Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology

Second Edition

Edited by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, and Jeffrey M. Lohr
Foreword by Carol Tavris

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
October 12, 2014
ISBN 9781462517510
Price: $99.00 $74.25
548 Pages
Size: 6⅛" x 9¼"
October 13, 2014
ISBN 9781462517893
Price: $49.00 $36.75
548 Pages
Size: 6⅛" x 9¼"
October 13, 2014
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $49.00 $36.75
548 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $98.00 $53.90
548 Pages
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This valued resource helps practitioners and students evaluate the merits of popular yet controversial practices in clinical psychology and allied fields, and base treatment decisions on the best available research. Leading authorities review widely used therapies for a range of child, adolescent, and adult disorders, differentiating between those that can stand up to the rigors of science and those that cannot. Questionable assessment and diagnostic techniques and self-help models are also examined. The volume provides essential skills for thinking critically as a practitioner, evaluating the validity of scientific claims, and steering clear of treatments that are ineffective or even harmful.

New to This Edition

“A needed text that can be a valuable asset to students, practitioners, and academics alike. There is an ongoing need to be committed to the scientist-practitioner model and to not be influenced by unsupportable and unproven public opinion and pop-psychological beliefs. This book continues to be instructive in these areas. It is essential reading for any graduate program in clinical psychology dealing with psychotherapy….It is well-priced, containing current research on what is and isn’t empirically validated. It will make selection of a specific therapeutic procedure a more thoughtful and helpful process.”

Child and Family Behavior Therapy

“This is clearly a text that should be read by every social worker and social work student. Further, it should be mandated reading for anyone who holds a position in a mental health professional association, state licensing board, or national accrediting body....An important contribution to the mental health knowledge base.”

Journal of Social Work Education (on the first edition)

“While the contributors offer compelling and balanced criticisms of these techniques on scientific grounds, the true merit of the text is that it takes preliminary steps to understand why pseudoscience exists and persists in the 21st century....I would highly recommend it for practitioners, clinical researchers, and graduate students in clinical psychology, social work, or counseling.”

Journal of Psychosomatic Research (on the first edition)

“Represents a most welcome attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff in mental health practices. This engaging, incisive, and illuminating book should be widely read by mental health professionals and trainees and by physicians needing to refer patients for mental health care.”

Journal of the American Medical Association (on the first edition)

Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology exposes the reader to key issues of an expanding mental health machinery, offering both keen critical examinations and viable solutions. The text is a must read for students and professionals in the field of mental health and for laypersons who aspire to become educated consumers of services. Its content is filled with data and thus represents a helpful starting point for any person who is interested in understanding the difference between mental health practices driven by science and those that rely on pseudoscience (e.g., intuition-based, uncritical, and accepting). The text also offers not only an illustration of pseudoscientific practices, but also advice and guidance on available remedies.”

Metapsychology Online Reviews

“In an age when everyone in clinical psychology claims that their practices are based on scientific evidence, it is imperative that we know what scientific evidence means and how to use it—but that task is not always as easy as it may seem. The second edition of this stunningly good book walks us through the major controversies in our field and methodically discerns fact from myth. Thoroughly updated throughout, and with new chapters on attachment therapies and questionable treatments for childhood and adolescent antisocial behaviors, this book should be required reading for every student of clinical psychology.”

—David H. Barlow, PhD, ABPP, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University

“Using controversies in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment with adults, adolescents, and children as an organizing structure, this book addresses the state of the science in psychotherapeutic practices across diagnostic categories and populations of interest. Without defensiveness or agenda, the contributors take on the disconnect between those who conduct therapy in ways rooted in questionable logic and idiosyncratic intuitions and those who strive to honor the basic ideas of research-based applications and scientific thinking. They also promote awareness of common cognitive biases and intellectual errors that even the most skeptical of us frequently fall prey to. In a world screaming for trustworthy evidence to inform professional practice, this book busts myths and feeds intellectual humility. At the same time, it provides accurate, solid, satisfying answers about what we really know—and don't know—right now.”

