Richard House and Del Loewenthal have done a great service to mental health professionals and consumers in putting together an intelligent and cogent collection of essays that lay bare the epistemological and ideological underpinnings of CBT and the methodological validity accorded to it. The two British psychologists are editors of the new book, Against and For CBT: Towards a Constructive Dialogue? One of the many critical questions the 24 essays in the book raise is: “What is the balance of responsibility between policy-makers, the CBT field itself, and the “modernist” Zeitgeist for the way in which CBT has increasingly been made into the prevailing therapy of “choice” within modern Western societies?
I am very pleased that one of the book’s essays was authored by my dear friend, mentor and collaborator Fred Newman. In their overview of the book’s contents, House and Loewenthal had this to say about Newman’s contribution: “In the final chapter on epistemological and research perspectives, ‘Where is the magic in cognitive therapy? – a philo/psychological investigation’ , Fred Newman explores the connection between cognitive therapy and common sense, the relationship between common sense and science, and the interrelationships between the cognitive, the linguistic, and the post-modern turn. We are treated to an engagingly discursive philosophical tour de force that incorporates such philosophical giants as Quine, Davidson, Wittgenstein, Vygotsky and Searle – and of course, Fred Newman and Lois Holzman’s own distinctive brand of ‘social therapy’. As always with Newman’s writings, the reader is in for a journey of many fascinating philosophical twists and turn – and not least, the post-modern one.” (p. 16)
Newman’s essay — and the entire book — is a must read.