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Psychoanalytic Therapy Making a Comeback?

September 30, 2008

These days, psychoanalysis is nowhere near as popular as it was 50 years ago. The criticism that the technique is untestable has relegated it to the realm of pseudoscience. But that was yesterday. Today's New York Times reports that "In a review of 23 studies of such treatment involving 1,053 patients, the researchers concluded that the therapy, given as often as three times a week, in many cases for more than a year, relieved symptoms of those problems significantly more than did some shorter-term therapies."

“If you define borderline personality broadly as an inability to regulate emotions, it characterizes a lot of people who show up in clinics, whether their given diagnosis is depression, pediatric bipolar or substance abuse,” said Dr. Andrew J. Gerber, a psychiatrist at Columbia. For some of those patients, Dr. Gerber said, “this paper suggests that you’ve got to get into longer-term therapy to make improvements last.”

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