I suggest that the Psychology Industry is selling consumers a bill
of goods, that psychological services are in many ways a scam, and
that psychological treatment is a modern psychic version of snake
oil. From the witches brews of ancient times to the traveling medicine
shows, from copper bracelets to Kickapoo Indian Oil, society has always
had an abundance of secret concoctions and panaceas to cure all of
its ailments. For instance, the discovery of radium by the Curies
began the Mild Radium Therapy movement, particularly popular among
American socialites, and precipitated a lucrative trade in radiumbased
belts, hearing aids, toothpaste, face cream, and hair tonic.
Psychotherapy may well be nothing more than one of these concoctions.
While snake oil had no effective agent, it did have sufficient common
alcohol to make people feel better until their ailments naturally
went away. Similarly, psychotherapy has no effective agent, but
people buy it, believe in it, and insist that it works because it
makes them feel better about it themselves for awhile. This change,
if it can be called that, may well be derived from nothing more
than the expression of concern and caring, and not from specialized
treatment worthy of payment.
I do not mean to suggest that psychotherapy is a premeditated scam.
Most psychologists, I think, genuinely believe that they are helping
people, a view supported by the professional organizations and licensing
bodies. Information does exist that would cause them question their
assumption; however, most remain focused on selling their services,
marketing their products, making a living and feeling good about
themselves. They ignore the data and, thus, manage to maintain a
belief, tantamount to a faith, in what they are selling...