May 1st 1998
"Can we talk?" asks a recovering patient who chastises psychiatry for too readily dismissing patients with her diagnosis as unable to benefit from talking therapy (A Recovering Patient, 1986). With managed care administrators quick to seize upon a lack of outcome data as a pretext for limiting treatment and a public mental health system pressed to handle caseloads as high as 200 to 300 patients per clinician, psychiatry's regrettable answer has often been: "No, we're too busy." Recent research findings, however, convincingly demonstrate that a flexible form of individual psychotherapy, when combined with appropriate neuroleptic medication, can yield improvements in social and vocational functioning unobtainable with "treatments as usual."