I have to admit with some embarassment that Donald Smith and Doug William are one in the same. The latter really being me! I didn't find this kind of presentation too well received in other places, so I thought, relucantly, I would take a chance here. I figured for me to participate in the 'other' forums I didn't want to be too well vilified. So--I am somewhat surprised by these responses.
I am painfully well acquainted with the history of our field and the religious types of conviction and conversion that seem to take place within it. Having spent 6 additional years of postdoctoral experience divided between psychoanalytic and the behavioral therapies, I look with some amusement when I see there are yet more banners to be waved for the Philadelphia Group or this group. The plea is always the same---if you read enough of our theory you'll see it's the palce to be. Of course the student disciples all enthusiastically agree. And then when you consider your theory to be struggling as the 'outgroup', it helps to increase comaderie and conviction even more.
Of course, I have always been impressed by the terrifically bright, articulate and sometimes poetic sounding people in our field- very effective or is that affective, preachers. Each quite satisfied that the correct path has been found. Each group having urged me on to study their way, because ultimately it would be the best.
Now in my early 50's I bemoan the fact that I spent more time trying to please supervisors, then protest what I knew to be, way back when, wrong headed ideas. So ultimately I ended up quite angry at myself and unbelieving how people spend entire careers relgiously espousing one particular theory.
And meanwhile all of our great ideational might as had a great effect on world politics and how people treat one another, right--- yeah I know this was never psychology's goal.
The ways in which theories of psychotherapy are justified have some very uncomfortable similarities to how devout believers in astrology (and palm reading before that) go about sustaining their beliefs.
I work primarily with children and adolescents so I face somewhat different questions, although the dilemmas are pretty much the same. I can certainly testify to the fact that it is much much easier to hold onto one island in the seas of psychotherapy than to often feel out at sea not comfortable with any of the islands.
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