Re: thera-pee

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Jul 06 2000 - 12:56:56 MDT

Not one hour of therapy, total! Therapy over a continued period of
time, as I recall on the order of months, testing (multiple) one-hour
sessions with trained psychoanalysts versus (multiple) one-hour sessions
with sympathetic listeners. (The one-hour figure is from memory and may
be unreliable, but I'm pretty sure it was on that order.)

As for the plaint that psychotherapy is "subjective" and "unmeasurable",
somehow we never have any trouble when it comes time to experimentally
measure the efficacy of a neuropharmeceutical. There are standard
methods ranging from surveys to outcome studies, and if psychotherapy
doesn't show up on them, then psychotherapy is bunk.

I am not interested in making excuses for a profession that has no
scientific support whatsoever, and never did. Sometimes "unscientific"
methods are later verified experimentally, but sometimes experiment
demonstrateds them to be worthless. If so, the method has been
disproven, regardless of the excuses brought by those who may have a
emotional attachment to it. (I'm talking about the psychoanalysts
themselves, not Nadia.) Psychotherapy, as a theory, has approximately
the same scientific standing as telekinesis.

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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