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Uses of medications in psychoanalysis

As Americans increasingly seek a quick fix to physical and mental ailments, psychoanalysts can be caught in the crossfire of a debate about the potential benefits and drawbacks of including medication in their treatment plans. A panel discussion entitled, The Uses of Medications in Psychoanalysis: What We Know; What is Uncertain, will be led by internationally renowned psychoanalyst Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., at the American Psychoanalytic Associations 2008 Winter Meeting. The panel discussion will be held on Friday, January 18, 2008, from 2-5 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Media are invited to attend.

Taking the position for a cautious approach to the inclusion of medications in analysis will be Stephen D. Purcell, M.D., whose paper titled The Analysts Attitude toward Pharmacotherapy will be published in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (JAPA) in 2008. Adele Tutter, M.D., Ph.D., is more optimistic about the inclusion of medications in treatment and her article, Medication as Object, was published in JAPA. The panel discussion will be chaired by Richard M. Gottlieb, M.D., and the discussant will be Dr. Gabbard.

Instead of perceiving the use of medications in competition with analysis, we should educate our patients about the potential costs and benefits of including medication in an analytic treatment. Then, patients can make informed decisions about their treatment options, says Dr. Tutter. While we analysts value insight and introspection, some patients dont value these things and should be allowed to choose.

Im not taking the position that combined treatments that include medication and analysis should not be done. Instead, I believe they must be considered very carefully, says Dr. Purcell. An analyst's decision to combine medication with a psychoanalysis is also a tacit communication that under some circumstances can be an interference to psychoanalytic processes of change. The panel discussion is open to members of the media, mental health practitioners, students, and the public.


Contact: Dottie Jeffries
212-752-0450 x29
American Psychoanalytic Association

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