This article is a serious suggestion that first I would like mental and physical health professionals to comment on, then governments.
Mental and physical health are prime costs in the economies of all countries, and the source of a great deal of pain and suffering for the victims of their “systems”. In many of the excellent discussions on LinkedIn and other online forums we see sometimes heated and self-serving discussions on a wide variety of psychotherapeutic modalities, with attempts to back opinion with claims of extensive research PROVING efficiency. Yet practice often belies the claims made for such efficiency. Mental and physical health continues to decline in all countries, now becoming an epidemic in most countries. If the traditional and alternative models are really working, why is this so?
I spent almost a decade in pure research in laboratories and most of the rest of my life evaluating research from all over the world. I have now been in clinical practice for over 35 years, specializing in anxiety disorders and trauma – and here is the problem . To be valid research is done narrow windows of experience and theory to constrain variation and misinterpretation. Unfortunately such research is obtained by those with vested interests and applied or claimed as valid in practical situations that the research can not and should not be extrapolated to.
The only real test that can eliminate such bias and misuse is a global practical application of the theory in a broder therapeutic perspective. And the best way to do that, and stop misuse of research and wild claims, is to apply a consequence.
So, here is my suggestion to cover all professional applications in mental and physical health, and I would appreciate feedback (but not abuse).
Let's get legislation in place, enforceable by law, that all mental health and medical practitioners MUST provide a money back guarantee for services. The guarantee applies to a schedule of services provided by individual practitioners, with specific documented limits on number of sessions required to achieve a measurable effect or maximum treatment duration to achieve an agreed result.
If the client feels that they have not achieved that result within the agreed time or session limits, they can ask for ALL their money back. If the service was provided under government payment schemes, the government can claim back the payments.
That should stop the misuse of dubious or limited research to justify claims and puts the responsibility fairly back on the professional claiming to offer therapeutic services. The same should apply to the medical profession who also claim science behind the profession has validity, knowledge and understanding.
Such a mechanism also takes care of competency issues, including including insufficient knowledge for purpose or role. If a practitioner chooses to give them extra protection it can be by providing extended treatment evaluations, which will be justified by the potential client before they proceed with any professional – a self limiting strategy that should encourage greater competency over time. The market will decide, those who are not competent or usingadequate modalities will cease to practice, thenby offering an additional layer of protection for the client.
Yes, I know there are issues in implementing, and I know the professions will be up in arms at such a solution, but in order to create professional responsibility one sometimes has to throw the fox into the chook pen! But we can not continue to stick our head in the sand and allow physical and mental health to continue to get worse.
What do you think?