Tokyo psychiatrist, Dr. Douglas Berger, continues his comments on “Separating the Wheat From the Chaff” by Allan Tasman, MD, September 14, 2015 issue of the Psychiatric Times.

Dr. Tasman, while I applaud your statement that our field deals with argument by “…dispassionate reviews of data gathered with exceptionally high standards for scientific research”, it is hard to understand your recent editorial here:

where you reported on a NY Times article that discussed fMRI showing the effects of transference. You stated, “…modern neuroscience research is providing support not only for some of Freud’s basic theories about mental functioning but also for how positive clinical improvement can be correlated with identifiable changes in brain functioning”.

Shockingly however, the article you reported on in the NY Times here:

only has one fMRI image of one patient which is neither a report of results nor analysis, and the one image is only a personal contact from the study authors to the NY Times article author not a publication of the results (“Images from Andrew J. Gerber and Katherine R. Surrence/Columbia University”).

I could also not find any results from this said study on a literature search. I asked the NY Times author of the original paper and received no reply.

The only article to be found was a description of the design of the study but no results are reported:

J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2006; 54(4): 1319–1325.

The study had only 10 subjects, was unblinded to the therapist as well as the subject as to the content of the procedures, and thus there was no blinded control group.

If you Dr. Tasman have the results, please provide them along with the logic why you think they are valid to the readers of the Psychiatric Times to back up your support and praise for the NY Times article.

Doug Berger, M.D., Ph.D.
US Board Certified Psychiatrist
Tokyo, Japan

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