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Latest Posts

Same Sex Vs. Opposite Sex: What’s The Rule On Friendship?

I’m stealing a post from Jay at Two Women Blogging entitled “Was Harry Right?” Here’s their post, and I discuss it below:

Was Harry Right?

Bluemilk got me started thinking about this. I first heard Harry’s thesis advanced by the resident I worked with on my med school psych rotation. She assured me that while I might think I had platonic friendships with men, the men didn’t see it that way. I was pretty sure they did see it that way. I wasn’t naive, I was engaged to be married and had done my share of dating and flirting — I knew what it felt like when a man was interested in me sexually and I knew the difference. I still know the difference, and I still have men friends. For most of my life, my closest friends have been men. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

What Makes A Conversation “Psychotherapy?”

Years ago I had a student who repeatedly asked me how psychotherapy works. “How is it different than a conversation?”

When I think of psychotherapy, I think in terms of the talking itself as being the aspect that helps — and yes, of course it can be used in conjunction with medications. I think of it as being structured — in terms of time and place and frequency — and being all about the patient. And whether or not it’s actually discussed, some of what works is about the relationship — most people don’t get better talking to someone they despise, and the warmth, empathy, feeling listened to and cared for, well, they’re all important. And I also think of it as being a process over time. These are all parts of my definition, however, and they may not be parts of yours. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Sexual Addiction: Is It Real?

Tiger Woods, Jessie James, Michael Douglas, and Wilt Chamberlain (remember him?) are just a few of the celebs who admit to being plagued with “sexual addiction.” With rehab centers springing up all over, it would appear this condition is on the rise. But is there really a disorder called “sexual addiction,” or is it just bad behavior that finally gets caught? Is sexual addiction equivalent to alcohol dependency?

Experts who treat sexual addiction say it is a compulsive need to seek out and follow a certain type of sexual behavior. Acting out sexually is something the person does to avoid dealing with something else — a coping mechanism that is out of control. It is not really about sex — it is driven by shame.

OK, stop right there. Is it really an addiction? Does the person experience physical withdrawal symptoms if he isn’t watching porn or bedding new women? I can understand that some may have an unhealthy obsession with sex, but I’m getting sick of the “medicalization” of it all. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

The Rise In Antidepressant Use: Are We Neglecting Therapy?

I guess I actually knew this intuitively, as the number of people I know who mention “trying antidepressants” rises, but the Archives of General Psychiatry article by Drs. Olfson and Marcus (August, 2009, 66(8), pp, 848-856) has confirmed my sense that antidepressant use has risen.

In fact, in the United States between 1966 and 2005 the annual rate of antidepressant use for people rose from 5.84 percent to 10.12 percent – translating into 27 million people over the age of six who were taking antidepressants. FYI, that makes antidepressants the most widely prescribed class of medication in office-based and hospital outpatient-based medical practices. Read more »

This post, The Rise In Antidepressant Use: Are We Neglecting Therapy?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

Online Psychotherapy And Telehealth’s Tipping Point

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If you told me last year that web-base psychotherapy would gain traction I wouldn’t have believed you.  That was before I met Mark Goldenson, CEO of Breakthrough, a silicon valley based web startup that matches patient and therapist through a secure online portal.  Breakthrough clients can review a therapist’s qualifications and fees, view sample video, and initiate therapy by video or phone.

In a 2.0 world marked by clouds, hives and democratized healthcare, Breakthrough is cultivating one-on-one relationships through improved access to mental health services.  Everyone should be talking about this. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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