The troubling increase in treatment resistance in psychiatry has many culprits: the rise of biomedical psychiatry and corresponding sidelining of psychodynamic and psychosocial factors; the increased emphasis on treating the symptoms rather than the person; and a greater focus on the electronic medical record rather than the patient, all of which point to a breakdown in the person-centered prescriber–patient relationship.
Psychodynamic Psychopharmacology illuminates a new path forward. It examines the psychological and interpersonal mechanisms of pharmacological treatment resistance, integrating research on evidence-based prescribing processes with psychodynamic insights and skills to enhance treatment outcomes for patients who are difficult to treat.
The first part of the book explores the evidence base that guides how, rather than simply what, to prescribe. It describes precisely what psychodynamic psychopharmacology is and why its emphasis on combining the often-neglected psychosocial aspects of medication with biomedical considerations provides a more optimized approach to addressing treatment resistance.
Part II delves into the psychodynamics that contribute to pharmacological treatment resistance, both when patients' ambivalence about their illness, the medication itself, or their prescriber manifests in nonadherence and when medications support a negative identity or are used as replacements for healthy capacities. Readers will gain basic skills for addressing the psychological and interpersonal dynamics that underpin both scenarios and will be better positioned to ameliorate interferences with the healthy use of medications.
The final section of the book offers detailed technical recommendations for addressing pharmacological treatment resistance. It tackles issues that include countertransference-driven irrational prescribing; primitive dynamics, such as splitting and projective identification; and the overlap between psychopharmacological treatment resistance and the dynamics of treatment nonadherence and nonresponse in integrated and collaborative medical care settings.
By putting the individual patient back at the center of the therapeutic equation, psychodynamic psychopharmacology, as outlined in this book, offers a model that moves beyond compliance and emphasizes instead the alliance between patient and prescriber. In doing so, it empowers patients to become more active contributors in their own recovery.
About the Author
David Mintz, M.D., is Director of Psychiatric Education, Associate Director of Training, and a Team Leader at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.