Psychotherapy is THE Biological Treatment


Neuroscience surprisingly teaches us that not only is psychotherapy purely biological, it is the only real biological treatment. It addresses the brain in the way it actually develops, matures and operates. It follows the principles of evolutionary adaptation. It is consonant with genetics. And it specifically heals the problematic adaptations of the brain in precisely the ways they evolved in the first place. Psychotherapy deactivates maladaptive brain mappings and fosters new and constructive pathways.

The operations of the brain are purely biological. The brain maps our experience through the linking of trillions of webs of neuron (memory-glued) circuits. These interconnected webs of webs of webs create larger circuits that map all throughout the architecture of the cortex. This generates high level symbolic neuronal maps that take form as images in our consciousness. The play of consciousness is the highest level of symbolic form. It is a living theater of image-ination, a representational world that consists of a cast of characters who relate together by feeling, as well as scenarios, plots, set designs, and landscape.

As we adapt to our environment, the brain maps our emotional experience through cortical memory. This starts very early in life. If a baby is startled by a loud noise, his arms and legs will flail. His heart pumps adrenaline, and he cries. This ‘startle’ maps a fight-or-flight response in his cortex which is mapped through serotonin and cortisol. The baby is restored by his mother’s holding. Her responsive repair once again reestablishes and maintains his well-being which is mapped through oxytocin. These ongoing formative experiences of life are mapped into memory in precisely these two basic ways.

These two basic modes underlie the mapping of the entire play into memory. A play written with good enough loving will promote authenticity and love. One written from trauma will generate a darker narrative and psychiatric symptoms. A problematic play affects the very sense of self of the child, his self-worth and value. It also warps the quality of relatedness with other people to one of distrust, emotional removal, and anger.

It is our individual genetic temperament which determines the form of psychiatric symptoms, whether depression, anxiety, phobias, hyperactivity, obsessions, compulsions, or psychosis. Deprivation and abuse in me may generate depression, while a similar trauma in you may generate a phobic state (see “The Nature-Nurture Question”). Temperament is the genetic component in the formation of psychiatric conditions.

The process of psychotherapy specifically and biologically repairs the damage done to the play. To introduce how we map our experience and how to effect brain change, I’ll use a simple example of neuromuscular learning. This example is about learning to play the guitar. Neuro-muscular learning is similar with learning other musical instruments, sports, dance, or any other learned physical activity.

What happens in the brain as you learn to play the guitar chord B7? It requires total attention to separate your fingers in a precise way in order to hold down the strings within certain frets. When first attempted, you can’t do it. You’d have to slowly place each finger in the right fret. The muscles don’t feel like they could get there, hold the position, or get sound out of the strings. And it hurts. It initially requires seconds to finalize the correct hand position. Each finger needs to be placed individually. As you continue to practice playing B7, it gets a little easier. If after a night’s sleep you try it again, it is still very clumsy. You still need full conscious attention to get your fingers correctly onto the frets. The sound begins to come out better. But getting there is still very slow. The chord is not, as yet, usable. After three days of working at it, you can finally play the chord. Your fingers don’t hurt anymore, and there is better coordination for the hand position. Your hand now operates as a whole unit, without much conscious effort. You no longer have to think about it. You have now mastered the chord. You have established a neuromuscular B7 map in your cortex.

Let’s say you learned the chord using a scrunched up hand position, that you now want to correct. In order to do so, you first would have to force yourself to stop using the old hand position. Once again, you have to give full conscious attention to holding your fingers and hand differently. This would take you back to muscular pain, clumsiness, slowness, inability, and frustration, just as it did the first time but not quite as bad. This is required for you to establish a new and different neuromuscular B7 map in your cortex. Once this is established, it operates by using the new map which will allow you play automatically. The process for brain change involves deactivation — disuse, not utilizing the old brain map — and then creating new neuromuscular experience to create a newly mapped B7 chord, which is activated. This describes simple neuromuscular learning and change.

In the emotional sphere of the play of consciousness, change and growth are far more complicated. Since the play is written through the amygdala and the limbic system, change has to proceed through feeling. The process of change is called mourning. In psychotherapy the patient mourns the pains of his life in the context of emotional trust with the therapist. The patient mourns the abuse and deprivation of his life, and faces the pain anew, in order to deactivate ‘fight or fight’ linked brain mappings. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief accurately describe the processes involved in relinquishing the old play to accept and inhabit a new one. One must go through the following stages: challenge denial — to be willing to open and feel the pain again; challenge bargaining also to be willing to feel; then one feels the anger at the real source of the abuse; and one feels the sadness at losing old problematic sources of security, or feels the pain deprivation itself; and finally acceptance of no longer inhabiting one’s old familiar identity. The trauma has to be mourned in order to move on to something new and better. Trauma is the hardest of all attachments to mourn.

