Imagine a mental health profession that has certain authorities that are above challenge and criticism. Such authorities offer therapies to children and others that lack scientific evidence that they actually work and are safe, yet critics who point this out, are not only shouted down, they are blacklisted and no one in the profession will hire them. I am using the term “blacklist” as a figure of speech. There is no actual list as far as I know, but in essence, shunning people who have been defamed online amounts to blacklisting. Is this the sort of profession you’d like to see?
Fortunately, this is not the current existing state of affairs. Things haven’t gone quite that far yet, but this is what certain self-proclaimed authorities and their followers are attempting by attempting to make an example of people such as myself, by putting false, defamatory material on the internet that comes up on Google searches on the critic’s name. Whether this comes true or not is up to each and every person in the profession who makes hiring decisions. If anyone reading this is in such a position, please think this through very carefully and understand that if you are deciding not to hire someone based on negative Google hits on the person’s name, you are doing your part to make such a world possible, a world where criticism of authorities is still technically allowed, but those who do it will be unable to find work. Is this the kind of world you want? Is this the kind of profession you want?
What kind of message is being sent to anyone who dares to challenge these self-proclaimed therapy gurus and their followers? The message to people just entering the profession is: Keep your mouth shut if you want to find a job. Do not challenge authority, even if you see that a particular authority is promoting potentially harmful interventions. If you dare to point that out, you will not ever work in the profession.
We’re not there yet, but I, Monica Pignotti, am a test case. I have dared to challenge certain people in the profession and these people are doing everything they possibly can, from writing letters with false and defamatory assertions to my Dean to anonymous postings on the internet containing completely false assertions about me. Threats are being made to do a bulk mailing to all the schools of social work, claiming that they will provide “documentation” about me accompanied by a so-called “precis” which would in essence be their own twisted negative spin on every bit of information they an dig up about me, just as has been done online. The goal is to make sure no one hires me or if someone has already hired me, make them reconsider.
Is this the kind of world you want? You decide. Those who turn down an otherwise highly qualified job applicant because they dared to criticize certain therapy gurus are, in essence, casting your vote in favor of such a world. I’m sure such people will create the usual rationalizations to evade this, so they can sleep at night, but that is the reality and what will be created is an authoritarian profession with gurus, rather than professionals who deliver mental health interventions that have actually been shown to work through well-designed randomized clinical trials published in peer reviewed journals, rather than testimonials and anecdotes and highly flawed studies that no one dares criticize.
The choice is up to each of you.