Psychology and pseudoscience

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Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior and the practical application of psychological therapy. Unfortunately, the field of psychology is riddled with sloppy work, pseudoscience and scientific fraud.

Psychology studies: Major problems with replication and transparency

  • Psychology is not science - Discusses lack of transparency of Dutch psychologists in terms of their data for their experiments

Psychology studies and statistical errors

In 2011, the New York Times reported:

Also common is a self-serving statistical sloppiness. In an analysis published this year, Dr. Wicherts and Marjan Bakker, also at the University of Amsterdam, searched a random sample of 281 psychology papers for statistical errors. They found that about half of the papers in high-end journals contained some statistical error.[1]

Significant percentage of psychologists having depression and/or suicide ideation

Ex-atheist Theodore Beale

Theodore beale reported:

This is why therapy is reliably doomed to failure:..

In addition to the 46 percent of psychologists who the NHS reports as being depressed, "out of 800 psychologists sampled, 29 per cent reported suicidal ideation and 4 per cent reported attempting suicide."...

Would you go to a plumber whose toilet is overflowing? Would you hire a computer programmer who didn't know how to use a computer? Then why would you ever talk to one of these nutjobs in order to fix whatever mental issues you might be having?...

There is very little scientific evidence of the benefits of psychology. I read one recent study which showed that neurotic individuals actually stabilize on their own at a higher rate than those who seek therapy. This is no surprise, as the foundations of psychology are literally fiction.[2]

Effectiveness of laymen vs. trained psychologists

Christian author Todd A. Sinelli wrote in an article entitled To Whom Shall We Go?:

Psychology is ineffective, impotent, and embarrassingly deceptive. The great humbug is that “the psychological industry has successfully concealed its ineffectiveness from the general public. Pastors, churches, and the laity have been brainwashed into believing that only psychologically trained professional counselors are competent to deal with serious problems.”

Empirical research indicates that this is not so. In his study conducted in 1979 and entitled "Comparative Effectiveness of Paraprofessional and Professional Helpers", J.A. Durlack writes, “The research reviewed forty-two studies that compared professional counselors with untrained helpers. The findings were ‘consistent and provocative.’ Paraprofessionals achieve clinical outcomes equal to or significantly better than those obtained by professionals (...) The study, on the whole, lent no support to the major hypothesis that (...) the technical skills of professional psychotherapists produce measurably better therapeutic change.”

At the conclusion of this study, psychologist Gary Collins reluctantly admitted, “Clearly there is evidence that for most people, laypeople can counsel as well as or better than professionals.”

Again, the bottom line is that Christians are not to turn to psychologist for guidance. Primarily because the Word of God instructs us not to and God has given us the ability to counsel one another through His Word.[3]

See also: Abstract - Comparative effectiveness of paraprofessional and professional helpers and PubMed citation - Comparative effectiveness of paraprofessional and professional helpers

A 1985 paper entitled Does professional training make a therapist more effective? which was published by the University of Texas reported there was no substantial difference in between the results that laymen and trained psychologists are able to achieve.[4][5]

Psychiatric quackery revealed by race often unnecessarily causing misdiagnosis

Self-portrait of a person with schizophrenia. The picture reflects how schizophrenia can distort a person's perception.

In 2005, The Washington Post reported:

John Zeber recently examined one of the nation's largest databases of psychiatric cases to evaluate how doctors diagnose schizophrenia, a disorder that often portends years of powerful brain-altering drugs, social ostracism and forced hospitalizations.

Although schizophrenia has been shown to affect all ethnic groups at the same rate, the scientist found that blacks in the United States were more than four times as likely to be diagnosed with the disorder as whites. Hispanics were more than three times as likely to be diagnosed as whites.[6]

Rosenhan experiment

The main building of St Elizabeths Hospital, located in Washington, D.C., which is now boarded up and abandoned, was one of the sites of the Rosenhan experiment.

The website Frontier Psychiatrist wrote:

The ‘Rosenhan experiment’ is a well known experiment examining the validity of psychiatric diagnosis. It was published in 1975 by David Rosenhan in a paper entitled ‘On being sane in insane places’

The study consisted of two parts. The first involved ‘pseudopatients’ – people who had never had symptoms of serious mental disorder – who, as part of the study, briefly reported auditory hallucinations in order to gain admission to psychiatric hospitals across the United States.

