Letters

Love the digital edition

I just received the recent copy of the digital Monitor, and I can only say WOW! It's much more informative than before and I used several of the links to go beyond the text. I will have to program a time to read it over monthly since in the past, I have let the hard copy issues stack up until I could get around to them. The digital version is so much more informative that I will have to keep up with it. Many thanks for the fine publication, but curse you for further filling my already busy calendar. 

Lance Harris, PhD
Tacoma, Wash. 

Beyond one-on-one psychotherapy

Your January cover story, "Beyond one-on-one psychotherapy" afforded much food for thought.

"Keep it Human" will always be the operative mantra for an effective psychotherapist. Even with the explosion of electronics, all serious-minded psychologists know that if you kill the relationship, the field as we have known it will be dead.

Furthermore, how did we get desensitized and seduced to begin talking about "one-on-one psychotherapy," which is quite aggressive and derives from sports analogies? It used to be known and should still be rightly known as "one-to-one psychotherapy." Also, "beyond" psychotherapy, rather than "in addition to" other kinds of psychotherapy, leads one to think that we are improving on existing excellent psychotherapies, rather than developing additional approaches to deal with the needs of our evolving world.

These careless shifts resemble the problematic language usage some psychologists are using when describing patients as clients. The changes have understandable rationales, but the implementation is often problematic. Third-party payers ask for patient data on their forms rather than client data for which they would typically not reimburse for services rendered. Without a diagnosis, there would generally be no payment and insurance companies don't generally reimburse for education or for clients, but for treatment rendered to diagnosed patients. Are psychologists flirting with legal issues even though they may be naïve or unaware of the implications of their practice?

So I am eager to continue providing important psychotherapy services to patients in need and often in a one-on-one setting. I will also seek innovative approaches that will add to, not go beyond, what I am already doing, which most importantly is doing my best to "keep it human."

Leon J. Hoffman, PhD
Chicago

CORRECTION: An article in the January Monitor stated that Daniel Kahneman, PhD, was the only psychologist to win a Nobel prize. In fact, Herbert Simon, PhD, won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1978 for his research on decision-making. Simon, whose PhD was in political science, was a pioneer in the fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive science, and taught in the psychology department at Carnegie Mellon University for more than 50 years.


Please send letters to Sara Martin, Monitor  Editor. Letters should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for space and clarity.