William M. Epstein, Ph.D.

William Epstein is a professor at the School of Social Work, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches social welfare policy.

He is the author of nine books, covering the politics, economics, and sociology of American Social Welfare, including the two which form the basis of today’s discussion, “The Illusion of Psychotherapy“, and “Psychotherapy as Religion: The Civil Divine in America“.

In today’s episode we explore two of Dr. Epsteins most compelling claims:

Firstly, that not only is psychotherapy most likely ineffective, but that “there is not one credible study conforming to the basic rules of objective proof that testifies to the effectiveness of any psychotherapeutic treatment.”

And secondly, that the practice of psychotherapy is not a science at all but rather the civil religion of America, reflecting the principles of radical self-invention and self-reliance deeply embedded in the psyche of the nation.

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Related Links

Democrats.org – Official website of the Democratic Party

Book Recommendations


Image courtesy: Jenavieve

2 replies
  1. Emma
    Emma says:

    Another fascinating discussion! As a ‘service user’ of psychotherapy, this is really opening my mind to as to what is happening in it, and my understanding of my self. Thanks for another perspective.

    Do you have transcripts of your podcasts? Only that I have (a diagnosis of) dyslexia and it is difficult sometimes to decipher what is being said quick enough to process the conversation in my brain. I have to keep re-winding! To follow written word as well as listening would be really helpful to save doing this!

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      Hi Emma,

      I don’t have transcripts (it’d take me AGES 😊) however, there are a couple of things you could try.

      Option one would be to utilize the speed setting on your podcast app. I think most apps have this as a standard feature nowadays. You could slow the playback down by say 25% which might be easier to keep up with.

      Alternatively you could listen to the episodes on YouTube and used the closed caption “CC” setting. They are automatically generated, so not 100% accurate, but they might be sufficient to help you decipher my scally Manc accent. Playback speed is adjustable on YouTube as well.

      Thanks for listening… and for being so determined to do so. It genuinely means a lot. ~ Danny


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