Because of all the research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy and for numerous other reasons related to the practice of psychotherapy, such as the use of mental health professionals as experts in court and other realms of life, people are becoming concerned. One person who is both knowledgeable and concerned is R. Christopher Barden, Ph.D., J.D., who has proposed a bill for Federal and State legislation. Barden’s proposed bill, titled “The Truth and Responsibility in Mental health Practices Act,” reads:
To reform the mental health system; to restrict federal and state health care reimbursements to those mental health treatments proven reasonably safe and effective by reliable scientific methods; to require states receiving federal health care funding to limit state health care reimbursements to those mental health treatments proven reasonably safe and effective by reliable scientific methods; to require mental health practitioners to truthfully inform patients, clients and insurance systems of known and reasonably foreseeable benefits, risks, hazards and alternative mental health treatments as demonstrated by reliable scientific research methods; to protect the integrity of the legal system and the rights of citizens from unscientific and reckless expert testimony in courts of law; and other reforms.1
A version of the Bill called the “Barden Letter” has been signed by a number of distinguished professionals in the mental health field. We believe that fair minded and thinking individuals will support this bill; but we know that politics often prevail rather than common sense and justice for all.
It may be years before such an act is passed by the National Congress. However, in the meantime, Indiana became the first State to adopt a consumer protection law for mental health practices. A press release from the office of the National Association for Consumer Protection in Mental Health Practices states:
Importantly, the new law requires that “a mental health provider shall inform each patient . . . of the reasonably foreseeable risks and relative benefits of proposed treatments and alternative treatments.” National experts in law and psychology called this a landmark in the history of the mental health system.
“The mental health system will never be the same again,” said R. Christopher Barden, a psychologist, lawyer and President of the National Association for Consumer Protection in Mental Health Practices. “It is indeed shocking that many, if not most forms of psychotherapy currently offered to consumers are not supported by credible scientific evidence.”2 (Bold added.)
While our own efforts appear to have had no effect on the burgeoning psychotherapy industry either in or out of the church, this act, if adopted throughout America, may bring the mental health industry to its knees. Barden says, “Too many Americans do not realize that much of the mental health industry is little more than a national consumer fraud.”3 (Bold added.) Christians should not be so naive as to believe that just because therapists may also be Christians they are not involved in such practices. They are, and that is one of the reasons why we have been writing in this area for over twenty years.
Regardless of the passage, implementation, and policing of this legislative bill, it is our position that there is no psychotherapy to which Christians should submit themselves. We present both research and biblical reasons in our various books and articles.
1R. Christopher Barden & the National Association for Consumer Protection in Mental Health Practices. “The Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act.”
2The National Association for Consumer Protection in Mental Health Practices Press Release, Office of the President, 4025 Quaker Lane North, Plymouth, MN 55441, Phone 612-595-0566, FAX 612-595-0035, e-mail: email@example.com.
(From PAL V5N4)