An excerpt from - "Psychotherapy: Snake Oil of the '90s?"

Skeptic-sml.jpg (13964 bytes) .. 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 radium—based 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...

SKEPTIC Magazine, 1998 6(3). pp. 54-63

Reader Letters and Dr. Dineen's replies are in two subsequent issues (Vol. 7, #1 & 2)
@ Dr.Tana Dineen