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Michael Blumenfield, MD

Michael Blumenfield, MD

Dr Blumenfield is the Sidney E. Frank Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at New York Medical College; a past speaker of the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association; and President-Elect of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry. He writes a blog, www.PsychiatryTalk.com, and contributes to the Psychiatric Times Couch in Crisis blog. He is in private practice in Woodland Hills, Calif.

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The discovery of an unknown family member can bring about joy or grief, and raise many clinical questions about the psychodynamics that are at play within families.

Patients with major depression or bipolar depression have a 20- to 26-fold increase of mortality rate over the general population. Suicidal behavior can be quite complex as well deadly. It should go without saying that psychotherapy is usually necessary in treating patients who have suicidal ideation or who have demonstrated such tendencies or actions. Frequently, it may be combined with medication and sometimes it is the treatment of choice without medication.

The shooting in Colorado is obviously a tragedy for the victims and their families which will never be forgotten by those close to anyone touched by this event. It will cause painful grieving among the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

Being a psychotherapist is a complicated job. Not only must you be knowledgeable about human behavior, psychodynamics, and various techniques of doing therapy, but you have to be prepared for unexpected dilemmas.

A recent study concluded that depression is associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke morbidity and mortality.

President Obama announced that he would begin sending letters of condolence to the families of troops who kill themselves in combat zones. He noted that this was a decision that was made after a difficult and exhaustive review of the former policy.

What should clinicians do if they realize that they don’t like a particular patient who has come to them for help

The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy is supported by empirical evidence. Patients have reported residual therapeutic gains following treatment.

The latest information released by the US Army reveals that last year American soldiers attempted suicide at the rate of about 5 /day. There were 160 successful suicides last year and during June the rate was 1/day. Military research has reported that one in 10 Iraq veterans may develop a severe case of PTSD.

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand what they are feeling. This is something that psychiatrists try to do in our everyday work. Those of us who have worked in medical schools have struggled with the question of whether or not this is something that can be taught.


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