The old play that generates symptoms and suffering was written from trauma. This means that the mappings through the limbic are infused with sadomasochism — serotonin and cortisol are featured in these mappings. Traumatic attachments need to be mourned for them to lose their power, and to be relegated to deactivated memory. In the context of the safe harbor of the therapist, one slowly digests, deactivates, and lays to rest the mappings of the old play. Then, since the sadomasochistic mappings are out of operation, the symptoms and suffering generated by the old play disappear. During the therapy the patient writes and inhabits a newly written play of trust, which is infused with love (oxytocin), not an overabundance of serotonin mappings.

The process of mourning in psychotherapy specifically repairs the brain in the very way that the original play was constructed. Psychiatric problems come purely from traumatic adaptations as digested by our temperament. Psychotherapy deactivates problematic mappings and activates healthier ones. It is purely functional and adaptive, and bears no relation to some idea of inherited organic brain diseases. (For an in-depth explanation see “Smashing the Neurotransmitter Myth.”)

It is misleading and damaging to have patients believe that something is genetically wrong with their brains. The cause of psychiatric suffering comes from the mappings of a traumatic play. Psychotherapy heals, and does so through the real biology of the brain.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. “Neuroscience surprisingly teaches us that not only is psychotherapy purely biological, it is the only real biological treatment.”

    Nope. And you do people who are suffering, a terrible disservice to make that statement.
    The two neurotransmitters that are really important in all this are: Glutamate (major excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS) and gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA – major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS)

    THE important things to know:

    1. GABA is synthesized by glutamate decarboxylase isoform GAD65 (an enzyme conrolled by the GAD1 gene) and the active form of B6 – PLP. So glutamate is converted by the body into GABA.

    2. The N-methyl-D aspartate receptor (NMDA) a glutamate receptor, is a voltage gated ion channel. Here is the REALLY important part. It is gated by MAGNESIUM IONS. That means that magnesium controls the transmission of glutamate. That magnesium is only knocked out of the way by the AMPA receptor.

    3. High levels of sustained stress cause loss of magnesium. What causes stress.. abuse, grief, bullying, work pressure, bereavement, relationships ….and on and on.. you get the picture.


    Magnesium supplementation and test anxiety
    Oral Magnesium Supplementation and Test
    Anxiety in University Undergraduates

    Antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like activity of magnesium in mice

    Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency on the Enhancement of Stress Reactions; Preventive and Therapeutic Implications (A Review)

    Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: modulation by therapeutic drug treatment.

    Magnesium deficiency and stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests, and approaches to therapy.

    Dietary magnesium deficiency affects gut microbiota and anxiety-like behaviour in C57BL/6N mice.

    Low dietary intake of magnesium is associated with increased externalising behaviours in adolescents.

    Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I.

    The mechanism of magnesium block of NMDA receptors

    NMDA Receptor Function and Physiological Modulation

    Zinc, magnesium and NMDA receptor alterations in the hippocampus of suicide victims

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    • Hi streetphotobeing: Regarding your comment, although there are complex molecular mechanisms involved, what triggers them are psychological experiences of people. Brains do not change for no reason at all. Additionally, although neuroscientists use authentic sounding neuro-jargon to justify what happens in the brain (all the complicated reactions – some of which you have referred to), these are merely ideas of people.

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  2. A lot of speculation posing as science here. No one really knows what a “brain map” is or how it would change, “circuits” are almost totally speculative, and the piece ignores some important questions as to how things like purpose, intention, values, and meaning are “brain phenomena.” That being said, it’s an important counterargument to biopsychiatry to note that almost any human activity changes brain chemistry and can even change structure over time, so arguments about the “need” for drugs to change the brain are spurious. Examples include taxi drivers having more development in the geographical/spatial parts of the brain, and Buddhist monks having expanded areas associated with peacefulness and contentment.

    So brains change depending how you USE them. The big mystery is, who exactly is choosing how the brain is used? The brain? The mind? If the latter, what exactly IS the mind, and how does it apparently control the brain in which most people assume it resides?

    We know next to nothing about the mind, and abstract claims about “mind maps” do nothing to alter that fact. The important result to extract from this presentation is that we can change our brains by how we employ them, and that should be good news for anyone trying to escape the biological determinist worldview.

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    • Hi Steve McCrea: This is not speculation – there is a LOT of literature on brain plasticity (=neuroplasticity). Scientists generally have an idea on what a healthy brain looks like (in terms of connectivity, the size of a amygdala, hippocampus, etc.), so they can tell what is a healthy change and what is not (based on correlational data) using this map. Measurable changes in the brain happen with experience.

