Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is currently the predominant psychotherapy treatment paradigm taught to clinicians-in-training in psychology graduate schools. However, when I first received psychotherapy training in the mid 1970’s, by far the predominant school of psychotherapy was psychoanalysis. We did receive a smattering of behavior therapy training, and we were even assigned one book about family systems ideas by Virginia Satir. Our training program was a bit unusual in that regard.
Readers of my book, How Family Dysfunction Spurs Mental Disorders, know that the “evidence base” in all of psychotherapy is actually quite weak, and that CBT controls the funding of research and denies it to practitioners from other schools – although nonetheless there are still many studies from other schools that are every bit as strong (or should I say as weak) as the CBT studies. That includes analytically-oriented therapies, as a meta-analysis by Jonathan Shedler in the February-March 2010 issue of the American Psychologist clearly showed.
Psychotherapy involves science of course, but in many ways it is an art form as well. People are complicated, and each patient is unique in many ways, and can always choose to respond positively, negatively, or not at all to any intervention made by a therapist.
This recommendation involved the use of not one, but three logical fallacies, all wrapped up in a single statement. It was a non sequitur, since someone might be questioning the theory for any number of other reasons besides their own psychological issues. It was an ad hominem attack, since it was going after the questioner and not the question. And of course it was begging the question. The accusation of being neurotic might be true if analytic theory is true, but that is the very issue in doubt and under debate.
Hyper-biological psychiatrists love to bring up the awful effects of the fallacious psychoanalytic theory of the “schizophrenogenic mother” to argue against all of psychotherapy, not even just psychoanalysis! I tell biological reductionists that if they don’t hold the theory of schizophrenogenic mothers against psychotherapists, then I will not hold the theory of eugenics against them.
Second, the question lumps together all types of psychotherapy. What type of therapy are we talking about? Which interventions? It would be like me arguing against the use of medication by pointing out how ineffective penicillin is for treating clinical depression.
Who doesn’t believe that people sometimes take their anger out about something on someone or something else? Mad at your boss, come home and kick the dog? That’s the defense mechanism of displacement. Yeah, like that never happens.
People wanting to avoid unpleasant subjects and in response changing the subject or explaining away inconvenient facts? That's resistance. Check.
Forgetting about unpleasant memories? Well, whether that’s unconscious or subconscious may be debatable, but the fact that repression exists? The whole Catholic Church child molestation scandal started with a case of "recovered" memory. Check.