There’s Such a Thing as Too Much Neuroscience

Op-Ed ContributorBy JOHN C. MARKOWITZOctober 14, 2016The United States government recently announced its new director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Joshua Gordon. If you think that’s just bureaucracy as usual, think again. Mental health research, under the leadership of the previous director, Dr. Thomas Insel, underwent a quiet crisis, one with worrisome implications for the treatment of mental health. I hope Dr. Gordon will resolve it.For decades, the National Institute of Mental Health provided crucial funding for American clinical research to determine how well psychotherapies worked as treatments (on their own as well as when combined with medications). This research produced empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and other talking treatments.But over the past 13 years, Dr. Insel increasingly shifted the institute’s focus to neuroscience,…


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