When friends asked me what I was writing this book about, I told them it was not about consciousness. After the age of 50, many neuroscientists feel they have sufficient wisdom and expertise to set about solving the problem of consciousness (whether or not they have ever done any experimental work on the topic). Being neuroscientists, they are concerned with the problem of identifying the neural correlates of consciousness and to show how subjective experience can arise from activity in a physical brain. Many solutions have been proposed, none of which have proved very satisfying. I knew I could do no better. That is why this book is not about consciousness.
If you accept—or assume—that there’s no mystical funny business and that the brain, in response to the environment, generates your behaviour and how you feel, then you’d expect psychotherapy, not only pharmacotherapy, to be associated with changes in the brain. Some evidence that this is the case is reviewed by David Linden (2006).
For instance he reports interesting work on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) . Many studies reportedly found increased activity in the right caudate in people with OCD. A study examining the neural effects of successful cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) showed decreased activity in the right caudate; this was also seen in patients who were successfully treated using SSRIs.
Linden, D. E. J. (2006). How psychotherapy changes the brain – the contribution of functional neuroimaging. Molecular Psychiatry 11, 528–538