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Crazy Therapies: What are They? Do They Work? Hardcover – 13 Sep 1996

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey Bass; First Edition First Printing edition (13 Sept. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787902780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787902780
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,034,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Professionals will find the book valuable in that it provides a different perspective on many of their own therapeutic approaches...[it is] worthwhile because it courageously challenges the shamans and rattle shakers, the opportunists and the fakes, and those parts in all of us." (Transactional Analysis Journal)

"A timely, important, much–need and sane expose. If you are considering any kind of alternative therapy, you need to read this book. If you thought you already knew just how crazy therapy can be, guess again. You had no idea until you read this book." (Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Against Therapy)

"This book is an intelligent, witty guide for anyone who is considering an "innovative" or unconventional approach to mental health or personal transformation."

"Singer brings educated skepticism to her topic––the wide–open field of fringe psychotherapy." (Dallas Morning News)

"A compelling, fascinating, well researched and informative book. By informing consumers of the serious dangers of quack psychotherapies, Singer and Lalich have performed a much needed public service." (R. Christopher Barden, Ph.D., J.D., L.P., adjunct professor of law, University of Minnesota, president, National Association for Consumer Protection in Mental Health Practices)

"Singer and Lalich reveal the dark side of a host of modern, Crazy therapies in which therapists can become persuasive agents of destructive influence. The authors′ perceptive, critical analysis is must reading for all mental health professionals, for all current and potential clients of psychotherapy, and for all those interested in how reasoned traditional therapy lost its mind and in our time." (Philip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Stanford University and author of The Psychology of Attitude Change and Social Influence (1991))

"Crazy Therapies is a much–needed book to help consumers navigate the unregulated filed of psychotherapy."

"This is a consumer guide to help sort out what might be right for you." (The Denver Post)

"Written in a clear, highly entertaining, and popular style, "Crazy Therapies" is just the book for anyone trying to wend their way through the daunting therapeutic maze."

"Tells a sad but fascinating tale of pathological therapies that abound throughout the country."

"This title is a good complement to Jack Gorman′s The New Psychiatry. Together, the two titles provide a solid background for anyone seeking assistance with life′s problems."

"A startling––and often amusing––expose of the alternative philosophies and practices that can be found in today′s ever–growing psychotheraputic marketplace. This book is an intelligent, witty guide for anyone who is considering an ′innovative′ or unconventional approach to mental health or personal transformation." (Feminist Bookstore News)

"Crazy Therapies is fascinating reading and would be helpful for anyone considering any innovative approach to mental health or personal transformation."

"...a must read for anyone who believes that there is sometimes little difference between some mental health practices and the occult. This is that rare book that is both highly entertaining and deeply disturbing..." (Behavioural Interventions, April 2001)

"This book is an intelligent, witty guide for anyone who is considering an "innovative" or unconventional approach to mental health or personal transformation."

"Singer brings educated skepticism to her topic––the wide–open field of fringe psychotherapy." (Dallas Morning News)

"Crazy Therapies is a much–needed book to help consumers navigate the unregulated filed of psychotherapy."

"This is a consumer guide to help sort out what might be right for you." (The Denver Post)

"Written in a clear, highly entertaining, and popular style, "Crazy Therapies" is just the book for anyone trying to wend their way through the daunting therapeutic maze."

"Tells a sad but fascinating tale of pathological therapies that abound throughout the country."

"This title is a good complement to Jack Gorman′s The New Psychiatry. Together, the two titles provide a solid background for anyone seeking assistance with life′s problems."

"Crazy Therapies is fascinating reading and would be helpful for anyone considering any innovative approach to mental health or personal transformation."

"...a must read for anyone who believes that there is sometimes little difference between some mental health practices and the occult. This is that rare book that is both highly entertaining and deeply disturbing..." (Behavioural Interventions, April 2001)

From the Inside Flap

Crazy Therapies is a startling––and often downright amusing––expose of the alternative philosophies and practices that can be found in today′s ever–growing psychotherapeutic marketplace.While it is true that millions of people are greatly helped by psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, group, and other types of legitimate therapies, each year thousands of vulnerable and unsuspecting individuals go to and trust practitioners who persuade clients to accept with various unfounded and fanciful methods. Generally these enthusiastic––and perhaps ill–trained––therapists are themselves convinced of the healing powers of an array of techniques, some dating back far into time, that range from hilarious to hazardous.

