‘And with the growth of the “New Age” movement, the market has also been flooded by a growing cadre of therapists with little formal training but an immense investment in pop-psychology and “post modernist” psychobabble.
"In most jurisdicitions, these entrepreneurs cannot call themselves psychologists or psychiatrists because licensing statutes restrict these titles to professionals with specified credentials and training. They can however, offer their services (where local laws permit) by appropriating unreserved titles** such as counselor, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, sex therapist, pastoral counselor, Dianetics auditor (one of several pseudonyms for Scientology), New Age guide, relationship advisor, mental therapist, etc.
**(Pop quiz: How many other 'unreserved titles' have we observed in use by persons using powerful methods without proper training, oversight or accountablity? C)
(p3) At the highest levels of the profession, the erosion of the likage between science and clinical practice was further aggravated in recent years when many research psychologists left the American Psychological Association (APA) to form the rival American Psychological Society. The defectors felt that the APA was undervaluing the scientific side of its mandate as it devoted more effort to lobbying and other professional issues primarily of concern to clinicians. Many also felt that the APA had been too timid in disciplining those of its members who engage in scientifically dubious practices. On several occasions, I have witnessed this reluctance to chastise peddlers of outlandish wares myself. My disappointments spring from fruitless attempts to get various psychological associations to rein in their members who charge clients for scientifically discredited services such as subliminal audiotapes, graphology (handwriting analysis), dubious psychological tests, bogus therapy techniques, and various so called ‘rejuvenation’ techniques for recovering supposedly repressed memories.
"I continue to be appalled to see journals of various psychological associations with advertisements for courses carrying official continuing education credits for therapists that promote this kind of pseudoscience.’
"Even if minimally-trained therapists can do some good, there remains the danger that they will divert clients from treatments that would help them more.
"More worrisome is the possibility that their limited knowledge will lead them to apply risky procedures than exacerbate existing conditions or even create serious problems of their own.
"When such malpractice occurs, these uncertified therapists have no professional associations and disciplinary boards to whom dissatisified customers can turn. It is when therapeutic fads emerge from a research vacuum and treatments lack proper outcome evaluations that these safety concerns arise. "
And..the Beyerstein article was published in a special issue of this new and much needed publication
Note: It is considered a potential pitfall in psychotherapy for a counselor to disclose information about illness or personal hardship to clients, precisely because this would hold open the danger of triggering clients to parent the therapist. This would cause the clients to re-enact the roles that have kept them trapped and which they are trying, through therapy to get free from--not further entrenched.
Here are some problems I see with her teaching:
1. BK proposes we inquire into and see the unreality of all thought and thought-referents (objects in the world). This could have disastrous consequences for humanity. One of the things that make us human is our conscience, our sense of right and wrong.
How would we react in the face of evil if we didn’t see it as evil? How can we handle external threats if we deconstructed our beliefs so much that external dangers are not see as “evil” or “dangerous”?
She gives the example of a nazi throwing a baby into a flaming pit. This act she says is God. “God is what-is. And until we can accept our baby being destroyed we cannot come to terms with God, with reality” (Paraphrase from Losing the Moon.)
What kind of power will this leave us with if we all — or many of us — deconstructed our sense of right, wrong, and justice? Imagine a scenario with aliens invading and wiping us out. Would we have the moral fortitude and strength to defeat such an enemy if instantly all of our thoughts were met with “Is this true?.. is this really true?… how do I feel when I believe this thought?…”
I’m a psychotherapist and have been practicing buddhism this way and that for a lot of years. KB’s little 4-step can be a wonderful tool – it’s really in the tradition of cognitive therapy, radicalized by some non-dualistic perspective.
I say perspective because, as someone up there notes, she’s an absolutist (and absolutism has a funny way of slithering into nilhilism), and that doesn’t hold philosophical or ethical water. It’s terrific for busting blind judgements and real projections and painful false beliefs. And I now would stop there.
Because it’s dangerous.
It might be helpful for an abused person to turn around “He shouldn’t have raped me” and discover “I shouldn’t rape myself (every time i get hooked into obsessive and painful replays)”, but that’s (Corboys italics) slippery and had better be pretty carefully worked.
And “He should have raped me” is a notion that only works at a level where no one needs any 4 step anyway.
I had a horribly childhood-abused PTSD client who spontaneously declared one day, “I don’t want to do the victim thing any more. I wouldn’t be who I am, and I wouldn’t know what I know if it hadn’t happened. It’s incredible. I feel wonderful, it’s somehow just this incredible, insane totally valuable moment of my very own life.”
That held. She really got a lot of release with that insight. And I asked her later what she’d do if she came across a man raping a child now. “I’d try to blow his brains out”, said she. So that’s no hesitation, anyway.
It’s also story-bound, that business of finding a way to incorporate suffering into your narrative. Limited, relative. But Katie’s not Nagarjuna, either. I’ve settled (uneasily) with the formulation of an ultimate and a relative reality that appears in some Buddhist schools… Might be framed as “Nothing is inherently and objectively real, it’s a dream, a flash of lightning, a dewdrop, etc. — but hey, tie your horse to a tree.” In this vast seamless perfection it’s also not OK to throw a baby into a flaming pit.
KB covers this problem of right judgement, discernment, discrimination, when she talks about not going into the yard of a biting dog. Reckon one might also shoot that dog if it’s a Nazi running off with baby.
But there’s a problem with the biting dog being perfect and perfectly doing its perfect job over in the relative reality, which she has to deny. She’s stuck.
And she’s charismatic and adored and I believe absolutely sincere, and the money is rolling in, and teachers like this have a wretched tendency to gradually go narcissistic and mad. The stories rolling in now are achingly familiar. Sigh.
In the Bardo realm blissful heaven’s at the top, but you don’t get to stay there, you get blissed and blind and tumble back into hell, which is utter paranoia. This is what happened to Osho I think, and maybe Trungpa.
It’s my favorite sad joke – “too much emptiness!” In psychological terms it’s the return of the repressed.
As someone said, it’s a terrific trick and genuinely liberating in one sense. But be careful.
The groups were determined to be dangerous when:
Leaders had rigid, unbending beliefs about what participants should experience and believe, how they should behave in the group. and when they should change.
Leaders had no sense of differential diagnosis and assessment skills, valued cathartic emotional breakthroughs as the ultimate therapeutic experience, and sadistically pressed to create or force a breakthrough in every participant.
Leaders had an evangelical system of belief that was the one single pathway to salvation.
Leaders were true believers and sealed their doctrine off from discomforting data or disquieting results and tended to discount a poor result by, "blaming the victim."