The DSM: A Mad Attempt to Classify Madness

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) is a large book, in five editions, that you will likely find in every shrink’s office. It has every kind of mental illness recognized by the American Psychiatric Association defined, classified, and numbered; all 157 of them. Your therapist will refer to it daily, not because it unlocks the doorContinue reading “The DSM: A Mad Attempt to Classify Madness”

Will the Madness of the World Make You Mad?

In 1968 the Sunday Times announced they would give a prize to the first person to sail around the world, non-stop, alone. The newspaper would make a mint, covering the race. The prize they would give to one out of many who risked their lives, would be a relative pittance. The result was tragedy andContinue reading “Will the Madness of the World Make You Mad?”

Telehealth Psychotherapy

A man I talked to the other day seldom looked me in the eye. His gestures were not in rhythm with the things he was saying. At times, he skipped half the words in a sentence. Once, he disappeared entirely and went on talking as if we were still together. He seemed oblivious to manyContinue reading “Telehealth Psychotherapy”

The Therapeutic Milieu

Some milieux (the plural form of a fancy French word for social settings) are therapeutic, meaning they bring out the best in people; others bring out the worst. If you need an example of those that consistently bring out the worst, think of a maximum-security prison, a busy highway, the cafeteria of a middle school,Continue reading “The Therapeutic Milieu”

Eleanor Oliphant Might Be Completely Fine But Using Therapists to Resolve Your Plot Isn’t

Ordinarily, I avoid reading books and watching movies that portray head shrinking because I’m careful to maintain a work/life balance. But I couldn’t ignore Eleanor Oliphant. Too many people recommended the novel as a delightful portrayal of someone with serious troubles. I soon saw they were right, and so was I. Eleanor is truly delightful,Continue reading “Eleanor Oliphant Might Be Completely Fine But Using Therapists to Resolve Your Plot Isn’t”

Evidence-Based Therapy

In the peculiar land of shrinks, evidence-based therapy is a phrase we use a lot. It’s supposed to refer to therapy that’s backed by scientific evidence. But what they call evidence-based therapy is not evidence-based therapy. It’s a term for a standardized, manualized, commoditized therapy protocol. It’s not necessarily the best therapy for you.

Psychotherapy During a National Emergency

Here’s a report from the front lines, where shrinks like me, devoted to maintaining or attaining the mental health of their clients, closed their offices, and opened their laptops or tapped their phones to stay in touch in a new world of social distance.