Amy Olson: Fair to Freud

October 21, 2013 

The Oct. 6 Other Opinion piece “Why we need Big Therapy” highlighted the over-reliance of pharmacotherapy in the treatment of psychiatric problems.

Sadly therapists themselves have colluded with this mentality, oversubscribing to biological interpretations of mental health problems as well as using gimmicky, quick-fix therapeutic techniques. Although I agree with the writer, I think there is something unintentionally misleading in his eschew of “old-fashioned Freudian therapies.” Many good psychotherapy techniques have risen on the shoulders of Freud and other psychoanalytic theorists.

Psychoanalytic therapies have come a very long way and are backed by empirical evidence, too. Psychoanalytically informed therapists are up to date with current techniques and are interactive and creative with their patients, as opposed to “old-fashioned.” True, these therapies are not brief, but they are effective for serious, chronic psychiatric disorders. Let’s be fair to Freud’s contributions!

Psychotherapy has gotten involved in the race for bigger, better, quicker and sexier. Are these not the exact same problems my patients seek help with? How can I look them in the face and propose a treatment plan contaminated with the same thinking? I won’t do it. Call me “old-fashioned.”

Amy Olson

Licensed psychotherapist


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