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Unread December 7th, 2006, 05:15 PM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 283
Default Re: Are all therapies equally valid?

> Does anyone really believe that all the different therapies that have been developed are equally valid?
> You use a straw man argument in picking an extreme example such as orgone therapy. To reframe the question
> slightly: Do you believe that most commonly used therapies are equally valid? Then Lambert cited above would
> say yes (in the real world) as would many others.

Actually, I don't think it's a straw man argument. I don't know of anyone who still uses orgone boxes but I do know of instances where therapists were manipulating undetectable "energy fields", were using crystals and channeling, were using past-life regression, or were using questionable techniques to "recover" repressed memories. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues have very interesting ideas about what therapists should do.

Some hear that "all of the most through research shows that all types of therapy are equal in terms of client outcomes" and conclude that it doesn't matter what therapists do as long as there's a good therapeutic relationship. I think this is a risky conclusion.

Even if it were true that every therapy that was empirically tested turned out to be equally effective (which I doubt), this doesn't mean that all commonly used therapies are equally effective for every problem. I'd argue that we have reason to believe that the therapies that have been tested are effective, at least for the problems and populations they've been tested on. However, I'd also argue that the commonly used therapies which have not been tested are an unknown quantity. They may or may not turn out to be effective.

Thus, when I see a commonly used therapy (psychoanalysis) being used for a common problem (a driving phobia) and turning out to be ineffective, I'm inclined to think that a treatment approach that has been found to be effective with driving phobias would have been a better choice. (Note: this is a real example from a few years ago)
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