Top 10

I wonder sometimes why I get exercised about the many issues floating around about psychotropic medications, diagnosis, and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on mental health treatment. I wonder because I don't really practice within that system. I do not accept third party payment, very few of my patients are on psych meds, and adhere to a therapeutic tradition which is concerned with meaning more than symptom relief.

Then last night I settled down to read the current issue of Psychotherapy Networker, celebrating its 25th anniversary. Several months ago I completed a survey from them about what influences my practice and similar things and lo and behold this month they report some of the results.

Take a look at "The Most Influential Therapists of the Past Quarter Century", an interesting look at how therapists view their way of practicing and who has influenced them. That they gathered over 2500 responses makes these results significant.

The Top 10, in order, are:

1. Carl Rogers

2. Aaron Beck

3. Salvador Minuchin

4. Irvin Yalom

5. Virginia Satir

6. Albert Ellis

7. Murray Bowen

8. Carl Jung

9. Milton Erickson

10. John Gottman

Almost half of the survey respondents say they adhere to a marriage and family therapy model, which may explain why of the top 10,, 4 are leaders in that field. And Psychotherapy Networker was until fairly recently Family Therapy Networker, making it reasonable to assume that perhaps the sample is a bit biased in that direction.

"The majority of survey participants graduated between 1990 and 2006, though a significant number received their most advanced degrees between 1970 and 1989. A surprisingly large percentage—41.4 percent—are relative novices, having practiced for from 0 to 10 years (suggesting, given their mean age, that, for many, therapy is a second career, or else that the kids have at last moved out). A little more than 30 percent have practiced between 11 and 20 years, 21.2 percent between 31 and 40 years, and the rest (8.3 percent) are real old-timers, having been therapists for between 40 and 54 years." 

Given that so many of those responding have come into the field since managed care and its effect on practice have emerged, it is not surprising that so few describe themselves as psychodynamic and why Freud is not named as influential, though of course Freud, Jung, Adler as the pioneers are the grandfathers of the whole psychotherapeutic enterprise. I wonder how many of these new clinicians have a clear sense of the history of our field and how we came to where we are today?

These would not be my top 10 so I think that will be my post for tomorrow.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.