Back to questions:  Ask Dr. Schiffer, so what does he think?

OF TWO MINDSTo Order Of Two Minds (In Association with
BRIEF_BIOGRAPHY of Dr. Schiffer scientific papers with some full text articles

What I feel are the best treatments for anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosis:

    Since I feel (as described in my response to the first question about causes) that anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosis are all intertwined with each other in regard to cause, it follows that I believe their treatments would be similar.  That is in each case, the person must overcome a danger or an unrealistic perception of danger.  If the danger is real, it is not a psychiatric problem and the anxiety or depression may well be justified.  Even illicit drugs may be rational in some circumstances.  In Viet Nam there was a very high incidence of drug and alcohol use which was only rarely continued when the soldiers returned home.  I am not advocating drug or alcohol abuse, but I am saying that in certain circumstances like Viet Nam when real situations seriously challenge our coping skills, turning to drugs temporarily, may not be due to a psychological illness.  But, when symptoms are due to unrealistic perceptions of dangers, then they become psychological problems.  The treatment of these problems, to my mind becomes the correction of these misperceptions.  As I elaborate in my book, Of Two Minds, I have come to believe several things about such misperceptions.  First, they are most often (at least in my practice) due to experiences in childhood.  I think this is because we humans are most vulnerable in childhood and the injuries we suffer there tend to persist until addressed and worked out, usually in therapy.  I have also come to believe that there is a more mature side and a more immature side to the personalities of many of us, and I think that these unrealistic perceptions of danger from childhood are generally associated with the more immature side.  From my research I have found considerable evidence that in many the mature and the immature aspects of our minds are associated with our left and right brains.
    Treatment to my mind, treatment becomes the correction of the unrealistic perceptions of danger which are harbored in the immature mind.  I use Dual-Brain Therapy, which I describe under another question. Essentially, I see therapy as the teaching of the immature side that it is safer and more valuable than it had thought, and I have found that using my special glasses as an adjunct to therapy can be of great value in those patient who are responsive to them.  A typical responsive patient might say, looking out one side, "I'm stupid and lazy."  With that view he will feel anxiety and depression.  Simply having him put on the opposite pair of glasses, waiting 15 seconds, and asking again how he feels about himself now gets an entirely different response.  "Hell, I'm the most ambitious person I know."  His anxiety and depression are gone!  To experience this is a profound experience, and is of course contrary to all of our expectations.  Even after having witnessed this phenomena hundreds of times, I still feel amazed each time I see it.
    In patient who do not respond to the glasses, and this is about 40% of my practice, I have found that the model of our having two minds is still quite helpful to the patient in his or her attempts to better understand and help him or herself.  I have found that patient who are responsive to the glasses do seem to get better more often and faster.
    Thus, Dual-Brain Psychology refers to my ideas about our having two aspects to our personality, one more mature and one less mature, each associated with the left or right brains.  It is also about the scientific literature and laboratory experiments which support the psychological theory, and finally, it is about using these ideas with or without the glasses in therapy.
    I often prescribe medications for my patients, but I see these more as an adjunct to the more basic psychological work which I believe needs to be accomplished.