Therapy advertising – big, bold claims (2)
More examples of psychotherapy websites making claims which are great marketing but not great therapy – not quite lies, but quite misleading.
Tricky, this one. Literally, it’s true. Many problems “can” be resolved in a few hours of treatment. But look at the artfully positioned list: … anorexia … bulemia … cancer treatment … eating disorders. You’d think that these are the problems that can be resolved in a few hours, wouldn’t you? Wrong! These can be very major issues that need persistence and commitment, perhaps over years rather than weeks, as can many of the others on the list.
Then there’s that “Using a special form of hypnotherapy and hypnosis …” Oooh! Take that, old-fashioned has-been therapists who aren’t using a special form of hypnosis! The artful implication is that a new form of hypnosis so special that even anorexia and cancer treatment succumb rapidly. No such thing exists.
And the next:
Two or three sessions will cure simple phobias, definitely, but not more complicated ones. Weight also, but only if simple habit. Smoking, yes for most people, if highly individualised sessions. The rest? Well yes, sometimes people only need that few sessions. But much more commonly, normal people need more sessions. And beyond that, any one of those could be a deeply-seeded issue. As I said in the previous post, have a look under the “Health > Mental Health” section of Yahoo Answers and you find sadly many people with these issues who need far, far more then two or three sessions. OK, the advert doesn’t say “resolve completely” in two or three sessions but there is a pretty clear implication of done-and-dusted in that time. And again, it just ain’t so for many people.
A final example from the same website:
Certainly not my experience. It’s the same story; some people with mild OCD can be helped in 3 – 5 sessions of behavioural hypnotherapy. But OCD can have a real grip on people’s lives, and I would more typically say 10-15 sessions of highly behavioural-oriented hypnosis, maybe a good many more.
As I rarely deal with OCD I googled “number of sessions OCD” and the authoritative http://www.psychguides.com/ocgl says on similar lines: “The experts recommend 13-20 sessions as the appropriate number of CBT treatments for the typical patient. When speed is of the essence or OCD is particularly severe in adults, intensive CBT (daily CBT for 3 weeks) may be preferable.”
To repeat from the previous post. I’m not suggesting that these advertisers are being dishonest. But they are over-enthusiastic in their marketing, and very likely naive about some aspects of therapy – they see a limited range of clients and don’t realise how serious some issues are. I’ll talk more in later posts about how honest people can make misleading claims.
RULE TWO FOR READING THERAPY ADVERTS
When therapists make, or imply, dramatic claims for rapid success “with hypnosis” or “with a special kind of hypnosis” for serious issues, they may, perhaps, be wonder therapists with a magic special cure. Or they may simply not know what they are talking about.