Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why Medicine and Psychotherapy Are Incompatible

In my practice, I've encountered a number of emotionally disturbed individuals who came from psychiatrists. All of them testified that they've been given 10 to 15 minutes time with drug prescription, and the psychiatrist checks that as "psychotherapy."

Dr. Sigmund Freud was the first who suggested that medicine and psychotherapy are basically incompatible. In the medical approach, the perspective and procedure is always biochemical. The individual is a "patient" to be treated, not a person to be engaged in an active psychotherapy session that stimulates healing and growth. Medication and even electro convulsive therapy are natural consequences of this orientation.

Another difficulty inherent in the medical approach is the culture of "objectivity" or staying personally uninvolved. Physicians are trained to focus on disease rather on the person. But psychotherapy is an interpersonal process. That requires active engagement with the personal life details of the client in order to facilitate recovery and growth.

While some emotional disturbances can be alleviated or helped by some medical procedure/prescription, that is not psychotherapy. Unfortunately, so many psychiatrists are not enlightened on the difference.

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