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24 Jun 2010

Very confused about type/types of therapists and their ethics
Dear Doc.

I was thinking of seeing a therapist to work through some difficult and painful childhood problems that I went through and try and stop the patterns repeating in my own family. I have tried so hard not to let them but I am not real ly coping right now. I have been referred to a therapist who I think (this is what my GP told me) is a Jungian therapist. Is this the same thing as a psychoanalyst and are they all suspect ethically?

Regards and thanks

Answer 380 views

01 Jan 0001

There is no way in which any class of properly trained therapists are at all suspect ethically. The two examples who have been raised in the forum are of individual therapists who behaved in a dodgy way, not particularly related to the particular therapy methods they used.
Psychoanalysts as a group are perhaps more acutely aware of the risks of this sort of therapy, and especially if they work wih a suypervisor, as some routinely do, may be at a lesser risk of running into such problems than those using methods which pay less atention to such potential aspects of therapy.
Psychoanalysis is a complex field, and therapists working within that general method can differ quite significantly in the dominant theories that guide their work, and the specifics of the methods they use. Jungians, following the ideas of Carl Jung who was a rather mystical character, are different from Freudians ( basing their work on the theories of Sigmund Freud ) and there are other divisions and styles.
Personally, as a scientifically rather than ideologically-based shrink, I am not convinced by the evidence I have seen, that any of the primarily psychoanalytically based therapies are especially effective, inclding the Jungian school ; but obviously there are those who think otherwise, usually for less scientifically informed reasons.
So the debate would be about the scientific credentials of a particular method and is effectiveness, rather than ethical issues, as I'd expect all such therapists to be ethically well behaved. With any therapist, you should spend the first session satisfying yourself about any concerns you have, and asking for a clear explanation of their particular personal methods of working, their diagnosis of your problem, and their estimate of how long it will take to produce useful results for you.
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