Medication or Psychotherapy? Why Not Both?

Although collectively many sources believe that the most effective way to treat a mental health condition is to use both medication and psychotherapy, a comparison of the argument of which is better shows a slight preference for psychotherapy over medication.

Those who support psychotherapy as treatment for a mental health condition suggest that the strengths of psychotherapy lie in its long-lasting results and variety of different treatments based off of the brain. Psychotherapy is able to have long-lasting effects on a person as he or she is regularly being taught coping skills that can be utilized outside of therapy sessions to help treat his or her mental conditions (Andersson). By teaching these coping skills, the person is learning how to identify the problem causing discomfort in his or her life and can take positive action in fixing those problems, replacing negative thoughts and influences in the process. This can also help in the case of a mental health condition getting better, but then worsening in the future, as the person will already have the knowledge and skill in improving their mental health to help solve the issue again (Andersson).

As well, another specific strength supports of psychotherapy suggest is that of variety. As psychotherapy focuses on different aspects of the brain that can be utilized to dig out problems and resolve them, it is suggested that psychotherapy therefore has more options and potential in solving mental health issues (American Psychiatric Association). What is suggested here is that people can save time from treatments that are ineffective with psychotherapy as their differing brain states can be more specifically tailored in s psychotherapy treatment than a medical treatment (American Psychiatric Association).

Supporters of psychotherapy are also quick to point out the many downsides to use medication as treatment for mental conditions. Psychotherapy is not considered to have any negative side effects and is not considered to be addictive, however many medications are (Andersson). In fact, many people fear taking medication as a solution to their mental condition due to a fear of reliance on the drug that the drug may change some aspect of their personality or identity (American Psychiatric Association). In a study where researchers did a meta–analysis of rates of treatment refusal and rates of drop out for psychotherapy and medication, the researchers found that out of the eight percent that refused treatment and the twenty-two percent that dropped out of treatment, the majority of those people were using medication and not psychotherapy (American Psychiatric Association).

However, this does not mean that medication as treatment for mental health conditions does not also have support. Many supporters of medication over psychotherapy suggest that the strengths of medication lie in its quicker, short term resolution of the problem and its tendency to cost less than psychotherapy. In regards to medication being a quicker and more short-term resolution to mental health conditions, this can be seen as a positive as some conditions may have severe symptoms that need to be dealt with immediately to ensure the safety of the person (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies).

Similarly, medication that is often prescribed as treatment for mental health conditions is seen as less expensive. Not only is the medication prescribed once, meaning a person pays once instead of multiple times, such as for sessions in psychotherapy, but often times a person’s insurance will cover the cost of the medication while a person’s insurance may only cover a limited amount or none of psychotherapy (“Psychotherapy or Medication”). If the treatment is more affordable, this may affect the person’s willingness to stay with the treatment and how he or she perceives the treatment is going.

As for the reliability for these sources, I would say that they are fairly reliable as the Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association, the World Psychiatric Association, and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies are all official psychological organizations. The most reliable source can be considered the source from the World Psychiatric Association as that journal was included in the U.S. National Library of Medicine and was the only source that included their randomized sample, measurement process, and experimental process and design in order to ensure that the information they said could be generalized and reliable.

Yet, this is not to say that my opinions on medication and psychotherapy have changed. Although a comparison of support for psychotherapy and a support for medication shows that psychotherapy has slightly more support due to the downsides of medication, I still believe that the use of both is most effective in improving mental health conditions. Each mental health condition is unique; therefore some situations may cause for temporary medication to be used in order to effective act out psychotherapy, or vice versa. All options should be kept open, as long as the overall mental health conditions of individuals in the world are improving.



