of any method lies in the availability of hard evidence in the form of research. And, as it happens, we have two recent studies of psychoanalysis that offer evidence of its validity. . . .

The author goes on to describe two recent studies which have demonstrated the power of psychoanalytic therapy. The key, he says, is what makes this therapy unique: the relationship between therapist and patient, and the many ways this relationship can act as a prism for understanding the patient’s deepest issues.

We have seen precisely this dynamic yield extraordinary results time and again. If you’d like to find a therapist in NYC today, including low-cost psychotherapy and experts in many subspecialties, please contact the experts here.

Talk Therapy Can Prevent Suicide

An interesting study caught our eye this week: researchers in Denmark followed many thousands of patients suffering with depression, and found that a number of good outcomes were associated with talk therapy:

For up to two decades, the new study followed people who’d attempted suicide once, and found their risk of future suicide declined by more than 25% if they’d received just six to 10 sessions of psychotherapy. Considering that people who have attempted suicide once are significantly more likely to contemplate it again, talk therapy – especially over an extended period of time – may hold a lot of promise for those in the most extreme form of mental pain.

It is an encouraging result which echoes a number of similar studies showing that talk therapy may be just as good as, and in some senses even more effective than, medication alone in the treatment of depression.

Interestingly, the effect was significant enough to persist even after several years:

The participants who’d taken part in talk therapy were 27% less likely to commit suicide again in the first year than people who didn’t have therapy—they were also 38% less likely to die of any cause. The difference was still the same after five years of follow-up, and even remained after 10.

Depression therapy, or psychotherapy aimed at alleviating the symptoms of depression, can take many forms, from cognitive behavioral techniques to more in-depth analytic therapy. Whether you are looking for standard or low-cost therapy, we invite you to contact the experts at PPSC today for a lasting solution to depressive feelings.

More Reasons to Seek Therapy for Anxiety

Epidemiological studies are often poorly designed and prone to later reversals, so conclusions based on large cohort studies should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, the results of a recent large-scale analysis showed a stark danger associated with taking anti-anxiety medications for a long time, compared with people who had similar symptoms but took no such medication:

For more than seven years, researchers followed 34,727 people who filled prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax, or sleep aids like Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta, comparing them with 69,418 controls who did not.

After adjusting for a wide variety of factors, the researchers found that people who took the drugs had more than double the risk of death.

There is no question that these drugs are life-savers for some people, and there is no question that anxiety can have biological precipitants. But studies such as this one also underscore the relative safety of anxiety therapy, especially analytic therapy designed to root out and resolve some of the emotional causes of pervasive fear and dread.

If you have tried medicine and found it lacking, or you simply want a better way to address the causes instead of the symptoms of your anxiety, please contact the New York anxiety experts at PPSC today.

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.


So Funny, It’s Psychotic

It’s not often that researchers take the world of stand up comedy especially seriously. Which makes one recent study all the more remarkable: Researchers in the British Journal of Psychiatry have discovered that comics score significantly higher than control groups for so-called psychotic personality traits. Some of this study is perhaps self-evident. The findings that comics tend to be somewhat disorganized, and that they chafe at conformist pressure, qualify as something close to conventional wisdom. But of the four traits associated with psychosis, one in particular stood out to us: “‘introvertive anhedonia’ – reduced ability to feel social and physical pleasure.”

This is yet more confirmation of the deep link between depression and comedy, a phenomenon which has been described in many places over many years. Theories abound about what lies behind this association – is the comedy simply a coping mechanism to leaven the misery, or do both qualities spring from a similar emotional place? Whatever the explanation, it seems likely that no two people ever arrive at a humorous worldview in precisely the same way.

Depression therapy can be a great relief to people whose talents are undermined by periods of deep despair. If you’d like to find a therapist in New York who can help unpack your own feelings of “introvertive anhedonia,” please contact the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center here today.