It’s critical that the physician is able to recognize the patient who needs psychotherapeutic intervention.

Most patients who attempt or commit suicide have recently seen a physician or a healthcare provider, and the suicidality has been missed because this is not a symptom talked about. We ask about sadness, loss of interest, but we don’t mention hopelessness, which is a core feature in both depression and suicide. Asking about hopelessness will help identify patients at risk who would benefit from psychotherapy.
Pharmacological therapy and psychotherapy address two different areas of patient wellness and are therefore truly complementary therapies. The core symptoms of depression improve with antidepressant therapy and the quality of life measures improve with psychotherapy. They work by different mechanisms to address different components of the illness. A pooled analysis revealed that the combination of psychotherapy and phamaco-therapy made almost a threefold difference in the chance of people getting to remission. Years down the line, we want patients to display the skills that will help them stay in remission. If the patient is on pharmacotherapy and is not improving, the clinician needs to think about psychotherapy, and vice versa.
From a Medical Crossfire Presentation,
Museum of Science, Boston, 2003


"It is one of the most beautiful

compensations in life... that no man

can sincerely try to help another

without helping himself."

Ralph Waldo Emerson