Like A Useless Drug Calling Psychotherapy Ineffective


Prominent child psychiatrist Stanley Kutcher recently made headlines in Canada with his study that found two “widely marketed” suicide-prevention strategies apparently don’t work. On her blog, Patricia Ivan critically evaluates Kutcher’s analytical techniques, and also wonders if the man might have an axe to grind against non-drug psychotherapeutic approaches. Kutcher, she writes, co-authored one of the most infamously corrupt and misleading antidepressant studies of all time.

“But it is important to note that ‘evidence-based’ evaluations are primarily bureaucratic cost-cutting tools,” writes Ivan. “They can be directed against enemies and skewed to help friends. Minimal critical thinking dictates that we ask whether evidenced-based standards are being applied evenly.”

After reviewing Kutcher’s process for criticizing the two suicide prevention approaches, Ivan discusses Kutcher’s own prevention programs (one of which was previously reported on by Mad in America), and his involvement in the enormously influential Study 329. That was a study which reported Paxil to be safe and effective for children when, according to a later US Department of Justice investigation, the data had actually showed the opposite.

Stanley Kutcher’s Science (Patricia Ivan — Psychotherapy, April 13, 2015)


  1. Antidepressants don’t work against suicide, either, which gives these programs a big advantage – at least they don’t have side effect like violence, and actually INCREASING the risk that a non-suicidal person will become suicidal!

    —-S teve

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  2. As for the comparison at issue here, this is a great piece on taking Paxil–and meaning that like you’d have to take a punch.

    One thing is that you could advisably leave therapy for good reasons, if that happened and you hadn’t asked for it. I can’t see how we don’t need more work of this sort that Slate loved for everything the allied mental health industries relegates to RCTs. I. e., “So how does it effect the normal ones?” needs explained forthwith. If there were such body of discussions and trials, we could do as well with psych meds as we can with street drugs and drinks at the tavern, where someone in charge somewhere along the line is bound to cough up some facts about what you should look to expect. With such alternative sources, I wouldn’t have to listen to David Healy telling me his opinions about why to take a perspective on things I already have experience with or know to consider, before taking action myself (or when I need to warn someone else about mental health practices). Oh, by the way, did anyone realize that David Healy is very much in favor of ECT and even promotes it? In connection to my point about the Paxil story, that reminds me of what John Read and Richard Bentall say about RCTs for that possibly maleffective interventionas well.

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