      Regarding the mind – I like to think of the mind as constantly changing sense impressions and mental phenomena. Remember that it is the mind (consciousness) that thinks about trees outside, about our body structures such as the digestive system, nervous system, the body organ brain and even the mind itself. Although it is a different ‘level of analyses’ it can be understood – this is described in the article titled “Theoretical Foundations to Guide Mindfulness Meditation: A Path to Wisdom,” published in the journal Current Psychology.
      (If you are unable to obtain the article, you can get it from this ‘MindRxiv archive’ link: )

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      • I agree that plasticity is well established, but the important point in your comment is that any “mapping” is CORRELATIONAL. There is no way to actually map “circuits” – it is all related to the ACTIVITY of the brain, not specific linear connections. So while there are “maps” of areas that
        associated with certain kinds of activities, no one really knows what causes what, and as to circuitry, it’s mostly a fantasy.

        But I agree 100% with the rest of your comment, and the flexibility of the brain in response to experience makes the idea of “genetically wired” problems in the brain causing “mental illness” completely unsupportable.

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  3. When most physical forms of treatment (radical brain surgery, electroshock, drugs, etc.), based on the theory that the problem is “biological”, are damaging, and a matter of providing ‘trauma’, and calling it “care”. I wouldn’t be one to call any ‘treatment’ I was offering “biological”.

    “Maladaptive brain mapping”,”new and constructive pathways”? Etc.

    It is, after all, in such neuro-fanatical times as we are currently experiencing, possible to become…Lost In Neuro-Space.

    There is a quote, often mistakenly attributed to Einstein, that goes, “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” It has been found that one of its first occurrences was in a Narcotics Anonymous pamphlet though dating to the 1980s.

    Moral: It doesn’t take a theoretical physicist to figure out that if you are doing something that isn’t working for you, maybe you should be doing something else.

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      • I don’t have any trauma providers right now, bcharris. Don’t need ’em.

        You only get ‘biological’ treatment where the brain is blamed. You know? The biology. If it isn’t biology, no need to blame biology.

        It may not be biology.

        What was Dr. Breggin writing about in his most recent post? Oh, yeah. About psychiatrists mistaking the brain for a tumor.

        I’m just not one to blame the brain for the thoughts that a person has as a means of excusing that person for his or her bad behaviors. When I can change my behavior, the brain didn’t make me do it, and whatever it is about me that might need changing it is within my power to do so.

        People are drugged, put to the knife, and shocked because doctors don’t think it is within those peoples power to change their behavior without drugs, surgery, or shocks. I’m saying that more often than not that behavior doesn’t stem from some kind of physical anomaly of the organ of thought, and as that is the case, it doesn’t need to be treated as such.

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  4. Psychotherapy is just one of the many hoaxes that arises from the myth of mental illness. It is the height of presumption to pretend that the human brain is nothing more than a conglomeration of atoms and molecules and that psychotherapy represents a cure to some mysterious trauma in brain mapping. To discover the truth about psychotherapy, I highly recommend the following book:

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    • Slaying the Dragon:

      In Thomas Szasz’s Dec 2000 interview with Randall Wyatt, he says he was a psychotherapist for 45 years, and believes it helped people. He even alludes to accepting Freud’s theories about unconscious feelings/issues that motivate people’s actions without their knowledge. I applaud this article’s author’s support of psychotherapy. But I can understand how many on this website have negative opinions of it due to having been harmed by it, which is the most likely outcome when it takes place within an authoritative “mental health system” in which the medical model is accepted, therapists persuade clients to accept their “mental illness” and comply with their “meds”, they are made into permanent clients for the system’s financial gain, the therapy is often “CBT” which merely pressures clients to be socially conformist, to shut up and suppress their issues so “progress” can be documented, and clients are often shuttled into psych hospitals against their will. Private practice therapists are less likely to be subject to these pressures, so are more likely to place the clients’ interests first.


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      • Have you read The Myth of Psychotherapy? Szasz’s views on psychotherapy are much more nuanced than anything that he could communicate in an interview. His views on Freud are much deeper than simply accepting theories about unconscious feelings. I don’t agree with everything that Szasz has written or said, but the vast majority of people haven’t read Szasz, and even if they have read him, they haven’t really understood him. The very notion that there is a dividing line between a “psychotherapist” and a “client” is one that Szasz has unpacked in detail. The “healing words” of so-called “psychotherapy” may very well benefit certain individuals, but it is all a part of the grand delusion that is the psychiatric enterprise. Nevertheless, I suppose that once psychiatry is abolished, there will be many psychiatrists, social workers, and other “professionals” who could benefit from the mystical “healing words” of psychotherapy.