American Psychiatric Association. “Treating Depression – Psychotherapy or Medication?” American Psychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Association, 17 Apr. 2017,

Andersson, Gerhard, Beekman, Aartjan T., Cuijpers, Pim, Koole, Sander L., Reynold, Charles F., Sijbrandij, Marit. “The Efficacy of Psychotherapy and Pharmacotherapy in Treating Depressive and Anxiety Disorders: a Meta-Analysis of Direct Comparisons.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 4 June 2013,

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. “Treament Opitions: CBT Or Medication?” Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies,

“Psychotherapy or Medication – Which Should You Choose?” The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, 6 Apr. 2017,


No Summer Vactation? Blasphemy!

As a future educator, providing the best education for future generations is extremely important to me. A lot of debate occurs as to what this “best” education looks like and how we can provide it, but one of the most highly debated topics is the suggestion of year-round education. Although there are many different models for what “year-round education” can look like, the basic premise is that students would have shorter breaks between their semesters, quarters, or terms instead of one long break in the summer; most of the debate among this decision revolves around the factors of academic achievement and economic reasoning.

Supporters of year-round education suggest that academic achievement in schools will go up if the school system is changed as retention and tutoring opportunities increase and absences decrease. According to these supporters, retention of information among students will increase as there is no longer a large gap in the presentation and practice of knowledge to students (“Research Spotlight on Year-Round Education”). Many believe that if shorter breaks are given in increments, this will prevent students from ignoring school work for long amounts of time, leading them to forget the information they have learned (Pearson).

Similarly, supporters of the year-round education system suggest that tutoring opportunities will increase if a more constant form of teaching is provided. According to the California Department of Education, students, particularly economically disadvantaged students, would be given more opportunities for tutors as less amounts of information would need to be covered over shorter periods of time (Pearson). The logic behind this idea is that because students will be retaining more information consistently and will have less time to forget that information, less tutoring time will be needed; this focalizes the time the tutor and the student spend together, resulting in less time and money needing to be spent.

Lastly, in regards to academic achievement, those who support year-round education believe absences among both students and teachers will decrease if short breaks are given in the school year. In the year-round system, students and teachers will be given consistent breaks, which supporters view as a system that will help prevent them from getting sick and burnt-out, as the long summer break tends to do (Pearson). With smaller breaks, students and teachers will also be able to constantly recharge during the school year, providing more enthusiasm and willingness to learn while they are in the classroom (“Research Spotlight”).

However, those who do not agree with the year-round education suggest that more negative than positive academic outcomes would come out of changing the school system. Those who do not support the year-round education system point out that there is no actual research supporting that year-round education would improve retention, and that, in fact, it may be hurting student’s education overall (Lynch). As summer break is a common time for teachers to prepare materials and lesson plans for the next school year, taking that time away from them could greatly alter the efficiency and effectiveness of what they are teaching. In a year-round calendar, teachers may not be given enough time to access the materials they need or be able to research different teaching methods that could greatly affect the way that they are teaching students (Brown).

As well, people who do not support year-round education believe that students who benefit from remedial and supplemental classes during summer school will not receive the support they need from the type of education that would be provided during year-round education. Yet, not only would these students be negatively impacted, but all students would be negatively impacted as students may struggle with focusing back to class time after ever short break is taken (Lynch).

Similar disagreements also take place regarding economic reasoning that would result from a change in the calendar years for schools. Supporters of the year-round system claim that two economic benefits will result from changing schools’ calendar systems: school facilities will be used more effectively year-round, and families who travel will ultimately spend less on vacations. When summer break occurs, that leaves an average of three months where school buildings are not being used and certain equipment pieces are not being maintained; this is seen as a waste of resources in year-round supporters’ eyes as the building is just sitting there and will likely need to have repairs done to its equipment when the schoolyear starts again (Pearson).

On the same note, those that agree with year-round education state that breaks in increments instead of one long break will prevent families from spending large amounts of money of vacations. With smaller breaks, families will still be able to vacation, but they will be less likely to stay as long or go as far, which, in turn, saves them money (Pearson).

