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Crazy Therapies : What Are They? Do They Work? 1st Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787902780
ISBN-10: 0787902780
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Many who consult therapists don't realize that there is little regulation of mental health workers. As a result, some therapists indulge in questionable practices?e.g., "rebirthing," "channeling," "catharsis" (acting out one's hostile emotions). Singer and Lalich (coauthors of Cults in Our Midst, LJ 4/1/95) describe many such methods and offer case studies. In addition, they discern three problems that apply to all these methods: they have not been rigorously tested, and nothing is known about whether people are actually helped by them; people caught up in these questionable therapies are not receiving proven treatment for their initial complaints; and there is a good deal of evidence that many of these therapies are harmful and make use of classic mind-control techniques to keep patients hooked. While not as essential a purchase, this title is a good complement to Jack Gorman's The New Psychiatry (LJ 11/1/96), which concentrates on explaining standards for good mental health care but does not go into detail about the ways in which therapy can be mishandled. Together, the two titles provide a solid background for anyone seeking assistance with life's problems.?Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Professionals will find the book valuable in that it provides a different perspective on many of their own therapeutic approaches...[it is] worthwhile because it courageously challenges the shamans and rattle shakers, the opportunists and the fakes, and those parts in all of us." (Transactional Analysis Journal)

"A timely, important, much-need and sane expose. If you are considering any kind of alternative therapy, you need to read this book. If you thought you already knew just how crazy therapy can be, guess again. You had no idea until you read this book." (Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Against Therapy)

"This book is an intelligent, witty guide for anyone who is considering an "innovative" or unconventional approach to mental health or personal transformation."

"Singer brings educated skepticism to her topic--the wide-open field of fringe psychotherapy." (Dallas Morning News)

"A compelling, fascinating, well researched and informative book. By informing consumers of the serious dangers of quack psychotherapies, Singer and Lalich have performed a much needed public service." (R. Christopher Barden, Ph.D., J.D., L.P., adjunct professor of law, University of Minnesota, president, National Association for Consumer Protection in Mental Health Practices)

"Singer and Lalich reveal the dark side of a host of modern, Crazy therapies in which therapists can become persuasive agents of destructive influence. The authors' perceptive, critical analysis is must reading for all mental health professionals, for all current and potential clients of psychotherapy, and for all those interested in how reasoned traditional therapy lost its mind and in our time." (Philip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Stanford University and author of The Psychology of Attitude Change and Social Influence (1991))

"Crazy Therapies is a much-needed book to help consumers navigate the unregulated filed of psychotherapy."

"This is a consumer guide to help sort out what might be right for you." (The Denver Post)

"Written in a clear, highly entertaining, and popular style, "Crazy Therapies" is just the book for anyone trying to wend their way through the daunting therapeutic maze."

"Tells a sad but fascinating tale of pathological therapies that abound throughout the country."

"This title is a good complement to Jack Gorman's The New Psychiatry. Together, the two titles provide a solid background for anyone seeking assistance with life's problems."

"A startling--and often amusing--expose of the alternative philosophies and practices that can be found in today's ever-growing psychotheraputic marketplace. This book is an intelligent, witty guide for anyone who is considering an 'innovative' or unconventional approach to mental health or personal transformation." (Feminist Bookstore News)

"Crazy Therapies is fascinating reading and would be helpful for anyone considering any innovative approach to mental health or personal transformation."

"...a must read for anyone who believes that there is sometimes little difference between some mental health practices and the occult. This is that rare book that is both highly entertaining and deeply disturbing..." (Behavioural Interventions, April 2001)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787902780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787902780
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Not just about alien abductions and satanic cults, this book helped me see that the "normal" therapy group I was in was a cult. The therapist I was involved with claimed that those of us in her "community" were healthier than average people and that the recovery she provided could not be found anywhere else in the world!
Singer also describes the dubious nature of some of the common practices in psychotherapy, like rebirthing, that are ineffective and also potentially dangerous.
Most importantly, Singer states that there needs to be an FDA type body to monitor all these people. The therapist that "treated" me belonged to the ACA which has been extremely professional in handling my complaints, but Singer's point is an excellent one.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
An unfortunate but inevitable feature of the psychotherapy and holistic therapy fields is that theories and techniques tend to be supported by hype, anecdotal evidence, and personality cults. We are still a long way off cutting through the smoke and mirrors to arrive at objective and evidence-based conclusions.

