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Crazy Therapies : What Are They? Do They Work?

Crazy Therapies : What Are They? Do They Work?
by Margaret Thaler Singer, Janja Lalich

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Crazy Therapies by Margaret Thaler Singer, Janja Lalich

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.

Book News, Inc.
An expose of alternative psychotherapeutic philosophies and practices, revealing the sometimes harmful effects of methods such as past-life therapy, alien-abduction therapy, rebirthing, and skull adjustment. Outlines guidelines for distinguishing legitimate therapeutic approaches from those that are irrational or unethical, and offers advice on avoiding the risks of entanglement. For general readers. -- Copyright © 1999 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR All rights reserved

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)

Book Description
A startling--and often downright amusing--expose of the alternative philosophies and practices that can be found in today's ever-growing psychotherapeutic marketplace. The book describes actual case histories of people who participated in a variety of controversial therapies, including alien abduction, past lives regression, and aromatherapy.

From the Inside Flap
Crazy Therapies is a startling--and often downright amusing--expose of the alternative philosophies and practices that can be found in today's ever-growing psychotherapeutic marketplace. While it is true that millions of people are greatly helped by psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, group, and other types of legitimate therapies, each year thousands of vulnerable and unsuspecting individuals go to and trust practitioners who persuade clients to accept with various unfounded and fanciful methods. Generally these enthusiastic--and perhaps ill-trained--therapists are themselves convinced of the healing powers of an array of techniques, some dating back far into time, that range from hilarious to hazardous.

Some clients are helped--most likely as a result of a placebo effect; some lose precious time and money; and yet others are psychologically damaged by some rather offbeat and irrational procedures. Past-life therapy, alien-abduction therapy, rebirthing, and skull bone adjustments, to name a few, might be laughable if the results of some of these bizarre practices weren't so potentially wasteful and at times harmful.

Written by Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich, the book describes actual case histories of people who participated in a variety of controversial therapies. Methods and guidelines distinguishing a legitimate therapeutic approach from one that is irrational, possibly harmful, and sometimes unethical are outlined by the authors. They also offer specific advice on how to avoid the risks of emotional and psychological entanglement with an influential practitioner putting forth a seductive theory. Crazy Therapies is an intelligent, witty guide for anyone who is considering an ?innovative? or unconventional approach to mental health or personal transformation.

About the Author
MARGARET THALER SINGER is a clinical psychologist and emeritus adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley. An expert on post-traumatic stress and cults, she lectures widely in the United States and abroad. She is the lead author of Cults in Our Midst (Jossey-Bass, 1995).

JANJA LALICH is a writer, consultant, and specialist in cults and psychological manipulation and abuse. She is also the coauthor of Captive Hearts, Captive Minds (1994) and Cults in Our Midst (Jossey-Bass, 1995).

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