Welcome to the Primacy of Psychotherapy Project. If you are a psychologist, social worker, registered counsellor, or other credentialed mental health professional, then I want to invite you to a whole new way of seeing yourself, and the profession of psychotherapy. And that is from a position of pre-eminence. Yes. You deserve to see yourself and your profession as first among equals. You deserve a status that is equal to, or superior, to other health care providers.
This seems audacious. Right now, the field of psychotherapy does not hold the status it deserves. In fact, we have lost a lot of ground. In the last two decades, US stats show that therapy utilization has dropped from 71% to 37%. We have gone from the majority, to the minority. Salaries for therapists are stagnant, or even declining. More people are swallowing anti-depressant pills than any other category of medication. There has been a major struggle, and right now, we are face first in the gravel.
But not for long. That is not our place. Our rightful place is a position of pre-eminence. And that is the purpose of the Primacy of Psychotherapy Project. The goal of the Project is to help us stand on our feet, push back against the forces that have had free reign, and to be tall. Assertive. Pre-eminent.
So how can we do that? What will help us achieve the prominence we deserve? To begin, we do not even know how good we are!! This is astounding. In the LinkedIn forums, and workshops, and magazines, and email lists that I am part of, there is very little discussion of how helpful our services are! We do not compare the effectiveness of our interventions to those of other health care providers, even though we compare very favorably. Nor do we brag about how there are no side-effects from bona-fide therapy, compared to the nasty side-effects of other treatments. We do not even know what percentage of the public prefers therapy over medications. We should be very proud of the fact that 75% of the public prefers therapy over meds. But this fact is not known, and we do not encourage each other with it, or discuss how to use this huge advantage to gain prominence in the field of mental health.
That is the first purpose of the Project. To educate and exhort you with the truth about how helpful our services are, and how superior they are to the alternative. Then, once you know the truth, you will be able to communicate that to the public. The second purpose of the Project, is to remove all obstacles between the people who would benefit from therapy, and them receiving it. These obstacles can be internal, such as psychotherapists feeling intimidated by MD’s, or being frightened of giving a talk. The barriers can also be external, such as false beliefs on the part of the public about the cause of emotional disorders, or lack of funding, or useless paperwork at an agency. The final purpose of the Project is to assist you to give the highest quality therapy possible to your clients.