The process of creating a work of art involves inspiration, creativity, and an openness to taking creative risks via a process of trial and error in which one must be willing to let go of pieces that didn’t work. Here‘s a helpful look at how this works if psychotherapy is an art — and some clients are the discarded scraps or collateral damage inherent in the process of creating art: The Art of Psychotherapy. It’s a very honest and under-appreciated point. Clinical psychology doesn’t stand up well as a science, but if treating it as an art causes unforeseeable harm to random clients, then what’s left? (Here’s another article that points out the fact that harm happens but tends to get dismissed in psychotherapy: Reporting of harms in randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions for mental and behavioral disorders: A review of current practice.)
Here are some writings on the non-scientific/pseudoscientific status of clinical psychology written by a retired NASA scientist:
Additional articles on the state of the evidence in psychotherapy may be found here: TryTherapyFree Links and Resources
These add up to a strong case that, when it comes to the psychotherapy industry, we have “evidence to abandon ship.”
The fact that clinical psychology/psychotherapy doesn’t hold up as an art or science is important, but almost secondary to the more fundamental problem that the structure of the artificial asymmetrical therapy relationship depends on an unethical, dehumanizing way of relating to our fellow human beings.
Here is a handy test that can help to determine whether a relationship between adults is ethical or not:
“Would it be okay for me to go out for lunch with this person and tell them what I did last weekend?”
If not, then there may be some distancing/dehumanizing boundaries and manipulative power tactics going on.