The Theater of the Brain

The play of consciousness.

Yes, Psychotherapy Is the Answer

Psychotherapy is a rewarding and effective practice that encompasses the depth and reach of human nature. It effectively heals psychiatric symptoms, the struggles of human character, and allows for the recovery of authenticity and the capacity to love. Dispensing drugs is destructive and ineffective. If we let psychotherap die, then we will have to invent it all over again Read More

The barriers that an

The barriers that an individual faces when trying to find effective psychotherapy are very real and difficult to navigate. The expense, for one, can be staggering. I'm currently searching, and have limited myself to people who are covered by my insurance. Even then, I know I'm only covered for a certain number of sessions. Then there's the exhausting process of finding a therapist that's "good" for the individual in the first place. My most recent introductory session, with a well- credentialed doctor who boasted 30 years of experience and one of the highest price tags in the city, was nothing short of a disaster. She talked about herself and her own past non- stop. I knew about her abusive sister and her body image problems and and where she lived since she moved to this state. I hadn't even gotten around to telling her about the infidelity in my current relationship, because she'd interrupted me so many times before I got there. I left laughing, but over the next few days it left me feeling sort of down. I felt self - centered and rude and insensitive for "only wanting to talk about myself."
Do you think there is anything to be done about the factors that may street someone away from psychotherapy? I recognize the benefit, I've become fairly adept at holding myself up through the failures, and I'm in a situation that allows me to (kind of) afford it, though burning through my savings may not prove to be the best decision in the long run. What about people who don't have my advantages?

Unfortunately your experiece

Unfortunately your experiece is not atypical. And I wish I had a satisfactory answer for you. But I don't. I have trouble myself when trying to make a good referral. Years ago, believe it or not, psychotherapy was in vogue and there were plenty of good therapists at all levels of the economic scale. But this is no longer the case. I wish you well, and I hope you find somebody competent and affordable.

Psychotherapy of Character

I'm confused about your use of the word, "Character." Are you referring to treating a person's character/behavioral defects and issues or some metaphor of a character in a play.

By character I mean the full

By character I mean the full scope of personality of the person. I might refer to your character (if I knew you). This is the same as one’s representational self in one’s internal play. I am not refering to defects. If you have a problematic character or character problems, it is the personality as a whole.

Sounds exceedingly complex

Sounds exceedingly complex and theater like.

I was diagnosed with a type

I was diagnosed with a type of depression at the beginning of the year; I went to a psychotherapist but couldn't open up to him. He talked about himself very often and I just wasn't brave enough to tell him that I'm not interested in his past. He also offered no useful advise and just told me the same thing over and over again although I told him that it's not that easy for him. Frankly, I simply did not feel comfortable when I was with him. I did not feel fully accepted as a human being and couldn't even bring myself to mention the fact I'm gay although I normally do not have problems telling people about it.
Now, I see another therapist. This time it's a woman but she's also talking about herself a lot of the time and her personal comments just feel uncalled for sometimes.
I think it's really hard to find the right therapist. I'd like to change, but I need some support and someone who understands and accepts me the way I am butI'm afraid I have to continue searching...

Its not much consolation, but

Its not much consolation, but at least you continue to listen to your own instinct. So continue to follow it.

trauma and recovery, in the future

Your article and philosophy regarding the generation of psychological problems and their treatment interests me greatly.

My own beliefs about this subject continue to evolve. Your mention of epigenetics is I think closest to what will eventually be deemed the "unifying theory" of the cause of and potential cure for psychological damage or trauma.

As you pointed out, effective psychotherapy takes a long time (like, 10 years) and is prohibitively expensive; it is like being a guide or a mentor and patiently waiting as the traumatized individual re-parents their own self from infancy, re-raises their own inner child, so to speak.

I think that eventually, perhaps a couple of generations down the road, that medical science will be able to come at the issue from another direction, perhaps using gene therapy to rebuild portions of the brain that are damaged, or missing.

Sort of like, "Your legs were broken in multiple places and knitted together incorrectly back when you were a baby, and so your legs are crooked, shortened unevenly from each other, and just walking is painful for you and that's having a negative impact on your quality of life. Using your own DNA, we can now grow your own bone tissue incorporated into and around a plastic/titanium core, then we can surgically implant these new legbones into your existing bone structure. This is expensive and it will hurt like hell, but after a year or so of intense physical therapy you will be able to walk unaided on properly proportioned, straight legs, and eventually maybe even running."

I think that eventually this kind of technology will be available for damaged mind/brains BUT full recovery from mental disorders will still take both psychotherapy and technology.

But hopefully it won't take nearly as long.

What I'm hoping is that the inclusion of medical therapy (such as, for example, the ability to genetically rebuild the portion(s) of the brain responsible for executive function, which when damaged or atrophied causes self-destructive high impulsivity.)

I see the potential for genetic therapy to restore a structurally sound, well-functioning brain, which psychotherapy can then work with and guide into healing without the use of "drug therapy."

Thank you for your thoughtful

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I wish I agreed with you, but I don’t. I believe it’s a fallacy to think that brains can be rebuilt, because the very structure of our personality is the digestion of our nurturance by our nature. In other words, one cannot excise problematic memory experience and add in new clean structures. The contents of our consciousness is inseparable from our experience and for our purposes, problematic experience. The only way to change a brain is through mourning that experience. I address this question in “Ray Kurzweil’s presentation of hybrid thinking does not grasp the biological operations of the brain and consciousness. Sentience and the limbic-cortical play is what makes us human”. Ray, who I deeply respect represents your hopes, which I suggest are a fallacy.

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Robert Berezin, M.D., is the author of Psychotherapy of Character. He taught psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School for thirty years.


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