Mental Help Experts Rate "Discredited" Treatments

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has published the results of a Delphi poll on treatment methods that has been significantly criticized in professional journals [1]. For purposes of the poll, "discredited" was defined as treatments "unable to consistently generate treatment outcomes . . . beyond those obtained by the passage of time alone, expectancy, base rates, or credible placebo." The panelists were asked to rate only methods with which they were familiar.

The process involved 139 experts who independently rated more than 50 methods in the initial survey and 69 of the 139 experts who responded to a request to rate them again after seeing the results of the first survey. The ratings used a format with the following categories: 1- Not at all discredited, 2- Not likely discredited, 3- Possibly discredited, 4- Probably discredited, and 5- Certainly discredited. The methods that averaged 4.75 or higher in the second round of the survey (listed with the highest scores first) were:

Magnet Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Past Life Regression Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Rebirthing Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Crystal Healing for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Bio-Ching for Treatment of Child Psychopathology,
JoyTouch for Treatment of Child Psychopathology,
Kirlian Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology,
Penduluming for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Withholding Food/Water for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Aura Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Orgone Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Astrotherapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Conversion Therapy/Reparative Therapy for Adolescent Homosexuality
Prism Glasses/Colored Glasses for Treatment of Autism
Triggering Anger Therapy for Treatment of Reactive Attachment Disorder
Bach's Flower Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Tap Therapies for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Bioenergetic Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Energy Field Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Irlen Lenses for Treatment of "Processing Problems"
Chelation Therapy for Uses Other Than Lead Poisoning
Angel Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Hyerbaric Oxygen Treatment for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Treatment of Autism

The methods that averaged between 4.50 and 4.74 were:

Bettleheim's Psychogenic Treatment for Autistic Children
Color Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Aroma Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Psychomotor Patterning for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Qigong for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Chiropractic Skull Manipulation/Cranio-Sacral Therapy
Interactive Metronome Training for Treatment of ADHD
Holding Therapy for Treatment of Reactive Attachment Disorder
Attachment-Promoting Therapies that Use Holding for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Reiki for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Safety Seeking Psychotherapy for Treatment of Substance Abuse
Equine Therapy as Stand-Alone Treatment for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Play Therapy for the Treatment of ADHD
Applied Kinesiology for Treatment of ADHD
Thoughtful Ed Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology

The methods that averaged between 4.00 and 4.50 were:

Jungian Sand Tray Therapy for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Vision Therapy or Vision Training for Treatment of Reading Problems
Behavioral Vision Therapy for Treatment of Reading Problems
Brain Balance for Treatment of ADHD
Brushing and Joint Compression Treatment for Autism
Auditory Integrative Therapy for Treatment of Autism
Music Therapy as Stand, Alone Treatment for Treatment of Child Psychopathology
Art Therapy for TREATMENT of Childhood Schizophrenia
Facilitated Communication for Treatment of Autism
Dolphin Assisted Therapy for Treatment of Developmental Disorders
DARE Programs for Prevention of Substance Abuse/Dependence

The results of a similar poll were published in 2006 [2].

References

  1. Koocher GP and others. Discredited assessment and treatment methods used with children and adolescents: A Delphi poll. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, April 25, 2014.
  2. Norcross JC and others. Discredited psychological treatments and tests: A Delphi poll. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 37:515-522, 2006. (Full text available online.)

This article was posted on August 10, 2014.

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