—Kia J. Bentley, PhD, LCSW, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University

“This book, which details the sloppy thinking that results in some mental health professionals adopting invalid assessment and intervention approaches, will be valuable for students, practitioners, and educators. Readers will become more critical consumers of what is offered as science-based mental health practice. Educators will find the volume helpful with respect to teaching the scientific method and critical thinking skills to their students.”

—Randy K. Otto, PhD, ABPP, Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, University of South Florida

“An important book. There is an increasing emphasis on 'evidence-based' assessment and therapy, but science can be used either substantively or rhetorically—this book does an excellent job of distinguishing the two in a clinically relevant way. Those who sell illegitimate pseudoscientific therapies to people in distress violate the moral imperative of 'first do no harm.' The updated second edition captures the key current controversies and has a roster of impressive chapter authors. A 'must read' for behavioral health professionals.”

—William O'Donohue, PhD, Department of Psychology and Director, Victims of Crime Treatment Center, University of Nevada, Reno

“Courageously confronting myths and misinterpretations in a wide range of clinical psychology practices, this second edition conveys important knowledge in a very readable format. In addition to expert updates on existing chapters, there are several new chapters that I find particularly valuable. The chapter on attachment therapy provides much-needed corrections to dangerous misunderstandings, and the chapter on the science of psychotherapy has been largely rewritten, making powerful new points. This is essential reading for all practitioners and students.”

—Sherryl H. Goodman, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology, Emory University; Editor, Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Table of Contents

1. Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology: Initial Thoughts, Reflections, and Considerations, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, & Jeffrey M. Lohr

I. Controversies in Assessment and Diagnosis

2. Understanding Why Some Clinicians Use Pseudoscientific Methods: Findings from Research on Clinical Judgment, Howard N. Garb & Patricia A. Boyle

3. Controversial and Questionable Assessment Techniques, John Hunsley, Catherine M. Lee, James M. Wood, & Whitney Taylor

4. The Science and Pseudoscience of Expert Testimony, Joseph T. McCann, Steven Jay Lynn, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Kelley L. Shindler, & Tammy R. Hammond

5. Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Contemporary Scientific Perspective, Scott O. Lilienfeld & Steven Jay Lynn

II. Overarching Controversies in Psychological Treatment

6. The Science of Psychotherapy: Developing, Testing, and Promoting Evidence-Based Treatments, Brandon A. Gaudiano, Kristy L. Dalrymple, Lauren M. Weinstock, & Jeffrey M. Lohr

7. New Age and Related Novel Unsupported Therapies in Mental Health Practice, Monica Pignotti & Bruce A. Thyer

8. The Remembrance of Things Past: Problematic Memory Recovery Techniques in Psychotherapy, Steven Jay Lynn, Elisa Krackow, Elizabeth F. Loftus, Timothy G. Locke, & Scott O. Lilienfeld

9. Self-Help Therapy: Recent Developments in the Science and Business of Giving Psychology Away, Gerald M. Rosen, Russell E. Glasgow, Timothy E. Moore, & Manuel Barrera Jr.

III. Controversies in the Treatment of Adult Disorders

10. Science- and Non-Science-Based Treatments for Trauma-Related Stress Disorders, Jeffrey M. Lohr, Richard Gist, Brett Deacon, Grant J. Devilly, & Tracey Varker

11. Controversial Treatments for Alcohol Use Disorders, James MacKillop & Joshua Gray

12. Herbal Treatments and Antidepressant Medication: Similar Data, Divergent Conclusions, Harald Walach & Irving Kirsch

IV. Controversies in the Treatment of Child and Adolescent Disorders

13. Empirically Supported, Promising, and Unsupported Treatments for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Daniel A. Waschbusch & James G. Waxmonsky

14. The Status of Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Weak Relationship of Science to Interventions, Raymond G. Romanczyk, Laura B. Turner, Melina Sevlever, & Jennifer M. Gillis

