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Hi, I'm Dr. David Hellerstein, author of the recent book The Couch, the Clinic, and the Scanner: Stories from Three Revolutionary Eras of the Mind published in 2023 by Columbia University Press.


A collection of essays and stories, The Couch has been described as "an introspective, wild ride" through the tumultuous changes in psychiatry over the past several decades. From the decades long dominance of psychoanalytic psychiatry to the manual-driven decades of DSM psychiatry to recent practices driven by neuroscience advances, this book, a collection of "vivid stories and essays," provides a window into how the profession has repeatedly transformed itself, ending with the new disruptions of the psychedelic renaissance.


I am a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and am a practicing psychiatrist as well as a researcher and writer. My recent studies focus on the use of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin for treatment of depression and other disorder. For many years I have conducted medication and psychotherapy treatment of chronic depression and brain imaging studies using MRI scans to investigate how treatments change the structure and functioning of the brain.


As a literary writer, essayist, novelist and journalist, I have published several books, including the essay collection Battles of Life and Death, the memoir A Family of Doctors, the nonfiction book Heal Your Brain, and two comic novels, Stone Babies and Loving Touches. I teach medical students and residents at Columbia to use literary methods to better understand their patients