On the contrary, those who are against year-round education suggest that the lack of a summer break will not only affect the employment of both students and their parents, but will also greatly affect the overall budget of the school. As summer is a common time for older students to seek out employment, sometimes even full-time employment, opponents of year-round education suggest that students will no longer be able to maintain this type of employment with shorter, more spread out breaks (Brown).

Scheduling is also pointed out by opponents of year-round education as influencing the income of parents. Parents of younger students will need to find childcare or take off of work more frequently if shorter breaks are given to students, leading them to lose a substantial amount of income no matter which choice they make (Brown).

Finally, those who oppose year-round education also point out the financial influence no longer having a summer break will have on a school’s overall budget. As not only power but air conditioning must be supplied for students in the summer, schools would likely expect a great increase in their school budget. As most schools cannot afford to change their budgets, money that would be set aside for things such as extracurricular or learning programs would have to be redirected to pay for these expenses, negatively impacting students’ educations (Lynch).

Although there are many arguments present for both sides of the year-round education argument, those both for and against the schooling system acknowledge that there is no conclusive evidence of the effect of changing the calendar year of schools on academic performance and financial decisions (“Research Spotlight”). With that being said, I believe that the current structure of schooling is the most affective for future generations. As it becomes more and more difficult to hold the attention of students as time goes on, I believe that constant break would cause difficultly in maintaining focus on teachings. As a student myself, I have personally witnessed and experienced the lack of focus and discipline students have right before a break and right after a break, which would be a constant in the year-round system.

As well, in regards to retention, information must be constantly studied, repeated, and made meaningful in order to be stored in long-term memory. Although I do agree that it would be helpful that no long break would be present for students to forget a majority of the information they learned, there is no guarantee that students will practice good studying and learning methods simply because they have had less time to forget.

Therefore, although proponents of the year-round education system suggest students, parents, and schools would benefit from more consistent breaks and less time to forget information and waste time, by analyzing academic and financial reasoning, I tend to agree more with those that advocate against the changing of school systems.



Brown, Mary. “The Year-Round School Debate.” SchoolMoney, SchoolMoney, 5 Mar. 2016,

Lynch, Matthew. “Year-Round Schooling: 3 Common Arguments Against It.” Education Week, Editorial Projects in Education, 3 Jan. 2015,

Pearson, Amy. “Year-Round School Advantages & Disadvantages.” Seattle PI, Hearst Seattle Media, 2017,

“Research Spotlight on Year-Round Education.” National Education Association, National Education Association, 2017,

The Divorce Debate

The topic of divorce is a heavily debated topic in today’s society as the rate of divorce has become much more prevalent over the years. Specifically, one of the most controversial points of the divorce debate it the effect it has on children and their future life choices. Some suggest that children develop internalizing, externalizing, and cognitive functioning problems due to the effects of divorce on the young brain, while others suggest that divorce can actually lead to more positive romantic experiences for children later on. But who is right?

According to Daniel S. Shaw, a doctor and psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and Erin M. Ingoldsby, a senior research associate at James Bell Associates, many research designs have been done to support the idea that divorce negatively affects a child’s ability to internalize problems, externalize problems, and thrive academically. Shaw and Ingoldsby state that according to the National Survey of Children, children who experienced a divorce between their parents were less likely to be able to externalize their problems in a healthy manner, and were more like to misbehave and show aggression. The data they provided behind this was a longitudinal, observational study in which 1,423 children across the nation were observed behavior-wise at the ages of 7-11, 12-16, and 18-22. These children were randomly selected, and were a mixture of having parents happily together, parents already divorced, and parents who got divorced at some point during the study. Although most parents stayed married, the overall evidence for children of divorced parents showed the majority acting out and showing aggression towards teachers, parents, and significant others at all three age ranges (Shaw).

As well, Shaw and Ingoldsby suggest that children who experience parental divorce are likely to internalize their problems in an unhealthy manner. Although Shaw and Ingoldbsy suggest that much less research and support is shown for internalizing problems than externalizing problems, they do state that recently, according to the National Children Survey, there has been an “increase of self-reported distress and depression at ages 12-16 and 18-22 among children from divorced families” (Shaw).

