Psycho-Babble Psychology | about psychological treatments | Framed
This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | List of forums | Search | FAQ

Against Firestone's long-term therapy

Posted by badhaircut on January 5, 2004, at 20:44:28

In reply to A Pro-Therapy Article, posted by tabitha on January 5, 2004, at 1:42:59

Tabitha -- Great link! Firestone's defense of long-term psychotherapy is probably as good as any out there. Can I share what struck me as some of its weaknesses?

<> In the interview, retired California psychologist Robert Firestone (RF) says, "[M]edication and other shortcuts ... generally represent only symptomatic cures."

Maybe talk therapy represents only symptomatic relief. The patient gets to feel warm & respected & listened to for 50 minutes a week plus phone calls. That's great; those are good feelings. But that's only isolated relief of certain emotional distresses (hopelessness, etc). Again, that's important, but I'm afraid it can often be THE benefit from years of therapy. Talk is then simply a brief anodyne hit, not an effective education. Slinging "symptom-relief" like a slur is always the first charge depth-therapists make against others. Clearly, it can easily be slung back.

<> RF says, "In an age when everything is becoming more mechanized, uncaring and materialistic, psychotherapy is an outpost for maintaining our humanness."

My gosh, the arrogance of such a pronouncement! No matter what mechanized world you live in, YOU'RE STILL HUMAN! A touchless, antiseptic, containerized, clock-timed chat does not *maintain* (!) humanness. And *getting* (that's the word!) analyzed can seem pretty materialistic itself, can't it? One puts a lot of resources into *getting* that deeper awareness, *having* *growth*, *accessing* private realms available *nowhere else*. RF says that in therapy, "You're ... UTILIZING OTHERS and everything in your experience to improve yourself and fulfill your potential...." Keeping ahead of the shallow, unfulfilled Joneses. By using them.

Cheap shots? I wonder. I'd like to see long-term psychotherapy explored more from this angle. (And I didn't even mention the fee.)

<> RF says, "[M]ost of my clients had reasonably successful careers."

He just admitted that most of his clinical experience is with high-functioning patients. No wonder he remains so hopeful about his methods. But that's typical of long-term therapy. People who're in general less skillful can't manage the time & money.

<> RF says other therapies "fail to address the deeper emotions and conflicts that produced [the emotional symptoms]."

Can't one as easily say that the "symptoms" are triggering the experience of deeper conflicts? Why not? It doesn't fit RF's theory.

<> RF says, "Individuals who are less damaged tend to be more open and therefore [sic] have a better chance to improve their lives...."

RF's repeated use of the word "damage" to refer to childhood experience (and "damaged" to refer to people) offends me as anti-humane. It implies that there is a perfect form of the person, like a prized vase on 'Antiques Roadshow.' Anything else is less valuable, less desirable to have -- or be. (The materialistic aspect of long-term therapy is really becoming apparent to me.)

<> My final point, on the first quote. "[M]edication and other shortcuts ... generally represent only symptomatic cures."

Not just shortcuts, but *cures*! Was that a Freudian slip by RF? What kind of defenses are people engaging in when they AVOID A SHORTCUT CURE in order to talk for months & years about things that happened so remotely (if at all)? Wouldn't it be more humane to relieve the so-called symptoms NOW? How about taking care of all the symptoms right away and THEN, once the patient is feeling good, getting into that deeper damage? Isn't that what physicians do?

I think the reason long-term talk-therapy practitioners don't do it that way is obvious. Like Freud said, they'd have no motivation to stick with the treatment!

- - - - - -
To anyone who's read this far, I'm grateful. And Tabitha, thanks again for the link. Once again, I'm not hostile to therapy patients or even many therapists, just some unhelpful dogmas of therapy.
"Creating a Life of Meaning and Compassion" by Robert W. Firestone & others




Post a new follow-up

Your message only Include above post

Notify the administrators

They will then review this post with the posting guidelines in mind.

To contact them about something other than this post, please use this form instead.


Start a new thread

Google www
Search options and examples
[amazon] for

This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | FAQ
Psycho-Babble Psychology | Framed

poster:badhaircut thread:296583