What if the shrink is more stupid than you are?

I heard an interview with a British screenwriter a month or so ago (I can't remember his name, the interview was on one of the BBC R4 Front Row podcasts). One of the things he said made me laugh out loud. He suffers from clinical depression. (No it wasn't that that made me laugh.) And he explained that he had tried everything, drugs and talking therapies, the lot. Nothing worked very much.

The problem with talking therapies, he said, was that you have to find a therapist at the very least as intelligent as yourself, and hopefully more intelligent than yourself. Otherwise, how on earth can you take the therapy seriously?

And the problem was that in twenty years he had not found a single good therapist. He was not saying, I think, that he was particularly intelligent, but that with, for example, 165,000 licensed therapists in the USA the average level is going to be pretty average. I mean, are all 165,000 brighter than their patients?

You may find a medical doctor or a mechanic, more or less intelligent than yourself, but if they have experience then they can probably do the job well. But what to do with a stupid therapist? The job is too hard and too delicate to be left to the average intelligence.

I met, not so many years ago, a psychotherapist who said that the "Fridge Mother" theory of autism could be true. As if the person had never heard of Uta Frith's work. If I ever need help in that direction I'll know not to go to that particular doctor.


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