Criticism Run Amok!

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(3), 167–168. Reviews the book, The Myth of Psychotherapy: Mental Healing as Religion, Rhetoric, and Repression by Thomas Szasz (1978). The author views this book as an effort to complete the demythologizing of psychiatry begun in The Myth of Mental Illness. The main thesis in this book is that psychotherapy, like mental illness, is a metaphor and a myth. It is not a medical treatment. The early part of the book is devoted to historical accounts in which the author endeavors to show that modern psychotherapy is akin to rhetoric, faith healing, persuasion, and the healing of souls. The author accuses Freud of patenting and marketing his “formula” in the manner in which Coca-Cola was developed, patented, and marketed. At best, this book is a crude caricature of historical developments and of the contemporary scene, both of which it presents either inaccurately or in gross distortion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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