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      • I am on Medicaid, so the only “therapist” I can afford regularly is one who belongs to a Mental Illness Factory Center. She (female 90% of the time) does little but parrot what the doctor says. “You’ll be sick for life. Keep taking your ‘meds.’ Give up on your dreams. Keep taking your ‘meds.'” Encouraging stuff like that. 🙂

        I no longer see a therapist. My depression has finally gone away.

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  5. “One must go through the following stages: challenge denial — to be willing to open and feel the pain again; challenge bargaining also to be willing to feel; then one feels the anger at the real source of the abuse; and one feels the sadness at losing old problematic sources of security, or feels the pain deprivation itself; and finally acceptance of no longer inhabiting one’s old familiar identity. The trauma has to be mourned in order to move on to something new and better. Trauma is the hardest of all attachments to mourn.”

    It’s a shame most psychologists and psychiatrists do the opposite, especially when it comes to them denying child abuse, then labeling and poisoning massive numbers of child abuse victims, according to your industries’ own medical literature. Today, “the prevalence of childhood trauma exposure within borderline personality disorder patients has been evidenced to be as high as 92% (Yen et al., 2002). Within individuals diagnosed with psychotic or affective disorders, it reaches 82% (Larsson et al., 2012).”

    Most psychologists and psychiatrists deny child abuse, and label and poison the child abuse victims for profit instead, according to your industries’ own medical literature. And an ethical pastor did confess to me that such crimes are what “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” is all about.

    But I do agree, “trauma has to be mourned in order to move on to something new and better.” And I agree, “It is misleading and damaging to have patients believe that something is genetically wrong with their brains.” It’s actually outright scientific fraud. Especially since today’s “borderline” and “psychotic or affective disorder treatments are already medically known to create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome, and the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via antidepressant and/or antipsychotic induced anticholinergic toxidrome.

    But what’s good is we now know “schizophrenia” is an iatrogenic illness created with the “gold standard schizophrenia treatments,” as opposed to being an illness with a theorized “genetic” etiology. I do so hope the “mental health professionals” will overcome their “delusional beliefs” about “schizophrenia” and all the DSM disorders soon. Thanks for speaking out against the failed DSM paradigm of “care,” Robert.

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  6. Robert,

    although, in general, I like a lot of what you have to say, and I know that you simplified your presentation a great deal, respectfully, my concern is with the general hubris I find in most therapists. Over at ISSTD they have grabbed hold of attachment terms and some of the basic concepts of the theory and then applied them in a most simplistic fashion in their therapy methods. I see some of the same terms popping into your article here, and I hope you understand how completely unqualified most therapists are to implement attachment theory principles for the relationship they have with their clients.

    1) The first disqualifier is money because it should NEVER be the basis of an attachment relationship instead of commitment and trust. If the money dries up, most therapists aren’t committed beyond the next payment.

    2) But beyond that the more traumatic the experience and the earlier it was experienced during life (i.e. childhood vs adulthood), the deeper the traumatic paradigm is entrenched in ways that no therapist can ever reach using the boundary-crippled relationship that takes place once or twice a week in the therapist’s office.

    I have spent 10 straight years undoing the trauma paradigm of my wife and rewiring her brain/mind (or mapping it if you prefer). Every day multiple times an hour, day, week, etc, I not only am tearing down the lies of the past (trauma attachments as you call them), but replacing them with positive, loving truths and experiences of the present (positive attachments). It’s simply NOT something any therapists can do, nor would it be appropriate as I have to do this in ALL areas of her life and our relationship. It’s systemic in my wife’s personality and being all the way down to some of the simple, seemingly-unrelated habits of hers that I had no idea were related to the trauma until we were years into the journey (like why she used to refuse to use a soup spoon).

    When we first started this journey my wife begged/warned me NOT to start the journey if I wasn’t committed for the long haul. And truly I have seen so many clients with deep trauma and attachment issues devastated by therapists who had no business trying to co-opt attachment principles in the glib and simplistic fashion which seems to be gaining steam, only for them to get in over their heads or petulantly quit when the client didn’t respond on the time-table of the therapist.

    Truly I wish you therapists would understand that the best place you can occupy is to be a facilitator in your client’s life and try to help him/her set up attachment relationships where the real work of unraveling the trauma and replacing it with positive experiences can take place. Yes, there are simple things that can be done in the short span of the hour or two you have with a client each week, but the deep, systemic things simply MUST be resolved by the attachment figures in the client’s life. Thus, teaching and empowering those figures ought to be one of the primary goals of any therapist dealing with a client who has deep trauma/attachment issues.

    Finally, I don’t mean this to be an attack on therapists. Unlike so many on this website, I truly do believe in the value of therapy and therapists, but I believe they have their role in the journey just like willing SO’s, friends and family members have a different role. And the reason I believe this movement continues to falter is because too many therapists have taken up the wrong role and the SO’s, family and friends have largely been left out of the equation.