Some clients are helped––most likely as a result of a placebo effect; some lose precious time and money; and yet others are psychologically damaged by some rather offbeat and irrational procedures. Past–life therapy, alien–abduction therapy, rebirthing, and skull bone adjustments, to name a few, might be laughable if the results of some of these bizarre practices weren′t so potentially wasteful and at times harmful.

Written by Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich, the book describes actual case histories of people who participated in a variety of controversial therapies. Methods and guidelines distinguishing a legitimate therapeutic approach from one that is irrational, possibly harmful, and sometimes unethical are outlined by the authors. They also offer specific advice on how to avoid the risks of emotional and psychological entanglement with an influential practitioner putting forth a seductive theory. Crazy Therapies is an intelligent, witty guide for anyone who is considering an ?innovative? or unconventional approach to mental health or personal transformation.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, reminds us what crazy therapies are out there and how as therapists we need to be aware not to get sucked into any strange unethical therapies that are based on unfounded new age stuff.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 years later this book is still relevant to my experience! 10 Jun. 2015
By Hasan Hasan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Crazy therapies offers a very balanced and in-depth overview of some common crazy therapies that clients/consumers can fall prey to. As someone who was duped by a New Age therapist who falsely marketed her therapy as "CBT" where nothing on the website mentioned new age spirituality or philosophies , I found this book to be highly validating. The mere fact that none of the therapies mentioned in the book 20 years later have become mainstream or validated by research is sheer testimony and credit to the work put forward by Singer and Lalich. It saddens me that it is out of print despite it being very relevant and I wish to see it on Kindle version as well. With Singer and Lalich's background on cult thought-reform and mind control , expanded and parallels drawn on abusive therapies where in many common elements can be drawn between cults and abusive therapies. It would have been great to include a chapter on the harm done to clients and how this manifests , it would be highly validating. Even in 2015 , the field is not very well regulated , you still see shamans and spirit channelers and new age coaches proliferating the market and preying on the weak and vulnerable for their own gain. It is indeed such a loss to have lost a great contributor to the field - Margaret Singer. Today with the Oprah network and spirituality and endorsement of very shady personalities and bestselling authors this book couldn't be anymore relevant .It is okay to have your own belief system no matter how wacky , but to use it on a vulnerable client seeking therapist or counsel is a recipe for abuse especially that they have entrusted you their mind and paying you for your time which makes it unethical to present one's belief systems as proven and validated facts. I even lament the bastardization and expansion of concepts such as "people pleasing" or "Codependency" as well which have become fad diagnoses even though they are bastardised and new definitions added and ever expanding list that can apply to anybody really even a well-intentioned,healthy well functioning individual . I found these resources helpful and feel they can add to your reading of the book, amazon won't let me insert URL's , so just google for those and you'd be able to find them :
1) How therapists abuse their clients
2) Psychological treatments to avoid
3) Beware disordered therapists , gurus and spiritual "teachers"
Goodluck , be a wary consumer , take back your power and run for the hills should you encounter a therapist with the "Warning signs" highlighted in the final chapter!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're nuts, read this book before you go to the therapist. 4 Aug. 2014
By Gregory A. Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An eye opening look at weird and off beat mental health therapies. From channeling spirits to primal screaming, these two ladies tell it like it is. Anyone who is having mental health therapy should read this book. You never know what your therapist is involved in and with their sometimes charismatic encouragement, you can get involved in something rather alien, and I mean that literally. Therapists implanting ideas of alien abductions into people who really need to be on medications for depression and etc. The book is a little dated, but still a viable and informative read.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful and cautionary guide for patients 18 Feb. 2000
By Michael Kaan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Crazy Therapies surveys the disreputable world of therapy charlatans and wackos who base their methods on untenable theories and promote ideas that range from absurd to dangerous. The work is useful for anyone to read, though it is primarily directed at current or prospective patients. While an immediately appealing aspect of the book is its anecdotal recounting of the ridiculous (alien abduction, past-lives regression, the inner child), its competence and commendability lie in the practical guidelines it provides to those seeking therapy, in order to avoid harm and fraud at the hands of incompetent practitioners. An embarrassing but necessary review of the current state of psychotherapy. Sure to enrage.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SURVEY AND ANALYSIS OF VARIOUS "NONSTANDARD' OR "FAR OUT" THERAPIES 18 Oct. 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Co-author Margaret Thaler Singer is a clinical psychologists and emeritus adjunct professor at UC Berkeley; Janja Lalich is a writer and specialist in cults. They have also cowritten Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace.

