Why Not All Mental Health Problems Are Psychological
Minding the body means more than just taking a pill
Posted Dec 24, 2018
By Rich Simon and Robert Hedaya, M.D.
Even though we recognize that physiological processes hugely influence cognition, emotion, and behavior, too many therapists still tend to practice as if treatment should focus entirely on the mind. There’s a need to analyze the body as well as practice traditional psychotherapy. Learn to keep your ears open to nutritional, bodily, or energy complaints. Therapists can do a tremendous amount if they just expand their thinking.
A comprehensive physiological evaluation is often needed before determining if a client’s issues are purely psychological or if a medication trial is needed. Antidepressants have a role in clinical practice, but they are grossly over-utilized. We rely on drugs as a solution rather than deal with root causes of illness, and the pills are generally not as effective as we would be led to believe.
Psychopharmacology is just one tool in our toolbox. Whether you’re working with clients opposed to taking medication, unresponsive to it, or you’re just curious about alternative interventions, helping your client change lifestyle habits that affect the body may be the right choice for you.
This interview by Editor Rich Simon with Robert Hedaya, M.D., appears in the Psychotherapy Networker.