Robert Berezin, MD

Psychiatrist and author of Psychotherapy of Character:
The Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain

The Secret World of Schizophrenia – The tragedy of a promise unfulfilled.

The treatment for schizophrenia and manic-depression have shockingly deteriorated throughout my professional lifetime, dating back to 1971. During the hopeful period of deinstitutionalization, it seemed like we were turning the corner. We had expected that patients would return to the community. There they would have individual and family therapy; housing; assistance with working; and help with activities of daily living, when necessary. Finally, an enlightened age, finally. It didn’t happen. So many became homeless. As Allen Frances documented, we have closed a million psychiatric beds and locked up a million psychiatric patients in prison. – “Psychiatry and Recovery: Finding… Continue reading

False Cure for PTSD – Erasing Bad Memories, Lobotomy by Laser



Scientists find secret of reversing bad memories“, published in the ‘Telegraph’ from an article in ‘Nature’, extends a dangerous trend in neuroscience – It makes false and non-credible promises from research. The troublesome aspect of this article is that it promises that optogenics – pulses of blue light that trigger neurons to fire – can manipulate the brain and magically treat PTSD and depression. This false promise misleads a gullible and susceptible public who are drawn to this kind of magic. And this seductive claim is actually made to seem plausible and scientific.It extrapolates from flashing the… Continue reading

Are You a Participant or Are You an Observer? Do you engage with feeling, or analyze from afar?

The last of the four genetic elements of temperament is Participant/Observer. We have addressed the other elements – Internalizer/ExternalizerIntrovert/Extrovertand Active/Passive -  as they digest maternal NurtureThe orientation as Participant or Observer determines how one relates to the people and scenarios of the play of consciousness as a whole. A Participant is naturally oriented to be immersed in and emotionally involved with others. He easily and naturally engages through feeling. The natural orientation of an observer, on the other hand, is to process at a distance, rather than be immersed in the feeling relatedness of… Continue reading

The Creation of a Bully, The Creation of Anxiety: How an Active or Passive Temperament orients our personality.


The third genetic temperamental attribute is Active/Passive in the writing of our ‘play’ of consciousness. We have already seen the influences of “Internalizer/Externalizer” and “Extrovert/Introvert” on the fielding of maternal “Nurture”. Active/Passive orients the impact of the protective experience of the mother on her child. An individual with an ‘Active’ temperament naturally operates as the possessor of aggression and primarily identifies with the Protector persona. An individual with a ‘Passive’ temperament does not operate as the possessor of aggression and primarily identifies as a Protectee persona.

One can readily tell whether a child is… Continue reading

Introversion/Extroversion – The Nature/Nurture Question – Nature. The Play of Consciousness is oriented from the point of view of ‘self’, or ‘other’.


This post will continue to address the contributions of ‘nature’ in the Nature-Nurture question. We have seen the contribution of ‘nurture’ in “The Nature-Nurture Question – Nurture” where the limbic system processes the survival maternal environment in the service of the organism. Likewise, we have seen in “The Nature-Nurture Question – Nature.” that the influence of ‘nature’ is not defined by genetic physiological brain mechanisms, as is commonly believed. Rather, the role of ‘nature’ is defined by our genetic temperament, which is composed of four pairs of elements that field and digest the impacts of ‘nurture’… Continue reading

The Nature-Nurture Question – Nature. The role of ‘Nature’ comes from our genetic temperament.


We have seen the role of ‘nurture’ in “The Nature-Nurture Question – Nurture”. We will now turn to the other half of the dynamic – ‘nature’. It is a commonly believed fallacy that the role of ‘nature’ in human beings is defined by genetically determined physiological brain mechanisms. As a result, it is believed that certain genes or gene clusters determine behavior; or neurotransmitters like serotonin cause depression; or localized areas of cortex or parts of the amygdala and limbic system create behaviors and psychiatric symptoms. These prevalent ideas are faulty as they confuse the parts for the… Continue reading

The Nature-Nurture Question – Nurture – The function of the limbic system is to map our nurture experience into the cortex.


The Nature-Nurture question is the big question, It is central for psychiatry, neuroscience, and child development. And of course, the answer is… it is not either/or, but both. But this answer is insufficient on the face of it. We need to understand what nurture really means. And what are we talking about regarding nature? And how do they actually work together?

Unfortunately the exciting explosion of brain science has led to a confusion and faulty assumption about the what constitutes ‘nature’. The operating belief is that specific brain nuclei, neurotransmitters, cortical locations, and genes directly determine our behavior. And whatever… Continue reading

The Idea that Suicide is Caused by a Gene Defect is Absurd. Enough is Enough Series: #2


A study qualifies for my ‘Enough is Enough’ series when bad science crosses the line to total absurdity. Today’s entry is Identification and Replication of a Combined Epigenetic and Genetic Biomarker Predicting Suicide and Suicidal Behaviors, by Jerry Guintivano, Ph.D et all, in the American Journal of Psychiatry online July 30, 2014.which is accessible on “Blood Test for Suicide May Come From Stress Gene Defect”. This well regarded study proposes that 80% of suicide, suicidal behavior, and suicidal ideation comes from a variation in the region of the SKA2’s genetic and epigenetic expression. Suicidality can be predicted… Continue reading

‘Evidence-based’ Psychiatry is ‘Evidence’ in Name Only, A call for the science of psychotherapy has taken a wrong turn


Sadly, I have to disagree with Emily A. Holmes, Michelle G. Craske and Ann M. Graybiel, in their article in Nature, July 16, 2014, “Psychological treatments: A call for mental-health science, Clinicians and neuroscientists must work together to understand and improve psychological treatments.” As a psychiatrist who practices intensive psychotherapy and has written a book on the subject, “Psychotherapy of Character, the Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain”, I was enthusiastic to read this article, but I was quickly disappointed in the direction it took.

I completely agree that we need good science for psychotherapy… Continue reading

Consciousness Encompasses and Reflects Chaos and Order. It protects us from the chaos of our random environment.


Kelly Clancy, in her brilliant article, “Your Brain Is On the Brink of Chaos, Neurological evidence for chaos in the nervous system is growing”, ”, in ‘Nautilus’, July 10, 2014, presents more compellingly than I can that the ‘Brain is not a Computer Stuck on Top of a Body’. She articulates in a very technical way that the brain utilizes a balance between chaos and order for its operations. It does not operate like a computer, feeding into established static bytes.

Chaos and order is the big subject of the universe – the creation of order… Continue reading

Robert Berezin, MD, psychiatrist and author of Psychotherapy of Character: The Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain

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© 2013 by Robert Berezin, MD