Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

ebitler's picture

psychotherapy thoughts...

I completely agree with Stephanie, Emily, and Danielle that Dr. Yadin posed some really great arguments for the promotion of CBT over the drug alternatives.  The brain is highly plastic, and if we can encourage plasticity that will help people overcome debilitating issues such as OCD a little more naturally and holistically then that seems to be a great alternative (especially since it may have more lasting effects and can be easily refreshed if needed later in life).  As previously pointed out, the biggest pro-psychotropic drugs argument is that taking a pill is a lot easier.  In our culture everyone wants things as quickly and easily as possible.  For the people who don’t want to or can’t spend the time necessary, or don’t want to face their fears, the pill seems like a nice alternative.


Because I think what has driven Americans to prefer the easy alternative stems from our culture, I think that how our culture is now changing may help in a transition away from psychopharmacology treatments (at least a little).  The trendy thing now is the more “natural” alternative.  Organic foods, alternative medicine, and even hybrid SUVs exemplify America’s return to nature, and I think we’re at a point now where people are more willing to spend a little extra time and money for the more natural alternative.  This observation paired with the research of physiological changes associated with psychotherapy make now a good time for psychotherapy’s comeback.  That’s not to say that everyone will choose psychotherapy over drug therapy (which they probably shouldn’t as drug therapy seems to be more effective in severe cases and talk therapy doesn’t work for everyone), but I do think more people will be willing to give psychotherapy a shot.


The other thing that I was thinking about is that no one really brought up the issue of undesirable downstream changes in the psychotherapy model. We talked about how changing the neurotransmitter availability at one synapse has the potential to effect a great deal of other systems through upregulation/downregulation of receptors, synapse plasticity, and cell plasticity for the drug therapy model, but I’m a little curious about why it didn’t come up for the talk therapy model.  If evidence is showing that talk therapy is producing similar effects on NT levels or plasticity (although in some different areas), then it seems to me that these changes will likely affect other systems downstream as well.  I’d just be curious to hear if it wasn’t brought up in class because people think that these downstream side effects aren’t as likely with psychotherapy or if we’re just used to thinking of physiological side effects as being inevitable for drugs and not thinking about them at all for psychotherapy?


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
8 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.