Photo credit: ktylerconk
About a week ago, while catching up on my reading, I came across an interview of Dr Donald Levin by Gardiner Harris. This extensive interview appeared in the New York Times on March 5. The title stated that talk-therapy doesn’t pay (as in, insurance doesn’t cover those costs), so psychiatrists (have to) turn to drug treatment instead.
The title is somewhat misleading as the article mainly revolves around Dr. Donald Levin’s working life. He started private practice back in 1972, but worked in hospitals from 1985 till 2000, before starting his private practice again.
As to be expected with the relapse of time, the practice of psychiatry had changed. For Dr. Donald Levin it meant that where he previously provided medical ánd talk therapy, he slowly turned solely to dealing with drug treatment. It appears to me that he blames the system for this situation.
However, there are still many psychiatrists offering both treatments. One of them is Dinah Millar M.D., who wrote a response to this interview in Psychology Today (March 7), that psychotherapy and psychiatry are still the best of partners. She maintains the view that patients get the best of care when only one doctor is involved providing both treatments.
So, maybe it is more about doing what you believe in, without letting the amount of earnings stand in the way?
It is unfortunate for all medical doctors that the world of insurance has so much to say about which treatment receives coverage. I consider it worse though, for us, as it greatly influences the choices we can make while ‘shopping’ for the care we need.
John M Grohol PsyD, the CEO and founder of the Psych Central website, expresses in his blog that nowadays clinical psychologists, amongst other mental health workers, are much better trained in the area of psychotherapy than psychiatrists.
It is a given that time brings change. It can be debated, however, if all changes are good changes.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes within psychiatry is the appearance of other mental health givers providing different varieties of (talk-)therapy. Thus the ‘old’ idea that (psycho)therapy is only connected with psychiatrists is – well, old!
What we should ask ourselves, is what the consequences of this change are for us and how it influences the care we need and receive.
The question is, in my opinion, twofold:
* What to think of the appearance of other mental health workers providing various types of (talk-)therapy?
* Is it really better to be treated by one doctor providing talk-therapy as well as medical treatment?
I really like to know what you think!
Please, share in the comment section or via the ‘contact me’ page in the left hand top corner. Thank you!
This post has been followed up with What about our care?