Benefits of psychotherapy lack ‘reliable scientific proof’

by Grace

Professor Bruce W. Davidson outlines the deficiencies of psychotherapy, including this scathing criticism.

Psychotherapism is mostly fraudulent. For more than 80 years, considerable research has been done looking into its effectiveness, and the weight of the evidence indicates that it is ineffectual at best and harmful at worst.

This is not to say that psychotherapists are con artists with evil intentions. No doubt many are well-meaning people who genuinely want to alleviate human suffering, and certainly many people have felt encouraged by their therapists. However, much of this may be simply the relief that comes from unburdening one’s concerns to a sympathetic ear. Indeed, amateur therapists such as teachers have done as well as trained, credentialed therapists in some research studies.

The big problem is that there is little or no reliable scientific proof for believing that talking about one’s problems really leads to solving those problems, or to improved well-being. Long ago the philosopher Karl Popper pointed out that Freudian psychology, like Marxism, was a pseudo-science, since it claimed to explain everything and could not be experimentally proven to be false. That reality has not changed, as many writers like Dawes in his book House of Cards have pointed out.

More ominously, much evidence exists that psychotherapy can sometimes do great harm. For example, counseling the victims of traumatic events like plane crashes often aggravates their suffering and prolongs the time it takes for them to recover emotionally.

If this is true, then we should applaud the “trend of less talk and more medication for patients with mental disorders”.

… The benefits of psychotherapy seem fuzzy to many potential patients, but pharmacological treatment enjoys “clearer, better marketed evidence” of its efficacy. Some of this comes from the failure of psychotherapists to take a scientific approach to patient treatment.

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 Bruce W. Davidson, “The Sins of Psychotherapism”, American Thinker, August 2, 2014.

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