As Freud Rolls over in Grave, Psychiatrists Replace Listening with Drugs

Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Gone are the days when psychiatrists led the way in talk therapy and helped patients uncover the problems troubling their lives. Because the money isn’t in it, more and more of the 48,000 doctors who practice psychiatry do little of that these days and instead function more as drug therapists, meeting patients only briefly so they can get their prescriptions for anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and other medications.
Six years ago a government study found that only 11% of psychiatrists provided talk therapy to all patients, and that share is believed to have shrunk even more since then.
Psychiatrists have pulled out of talk therapy because insurance companies pay more for them to simply dispense prescriptions. “A psychiatrist can earn $150 for three 15-minute medication visits compared with $90 for a 45-minute talk therapy session,” wrote Gardiner Harris in The New York Times.
Of those psychiatrists who still offer talk therapy, many only cater to the wealthy. Some charge “$600 or more per hour to treat investment bankers, and top child psychiatrists charge $2,000 and more for initial evaluations.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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