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Neuroscience for the Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Psychotherapists who facilitate behavior change tend to forget they are working with the brain. Do they forget or not know? While every new thought does not produce a corresponding change in the brain, enduring changes in thoughts and behavior are now understood to result in changes to the brain itself.

Psychiatrists impact the brain more directly with psychopharmacology, but we all work in one field. I am not a neuroscientist. In my training as a psychologist, I gained limited knowledge of the field. Most behavioral healthcare executives also lack this expertise.

Yet many patients in their treatment programs take psychotropic medications. Many are told their problems are rooted in the brain. Should these patient realities dictate that program executives gain more knowledge about the brain?

Executives have more pressing concerns, but they should know something about how the brain operates. They should have enough knowledge to not encourage the dualisms of mind-body and nature-nurture.

More importantly, they should realize everyone holds a naïve biological model of the brain and its functioning. Are these models valid? Do mistaken beliefs have consequences for patients? I think of patients who bemoan that their brain is broken.

They experience evidence of this every […]

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