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Howard Stern’s Endless Psychotherapy

Howard Stern, the ubiquitous satellite radio talk-show host, is a big proponent of psychotherapy. He has noted how he's been in psychotherapy three times a week for the past few decades, much like Woody Allen. But what kind of psychotherapy is Howard Stern in? And why does it seem endless?

This type of intensive, long-term psychotherapy is almost always psychoanalysis -- a specific type of psychotherapy that focuses on how a person's unconscious conflicts impact a person's everyday functioning. People who undergo psychoanalysis almost always meet with their analyst 2 to 3 times a week, every week, for years on end. Howard Stern has said he sees his analyst 3 times a week, but sometimes feels like he would like to cut down to twice a week.

Psychoanalysis is considered a specific form of psychodynamically-oriented psychotherapy and is far more popular in European countries than the U.S. And it's no wonder -- it's the form of treatment invented by Sigmund Freud himself. Contrary to popular belief, there's been a fair amount of empirical research conducted on psychodynamic therapy demonstrating its general effectiveness (see, for example, Shedler, 2010). Psychoanalysis is indeed a valid, effective form of therapy.

But at three times (or more) a week, who can afford such intensive therapy (other than celebrities like Howard Stern or Woody Allen)? And why would you bother if other forms of less intensive psychotherapy can be just as effective?

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Brain and Behavior

Seeking Happily Ever After: Some Tips for Singles

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 40 percent of adults were single in 2009. Researchers have found that the "single stigma" is worst for women in their mid-20's through mid-30's. Women 35 and older are more content with their single status and don't complain of social pressure as much as younger singles.

Michelle Cove, director and producer of the feature-length documentary, "Seeking Happily Ever After," has just compiled a book by the same title.

In between its covers, Michelle presents simple but smart steps for singles to identify their relationship needs and goals, and learns how to pursue healthier, stronger relationships. I have pulled the following suggestions from chapter four, "The Princess in Waiting."

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Fraser-Kirk and Adjustment Disorders

In Australia, David Jones' publicist Kristy Fraser-Kirk is suing the company she works for and its former CEO Mark McInnes for sexual harassment. David Jones is sort of like Macy's, except it's based in Australia.

According to news reports, Ms. Fraser-Kirk, 27, is suing David Jones, Mark McInnes and nine directors of the company. She is seeking compensation for a number of different claims, including breach of contract, as well as punitive damages of $37 million. Not exactly chump change. But then again, maybe that's what it takes to send a clear message about how sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the modern workplace.

But due to the publicity surrounding the case in Australia, she's now making a new novel claim -- that the publicity has led to an "adjustment disorder." So what is an adjustment disorder? How might it impact Fraser-Kirk's case??

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Feds Award $26.2 Million for Mental Health Care

All too often, I find myself writing about how mental health care fails in the U.S. It's an easy story to write -- during hard economic times, health care (especially for the poor and indigent) often takes a big hit from the government.

So it's always refreshing to write a different story. Especially one where the feds step up and fund not just a good idea, but a great one.

The hero in this instance is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the funding mechanism is the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. Forty-three agencies share in the $26.2 million booty (most receiving about $500,000). The goal of the funding? To help better integrate primary care into the mental health services they offer.

Yes, you heard me right -- helping poor people who have a mental disorder get proper health care, sometimes in the same facility where they get their mental health treatment.

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Best of Our Blogs: September 28, 2010

I just got back from a trip I took for a few weeks to London and Paris. Before you hate me, let me tell you that the trip was filled with challenges. From our hotel "losing" our reservations to getting sick, it was not the relaxing vacation I was expecting.

That being said, it was also one of the best trips I ever had.


It reminded me that the idea of a retreat or vacation from reality is a temporary fix. Your problems do follow you wherever you go and can be a microcosm of your real life. Although taking a break is a necessity for our mental health, it should not be perceived as an escape or a cure for what's really ailing us.