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    • Julie Greene criticizes therapists in her blog, calling them “friendship prostitutes.” Sometimes this seems to be the case.

      Julie has started a business as a life coach–not a therapist. Her website is Her goal is to prevent young folks from being sucked into the System.

      No, I’m not affiliate marketing. I think she is providing a useful service and am glad to help her out. She didn’t ask me to, either.

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      • I don’t really see charging for quality therapy and charging for life coaching as being fundamentally different. The question is only whether you provide a quality product. I have helped tons of people (in their own opinions, not mine) over my career and don’t feel bad having been paid to do so. There are things an independent third party can provide that a friend can’t. The big problem is that most therapists have not dealt with their own issues and act them out on their clients. Can’t say I’ve never done that, but in the main, I understand the difference between what I need and what my clients need, and they can tell the difference. People who can make a difference should be able to be paid for their efforts. People who don’t help or make things worse should not.

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  7. Dr. Berezin,
    You make a good case for psychotherapy as a biological healer, but surely it is not the ONLY biological treatment. You are a psychotherapist so it’s not surprising that you make this claim about your area of expertise. Dr. Alfred Tomatis, an otolaryngologist (1920 – 2001), was equally convinced that THE biological method of healing the brain (and the psyche) is through filtered high frequency sounds (Mozart concertos, Gregorian chants, etc.) that recharge the vestibular system of the inner ear (and whole body) with energy, and encourages the right side of the brain to “talk” to the left side. In Tomatis therapy, emotional disorders are treated as listening problems. A classical homeopath makes the case that homeopathic remedies are tailor made to treat the causes of symptoms, rather like what psychotherapists claim.

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      • Really? You are dismissing the neuroplastic effect of music on the brain and water containing ultradiluted substances that provide information to the body as placebos? It’s understandable in the case of homeopathy (which developed the first placebo-controlled studies in the mid 1800s (Dean) that American allopathic doctors are skeptical because most of the current homeopathic research is being done outside the United States. In the case of Tomatis, Tomatis therapists will proudly tell you that Tomatis was employing the concept of brain plasticity many years in advance of the neuroplasticity of the brain becoming widely accepted by the greater medical community. My point is, everybody is selling us something, and they believe in their product. They’ve all got convincing, scientific sounding arguments (and research), but to claim that their product is the ONLY path to salvation is, as Larry David might say, “a bit much.”

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        • Hi Rossa,
          Perhaps the therapies you mention (e.g. homeopathy) are useful for some physical ailments (we don’t know how they act though) and they may also have some temporary calming effects on the brain.

          I prefer to focus on psychological states that change the brain mostly because the research evidence is very strong in this area. Studies have shown when mice are subjected to various psychological stresses (e.g. being restrained) their neurochemicals and their brain changes and these changes are reversible through psychological means (e.g. when stressed, restrained animals are released). If someone loses one’s job, all the rumination, worry and regrets will change their brain chemicals and when the person gets a job again, these chemicals will return to normal again. But if they are told that they have a “brain disease” (which is what is happening in psychiatry now) that would only lead to a whole lot of additional psychological stresses to that individual.

          Placebo effect happens due to expectations (psychological state) one has regarding a treatment. Meta analyses have shown that most active drugs and placebos have similar effect sizes. See the following:

          Howick J, et al. (2013) Are Treatments More Effective than Placebos? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE 8(5): e62599.

          This means most main-stream medicines are effective only because of their placebo effect. Psychiatric drugs also help some people (those who can tolerate them) only due to their placebo effects. Talking of placebos, in the following new study (involving deep brain stimulation), patients who underwent a sham programming session improved as much as the patients who received real brain stimulation.

          Holtzheimer, P. E., et al. (2017). Subcallosal cingulate deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression: a multisite, randomised, sham-controlled trial. The Lancet Psychiatry, 4(11), 839-849.

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          • Thanks, Nancy99 for your thoughtful response. When you are talking about the placebo effect, you are referring to the standard definition of the placebo effect in that the patient expects that whatever is provided will make him or her well, and I’m guessing the time frame has to be short. “Take this pill or this potion, and you should expect to be well in X amount of time.” Neither psychotherapy nor homeopathy are short term treatments for mental distress. You have to believe enough in their curative powers to keep going, and this can take years. I’m leading this thread far off topic, and I’m no expert in homeopathic cures, but actually, the opposite of what you said is true about homeopathy: It works especially well for mental disorders. How exactly it works is not known, but the same can be said for many of today’s effective treatments.

