Paul T. P. Wong
In the increasingly competitive market place of mental health providers, where do we, the humanistic/existential psychologists (HEP), position ourselves? With positive psychotherapists and happiness coaches gaining grounds in the domain of personal growth, and neuroscientists and mindful meditation dominating the field of spirituality, in what areas can we stake out a claim of being a major player? What are the compelling characteristics of our brand of psychotherapy?
These questions swirled in my head as I pondered over David Elkins’s (2009a) provocative article. Basically, I agree with Elkins’s case against the medical model and his critique of the restrictive and biased nature of evidence-supported treatment (Elkins, 2007, 2008). I can also fully understand his displeasure toward the health insurance industry. But here is our conundrum: We may be right on psychological, therapeutic, methodological, ethical, and moral grounds, but we still fail to gain wide acceptance by mainstream psychology. The challenge confronting us is how to overcome this barrier without compromising our core convictions.