The Institute’s Susan Massad, M.D., and Jan Wootten attended an engaging lecture by Columbia University researcher and professor of clinical psychiatry, David J. Hellerstein, M.D., who spoke recently at the New York Academy of Sciences to introduce his book, Heal Your Brain: How the New Neuropsychiatry Can Help You Go from Better to Well.
Heal Your Brain presents clinical research into a therapeutic approach that couples targeted drug therapies with rehabilitative psychotherapy, which, Hellerstein argues, can help reverse neuropathology. The approach draws upon a growing body of research on the neuroplasticity of the brain (i.e., its capacity to regenerate and grow across the lifespan). A kindred spirit in eschewing Freudianism and depth psychology, Hellerstein argued that therapy is important to reverse the pathological effects of chronic depression and anxiety on the brain and nervous system. His prescription calls for anti-depressants in tandem with a cognitive behavioral therapy focused on teaching people basic skills for improving their lives.