On Day Two of the Australian Skeptics National Convention last weekend, clinical psychologist Dr Garry Bakker talked about a range of treatments - evidence-based and otherwise - for depression and other conditions. Like many other areas of health care, psychology is not immune to the creeping influx of woo therapies that ebbs and flows as years go by.
I studied just enough psychology at university to know that there's a lot more to it than most people who still think Sigmund Freud is relevant would imagine. While psychology has, historically, struggled to convince other doctrines that it is a real science, it can be scientific. But any practitioners who entertain therapies with no empirical evidence of effectiveness to back them up may, if you'll pardon the expression, get the hell off my lawn.
Here's a wee pome I wrote about such a practitioner.
Thank you, dear client, for coming to meTo discuss your continuing anxiety.In a session or two, for a reasonable feeI’m quite sure we can lessen your stress.We can try a whole range of creative techniquesSome are new; some date back to the Classical GreeksBut I’ve tried them before, and in just a few weeksSeveral clients reported success.Now, although my advice might sound silly or wrong,And you can’t see the purpose of playing along,Anecdotally, evidence seems fairly strong,So bear with me. Right, here’s what you do:First, be mindful and challenge those negative thoughts,While you sew a small crystal of zircon or quartzIn the hem of your jeans or a nice pair of shortsAnd reprogram your neurons anew.Have the static removed from the length of your spineTry to keep both your feng and your shui in lineMix with those of a fixed astrological signPicture me in a large purple hat.Slow your thinking and exercise breathing controlNotice birdsong and breeze when you go for a strollPut three crow feathers into a platinum bowlGive your sub-sternal chakra a pat.Utter positive mantras and visualise calmWear a dove on an amulet wrapped ‘round your armSmear the end of your nose with olfactory balmDrink some soothing valerian tea.Shut your stress in a box by your bed for the nightBathe your body in nut milk and indigo light.Toss a mind-juggling ball right-to-left, left-to-rightStick a needle or two in your chi.I’m aware it seems strange to use such an arrayOf unusual techniques when it’s safer to stayWith a method that’s tested by experts, but hey -There’s a theory behind such a mixture‘Cause I’m not very good at this therapy gameAll these theories and systems, to me, look the sameBut if somehow your symptoms subside, I can claimIt was something I thought of that fixed ya.