Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why evidence based therapy is lacking

In Australia there is currently a fad for so-called evidence based therapy. The Zen masters expressed their reservations about this approach a long time ago. They said it is "like trying to catch the wind in a net."

The clear seeing Rabbis of the Talmud articulated it in a similar way: "Blessing only falls on that which is hidden from the eye." Not everything can be quantified and bro-ken into discreet analysable parts. To do so is a vain and vain attempt to control a mystery.

It is both the willingness to leap into the unknown, and detachment from results in the knowedge that we are not the doers, that leads to unexpected flowerings and new alignments. Irving Yalom says something similar in "The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy": "patients consistently emphasize the importance of the relationship and the personal human qualities of the therapist" (p. 99 4th ed.) In other words, no need to hide behind techniques, although the anxious therapist may do this for a long time. Simply being present, i.e just showinging up in the moment, is more than enough.

I root my personal resistance to over quantification and over analysis in an atavistic Jewish sensibility. The Tanach records how Israelis could not be counted directly, but needed to be counted by a coin donation they each gave - half a shekel. Yes there is something of superstition in all this, a fear of being fully seen??? but...TO BE CONT.

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