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All too often mental health care is characterized by a time-limited, impersonal focus on a checklist of symptoms and disorders rather than a full engagement with a suffering individual. Changes in the way psychiatric conditions are diagnosed, excitement about the latest developments in neuroscience and psycho-pharmacology (especially when contrasted with the slowly accruing benefits of psychotherapy), health insurance companies efforts to cut costs by limiting reimbursements for psychotherapy, a poor economic climate, and a general cultural shift away from self-reflection, and towards easily quantifiable “results” have all contributed to this state of affairs.
Further, psychotherapists have long been divided into “camps” with Cognitive-behavioral therapies, Psychodynamic therapies, Group and Family therapies, etc. being viewed as competitors. In fact what unites all forms of psychotherapy is that they are forms of healing that depend upon engagement with another human being. This is also true for Psychopharmacological treatment, which must also be conducted with sensitive attention to the individual. There will be many changes to how mental health care is delivered in the years ahead and I believe that it is vital that the availability of a healing relationship be recognized as the primary means to healing from emotional wounds.