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      • I totally agree with your criticism of this article (together with Steve); however, I am slightly less supportive of your criticism of Rossa. I agree that Rossa over-hypes the value of nutrition based on the placebo effect, but I also believe that physical health has critical value in promoting “mental health” (emotional well-being) . Emotional crises are often exasperated by biological problems with sleep (and worsened when people get sucked into the “system” while seeking sleep medication), nutritional deficits (“garbage in, garbage out”), and environmental allergens and toxins (the “mad” hatter). Consistently, better nutrition, regular sleep, reduced environmental toxins and regular exercise are biologically helpful in promoting “mental health.” It is the placebo effect supports the erroneous belief that exercise alone or improved nutrition alone can reverse the effects of distressful life circumstances.

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        • Hi, Steve,
          Thanks for giving me a sort of compliment, but actually, I, too, believe that the value of nutrition in treating mental illness is over-hyped. Homeopathy is not nutrition, so maybe that’s the confusion. People often think homeopathic remedies are nutrients, maybe because they see the potions on the pharmacy shelves next to granola bars, but they aren’t. Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine (ulta-diluted substances) used to treat acute and chronic conditions.

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          • Some forms of madness come from malnutrition, so large supplements could cure them. I could stand better nutrition; my body feels very depleted now. I can no longer fast as a spiritual discipline and need regular meals with protein though I’m not diabetic.

            Here’s something to consider, Rossa. If drugs like abilify block our bodies from absorbing nutrients (I believe they caused my bout with severe anemia) and the psychosis is caused–even in part–by malnutrition then they are ruining the “consumer’s” ability to ever return to sanity.

            I know you’re sympathetic. My mom was like you once. But over the years she embraced her role as the dedicated mother of a schizo/bipolar daughter. She knows I have changed, but not why yet. It’s hard for her to accept even what should be considered improvements in my personality. 🙁

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  8. That’s Right! Psychotherapy is the biological treatment. And this is why we must reject it with extreme prejudice. It is based on the idea that the client, really the abuse target, has a defect. It is a religion, the new expression of the idea of Original Sin.

    With must reject this with extreme prejudice, even using the power of citizen’s arrest where warranted. Our government must in no way be supporting or licensing psychotherapy. We the survivors need to start putting as many as possible of them out of business.

    If a psychotherapist is doing these talk sessions on a juvenile who is not currently being represented by an attorney in court, then that psychotherapist is merely a hired accomplice abuser. They should be arrested, hand-cuffed, and taken to jail.

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  9. I agree with you Robert. Yes, neurons continuously change with our experiences. Psychological stresses change the neurons in various ways and they come back to normal when these psychological stresses are addressed. This is what is called neuroplasticity – a key discovery of neuroscience.

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  10. “Psychotherapy” is a meaningless term used to describe infinite forms of interpersonal exchange, any of which may or may not prove beneficial to a particular person. It’s like asking someone if they like “music.”

    The “therapy” part is certainly misleading, and implies a medical model.

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    • It certainly is a deceptive term that implies a medical model and some form of biological healing. The “psycho” part is just as misleading as the “therapy” part. Psychotherapists are the ersatz false priests of the modern day false religion of psychiatry. Nevertheless, they are to be pardoned, like many of the priests of yore, because they know not what they do.

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      • Slaying the Dragon:

        Mostly what I do is just patiently listen to and understand what people are going through. I let them express their feelings/issues and don’t criticize, stigmatize, or cut them off. We connect as equals. I offer no priestly, mystical healing words, I promise no false, magical solutions, and I don’t pressure them to change to conform to society. Overall, I would say that I do the exact opposite of what biological psychiatrists do. How could doing the opposite of the most harmful profession in the world be such a bad thing? And Szasz also did it, for 45 years, and said that people that he had “conversations” with found them helpful.


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        • Lawrence, this has nothing to do with you. I’ve read your articles. You write good articles, and you understand the problem more than most people. But if you read Szasz more carefully, you will understand his reasons for criticizing his own “profession.” Of course people need others with whom to converse. That used to be the jurisdiction of loving families and helpful friends. There is nothing wrong with people lending a hand or a kind, listening ear. I commend you for this. But there is a difference between listening to people and talking with them and getting paid to do so. To be clear, I’m not an anti-capitalist, and people need to get paid to work. But it’s very hard to get a person to understand something when his or her salary depends upon him or her not understanding that thing. Szasz was mostly opposed to coercive relationships in psychiatry, but he had a lot to say about so-called “psychotherapy” as well. Read his book “The Myth of Psychotherapy.” Read all of his books. One of Szasz’s most perceptive insights was the way in which psychiatry had replaced the former authority of religions and priests. I disagree with Szasz in many ways because he was more atheistic than he needed to be. But he correctly understood that the power dynamic in medicine, and particularly the power dynamic in the false religion of psychiatry, had shifted from priests to “physicians.” I’m sure that you are doing great work just by being empathetic and listening to and loving others. There is a great need for that in the world, a need that used to be supplied by families and friends, but now is being relegated to secondary institutions. I’m glad that you do the exact opposite of what biological psychiatrists do. But in reality, the exact opposite of what biological psychiatrists do would be to abolish psychiatry, not to defend it. I realize that biological psychiatrists incarcerate, drug, abuse, torture, and stigmatize, sometimes without even knowing it. But psychiatry itself is the root cause of the problem. Anyone who understands the true history of psychiatry, and the character of its founders, understands that psychiatry is, as Szasz so clearly articulated, the science of lies. Again, I commend you for your good work, and I believe that, like Szasz, you may be able to do a lot of good as an insider. No one can be more effective at abolishing psychiatry than those who actually work in the field. Szasz and Breggin have done good work already. Now it is up to us to finish the work. All the best.

