House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth
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Publish Year note: First published October 1st 1993
Robin Dawes spares no one in this powerful critique of modern psychotherapeutic practice. As Dawes points out, we have all been swayed by the "pop psych" view of the world--believing, for example, that self-esteem is an essential precursor to being a productive human being, that events in one's childhood affect one's fate as an adult, and that "you have to love yourself before you can love another."
psychiatric treatment clinic, to an Alcoholics Anonymous program, or to a no-treatment control group. In the subsequent year, 68 percent of those who had been assigned to the clinic were arrested again, as were 69 percent of those who had been assigned to Alcoholics Anonymous, but “only” 56 percent of those who had been assigned to no treatment were arrested again. (Most probably, these were statistical variations reflecting no stable difference in outcome.) Our society now views alcoholism,
psychotherapy is influenced by therapists’ understanding of the basic principles of behavior change, which are not too difficult to grasp. Much of the success of all therapy may be influenced by the fact that the client is taking action and no longer feels helpless in the face of disruptive emotional pain. Clear findings that psychotherapy works in general and that the training, credentials, and experience of the therapist are irrelevant to its success give rise to these speculations.
that the Rorschach doesn’t work as it is supposed to. Nor do the other projective techniques. How can I be so certain in my pronouncements about the Rorschach? Since the later 1930s, a standard book has been published every six years or so that reviews most of the commonly used test and measurement techniques in psychology. Termed the Mental Measurements Yearbook, its editors seek reviews from the leading experts in the field—without regard to whether these people are considered to be generally
apparently lost but could not remember why; (3) felt the experience of actually flying through the air without knowing why or how; (4) seen unusual lights or balls of light in a room without understanding what was causing them; and, (5) discovered puzzling scars on his or her body without remembering how or where they were acquired. Of those surveyed, 119 responded yes to four or five of these items. The authors of the Bigelow report conclude: “This is 2 %of our sample, and it therefore suggests
psychiatrists will have the intelligence and perseverance to succeed at these tough tasks. The topics they master may not be directly relevant to practice, but the qualities a person needs to master them may well be. Most of the major higher status graduate schools in psychology also require evidence of these qualities for admission, and their programs are intellectually demanding for students who intend to become professionals as well as for those who intend to enter research. Moreover, these