Do psychotherapy & research professionals today take being “diplomatic” with their peers too far? When is being nice counterproductive & when does being blunt become “flaming”?
I’m not talking about therapist/patient here, this is therapist to therapist stuff.
A gentleman and I had a… “disagreement” over the last couple of days; I’ll not name names, no reason to – short of it is that *I feel* (making it clear it’s simply my opinion) he ended up trying to peddle his business, and when asked for research data about his therapy technique, he did everything but offer that data. I saw him running verbal circles around the issue, getting defensive when what he did share was obviously not enough, and then tried belittling my education level in comparison to his. He was wordy, and seemed polite, but was pretty clearly attempting to make the questions seem moot because he is a “professional” and so knew what he was doing, I’m a student so don’t know anything, and we should just take his word for it. I have a huge problem with that level of arrogance. If you’ve got something that substantial, there should be more than enough documented research evidence that will speak for itself, not simply a bunch of smoke-screen psychobabble and client quizzes.
I admit – I was extremely blunt, very harsh, and directly to the point in my replies about how I felt he was avoiding the questions; I honestly feel he was ignoring the issues me & others had with his data, and flat out refusing to answer those concerns. I made it blatantly clear it didn’t sit well with me. Some others felt I was being disrespectful, and I can say I was; I have a few questions on this, though:
1) Who’s disrespect is worse, one mans for refusing to answer legitimate concerns of his peers & tearing down a person making those concerns & his lack of response painfully obvious in order to deflect from the fact he’s not answering, or another for blatantly & eventually rudely making it clear that the first was refusing to answer the questions & concerns of his peers or provide more solid research data?
2) If it’s so obvious that one of our peers is “talking out of his ass”, to state it bluntly, why do we, as professionals & peers, encourage them to keep doing so by not flat out saying, to put it painfully bluntly, “research data or GTFO” when we know without doubt that it’s either wrong to stay silent or it’s a dumb/damaging idea?
There’s no logic to this that I can see. To me, it’s often like a man on trial for murder being told to account for his whereabouts & replying with, “Well, YOU prove I was there at the crime scene. I know I wasn’t, and here’s a list of what I did that I wrote myself; that should be enough. I shouldn’t have to prove anything because I have a Ph.D. – you should just trust me & my hand-written list. I don’t need to prove anything to you.”
This is absurd & makes us look like limp noodles to our fellow professionals in other professions. In other professions, like law, no one is just taken on their word; they have reams of data, research & cases to back up their opinions. Since when do we in the psychotherapy field NOT require the same scrutiny of each other in order to be taken seriously? Since when did we just start to politely not question the validity of our fellow peers just because it’s the “diplomatic” or “polite” thing to do, or because they said, “well I said so, and you have to trust me because I said to or I’ll call some kind of foul”?
I want to hear what others think on this topic. When & where do we draw the line between diplomacy & counterproductive inaction? Agreeing to disagree is one thing; but when inaction can potentially affect the mental health of our patients, when do we stand up & start to call the frauds & scam-artists what they are? Consider as though you are answering this for someone with Autism, who honestly doesn’t understand where the social boundaries are; what would you say those boundaries are to be?