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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

NYT: In Rigorous Test, Talk Therapy Works for Panic Disorder

By BENEDICT CAREY
Published: February 6, 2007

The field of psychoanalysis has struggled with a disabling internal conflict in recent years: whether to subject the therapy to rigorous testing, like the process through which new drugs are approved, or to insist that the insights it provides are self-evident and cannot be put under a microscope.

This internal debate has raged even as analysis, Freud’s open-ended talking cure, has become increasingly marginalized as a practice. But the ground rules may soon change.

Last week, a team of New York analysts published the first scientifically rigorous study of a short-term variation of the therapy for panic disorder, a very common form of anxiety. The study was small, but the therapy proved to be surprisingly effective in a group of severely disabled people.

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