Thursday, August 10, 2023

Psycho Therapy makes the World Worse

Quillette essay:
the sentiment is ubiquitous: We all need therapy. You’ll find article after article after article that says this explicitly. The media champion the notion daily.
A lot of people say that therapy is generally beneficial, as if it good for everyone. It is not.

It should be obvious that it is harmful to some people, in some cases.

I suspect that it is harmful in most cases, if not all cases. I have never known it to benefit anyone. There are studies by psychologists that claim to show some benefit to what they do, but the evidence is very weak. The alleged benefits are usually for some narrowly focused cognitive behavioral therapy, or something like that. Other types of treatments are much less effective.


CFT said...

Good counseling can help people, obviously. There is much evidence for this, provided the counselor knows what the hell they are talking about and has experience with human nature...actual human nature, not linguistic jargon. Talking to folks about du jour mental problems with psycho babble 'tell me about your mother', 'micro agressions', 'toxic masculenity','gender identity', etc. to sell a new mental problem to folks, does nothing but provide an sanctioned excuse. Most of these mental problems are just marketable snake oil for an entire class of mostly useless experts. They literally create their own problems to then get paid to solve.

Back in the eighties I remember how 'my father sexually abused me' became the new trendy therapy fad in California, everyone from celebrities to everyday folks suddenly discovered how abused they were as toddlers with hypno-regression therapy. It certainly didn't make anyone better, just more outraged, but it did give a lot of people excuses for their bad behavior. I remember one girl I knew telling me how her father touched her privates all the time when she was a toddler. Being that I had actually been present on numerous occasions when this touching orgy of privates was going on (I was about seven years old when she was one), I asked her if her therapist had ever considered she might be misinterpreting something else entirely that was going on that was sexual abuse. The girl grew incredibly angry and snarled "LIKE WHAT? What possible reason did my father have for touching me down there??!"
"Well, like you had pooped your diaper and he was cleaning your up before changing it."
Her eyes got big. Then she got very quiet. Then she got very angry. Then she started crying.
"Does your therapist by any chance have any children?" I asked. She admitted her therapist was single.

In the end, the girl remained mad at me for quite awhile because I had stolen her psychological fig leaf that she had been hiding her chronic bad behavior behind. People love excuses, especially official or scientific sounding ones that absolve them from accountability that they can easily trot out whenever is convenient.

CFT said...

The best counseling can do is bring something to your attention you didn't notice, or want to notice, and hope you can take conscious control of to get yourself sorted. It can't fix you, or resolve your issues, as is portrayed in silly Hollywood depictions of the wealthy and their shrinks. Having a personal therapist also relates perfectly to the size of the class of people who have psychological disorders no one else has outside of their income bracket, and which disorders seem to suddenly become quite common at times and then suddenly go out of style for some highly mysterious reason.

Anyone who has studied abnormal psychology seriously knows that the treatments to psychological disorders varies widely with very little agreement even throughout the field, and has changed so much, that it doesn't even work historically or physiologically, as yesterdays cures are often completely invalidated fifteen minutes later by newer more expensive treatments which declare the previous cures as ineffective quackery.

Much like the success rate of random mutations, It is a very tiny fraction of past medical practices that turned out to be remotely beneficial and not harmful.