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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/4/21

The House of Cards of Clinical Psychology: How Psychoanalysis and Humanistic Psychology Ignore Scientific Research and H

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House of Cards
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Why is anger a motivation for writing this book? Because the rapid growth and professionalization of my field"has led it to abandon a commitment it made at the inception of that growth. That is to establish mental health base on research findings The practice would ignore the research"Instead, too many mental healthcare professionals rely on trained clinical intuition" it is often no different from the intuition of people who have had no training whatsoever" What our society has done is to license such people to do their own thing while simultaneously justifying that license on the basis of scientific knowledge which those licensed too often ignore.

Robyn Dawes

Author: Bruce Lerro, Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

Orientation Questions and Claims About Psychotherapy

  • Many clinicians think adult behavior is determined mainly by childhood What does the research show?
  • Surely interviewing and building case studies provide better predictability of individuals than actuarial statistics like those used by insurance companies.
  • The projective testing techniques like the Rorschach tests have shown to be very helpful in getting out the client's unconscious motivates and drives.
  • How much does the age of the therapist indicate greater learning in the field? Surely this is true because all older therapists have more experience.
  • How well does raising self-esteem with psychological techniques predict improvements in personal and social behavior?
  • Does possessing a license imply that therapists are using scientifically sound methods?

Turning from the therapy office to the courtroom:

  • How good does professional psychological testimony in legal proceedings work in predicting competency for standing trial, establishing divorce and child custody or allegations of child abuse in the absence of physical evidence or reliable witnesses?
  • What are the chances that clinicians can know what someone was thinking just before they committed suicide?
  • Could therapists tell within 10 minutes of meeting them when someone has been sexually abused as a child based on that person's general demeaner?
  • How likely is it that multiple personality disorders result from repeated sexual abuse or being raised by parents who practiced Satanism?

Defining the Boundaries of Psychology

This article is based on a very powerful criticism of the field of professional psychology by Robyn M. Dawes: House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth

Are psychological problems mental illnesses?

Recently "mental illness" is being presented in our society as just the same as any other illness. According to Dawes, this has been done to destigmatize emotional distress by claiming that it is an illness is nothing to be embarrassed about. But the constant repetition of this assertion has gradually convinced the public and professional psychologists themselves that what psychotherapists or paraprofessionals do to alleviate emotional distress is similar to what medical doctors do to alleviate or cure physical disease. This is a very bad analogy, as we shall see. We must proceed carefully.

According to Dawes, there are three important mental illness categories for judging people's mental health:

  • An outside observer thinks its dysfunctional
  • The individual client reports it as emotional distress
  • The behavior is derogated by others

Critics like Szasz and Masson concentrate on the third characteristic.

Psychology does not have the rigor of medicine or engineering

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Barbara MacLean and Bruce Lerro are co-founders and organizers for Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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