It is true that Crazy Therapies can seem a little biased and negative in places but that is an equally inevitable conlusion that comes from "over-selling" therapies of dubious validity, or even taking moderately effective techniques and portraying them as quick fixes or miracle cures.

The proponents (salesmen?) of the therapies criticised in this book will probably post reviews attacking the authors. At the end of the day people need to decide for themselves what to believe but their decision should be an informed one, taking account of both the pros and cons of each approach. The criticisms, which prevail in the scientific literature, have been massively under-represented in the popular literature so this book goes a small way to filling an important gap and helping to restore some balance to things.

Donald Robertson
Author of The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kaan on February 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Crazy Therapies surveys the disreputable world of therapy charlatans and wackos who base their methods on untenable theories and promote ideas that range from absurd to dangerous. The work is useful for anyone to read, though it is primarily directed at current or prospective patients. While an immediately appealing aspect of the book is its anecdotal recounting of the ridiculous (alien abduction, past-lives regression, the inner child), its competence and commendability lie in the practical guidelines it provides to those seeking therapy, in order to avoid harm and fraud at the hands of incompetent practitioners. An embarrassing but necessary review of the current state of psychotherapy. Sure to enrage.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By tuesday next on June 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for those who are simply interested in the topics presented, who are involved in any of these "therapies" or thinking of seeking them out. There were a number of therapies I have never heard of - maybe because I don't have television or read New Age garbage - or (possibly) because some of the therapies are no longer used (the book was published in 1996). I was truly stunned at how cruel, dangerous, and wacko some of these treatment modalities are. For example, Neural Organizational Technique (NOT) used on dyslexic and learning-disabled children is supposed to "correct blocked 'neural pathways' by means of painful and stressful 'adjustments' of the bones of the skull." In other words the practitioner "attempts to move the skull bones." The chiropractor who developed this ridiculous treatment must have been absent on the day they taught skull anatomy. If not he would have known that the skull bones are fused and do not move. As the mother of a six-year old boy with delayed speech recalls, "They were applying such tremendous pressure to [my son's] skull and the roof of his mouth that they would break into a sweat and their bodies would just shake with the force of their exertion." Unbelievably, this technique is still practiced today (I just did a Google search and the first two websites listed were about the wonders of this therapy).

I know that "recovered memories" of alien abduction therapies are still around because Harvard professor John Mack is still around. Past-life regression is still around, as well as rebirthing - although this procedure has resulted the deaths of some children (Milwaukee, Colorado). Criminal charges have been brought against a few of these incompetents.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 50 REVIEWER on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Co-author Margaret Thaler Singer is a clinical psychologists and emeritus adjunct professor at UC Berkeley; Janja Lalich is a writer and specialist in cults. They have also cowritten Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace.

They wrote in the Introduction to this 1996 book, "This book was written to help consumers become aware of the vast array of psychotherapies being offered by a variety of practitioners in the mental health marketplace today. The therapies range from widely accepted, scientifically based treatments to traditional but scientifically researched methods to those that typically are the creation of an individual and often have even less grounding in scientific validation and professional acceptance. Our aim is to explore primarily those that fall within the latter category. The therapies described in this book have been and continue to be controversial... We have selected the term 'crazy' to describe some of these therapies... to refer to something as controversial, nonstandard, or 'far out,' and sometimes to depict fads or current enthusiasms. Some of these therapies will fade from the scene... yet others might be driven out by consumer complaints and legal actions." (Pg. xi)

They add, "This book will survey some of the more popular and wild-eyed concepts and procedures that have taken hold in our society, and will examine and critique them as HEALING techniques. We intend to shed light on the potential dangers of some of these methods, including the increasing occurrence of iatrogenic damage, that is, damage to the client induced by the therapist." (Pg.
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