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    • Counseling or coaching are more accurate terms, assuming it’s a healthy relationship. Many “therapists” are abusive and you’re better off with no counseling at all!

      Right now I don’t care if a counselor is certified. Often I prefer uncertified mavericks, since they aren’t as apt to be toadies for the MI System.

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  11. It was precisely due to the inefficacy and excesses of psychotherapy in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s that led to the rise of psychopharmacology as the primary means of treating “mental illness”. From its very beginnings, psychotherapy cost too much, took too long, and was led by narcissistic gurus.

    Psychotherapists have yet to construct a unified and stable theory of what “therapy” actually is and how it actually works. Psychotherapists since Freud mistakenly claim that talking about the past and “mourning” it would cure symptoms of “mental illness”. This is not true in many cases. Nor is long-term psychotherapy affordable to most people.

    Dr. Berezin is guilty of the same biological pseudoscience that he accuses psychiatrists of when he speaks of “repairing” the “damage”. Our brains are learning machines, not brickwork. The process of change is NOT called “mourning”. It is called learning. We learn by having good teachers and good experiences. Sometimes these teachers are called “psychotherapists”. And even with a good teacher, memories are never “healed”–memories are integrated. Much of a “skilled” psychotherapist’s approach and success should actually be credited to building a long-term, trusting human relationship.

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    • Comparing evolution to psychiatry in terms of scientific legitimacy is like comparing astronomy to astrology. While evolution doesn’t explain everything about how inheritance of traits and natural selection work, it is based on observation and experiment and is modified when new observations occur. Compare to the DSM, which is invented in committees and is based on subjective opinions of “clinicians” and is impervious to any new data and whose authority is based entirely on social position and bias instead of evidence.

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      • Well said Steve McCrea!
        However, I think Explorer86 also has a point. The theory of evolution is currently used often in scientific articles as if it is the absolute truth. People forget that it is merely a theory, especially when it is used to justify or prove the validity of other statements.

        Below are some problematic aspects about the theory of evolution that I had noted down sometime back:

        – Unless an organ (for example, electric organs in fish or other organs) is fully developed, it would not provide any survival advantage for an animal and refining an organ after its preliminary beginnings (note that preliminary beginnings of many organs do not have a survival advantage to an animal) would require a great number of random mutations that somehow happen in a favorable direction.

        – If we take altruism, it is very acceptable to say that altruism (genes), get selected because of their advantage for the group. However, if one animal in a litter has an aggressive gene making it kill all its other siblings, it can be hypothesized that this trait would have a greater survival advantage – but we know that this does not happen, and the reason why is not explained by the theory of evolution. In sexual selection too, one could argue why an aggressive trait does not get selected over a pretty display.

        – A growing body of recent research has begun to show that mind states (such as meditation) can influence DNA expression, and these types of findings would be very difficult to incorporate into the theory of evolution.

        – How do we explain why homosexuality-trait persists in humans – if we consider evolutionary explanations, such a trait would be eliminated as soon as it arises! (as there won’t be offspring produced by that individual).

        – The absence of many intermediate forms in fossil records is also problematic for the theory of evolution.

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        • I personally believe there is a lot of evidence to support the theory of evolution. If you have another theory, please, explain the fossil record. You mention the absence of many intermediate forms in those records, however, there are also present many intermediate forms as well. These intermediate forms help to explain how, for instance, dinosaurs and birds, and, people and chimpanzees, are pretty closely connected in evolutionary terms. As for your first dash, the ‘fully developed organ’, I don’t think anybody has ever suggested that evolution occurred overnight. It would require “a great number of random mutations” over a very long period of time with the result that those traits that advanced survival remained, and those that didn’t were eliminated from the gene pool, thus sending it in a direction that favored survival over extinction. I don’t think anybody would say that science lays any claim to any “absolute truth” either. No, it’s religion that does that. Of course, religion is neither scientific nor theoretical.

