By Todd Essig
Originally published April 23, 2012
An intentionally provocative opinion piece about psychotherapy was just published in the NY Times by Jonathan Alpert. Well, it worked. I’ve been provoked. Alpert is an apparently proud fellow who uses his web-site to trumpet being called “Manhattan’s most media-friendly psychotherapist.” In the article he lays claim to a style of psychotherapy that is a unique advance because unlike others he actually helps patients change. Other people, people like me, what we do is waste our patients lives so we can get paid. According to him relaxing “spa appointments” rather than anything useful are what people get from me and my kind.
How did this get past the Times editors? It is so clearly designed as an infomercial for selling the author’s go-for-the-gusto change-your-life in 28 days book. Plus the article is dangerous. It perpetuates the myth that psychotherapy is inefficient, ineffective snake oil, relaxing to be sure but snake oil nonetheless. In so doing it erects an unnecessary conceptual obstacle to getting help that someone might need.
The entire response to Mr. Alpert's article is here.
Thanks to Richard Ievoli for this article. He could have been a contender.