A Critique of CBT as Ideology (Part 1)

What follows in the next few posts is a longish essay on CBT as the dominant force within applied psychology, and its place as an ideology which supports various practices of domination.The length of this essay is unwieldy for a blog format, so I have broken the piece into sub-sections, which I will publish one at a time, before eventually assembling the piece into pdf form. As ever, discussion is welcome.

The structure of the piece is as follows:

1. Cleaning the Augean Stables

2. The Founding of CBT,and Beck’s Foundational Errors

3. Psychology, Epistemology, and CBT

3a. A Note on Psychometrics

4. The Ethics and Politics of Intervention

4a. Two Brief Case Studies in Biopolitics

5. Project for an Unscientific Psychology

  1. Cleaning the Augean Stables

It seems to me an urgent task to critique the dominant ideology which has psychology in its grasp, namely Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT). As a general rule of thumb, whenever one sees an acronym in psychotherapy, one can assume the presence of glib, corporate-friendly pseudo-scientific pap, and that is entirely the case here. However, unlike NLP, for instance, (I do not mention more popular doctrines, but I mean them), CBT is taken seriously by many clinicians and patients alike. Despite numerous signs of its weakening, CBT remains strong where it is most influential, namely, in academia, third-party payers, and among regulators. Continue reading