Talk therapy has been scientifically proven to increase mental health and to ease conditions such as schizophrenia. This fact comes to us in a new study by The American Journal of Psychiatry, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, as Congress debates mental health reform and as we consider the role of mental illness as a factor in America's mass shooting epidemic.
Can we now all agree that long-term talk therapy is important? Can we as a culture value the powerful opportunity to explore the inevitable complexity of one's mind and emotions in a safe relationship -- especially with an appropriately trained therapist? Can we appreciate that what we call mental illness does not only afflict a handful of people in distinct and obvious ways, but all of us at various points in our lives due to a variety of circumstances? And can we effectively convince insurance companies to cover such treatments as they would any other service that has been proven to lead to optimal health?
We can't identify who is going to be the next shooter with tests and diagnosis. But we can adjust our thinking regarding optimal mental and physical health and, rather than continuing to stigmatize those individuals engaged in long term talk therapy, accept the fact that it provides great benefits for all of us.
Here is a piece I wrote for HuffPost on the subject shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings of 2012. I am posting the link so that you can read it exactly as it was, since little to nothing has changed. Let's please make an adjustment in our thinking and where we put our money before this happens again.