But even as we have been swept off our feet by sexy neuroscience, my field
is in danger of losing touch with the rich psychological life of patients, something that is reflected in the waning popularity of therapy during residency training.
All true, but we are far from understanding the ultimate cause of most psychiatric disorders, despite the promise of brain science. We can effectively relieve symptoms and increase functioning, but we still have to help our patients live with illness.
Psychiatrists who have had the humbling experience of therapy themselves know something of what it feels like to be a patient — the sense of frustration, anxiety and dependence it entails. As such, they can better understand the emotional reactions patients have to their illness — and to their doctors.