Ask an expert
Question

23 Apr 2006

HP Sauce: Response to C*bershrink
I apologize for taking so long to respond to your kind invitation to debate with you, which I believe was phrased as follows: “And because he knows he cannot hold his own in any direct discussion with me, he now prefers to sneak in carefully after I have responded to a question, and to add snotty comments of his own. sigh. How sad.”.

Far from being “And then silent when directly confronted “, I’ve simply been waiting for clarification form Health24 on a number of issues prior to responding.

Perhaps clarification of a number of issues is required at this point.

Firstly, I have always held that this was a public forum, owned & managed by Health24, on which you are retained as a consultant. It appears that I am correct in this view, and that your characterization of this site as “my forum” - as you seem to believe & have previously stated - is inaccurate. Would you dispute this? This being the case, your comments regarding me starting my own website, etc, etc, seem irrelevant.

Secondly, it appears that that the powers that be do not agree with you in your comments, such as: “we get little pimps like that who try to hijack the site as a stage on which they can show off” or “But Homeopsych, the smartypants who likes abusing the facilities of this site in order to show off”. It appears that my postings are not considered to be an attempt to hijack the site, but to be valid & fair comment. Do you dispute this? (if you really would like me to motivate these statements, I would be quite willing to do so!)

Thirdly, you know that your comment “Typical of the cowardly and monumentally smug show-off HomoeoPsych, and his worshipper GH, to sneak in AFTER I have commented on the matter, hoping that might not notice their ignorant misinformation” is simply blatantly untrue! You well know that on several occasions, my postings have “been sneaked in” before yours. You know this, because you have had occasion to respond to several of them! Should you have forgotten, however, you could refresh your memory with postings 3421, 3925, 4031, 4058 & 4059.

Finally, characterization of Kaplan & Sadock as “purely a student text, rather than the full multi-volume textbook which is intended for the adults amongst us” is quite interesting, given that it is one of the most widely prescribed graduate & post-graduate texts presently available - if I am not mistaken, the institution you used to work at, makes use of it. I, of course, am familiar with the ”multi-volume” “Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry”, but as you well know, the Synopsis used to be know as “The Modern Synopsis of the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry” (my emphasis), before the title was abbreviated to it’s present form. This is, however, all entirely irrelevant. What is not irrelevant, however, is that this is a highly regarded text that is widely considered to authoritative & is generally well respected. Would you dispute this? The reason for this point of clarification will become apparent later on.

Having clarified these issues, perhaps a statement of my position would now be in order. It is ironical that, in my opinion at least, the vast majority of your comments are of high quality & are very useful. There are however two specific areas in which I find myself to be in serious disagreement with you:

Firstly, I cannot & will not accept your apparent belief that you have the right to make use of insulting & derogatory terms - such as "quack", "charlatan" and "mastodon", for example - when referring to colleagues & other professionals advocating or using approaches with which you do not agree. I find this to be unprofessional & demeaning. In addition, I find your tendency to descend to name-calling, insult & invective, rather that rational debate, to be somewhat puerile. I would venture to suggest that if any member of the public made a posting on the site using the kind of derogatory & insulting language that you seem to feel you have the right to use, that these postings would be deleted from the site as being inappropriate. Do you dispute this?

Secondly, I dispute your insistence that pharmacotherapy & Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) are the ONLY effective treatments available for any psychological or psychiatric disorder. I dispute that "not a single shred of evidence exists" to support the possible efficacy of any other approach. It is for precisely this reason that I quote from authoritative sources, such as Kaplan & Sadock, when disputing some the sweeping generalizations you are wont to make. I would like to point out that in my postings I have never questioned the efficacy of either of the two interventions favoured by you. What I have done is to provide a motivated & reasoned alternative viewpoint.

You are, of course, perfectly entitled advocate the use of pharmacotherapy & CBT as extremely effective interventions & approaches in many cases. This view is unquestionably correct & appropriate. You are also, of course, perfectly entitled to hold your own personal views regarding other interventions.

I, however, question whether, in a public forum, you have the right to make blatantly biased & demonstrably inaccurate statements, as if of fact, regarding other therapeutic approaches you personally do not approve of, or agree with. Such statements in a public forum hold potentially serious financial & professional implications for practitioners making use of methods - in which they have been formally & appropriately trained - that you publicly vilify & denigrate.

I am not going to answer to every single challenges you have raised in your various responses, but would like to raise three issues in this regard:

1) It is clear from your postings that you align yourself with the theoretical framework of behaviourism. It is also true that behaviourism has substantial research backing. As an academic however, you well know the dangers of assuming that an apparently well-substantiated research finding is the same as “the truth”. You well know how often, what is accepted as pretty much incontrovertible one day, is shown to be inaccurate the next – the “serotonin dysregulation” theory of causation of depression being a case in point. As an academic you also know that it is intellectually dishonest to use one theoretical framework to attempt to disprove an alternative theory. Behviourism cannot therefore disprove analysis (or phenomenology, or humanism, etc, etc), for example. The fact that you (and other fellow behaviourists) disagree with the tenets of these theoretical schools of thought does not prove them wrong. They remain accepted & acknowledged theoretical formulations & I dispute your right to denigrate them.

