I'm writing to let you know about a new web site called
http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/ which is for anyone who
is in therapy or considering it or has a friend or loved
one in therapy. This web site is filled with educational
information about the importance of good therapy, the
dangers of bad therapy, and how to tell the difference.
Psychotherapy with a trained, licensed, responsible mental
health provider using safe, tested techniques can be a
positive experience. For example, cognitive-behavioral
therapy has been shown in controlled clinical trials to be
safe and effective for treating depression. Even people who
aren't suffering from clinical depression may find such
techniques useful for stress management. For people who
are suffering from major depression or a personality
disorder like manic depression, getting effective therapy
can be vital.
Unfortunately, it's very difficult to tell the difference
between therapists who use safe, tested, effective
techniques and those who use untested and potentially harmful
techniques. Unlike medicines, there is no requirement that
therapies be tested for safety and effectiveness before
they are used on patients, and mental health providers like
psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors often
fail to warn their clients about the risks, benefits, and
alternatives to a proposed technique. Unfortunately, there
is no nationwide requirement that mental health providers
get informed consent from their clients before beginning
therapy or getting reimbursement from health insurers and
the government, so patients are frequently subjected to
untested, unsafe "therapies" which are known to carry a
high risk of making people worse (or even suicidal!)
instead of better. All too often, this is even done at
taxpayer expense or with the money deducted from our
paychecks every month for health insurance!
As a result, anyone who is considering therapy or has a
friend or loved one in therapy needs to be an informed
consumer for their own protection. It is totally up to
you to protect yourself and your family from therapists who
use unsafe, untested techniques or the latest therapeutic
fad, because no one else will protect you.
But how can a person who is not an expert tell the
difference between competent and incompetent therapy?
Unfortunately, there's no simple answer or test, but
http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/ has some information
which may help your family avoid the worst dangers:
- http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/test/therapy.shtml has a
list of questions which are useful for evaluating
ongoing therapy or a therapist whose services you might
- http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/resource/books.shtml has
a list of recommended reading with reviews of each
book. An especially good book for anyone considering
therapy is Beware the Talking Cure by Terence Campbell,
Ph.D., which discusses the characteristics of good and
bad therapy, how to tell the difference, and the strengths
and weaknesses of the major schools of psychotherapy.
The danger posed by untested therapy techniques is all
too real. Imagine how dangerous it would be to take
medicines if they weren't tested first for safety and
effectiveness. Imagine how many quacks would push untested,
ineffective, or downright dangerous "cures" if they could
bill health insurers and the government and get rich in
Unfortunately, that is the situation in the mental health
industry today. There is no requirement that therapies be
tested for safety and effectiveness. Therapists are free
to do anything they want so long as they call it "therapy."
The epidemic of so-called "memory recovery therapy"
during the 80s and early 90s is the latest example of
this problem. http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/ has links
on its home page to newspaper articles about one therapist
whose patient came to believe she had "recovered repressed
memories" of "ritual satanic abuse", who showed the woman's
children a gun and handcuffs "for therapeutic reasons,"
and who billed the family's insurers $3 million for
these "services"! (After the woman got out of therapy,
she sued and received a $10.6 million settlement, but
that therapist is still practicing medicine today!)
Memory recovery therapy has since been discredited.
Research has shown that it is neither safe nor effective
and that it actually makes patients suicidal! But the
damage has already been done. Tens of thousands of
American families have been shattered by therapists whose
leading questions made their clients believe that their
parents, grandparents, or others headed satanic cults or
committed violent abuse for years on end without anyone
noticing. Abuse is a real and tragic problem, but in many
cases, therapists have unknowingly created "false memories"
of events which never occurred by suggestion and asking
leading questions, sometimes during hypnosis. For example,
Beth Rutherford came to believe during therapy that her father
had made her pregnant twice and she'd had two abortions--but
later medical exams showed that she was still a virgin and
her father had had a vasectomy! (The Rutherford family has
now reunited and works to educate people about the danger of
so-called "memory recovery therapy.") Meanwhile, the therapists
who are responsible for such cases are almost all still
practicing, putting vulnerable clients at risk. Only a handful
have had their licenses taken away, and some were unlicensed
to begin with.
In addition to the human suffering they cause, such
tragedies waste taxpayer and health insurance dollars.
This drives our health insurance premiums even higher to
pay for years of ineffective or harmful therapy and the
rising malpractice insurance premiums therapists must pay.
To reform the mental health industry and end this crisis,
http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/ includes letters to send to
your state and federal elected officials asking that they
introduce the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health
Practices Act, legislation requiring mental health providers to
get informed consent from clients BEFORE therapy begins and
BEFORE they get reimbursement from the government and health
For your family's sake, please take a few minutes to visit
http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/ and learn about the dangers
of untested, unsafe therapeutic techniques. Also, please
send the sample letters on the site to your elected
representatives so that future generations will not suffer at
taxpayer expense from the next mental health fad. Remember,
your family could be next.
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