Sunday, January 27, 2008

Psychoanalysis Allegedly Helps Kids With Autism, No Evidence To Back Up Claim

In Psychoanalysis Helps Kids With Autism CBS quotes Susan P. Sherkow, MD, a New York City psychoanalyst who works with autistic children and their families and describes how, in her opinion, psychoanalysis helps autistic children:

"The therapist focuses on the behavior, mood, or emotion of the child and then translates it to the child and waits for a sign that the child feels understood, such as a furtive glance. And from there, the therapist enters the child's world," she explains. Sometimes this translation is putting the child's actions into words, such as saying "you are picking up a cup." "Psychoanalysis should be part of the package because unless you have a really gifted specialist, you are not going to get at the meaning of what these children are trying to convey," she says.

The article cites only Dr. Sherkow's opinion in support of its headline proposition that psychoanalysis helps kids with autism. No credible studies, no studies of any kind, are offered in support of the proposition. Fortunately Denise Mann, the author of the article, also spoke with Andy Shih, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs at Autism Speaks, who stated:

"Very little is known about effective treatments for autism. The only approach that has evidence behind it is ABA. In many cases, this approach has been helpful in allowing children to lead a healthy and more normal life."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised. The psychoanalysis movement actually took a position against "empirically supported treatment interventions" arguing that their system was not designed to be assessed as other therapy modalities (behavioral, cognitive, etc). Psychoanalysis is a theory driven philosophy with very minimal empirical support, and part of the lack of empirical support is because analysts themselves do not feel they need to justify or prove their effectiveness. There is such a strong "tradition" and blind faith (although they call it theory) to this system by their proponents that they really feel they should be exempt from showing empirically that what they do actually works. NLD.