2) I find your posting on grief (posting 4101) to be somewhat puzzling as I’m not entirely sure what you were attempting to prove. Given that John Bowlby is not with us, we really don’t know what he would have to say. What we do know, is that the stage model of grief proposed by him is found in all texts I consulted. On the other hand, whilst I do not dispute your statement that "I was one of the world pioneers of studies and teaching about Grief and bereavement and related fields ; selected by the unquestionable world pioneers of that whole field during its developing phase in the 1960's and 70's to be one of the International Work Group that shaped all major world work in the field, and later elected as the Chairman of that organization --- long before HomoeoSmug had left school ", I can find no reference to this anywhere.

I also have no idea what Elisabeth Kubler Ross has to do with this. I actually cannot think of any plausible reason for you to introduce Kubler Ross into this debate, other than to name-drop. As you ought to know, the stage theory of Kubler Ross is related to the process of coming to terms with approaching death in terminal patients. It relates to death & dying and has nothing to do with grief & bereavement. Your discussions with her clearly could not have been particularly persuasive as she patently did not change her opinion as a result of them They also do not have made much of an impression on anyone else either. Once again, it is the stage model of EKR that is mentioned in the texts, not the viewpoint you espouse.

Given this fact, I feel entirely justified in questioning your use of the epithet "quack" in describing persons who at least consider the validity of stage models in the processing of grief.

3) Your comments on hypnosis are clearly derived from the social learning school of hypnosis, and are entirely consistent with this theoretical viewpoint. What you fail to mention in your postings is that there are at least six other mainstream theoretical schools of thought regarding hypnosis, all with their own research support, theoretical constructs & practical uses. You also fail to mention that any authoritative textbook on clinical hypnosis will make mention of all of these theoretical schools of thought & will make a point of stating that none of them have to date, satisfactorily explained either the hypnotic state, or the hypnotic phenomena that manifest in trance. This appears to be somewhat intellectually dishonest.

In addition, your comments such as “Hypnosis has never ever cured anyone of anything, aand it absolutely certainly cannot solve the problems ou are having” or stating that there is no research evidence supporting the use of hypnosis, is at best, questionable. The website of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis has a database of almost 120 000 articles, including 17 meta-analyses relating to the use of hypnosis & it’s efficacy. As you well know, there are also a number of journals of clinical hypnosis published by recognized professional organizations, such as the American, British & Swedish Societies of Clinical Hypnosis, to name just a few. The number of registered professionals world-wide, who make primary use of clinical hypnosis in their private practices makes nonsense of your statements about it’s lack of efficacy. AS you well know, the majority of referrals to private practices come by word-of-mouth. Therapists that make use of ineffective interventions simply go out of business as no-one refers to them!

There are of course a number of other issues we could go into regarding hypnosis, such as the fact that the term “hypnotherapy” is a misnomer. As you well know, hypnosis is a functional state in which therapy – including CBT – can be done. It is seldom a therapy in & of itself. But I think that is enough for now.

Finally, I was greatly amused by your comment “do you suffer from severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”- I’m not the one who has set up a telltale on the site to alert you whenever I have made a posting, so as to allow you to quickly reply to anything I might have said!
Answer 428 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Well, HomoeoPsych, this is a first --- a direct message from you. But so long, so boring, and so obsessive Yawn
You do seem so energetic, and to be devoting so much of your time to debating me on the matter of hypnotherapy, it does seem as though your own practice, whatever it is, must be relatively quiet at present.
I repeat my suggestion that, is you have such passion for hypnosis, you ought to set up your own web-page to promote it, explain it and recommend it as you wish. As the person who devised the Expert Forum component of the site before H24 even existed, I am not aware of any change in its basic format at any stage --- that is, that the forums enable people who are troubled or seek expert opinions, to ask advice or information from a specific identified expert. They have NEVER been intended to provide a platform for other people, claiming expertise in the same area, to promote their own and different viewpoints --- if any of the Forums had various experts chiming in and arguing about therapies and theories, they would lose their value to the important general reader. Maybe a totally different forum, somewhere else, where competing experts or professionals could debate and argue clinical and therapeutic issues could be stimulating for some --- but that is not what this or the other H24 forums were or are.
I see no point in continuing any argument about hypnosis or your favourite textbook, in this space --- it is of no value to our readers. In passing, though, I refered to Bowlby from having discussed these issues with him, over dinner and at other meetings, so I have some idea of his views. And Kubler-Ross was, in a way, the origin of the arguments, because these started when I was taken to task for dismissing the Kubler-Ross false model of "stages" of death and dying ( AND applied by many to bereavement and grief, too ) where it had been applied to a situation of grief, as quackery and unhelpful. Misunderstanding my comment I was, by One single reader, accused of the amazing idea of calling Grief itself somehow false or a quack concept. which was a pretty remarkable misunderstanding.
And Me seems to be persistently misunderstanding. Of course people can disagree with me --- at times I'll disagree with myself --- that's healthy. But multiple, extremely lengthy, pseudo-academic essays of dispute are far beyond merely disagreeing and suggesting an alternative viewpoint, and become an aggressive attempt to dominate the forum, which is unwelcome, and should be to any intelligent person.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
34% - 9270 votes
No
66% - 17924 votes
Vote