Talk Doesn't Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Published way back in 2011 (with the web this seems like a long time ago!) this New York Times article by Gardiner Harris discusses why many psychiatrists no longer provide psychotherapy, opting instead to simply prescribe drug after drug after drug. When I read the article for the first time, it seemed ridiculous to me that someone would train for so many years to become a "shrink" and then choose not to provide talk therapy. I viewed this then, as I do now, as a very sad commentary on the state of our mental health system.

So what has caused so many psychiatrists to abandon psychotherapy? According to the Talk Doesn't Pay, insurance companies are to blame. Apparently, insurance companies prefer to pay for less expensive (and often lesser trained) mental health professionals to handle psychotherapy while relegating the status of a psychiatrist to that of a "pill pusher."  Now read this!  Instead of becoming clinically depressed about the direction my chosen field was going, I used this article as inspiration to found 360 Mental Health Services.

At 360, a highly trained physician can practice mental health medicine the way it ought to be practiced, without having to worry about whether an insurance company thinks I or another member of my 360 team is providing "too much" care. The Talk Doesn't Pay article also served as an inspiration for the book I am currently writing for parents on how to navigate the complex child mental health system. I may even sneak in little tidbits of my book-to-be here and there at 360.

-Dr. Tim