In the end, it gave me the insight to see that I didn't need to wait for big vacations and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to change my life. I needed to tune into what I was doing on a day-to-day basis and learn how to relax, be kind to myself and compassionate for my experiences instead of wait for a vacation or situation to heal me.

It was a lesson learned the hard way, but one I can appreciate in retrospect.

How about you? Any lessons you learned on your summer vacation?

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Soldiers Don’t Trust the Military to Help with Suicide

From the "Not really surprising" file... Returning soldiers and military veterans don't really hold much hope or trust in the military to help them with their mental health needs -- especially suicidal thoughts -- according to a new report.

And why would they? The military is their employer. Would you feel comfortable talking to your bosses about all of your mental health issues? And not just mild stuff either, this is the serious depression, "I want to kill myself" stuff.

Most of us would be extremely uncomfortable with such a conversation. We would be even more uncomfortable with such a conversation knowing it is being recorded in our work record, and will follow us around for the rest of our professional career.

This is exactly what happens to soldiers and officers in the U.S. military.

Read on to see the preliminary results of the report...

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10 Challenges for Parents With Chronic Illness

In the Parents Magazine article, "Mommy Isn't Feeling Well Today," Sarah Mahoney interviews many experts: professionals, parents who have chronic illness and sometimes, as in my case, people who are both. I was honored to be among them.

The article is impressive in how it covers many of the challenges parents face every day rearing their children while their health is seriously compromised.

Below, I summarize the article's most salient points and add my comments:

1. "Handling chronic illness is about learning to live in balance," said Rosalind Doran, Psy.D.

Many of us learn the hard way that if we don't pay attention to what and how much we do in all spheres of our lives we can quickly over-do. The result is the same as when the tires on our car are out of balance. We're in for a very bumpy ride.

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Evidence Based Treatments for Children, Teens

We talk a lot about the different types of research conducted in psychology that measure the effectiveness of various treatment methods. In fact, we publish daily news stories that cover a lot of new research findings every week. Some of the treatment research has to do with medications, some with psychotherapy, and some with other methods of treatment.

But it's all confusing and can be more than a little overwhelming. Take, for instance, the contradictory findings and results surrounding antidepressant medications. Some research says they are no better than sugar pills -- placebos. Other research says they can be effective, but you just need to find the right one at the right dose. It's hard to know what the research really says as a whole.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a central database or clearinghouse where you could find such information?

Well, at least in the world of psychotherapy and interventions for children and teenagers, now there is.
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Listening in On Another Conversation

We've all done it -- listened in on another conversation while talking to someone else. How can we do that? How can we focus our listening abilities on a far away conversation while "turning off" the ability to listen to the conversation that's right in front of us?

This unique listening ability is called selective listening and most people can do it. It's our ability to tune out one conversation and have our...
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‘Going Mental’ Kindle Sweepstakes Winner Week 1

We're pleased to announce Week 1's winner in the Psych Central 'Going Mental' Kindle Sweepstakes -- Hugh Partridge! Congratulations Hugh!!

Week 2's drawing period started today at midnight, so you can enter now by signing up for our free weekly mental health newsletter. We’re ‘going mental’ by giving away 5 new Kindle Readers — one a week — to new subscribers of our weekly Psych Central newsletter.

These are the high-end Kindle readers — the ones with 3G built-in. That means you don’t have to have an Internet connection to even use them. And don’t think you have to buy books to use these things — hundreds of free books are available in the Kindle store, and hundreds of RSS feeds can also be added for minimal monthly fees.

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Mental Health Stigma Still Prevalent

Two stories published in the past week by our news team gives me reason to be a little pessimistic about the gains we've made in terms of educating folks about mental health concerns.

The first article entitled, Depression Stigma Higher in Medical Students, examined mental health attitudes amongst medical students -- you know, those folks who should be the most open-minded about these disorders that have significant roots in the brain. Of course, from the title of the article, you already know the study's findings.

In a survey of 505 medical students, researchers found that not only do the future doctors have higher rates of depression than in the general population (not surprising, given the stress of medical school), but they have something a little less expected -- higher rates of stigma about depression too.

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