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          • Hi Frank: I am not denying evolution altogether – what I am saying is evolutionary theory should not be used to justify or prove the validity of other assertions that we make because evolutionary theory is not a perfect theory. Many years ago I used to accept evolutionary theory as an ‘absolute truth’ that can never be denied (I just loved the theory!). However when I used to write assignments (university level), I did wonder how it was always possible to come up with various explanations (in terms of survival advantages to an animal) no matter what the observed trait (phenotype) that an animal displayed! There was always a way to twist the explanation to suit the theory – we first look at the trait and then do the explanations!

            Regarding intermediate forms: these intermediate forms are present for only some species – not for all species. Also, I know about the ‘long periods of time’ explanation (that you gave), but think of the stages of evolution of an electric organ in fish – the preliminary beginnings of such an organ (electricity generating cells) could harm the fish itself before it can become a fully developed organ! Also, how would you explain the other points I listed in my earlier comment? Let alone those, in this current article, how would you incorporate evolutionary theory to explain how psychotherapy changes the brain? When I read the article, I just let go those sentences to focus on the main theme of the article (which is about ‘neuroplasticity,’ for which there is indisputable evidence).

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          • I wouldn’t say “these intermediate forms are present only for some species”. Paleontology is a matter of piecing together a larger story from the fossil record. ‘Missing links’ are to be expected. We are discovering new living species all the time. We are also in a fight to find such species before their habitat is completely destroyed. Undiscovered extinct species have to be that much more difficult to account for. We are discovering new extinct species all the time, too. If you’ve ever done any historical research you will understand how messy it can be. Not everything is, or can be, known.

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          • As I said earlier, I am not denying evolution – the process has even been demonstrated directly in peppered moths (in terms of their color change). All I am saying is that it is not a perfect theory (as I have stated in the other points of my previous comment).

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          • Any scientific theory needs to be open to re-interpretation when new data comes along. Evolution is open to new data, psychiatry is not. So comparing them (as the original poster did) is just plain wrong-headed. That was my original point. Even Newtonian mechanics, long considered the most obvious and stable of scientific postulates, had to be modified when scientists looked at very small objects or very high speeds and masses. While there are some who subscribe to the idea that “science is truth” in a quasi-religious kind of way, any real scientists know that all theories can be revised based on new information. This is why psychiatry is not a scientific enterprise, while evolution is.

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  12. Instead of basing judgments about psychotherapy (based on what different well known people have said about it), I think everyone can agree what people in distress need are hope, support and other interventions such as training in mind-calming activities (e.g. meditation and mindfulness practices, etc.). It is also useful to address their practical needs (direct them to resources on how they can find a job, etc.). So, psychological interventions can go a long way in healing. Also, if anyone does not like the word “healing” they can use the words “to overcome problems in living.” In contrast, what typical psychiatrists do is to give people fancy labels, tell that there is something wrong with their brain circuits and give medicines that ultimately interfere with normal biochemical functioning of the brain.

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  13. Frank: Since you mentioned “absolute truth,” I thought of writing something about that too.

    This world and the universe can be analysed in different ways – we all know that. We analyse in terms of physical elements (even involving quantum physics where the wave nature of matter is examined), we analyse in terms of biology, social groups and their interactions, etc. But there is a very different level of analyses, or an ‘ultimate level’ of analyses. This involves analysing the mind (i.e., consciousness) – this is the ‘ultimate level’ because it is the mind that analyses all other levels I mentioned including the mind itself.

    Science has not been able to tackle the riddle of consciousness because it clings to materialism almost like clinging to a belief system. However, if we consider science to be an “intellectual activity involving the systematic study of the natural world,” then questioning materialism is also science – one has to think outside the box in order to do this.

    Regarding the mind, ancient Buddhist teachings have systematically and comprehensively analysed the mind. Please take a look at the following article (it is an ‘open access’ article):
    Karunamuni, N.D. (2015). The Five-Aggregate Model of the Mind. SAGE Open, 5 (2).
    A more detailed analyses of the mind (related to this article and based on ancient teachings) is provided in the article titled “Theoretical Foundations to Guide Mindfulness Meditation: A Path to Wisdom,” published in the academic journal ‘Current Psychology’ (I posted a link to it in one of my previous comments here).

    If you read these articles and carefully attempt to understand them, you will realize for yourself why this level of analyses is referred to as the ‘ultimate level’ (you will understand that there cannot be a level above it). All religions appear to be aiming for this level of analyses (as described in the first article I mentioned above), although it is in ancient Buddhist teachings that a clear systematic description of consciousness is provided.
    (Note: I am posting this as a separate comment to avoid a thin/long answer thread that would result if I directly reply to your comment).

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