After admission, the pseudopatients no longer reported hallucinations and behaved as they ‘normally’ would. Despite this many were confined as inpatients for substantial periods of time and all were discharged with the diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder.

For the second part of the experiment staff at a teaching hospital, whose staff had learned of Rosenhan’s above results, were informed that one or more pseudopatients would attempt to be admitted to their hospital over an ensuing three month period. Many patients were subsequently identified as likely pseudopatients but in fact no pseudopatient had been sent.[7]

The atheist psychologist Sigmund Freud promoted pseudoscience

See also: Sigmund Freud's view of religion and Atheism and science and Atheism and depression and Atheism and suicide

Sigmund Freud in his laboratory

Sigmund Freud and the atheistic and pseudoscientific Freudian psychoanalysis has had a cultish following.[8][9] See also: Atheist cults

Karl Popper indicated that psychoanalysis is merely a pseudoscience because its claims are not testable and therefore they cannot falsifiable.[10]

Freud was a proponent of the notion that theism was detrimental to mental health.[11] Oxford Professor Alister McGrath, author of the book The Twilight of Atheism, stated the following regarding Freud:

One of the most important criticisms that Sigmund Freud directed against religion was that it encourages unhealthy and dysfunctional outlooks on life. Having dismissed religion as an illusion, Freud went on to argue that it is a negative factor in personal development. At times, Freud's influence has been such that the elimination of a person's religious beliefs has been seen as a precondition for mental health.

Freud is now a fallen idol, the fall having been all the heavier for its postponement. There is now growing awareness of the importance of spirituality in health care, both as a positive factor in relation to well-being and as an issue to which patients have a right. The "Spirituality and Healing in Medicine" conference sponsored by Harvard Medical School in 1998 brought reports that 86 percent of Americans as a whole, 99 percent of family physicians, and 94 percent of HMO professionals believe that prayer, meditation, and other spiritual and religious practices exercise a major positive role within the healing process.[11]

The prestigious Mayo Clinic found that that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life and other health outcomes.[12]

The prestigious Mayo Clinic reported on December 11, 2001:

In an article also published in this issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed published studies, meta-analyses, systematic reviews and subject reviews that examined the association between religious involvement and spirituality and physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life and other health outcomes.

The authors report a majority of the nearly 350 studies of physical health and 850 studies of mental health that have used religious and spiritual variables have found that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes.[13]

American millennials, irreligion, therapy and pseudoscience

See: American millennials, irreligion, therapy and pseudoscience

The Sacrament of Confession and psychological counselling

According to a paper by Rudolf Nyandoro, University of Zimbabwe, "The Pastoral Role of the Sacrament of Confession", careful studies have shown:

The Sacrament of Confession and psychological counselling or psychotherapy were found to collaborate as therapeutic disciplines in pastoral therapy.[14]
See also: Catholic Therapy - Catholic Psychology: Chastity — In San Francisco? Psychological Healing in the Catholic Mystical Tradition—Confession

References

  1. Fraud Case Seen as a Red Flag for Psychology Research
  2. Psychologist, heal thyself
  3. To Whom Shall We Go? (littorch.com)
  4. Berman Session: 07, 1986 (psych.umn.edu)
  5. [1]
  6. Washington Post article, June 27, 2005 (washingtonpost.com)
  7. The Rosenhan Experiment Examined (frontierpsychiatrist.co.uk)
  8. The Freudian psychoanalysis cult by Kevin MacDonald, Ph.D.
  9. The pretensions of the Freudian cult by Thomas Szasz, The Spectator, 4 OCTOBER 1985, Page 32
  10. Popper KR, "Science: Conjectures and Refutations", reprinted in Grim P (1990) Philosophy of Science and the Occult, Albany, 104–110
  11. 11.0 11.1 McGrath, Alister (February 28, 2005). "The twilight of atheism". Christianity Today website. Retrieved on May 23, 2015.
  12. Harold G. Koenig (December 2001), Religion, Spirituality, and Medicine: How Are They Related and What Does It Mean? Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 76, Issue 12, pages 1189-1191
  13. Mueller, Dr. Paul S. et al. (December 2001). "Religious involvement, spirituality, and medicine: implications for clinical practice". Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 76, Issue 12, pages 1225-1235. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic Proceedings website on July 20, 2014.
  14. The Pastoral Role of the Sacrament of Confession: A Life Narrative Study in the Masvingo Diocese in Zimbabwe, by Rudolf Nyandoro, Nov. 2014 (uir.unisa.ac.za)