They wrote in the Introduction to this 1996 book, "This book was written to help consumers become aware of the vast array of psychotherapies being offered by a variety of practitioners in the mental health marketplace today. The therapies range from widely accepted, scientifically based treatments to traditional but scientifically researched methods to those that typically are the creation of an individual and often have even less grounding in scientific validation and professional acceptance. Our aim is to explore primarily those that fall within the latter category. The therapies described in this book have been and continue to be controversial... We have selected the term 'crazy' to describe some of these therapies... to refer to something as controversial, nonstandard, or 'far out,' and sometimes to depict fads or current enthusiasms. Some of these therapies will fade from the scene... yet others might be driven out by consumer complaints and legal actions." (Pg. xi)

They add, "This book will survey some of the more popular and wild-eyed concepts and procedures that have taken hold in our society, and will examine and critique them as HEALING techniques. We intend to shed light on the potential dangers of some of these methods, including the increasing occurrence of iatrogenic damage, that is, damage to the client induced by the therapist." (Pg. 5-6) Some of the therapies surveyed are reparenting/rebirthing; past-life regression; Channeling; Alien abductions; sex therapy, etc.

They suggest, "When a person goes to a therapist known and spoken of in the community as an expert on ET abductions, the client is already influenced, or primed, by such ideas. She may feel, for example, that the therapist will only like her or work with her if she reports ET abductions, and that her pain and distress no matter what their origin will be treated only if she presents ideas the therapist is interested in, and she knows that he is interested in ETs. Similarly, a lonely patient who feels insecure and unworthy may be fantasizing that she will become part of a new, emerging 'special group'---that is, those allegedly abducted and experimented on by space aliens. Being a 'contactee' will allow her to be a 'special person.'" (Pg. 96-97)

They observe, "In previous chapters we mentioned parent bashing as a main theme that has permeated psychotherapy since Freud's day. This development has for the most past gone unchallenged as a core feature of much psychotherapy. Underlying this approach is a heavy reliance on one or two notions: one, that getting insight will automatically change conduct; the other, that emotional catharsis will make you a more perfect being. The perpetuation of these three ideas has helped bring us to where we are today." (Pg. 201)

This is a unique survey, that will be of great interest to anyone studying these more "off the wall" kinds of therapies.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last! Some much needed balance and perspective. 21 Nov. 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An unfortunate but inevitable feature of the psychotherapy and holistic therapy fields is that theories and techniques tend to be supported by hype, anecdotal evidence, and personality cults. We are still a long way off cutting through the smoke and mirrors to arrive at objective and evidence-based conclusions.

It is true that Crazy Therapies can seem a little biased and negative in places but that is an equally inevitable conlusion that comes from "over-selling" therapies of dubious validity, or even taking moderately effective techniques and portraying them as quick fixes or miracle cures.

The proponents (salesmen?) of the therapies criticised in this book will probably post reviews attacking the authors. At the end of the day people need to decide for themselves what to believe but their decision should be an informed one, taking account of both the pros and cons of each approach. The criticisms, which prevail in the scientific literature, have been massively under-represented in the popular literature so this book goes a small way to filling an important gap and helping to restore some balance to things.

Donald Robertson
Author of The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy
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