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NY Times:

For psychotherapy’s claims, skeptics demand proof.  I remember, when first coming from the ‘boonies’ of NJ to work in Manhattan, being ostracized for not having a therapist.  Not that I needed one, but the sentiment was, if you weren’t seeing a therapist, you simply *must* be an axe-murderer.  Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I believed the converse.  Neither was true.

08/10/04 • 02:17 PM • HealthHome & LivingHuman Rights • (2) Comments


When I was getting my undergrad degree, I took nearly enough courses in Psychology to minor in it. 1996-2000 was actually an interesting time to do that, because Psychology as a whole (in which I include Psychiatry) had really only recently become a fully-fledged science-dominated discipline, with many departments apparently still rejecting the idea that the science should dominate. MSU had a science-dominated program, but was still insecure enough about it that they would frequently make references to the need for science, in ways that, say, a physicist would think would just be taken for granted.

Of course, this is a fuzzy determination and certain aspects like studying reaction times to various things has been science for over a century now. But the resistance in abnormal psychology, a huge branch that here includes therapy as the pratical use of abnormal psych, is immense. I suspect it is one of those things where for the science to advance, it is going to have to wait until the powerful old guard are swept out.

Making therapy into a science and subsequently a form of engineering (in a sense) is going to be one of the hardest things any science has ever tried to do, but it is absolutely vital; the last thing we need is a repeat of the “recovered memory” michegas. (If someone had just applied a bit of science and skepticism, fewer lives and families would have been damaged or destroyed.)

Posted by Jeremy Bowers on 08/10/04 at 03:59 PM

I recall a great book called “100 Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse,” who’s general premise was a re-examination of the success rate of psychological treatment.


Posted by Jeremiah on 08/10/04 at 06:16 PM


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