firstname.lastname@example.org (John M. Grohol) writes:
>Really? That is the history of psychotherapy?? Gee, sorry, I don't
>see it. How about an alternative history? That of many, many researchers
>conducting thousands of studies into a new phenomenon, the human mind.
>All having a theory, seeing if it pans out. I would hardly call this
>"subordinating the best interest of the client to their own belief
>systems,'' but rather scientific inquiry. The basis of all scientific
>study. If something works, more reseachers conduct more studies, and the
>effect is that such a theory builds credibility and results in the
>field. Measureable results.
>Fortunately, psychologists subscribe to an ethical code which limits
>the use of experimental and untested treatments on our clients.
Isn't this a bit inconsistant? Are psychotherapists all researchers conducting experimental studies on their clients, ``having a theory, seeing if it pans out'' as you put it, or are they limited by that code of ethics you mention? If the latter, how do the therapies ever get tested? I suspect you are (deliberately?) going back and forth between psychological researchers (described in the first part) and psychotherapists.
>Medical doctors wouldn't dream of using some drug somebody came up to
>them in a hall and said, ``Hey, try this out for the next heart-attack
>patient you see! It's not FDA approved or anything, but I heard that
>it works.'' Unless they were unethical, untrained, or deperate.
Medical doctors would also never characterize themselves as ``researchers conducting thousands of studies into a new phenomenon,'' ``having a theory, seeing if it pans out.'' Unless they were unethical, untrained, or deperate.
>Many, many psychological journals take articles that are case
>studies, that are pilot studies, that are dissertations. It doesn't
>take much to get published in the field, if you're interested in that
>sort of thing. The most surprising thing about NLP is the lack of
>even the most rudimentary published studies.
Not surprising at all. No matter how well-done, rigorous, and conclusive a study is, it will not meet the above criteria unless it is ``published". The Psychological journals and Academic press have been notoriously hostile to certain topics, and studies supporting NLP techniqies fall into that category.
For instance: In 1992 a study of the NLP ``fast phobia cure'' was completed. The study took a population of ``simple'' phobics, and divided them into three groups. Group A was given the NLP process and then was interviewed each week for six weeks about their phobic experiences. Group B was given accelerated progressive-desensitization treatment and the interviews, and group C was given just the interviews. The subjects were re-evaluated at 6 months, one year, and 5 years and grouped by the level of returning symptoms: none, few, many, all. At the end of the 5 years, the results showed that the NLP group fell 90%+ into the ``none'' category, the p-d group was about 35% ``none", 33% ``few'' and the rest ``many'' or ``all", and the control group was 90%+ ``all".
The results were written up in proper fashion and submitted to three journals (the part of the process I was involved in). The first two returned them almost immediately with notes saying that they fell outside the subject areas which they publish. The other actually sent the article to the reviewers, who declined to review it on the grounds that NLP was ``pseudo-science'' and not worth their time and effort.
>From what I have heard, other such studies have met with similar responses. A few journals have published studies purporting to disprove some portion of NLP, but that is just about it. The reasoning is often circular: nothing published in this area has supported [NLP], so we won't publish anything which supports it. The same sort of reasoning is often (but not always) applied when such studies are proposed to the committees at most research Universities.
You can verify this effect yourself, at your own institution. Propose a study similar to the above at your own institution, and see what happens. Contact a number of journals about such a study, and see what kind of response you get.
In the past, disciplines which have faced this problem have done the only reasonable thing: start their own journal. Few of the ``Major Players'' in NLP are primarily academics, so the idea of an academic journal has aroused relatively little interest. On the other hand, there are several publications which are the equivalent of the Engineering/ Technical Journals.
The upshot of thewhole thing is: lack of publication doesn't equal lack of evidence.
>And while you may think it would be easy to just throw another
>technique out at a client, some therapists actually subscribe to a
>specific theoretical orientation in psychology and use interventions
>based upon that theory. Something NLP lacks.
That last part is completely untrue. Among other things, much of NLP is completely consistant with the Cognative school of psychology. As to the first part, That is exactly what some people here are complaining about. Many therapists cling religiously to a ``specific theoretical orientation in psychology'' despite copious evidence disputing its effectiveness. Psychoanalysis is demonstrably the least effective therapeutic regimen in Psychology, yet it is still the favored approach in much of the world. The Freudians still consider behaviorism as being without appropriate theoretical foundation, while behaviorist and cognitive psychologists consider psychoanalysis little better than fraud.
W.E. Goodrich, PhD