Psychotherapy in An Age of Neuroscience

Psychotherapy in An Age of Neuroscience

Joel Paris

Print publication date: May 2017

ISBN: 9780190601010

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Psychiatry, once proud of its biopsychosocial model, has now adopted a neuroscience-based approach that strongly favors psychopharmacological treatments and downplays the role of psychotherapies (or social interventions). This kind of practice can be sufficient for the psychoses, but it is neither evidence-based nor beneficial for patients with common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance use, and personality disorders. Current practice derives from a theoretical model in which psychiatry is viewed primarily as an application of neuroscience, with little reference to the vast literature on psychology, social sciences, and psychotherapy. This book reviews research bearing on these issues, and it shows why existing data support a different set of conclusions from those held by many experts and most practitioners. Common mental disorders often require psychological interventions. This book reviews the evidence supporting the prescription of psychotherapy in these disorders. It shows how this option, particularly when time-limited, is both accessible and cost-effective. It discusses why psychiatrists are not offering psychological treatments, as well as the problem of access to these interventions. It also discusses why psychotherapy, like psychopharmacology, should not be considered a panacea for every kind of clinical problem but, rather, should be prescribed with care based on a large body of scientific evidence.