Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Comments by Discussant

Showing 15 of 15 comments.

  • Asymmetrical paid relationships and drugs are not the only alternatives. For alternative recommendations, please see http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/ (“Recommendations” section) and http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/about

    Also, please note that there are no reliably effective psychotherapy treatments for trauma, and those that are tried out on people often make them worse off than no “treatment”: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19588408/

    Further, the psychotherapy industry has done an egregiously poor job of tracking and taking responsibility for the harm it causes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24607768 and http://www.comppsychjournal.com/article/S0010-440X%2814%2900006-6/abstract

    There is no justification for therapists, no matter how good their intentions are, to go on engaging in dehumanizing relationships and playing dice with human lives.

  • Cindy, the fact that you said “psychotherapy has no negative side effects” reveals ignorance of the realities of iatrogenesis and the history of psychotherapy. Lives have been ruined and people have even been killed from therapies such as attachment therapy, repressed memory therapy, gay conversion therapy, etc. When a therapy is not grounded in robust replicable scientific evidence, the outcome is a crap-shoot; you’re recklessly experimenting with human lives with potentially profound and devastating consequences. There are some readings listed here that might help for starters: http://www.trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/links.

  • The quality of existing psychotherapy research, such as the studies you mention, tends to be so low that it amounts to a big pile of nothing. See, for instance: http://blogs.plos.org/mindthebrain/2014/06/10/salvaging-psychotherapy-research-manifesto/

    The burden of proof is on proponents of these psychotherapies to show that they are making good use of their clients’ time and money, and that the risk-benefit ratio is favorable. In the absence of having met this burden, they ought to stop practicing, or at a bare minimum clearly inform all of their clients of the weak status of the evidence and indeterminate risk as part of a transparent informed consent process.


  • Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for reading my blog with an open mind! Very much appreciated. I did not mean to imply that you were any worse than any other therapist. I believe you had good intentions and that both you and many of your clients believed the therapy was helpful. However, I also believe that you are a human being, and subject to the same cognitive biases and blindspots that other human beings are subject to. There’s more on that in my links section: http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/links/ See, for example, the articles on The Lake Wobegon Effect, Why Bogus Therapies Seem to Work, and some of the ones on cognitive biases that influence what we perceive in the world, e.g., confirmation bias, selection bias, expectation effects, cognitive dissonance avoidance, etc. Given the statistics, which are highly inflated in favor of therapy, we can reasonably infer that you harmed some of your clients, and that you wasted several of their hours and dollars. Nothing personal. But curiosity and interest and concern in the harm therapy can cause is often a first step in taking action to conduct further research to understand the process more carefully, and to possibly learn ways to navigate away from harming as many clients. You know first hand how badly therapists can mess with people’s heads and hurt them.

    Regarding the hypocrisy of recommending therapy for others but not for yourself . . . If journaling, meditation, real unpaid relationships, and healthy living are what you would do for yourself, do you likewise recommend those things to your clients as an alternative to spending their time and money on you? If you are making an exception of yourself, then that is hypocritical.

    Thank you again for taking the time to write and think about these issues!



  • Are you concerned about the people that you harmed, and the clients’ time and money that you wasted as a therapist? (Let’s not fall prey to the Lake Wobegon Effect and pretend that didn’t happen.) What are your thoughts on the risk/cost/benefit ratio? What about the hypocrisy from simultaneously being a therapist and not seeing the value (and in fact seeing the harm) in therapy for yourself: “I myself never did well in psychotherapy as a so-called client. Pretty much I hated all my past therapists, or at least I hate them now. At the time I really hoped for them to help me, somehow, and none of them did. And one or two of them really hurt me. Messed with my head badly. Instead what really helped me was self-therapy. Journaling. Living a healthy lifestyle. Surrounding myself with loving, healthy friends. Meditating. Being creative. Avoiding toxic people, including my family of origin. These things were my salvation.”

    Perhaps your time might be better spent on educating people about the potential harmfulness of fake therapy relationships and power dynamics — for both the therapist and the client.


  • It’s noteworthy that whatever good the author may have done (which is unknown since he only offers self-praising anecdotes, which are subject confirmation bias and other cognitive errors) was despite the practices and training of the therapy industry rather than because of it. I strongly agree with his vote for activism and addressing the societal/cultural issues and oppression that is at the root of distress for many. The therapy industry, however, is not well-positioned or well-trained to do this important work since it requires a problem-solving approach that is the opposite of the individual-pathologizing one it uses now.

    PS – I looked at some of the author’s other articles, as well, and he seems very focused on saying that he does not seek to be in a position of power over the children he works with. “The [man] doth protest too much, methinks.”

  • Instead of spending your career advising kids to subvert their reasoning skills and “just go with the program,” perhaps you could put your time to more valuable use and truly help the kids by working to dismantle such programs that often do more harm than good (but make parents and politicians feel better since it enables them to check the box saying that they tried “something” regardless of its dehumanizing means or damaging consequences).