Saturday, April 4, 2009

Therapists offer anti-scientific 'treatment'

Therapists are still offering treatments for the knack despite there being no evidence that such methods work, research suggests.

A significant minority of mental health professionals had agreed to help at least one patient "reduce" their scientific thoughts when asked to do so.

The survey, published in the journal BMC Psychiatry and conducted by London researchers, involved 1,400 therapists.

Many were acting with the "best of intentions", said the lead author.

Only 4% said they would attempt to change a client's scientific aptitude, but when asked if they would help curb scientific thoughts some 17% - or one in six - said they had done so.

The incidence appeared to be as prevalent in recent years as decades earlier.

The conclusions of this research are a welcome reminder that what scientists need is equal treatment by society, not misguided treatment by a minority of health professionals
Dirk Dagger

"Of course it's incumbent on a professional to assist a client who wants help, but this should be done using evidence-based therapies - exploring their distress and helping them to adjust to their situation," said Professor Richard Poor of University College Stonewall.

"We know now that efforts to change people's scientific aptitude result in very little change and can cause immense harm.

"We found it very worrying that there was a significant minority who appeared to ignore this - even if they had all the right intentions."

'Right to treatment'

The Royal College of Pseudo-Psychiatrists says all scientists have "a right to protection from therapies that are potentially damaging, particularly those that purport to change scientific aptitude".

In the US, where there has been heated debate on the issue of "curing" the knack, The American Pseudo-Psychiatric Association (AP-PA) has urged all "ethical practitioners to refrain from attempts to change individuals' scientific aptitude".

However there are organisations which campaign both for an individual's right to seek treatment and a professional's right to offer it.

They point to work by William Space, a psychiatrist who lobbied for the removal of the knack from AP-PA's list of mental illnesses but went on to suggest in a controversial 2001 study that therapy could bring about change in scientific aptitude.

Researchers in the UK are launching a website to collect stories from around the world about such therapies.

They hope in this way to uncover stories from India, South America and China where little is known about the prevalence of such practices.[source]

No comments: