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House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth Paperback – 1 Sep 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (1 Sep 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684830914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684830919
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 15.3 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Many people suffer from emotional distress-ranging from psychosis through severe addictions to mild depressions. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Nov 1998
Format: Paperback
I am a therapist myself, so I naturally began reading this book with trepidation. But instead of the blanket attack I expected, I found instead a very carefully written book that exposes that deeply flawed foundations to much of current psychotherapy, pop psychology, and professional reputation. I read this book at a time in my own career when a respect for science and the need for verifiable information were re-emerging, and House of Cards has provided me with a number of insights and tools that have helped me to provide therapy that is more effective and that avoids pie-in-the-sky promises or beliefs. Dawes is right: although therapy is not a science itself, it should be founded on scientific knowledge.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Baraniecki Mark Stuart on 12 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
Robyn Dawes excellent book "House of Cards". He's a clinical psychologist, head of the department of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University and was motivated to write the book by the completely unjustifiable presence of psychologists as "expert" witnesses in criminal trials. Amazingly, the only statements that seem to be left with statistical validity are 1) The best predictors of future behaviour are past behaviour and performance on carefully standardized tests..... 2) There is good evidence that changing our behaviour will change our internal state and feelings. (Just do it!)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bucky on 31 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
Very good look at how psychology has overextended itself into areas it really has no business with,building up myths about what it actually does. This was written some time ago but you can see how psychologists are on the TV everyday now,in reality shows,in entertainment shows. All giving sound bite opinions dressed up as science and probably having a detrimental effect on people.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book, and a must for therapists. 23 Nov 1998
By Michael Kaan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am a therapist myself, so I naturally began reading this book with trepidation. But instead of the blanket attack I expected, I found instead a very carefully written book that exposes that deeply flawed foundations to much of current psychotherapy, pop psychology, and professional reputation. I read this book at a time in my own career when a respect for science and the need for verifiable information were re-emerging, and House of Cards has provided me with a number of insights and tools that have helped me to provide therapy that is more effective and that avoids pie-in-the-sky promises or beliefs. Dawes is right: although therapy is not a science itself, it should be founded on scientific knowledge.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A Step in the Correct Direction 9 Aug 2002
By Richard J. Brzostek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth by Robyn M. Dawes, critically examines Clinical Psychology and exposes facts that many psychologists would rather have hidden. The author is an Experimental Psychologist and the 1990 winner of the APA William James Award. He is very bold in trying to uphold the truth and convincingly demonstrates what the title suggests.
Perhaps the most striking issue covered in this book is the discussion on studies that evaluate the efficacy of psychotherapy. In 1977, Mary Smith and Gene Glass published an article in American Psychologist which found that on a statistical level, psychotherapy works. Not that everyone improved, or no one got worse from treatment, but on a statistical level people were better off on the measure examined than someone chosen at random. Smith and Glass also found that the therapists' credentials (Ph.D., M.D., or no advanced degree), the therapists' experience, the type of therapy given (with the possible exception of behavioral techniques for well circumscribed behavioral problems), and the length of therapy were unrelated to the effectiveness/success of the therapy.
As Dawes states:
"In the years after the Smith and Glass article was published, many attempts were made to disprove their finding that the training, credentials, and experience of therapists are irrelevant. These attempts failed. (p.55)"
Very few books written by psychologists try to realistically look at psychology's flaws. Although psychology pays lip service to the concept of critically examining its tenants, it is seldom done. Mainstream psychology often dismisses books such as this one in passing as "harsh criticism" and ignores the message they offer.
26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A must read for consumers and practitioners of mental health 5 Feb 2003
By Jason Sikorski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Robyn Dawes, in the House of Cards, takes great pains to carefully document the most common and dangerous myths that underlie the fields of mental health treatment. The author's writings are firmly grounded in research, and the conceptual integrations are presented in a manner that is easy to understand for both the students of mental health related disciplines, consumers of mental health, and the seasoned mental health professional. In this book, Dawes models one of the central goals of college education; the value of critical analysis. Further, she sets the stage for mental health professionals to behave in a manner that is consistent with the research, and thus finally hold themselves accountable for the work they do with clients. A magnificent book with wide ranging implications for mental health professionals and their consumers. Pay attention, this book is the real truth about the approaches used to alleviate the suffering of clients of mental health professionals. Be accountable!!!
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Defining "Psychology" (and Diagnoses) Down 20 Jan 2006
By Julie Mckinley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robin Dawes is a genius and one of the most original thinkers in any field. His work was a primary source for my own Ph.D. dissertation. Unfortunately, clinical psychology has morphed into a hodgepodge of political leftism and Oprah-style "feelings" that has barely any resemblance to science. Compounding all of this is the competition for money as (far too many) psych grads look for a way to earn a living. Completely normal human responses to everyday living are defined as pathological and needing "professional intervention." Meanwhile, criminal and evil behavior is also considered for "therapy" when, in fact, jail is the only reasonable "treatment" needed. Finally, political correctness pervades the whole, especially the care of children. So instead of getting the pot-smoking 30-year-old mother of 5 children by 5 different men to see that her behavior is hurting her kids, the kids are given labels (ADHD, ODD, Bipolar, etc.) and drugs, including antipsychotics, as early as age 2 years. Meanwhile, the therapy train steams right along...
49 of 68 people found the following review helpful
The other side? 24 April 2002
By Chris Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I think this book ignores the wide spectrum and history of research on the effectiveness of behavioral treatments. Comparing behavioral treatments to parole board hearings and medical school interviews is not even a good metaphor. I think the author may have some good points, but ignored decades of research in order to build his argument.
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