CBT: The Cognitive Behavioural Tsunami: Managerialism, Politics and the Corruptions of Science

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CBT: The Cognitive Behavioural Tsunami: Managerialism, Politics and the Corruptions of Science
CBT book.jpg
Author Farhad Dalal
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Cognitive behavioral therapy
Genre Psychology
Publisher Routledge
Publication date
September 2018
Media type Kindle, Hardover, and Paperback
Pages 198/214
ISBN 978-1782206644
Website Routledge

CBT: The Cognitive Behavioural Tsunami: Managerialism, Politics and the Corruptions of Science is a book by Dr. Farhad Dalal, a British psychotherapist and critic of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) research.

The arguments of this book are that the claims of CBT are not rational but hyper-rational, and that its observations as well as its logical arguments, fall far short of the standards required by good science. — Dr. Farhad Dalal, 'CBT: The Cognitive Behavioural Tsunami: Managerialism, Politics and the Corruptions of Science - Routledge, Sep 2018', Amazon Preview, Print Edition, Chapter 1, Subheading: Rationality, Truth and Madness, Pg. 5

Publisher's synopsis[edit | edit source]

(This synopsis was provided by the publisher for promotional purposes. For book reviews, please see Links section below.)

Is CBT all it claims to be? The Cognitive Behavioural Tsunami: Managerialism, Politics, and the Corruptions of Science provides a powerful critique of CBT’s understanding of human suffering, as well as the apparent scientific basis underlying it. The book argues that CBT psychology has fetishized measurement to such a degree that it has come to believe that only the countable counts. It suggests that the so-called science of CBT is not just "bad science" but "corrupt science".

The rise of CBT has been fostered by neoliberalism and the phenomenon of New Public Management. The book not only critiques the science, psychology and philosophy of CBT, but also challenges the managerialist mentality and its hyper-rational understanding of "efficiency", both of which are commonplace in organizational life today. The book suggests that these are perverse forms of thought, which have been institutionalised by NICE and IAPT and used by them to generate narratives of CBT’s prowess. It claims that CBT is an exercise in symptom reduction which vastly exaggerates the degree to which symptoms are reduced, the durability of the improvement, as well as the numbers of people it helps.

Arguing that CBT is neither the cure nor the scientific treatment it claims to be, the book also serves as a broader cultural critique of the times we live in; a critique which draws on philosophy and politics, on economics and psychology, on sociology and history, and ultimately, on the idea of science itself. It will be of immense interest to psychotherapists, policymakers and those concerned about the excesses of managerialism.[1]

Reception[edit | edit source]

Many in the psychotherapy field, professors, authors, and academics have reviewed the book favorably. A small sampling are listed below.

  • "This book is breath-taking in its scope, perception and wit. It is critique at its most urgent and readable." --Professor Michael Traynor, Middlesex author of Nursing in Context: Policy, Politics, Profession
  • "CBT is often presented as an alternative to psychiatric drugs for depression and other mental disorders. But in this erudite, thoughtful investigation of the "CBT Tsunami," Farhad Dalal details how it is built upon the same flawed foundation that gave us "safe and effective antidepressants": neoliberalism, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and bad science. A refreshing, and much needed, critique." --Robert Whittaker, Author of Mad In America
  • "This book could be the Apricity that is needed in these times: in a scholarly way it honours value-based ideas, and names those ideas that have been hijacked and corrupted. Watch out! It takes no hostages and introduces no heroes; it is a great read for those of us who appreciate challenging, perspicacious and compassionate analyses." --Professor Margie Callanan, Programme Director of Clinical Psychology Doctorate, Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
  • "In this most timely contribution, Dalal forensically lays bare the limitations of CBT as a response to human distress and the grandiosity of many of its claims and shows how the systematic adoption of CBT causes injury to our image of ourselves. An invaluable resource for those wanting to understand and to stand against the absurdities of hyper-rationalism." --David Glyn, President, Group Analytic Society International
  • "This is one hell of a book! Brilliantly written.
In his closely and passionately argued book, The Cognitive Behavioural Tsunami, Farhad Dalal issues a complex and thought-provoking challenge to the claims of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies as the pinnacle of effective psychotherapy. Implicit in his critique are such fundamental questions as: Do we have the right to suffer? Is human suffering a medical problem? Does personal happiness equate with mental health? Can one’s capacity to suffer reflect mental health rather than mental illness? What does it mean to "treat" suffering?
Dalal argues against the over valuing of hyper-rationality that has come to pervade models of contemporary psychotherapy. He outlines the corruption of science in the service of politics and profit. Though written primarily within the perspective of mental health services delivery in the United Kingdom, Dalal’s book mirrors the same economic and political forces seen in the United States in a once deeply personal field of human encounter, now increasingly defined, manualized, and controlled by government and market forces, insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical industry.
This book raises fundamental questions of the ethics and human essence of our psychotherapeutic endeavours that speak urgently to the future of psychotherapy." --William F. Cornell, Author of Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
  • "Farhad Dalal’s book looks behind CBT’s moral and rationalistic justification for its dominance in the field of psychotherapy. Dalal succeeds in illuminating the dark politics that drive this process, exposing their self-serving actions for what they are. This eloquent and fascinating book exposes the reader to the cost we are paying for this therapeutic approach: the reduction and diminishment of the human subject and the silencing of other therapeutic alternatives." --Dr. Avi Berman, Tel Aviv University[1]

Online presence[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

CBT and ME/CFS

References[edit | edit source]

cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - A type of psychotherapy geared toward modifying alleged unhealthy thinking, behaviors or illness beliefs. One of the treatment arms used in the controversial PACE trial.

American Psychiatric Association (APA) - The main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the largest psychiatric organization in the world. Not to be confused with the American Psychological Association (also APA).

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - A psychiatric reference book published by the American Psychiatric Association, often referred to as "the psychiatrist's Bible". Although the most recent version (DSM-5) purports to be the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders, the editors of both previous versions of the manual have heavily criticized the current version due to the climate of secrecy that shrouded the development of the latest version. 69% of the people who worked on DSM-5 reported having ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Allen Frances, who headed the development of the previous version, warned of dangerous unintended consequences such as new false 'epidemics'. The British Psychological Society criticized DSM-5 diagnoses as "clearly based largely on social norms, with 'symptoms' that all rely on subjective judgements" and expressed a major concern that "clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalisation of their natural and normal responses to their experiences". A petition signed by over 13,000 mental health professionals stated that the lowered diagnostic thresholds in DSM-5, combined with entirely subjective criteria based on western social norms, would "lead to inappropriate medical treatment of vulnerable populations". The director of the US National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Thomas R. Insel, pointed out that the diagnoses in DSM-5 had no scientific validity whatsoever. (Learn more: www.scientificamerican.com)

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
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