To support this claim, a longitudinal study of child development was done on the participants in the Child Development Project, which consisted of 356 different families that registered to take part in the study while registering their children for kindergarten. For children who both had divorced parents and did not, their behavior was monitored by teachers and parents by filling out a Child Behavior Checklist. The data that was collected shows that not only did children with divorced parents experience much more signs of depression and anxiety than other children, but they also found that the earlier the divorce happened in child, the more likely the child is to unhealthily internalize his or her problems (Lansford).

Lastly, both an observational study explained by Shaw and Ingoldbsy and the study done on the participants of the Child Development Project suggest that children who experience the effects of divorce will be negatively affected in the areas of academics. Shaw and Ingoldbsy state that in an observational study of 699 children from 38 different states, “children from single-parent, divorced families showed deficits in IQ scores, ranging between 1 and 7 points, lower grades in history and math, school achievement scores averaging less than one year in school, and were more likely to repeat a grade” (Shaw). Similarly, an observational study conducted on the participants of the Child Development Project during the observational study of internalizing problems measured the grades in mathematics and language arts of students that experienced divorce in their families, and those that did not. A similar result to the one Shaw and Ingoldbsy suggested was found as students who had divorced parents showed a consistent decease in both mathematics and language arts as they progressed in the school system (Landsford).

On the contrary, some would suggest that divorce has more of a chance to positively affect children than negatively affect children. Although these people do acknowledge the idea that there will be negative effects on children from divorce, they suggest that these effects can be dealt with by early intervention, and will end up positively affecting these children later on in their romantic lives.

For example, in an observational study done by Grant W. Mohi at the University of Central Florida, Mohi found that many people who experienced divorce as a child grew up to maintain relationships for a longer period and be more open and communitive with spouses and children. The study was done by providing 233 different college students, 67 men and 166 women, from both divorced and intact families with a survey regarding their personal relationship trends. 10 face-to-face interviews were also conducted with students from divorced families to further support the data. The most common qualitative data Mohi collected was that students strived to do a better job in their relationships than their parents did; therefore it made them more open and committed to their spouses and families (Mohi).

A similar idea of positive effects on children who experienced parental divorce is supported in a study done by Paul R. Amato in his Journal of Marriage and Family. Sarah-Marie Hopf, who references Amato’s study in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, describes Amato’s meta-analysis of 63 studies relating to divorced parents and their children. Hopf describes that Amato suggests a sense of resilience in children from what he observed (Amato). What is meant here is that children from divorced parents were not only likely to try to improve their own personal relationships due to what they observed from their parents, but 75-80 percent of those children were shown to grow up to achieve their education, career, and relationship goals later on in life (Hopf).

As both sides make compelling arguments about the effects of divorce on children and continually back their support with qualitative and quantitative data from multiple different studies, it is clear to see why the influences of parental divorce on children is such a heavily debated topic in today’s society.



Amato, Paul R, and Joan G Gilbreth. “Nonresident Fathers and Children’s Well-Being: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Marriage and Family, National Council on Family Relations, Aug. 1999,

Hopf, Sarah Marie. “Risk and Resilience in Children Coping with Parental Divorce.”DUJS Online, Dartmouth College, 31 Oct. 2013,

Lansford, Jennifer E., et al. “Trajectories of Internalizing, Externalizing, and Grades for Children Who Have and Have Not Experienced Their Parents’ Divorce or Separation.” Journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 June 2006,

Mohi, Grant W. “Positive Outcomes of Divorce: A Multi-Method Study on the Effects of Parental Divorce on Children.” The University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal, vol. 7.2, 22 Sept. 2015,

Shaw, Daniel S, and Erin M Ingoldsby. “Chirldren of Divorce.” Children of Divorce, The University of Pittsburgh,