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ERIC Number: EJ914068
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0003-066X
Science or Ideology?
Shedler, Jonathan
American Psychologist, v66 n2 p152-154 Feb-Mar 2011
Responds to the comments by D. McKay; B. D. Thombs, L. R. Jewett, and M. Bassel; M. D. Anestis, J. C. Anestis, and S. O. Lilienfeld; and W. W. Tryon and G. S. Tryon on the current author's original article, "The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy." The academic psychology literature is filled with pronouncements about psychodynamic theory, often stated in authoritative tones, that present a picture of psychodynamic treatment that is unrecognizable to me and to other contemporary psychodynamic practitioners. Several of the comments about my article perpetuate this tradition and, I am sorry to say, introduce disinformation into the pages of the American Psychologist. Before addressing some specifics, I want to say a few words about my understanding of how such misrepresentations can find their way into scholarly academic journals. Three of the four comments on my article appear to have the intent of reasserting the master narrative by creating a smokescreen of doubt and confusion (Anestis, Anestis, & Lilienfeld, 2011; McKay, 2011; Thombs, Jewett, & Bassel, 2011). Two of the four comments (McKay, 2011; Tryon & Tryon, 2011) cite a metaanalysis indicating that there is no empirical support for the concept of "symptom substitution." Two of the comments (Anestis et al., 2011; Thombs et al., 2011) note that the effect size from the meta-analysis by Leichsenring and Rabung (2008)--one of eight meta-analyses showing substantial benefits for psychodynamic therapy reported in my Table 1 (Shedler, 2010)--has been the target of criticism and reflects a computational error. Three of the comments (Anestis et al., 2011; McKay, 2011; Thombs et al., 2011) imply that the methods used in empirical studies of psychodynamic therapies are somehow inadequate relative to studies of other evidence-based therapies. Unlike the other comments, the comment of Tryon and Tryon (2011) appears to be a sincere effort to engage with my arguments. What disturbs me about the three other comments is not that the authors disagree with my conclusions but that they portray themselves as objective investigators who desire only to promote good science. While Anestis et al. (2011), McKay (2011), and Thombs et al. (2011) imply or explicitly state that I am the one who marshals evidence selectively, from my angle of vision they appear to value only evidence that supports an a priori agenda while ignoring, dismissing, or attacking evidence that does not. If so, this is not science, but ideology masquerading as science.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A