The Benefits of Therapy vs. Medications
by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.
The previous blog about the impact of managed care on psychotherapy and medication is further enhanced by the following letter also in the New York Times. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/opinion/letters/drugs-depression-psychiatry.html). This letter is from an individual who writes of the benefits of psychotherapy:
To the Editor:
As a 45-year veteran of antidepressant medication, and a 60-year veteran of psychotherapy, I was finally relieved, as well as angered, the other day when my psychiatrist admitted that the meds probably hadn’t helped me over all these years: “You’re one of those people for whom talk therapy is really the best answer.”
I can’t stop these particular drugs because withdrawal from them is very distressing, I am told. I can, however, continue my talk therapy, which has kept me alive. The several psychiatrists I’ve had – and the latest is the most impressive and kind – have believed in chemistry. My psychotherapist believes in listening.
The writer is the author of “Shrink Rap: A Guide to Psychotherapy from a Frequent Flyer”
Another recent blog about the book, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression…., by Johann Hari, explores these issues of medications being of limited value, as compared to other interventions. More generally, long-term research has clearly established that medication can be helpful for many individuals (and not helpful for a significant number as well), but that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is far more beneficial. Often, psychotherapy will be time limited.
Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Torrance, CA. A member of the Independent Psychotherapy Network, he can be reached at 310 539-2772 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2019 by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.