From [Marc Abrams (980207.1045)]

Hi David,

I do think that they were a bit dramatic in some of their remarks,

but ... .

I was trying to be emphatic, not dramatic.

The chats I posted to the CSG-L network was my way of exploring the


with the help of comments from people on the CSG-L. I was
comfortable doing this and hoped others found them interesting.

They were extremely interesting and I thank you for the effort. It was
good stuff and would hope that you might continue. :slight_smile:

I don't feel that I have learned to do the MOL in a skillful enough


to even evaluate its therapeutic usefulness.

David, you are an honorable and well intentioned individual. But I
think you just don't get it. Or maybe you do and simply disagree with
it :-).

I might be wrong, but the MOL as outlined and explained by Bill, and
used by yourself, Tim Carey, and Mark Lazare is not simply a "new" way
to do old tricks. It really redefines _what_ therapy is all about. Is
therapy about individuals having and gaining the capability of helping
themselves or is it the "ability" of _you_ (the therapist) to _fix_
the problem. The MOL redefines the relationship and the
responsibilities between the therapist and client. This is not trivial
stuff. But I think, most importantly, the "power" and "control" shifts
to the client

Before one can give the MOL a fair test, let us all make sure that


are doing it correctly.

No disagreement. But what does "correctly" mean. I think Bill has made
it clear that the purpose of _doing_ it was to gain the necessary
skill(s) I think Bill laid down a few basic guidelines to follow:
1. Do no harm 2. Do not try to _direct_ the thought process 3. Do
not interject your opinions 4. LISTEN carefully. 5. DON'T give
advice. What else am I missing?

I wish I had Tim and Marc's confidence (chutzpah?) and am very

impressed that they have been able >to acquire the MOL skill without
supervision from Bill Powers, or Dick Robertson who

is the clinician with the most years of experience in applying PCT to
therapy situations.

I believe the word is Chutzpah ( a Yiddish word for someone with
unmitigated gall :-)) and I am _attempting_ to gain the necessary
skills required. Most of which by the way are in the form of
_Unlearning_ some nasty :slight_smile: consulting type "I can help you" logic.

In reading Dicks Posts I am not quite sure _how_ he "applies" PCT.
Could you elaborate or could Dick on how the MOL has changed his
practice. I could have sworn Dick said he does not use the MOL for the
same reasons you have stated. So what kind of "supervision" am I
supposed to get from Dick.about using the MOL..

>In the near future, I will start doing the MOL exercise again, and
go for a second round of chats.

Great news. Looking forward to it. Thanks David.


[Lars Christian Smith (960407 16:50 ET)]


To: Brian D'Agostino (Fi 5 April 1996 10:10 EST)

Subject: Therapy

You write that some therapies are far more effective than other. Is there
any hard evidence?

I suspect, like Rick Marken, that therapy is like something out of Alice
in Wonderland; everyone gets a prize. No matter how absurd the
theoretical basis of the different therapeutic schools, it would not be
surprising if good therapists got good results.

An interesting study would therefore be not a comparison between
different therapeutic schools, but a comparison between productive and non-
productive therapists.

Three studies of professional computer programmers found that the best
programmers are about 10 times more productive than the worst. The best
performer is about 2.5 times more productive than the median performer.
The half above the median is about twice as productive as the half below
the median. These rules of thumb seem to be fairly good for virtually any
performance metric.

I would not be surprised if the same were true for therapists. So, what
do the most productive therapists do that is different? Do you know of
any studies?


[From Bruce Abbott (990922.1955 EST)]

Bruce Gregory (990922.1524 EDT) --

Bruce Abbott (990922.1400 EST)

Anyone know who Robyn Dawes is? (I do.)

According to the dust jacket he is "University Professor in the
Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie-Mellon
University, a widely recognized researcher on psychological evaluation
and decision making and the author of _Rational Choice in an Uncertain
World_ 1990 winner of the APA William James Award."

Yes. I met him a few years ago at the BAAM conference where I was giving a
talk about control systems at the invitation of Dennis Delprato. He was a
coauthor (along with Cooms and Tversky) of the first academic book I ever
purchased at the university bookstore (when I was still an undergraduate)
"just because it looked interesting" -- _Mathematical Psychology_. His
talk at BAAM centered on his experience on the ethics committee of the APA,
where he had argued unsuccessfully that it should be declared unethical for
clinicians to use psychological tests whose validity for a given purpose had
not been established. In the case he used as an example of such a
mis-application, a psychologist hired as a "friend of the court" in a child
custody dispute drew conclusions about whether either parent was guilty of
child abuse based on the parent's responses to the Thematic Apperception
Test (TAT). In the TAT, the examiner shows the person a series of pictures
one at a time and asks him or her to tell a story based on the picture. As
Dawes noted, there is absolutely no evidence that the stories one makes up
based on these pictures can be used to ascertain whether or not one is a
child abuser.

Not too long ago a fair number of APA members broke with that organization
and organized a competitor, the APS (American Psychological Society). Their
reason for doing so was the view that the APA had been taken over by the
increasingly dominant clinical wing and was essentially leaving the
experimentalists (and, it was suggested, science) out in the cold.

How about giving us a synopsis of "House of Cards"? Or even just a passage
or two you found interesting.

Bruce A.

P.S. I was sorry to hear that my application to Dilettants Anomyous had
been rejected. I'm not sure of the reason -- I can't remember ever learning
anything at more than a superficial level . . .

[From Bruce Gregory (990923.1730 EDT)]

Bruce Abbott (990922.1955 EST)

How about giving us a synopsis of "House of Cards"? Or even
just a passage
or two you found interesting.

The book's full title tells the story: _House of Cards: Psychology and
Psychotherapy Built on Myth_. I find it a rich source of information.
He talks about the importance of feedback, not exactly in the PCT sense,
but quite consistent with the lessons I have taken from PCT about
learning--the central importance of prompt undistorted information about
the effects of one's actions. His treatment of how easy it is delude
oneself matches my experiences with teaching. Most teachers are nicely
insulated from learning whether or not what they are doing is working or
not. "Good" teachers are popular with students, but we have no evidence
that their students learn any more than the students of "poor" teachers.
Education, like psychotherapy, defers to "experience" even though we
have no evidence that this makes any difference. The book is definitely
on my short "must read" list. (If you ask nicely, I'll tell what else is
on this list...)

Bruce Gregory