15. Attachment Therapy, Jean Mercer

16. Antisocial Behavior of Children and Adolescents: Harmful Treatments, Effective Interventions, and Novel Strategies, Anthony Petrosino, Pamela MacDougall, Meghan E. Hollis-Peel, Trevor A. Fronius, & Sarah Guckenberg

Conclusions and Future Directions

17. Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology: Concluding Thoughts and Constructive Remedies, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, & Jeffrey M. Lohr

About the Editors

Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, until his death in 2020, was a Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology at Emory University. He was Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Psychological Science and Associate Editor of Archives of Scientific Psychology, and served on the editorial boards of several other journals. Among Dr. Lilienfeld’s principal interests were cognitive biases and their relations to personality and psychopathology, scientific thinking and its application to psychology, the causes and assessment of personality disorders (especially psychopathic and narcissistic personality disorders), psychiatric classification and diagnosis, pseudoscience and clinical psychology, evidence-based clinical practice, and the philosophy of science and psychology. He was a recipient of the James McKeen Cattell Award for Distinguished Achievements in Applied Psychological Science from the Association for Psychological Science and served as president of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology and the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy.

Steven Jay Lynn, PhD, ABPP, is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY), where he is Director of the Psychological Clinic. He has published more than 300 articles, books, and book chapters on topics including psychotherapy, hypnosis, science versus pseudoscience, psychopathology, and memory, and his research is widely cited in the media. Dr. Lynn is Founding Editor and Editor of the American Psychological Association journal Psychology of Consciousness. He is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

Jeffrey M. Lohr, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, where he has been on the faculty since 1975. His research interests include affective processes in anxiety and related disorders and pseudoscience in applied and clinical psychology. In the latter domain, he focuses primarily on the empirical analysis of treatment efficacy and the promotion of "fringe" treatments, especially as they relate to trauma and anxiety disorders. Dr. Lohr is Associate Editor of The Behavior Therapist.


Manuel Barrera Jr., PhD, Psychology Department, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Patricia A. Boyle, PhD, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Armour Academic Center, Chicago, Illinois

Kristy L. Dalrymple, PhD, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island

Brett Deacon, PhD, School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Grant J. Devilly, PhD, School of Applied Psychology and Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University (Mt Gravatt Campus), Mount Gravatt, Queensland, Australia

Trevor A. Fronius, MA, WestEd, Woburn, Massachusetts

Howard N. Garb, PhD, Psychology Research Service, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas

Brandon A. Gaudiano, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Psychosocial Research Program, Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island

Jennifer M. Gillis, PhD, BCBA-D, Institute for Child Development, Binghamton University, The State University of New York, Binghamton, New York

Richard Gist, PhD, Kansas City (Missouri) Fire Department, Kansas City, Missouri

Russell E. Glasgow, PhD, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland

Joshua C. Gray, BA, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Sarah Guckenburg, MPH, WestEd, Woburn, Massachusetts

Tammy R. Hammond Natof, PhD, private practice, Lexington, Kentucky

Meghan E. Hollis-Peel, PhD, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

John Hunsley, PhD, CPsych, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Irving Kirsch, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom

Elisa Krackow, PhD, Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

Catherine M. Lee, PhD, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Timothy G. Locke, private practice, Brookfield, Connecticut

Elizabeth F. Loftus, PhD, School of Law, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California

Jeffrey M. Lohr, PhD, Department of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Steven Jay Lynn, PhD, ABPP, Psychological Clinic, Psychology Department, Binghamton University, The State University of New York, Binghamton, New York

Pamela MacDougall, BA, WestEd, Woburn, Massachusetts

James MacKillop, PhD, Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychology, and Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Joseph T. McCann, PsyD, United Health Services Hospitals, Binghamton, New York

Jean Mercer, PhD, Department of Psychology, Richard Stockton College, Moorestown New Jersey

Timothy E. Moore, PhD, C Psych, Department of Psychology, Glendon College, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Anthony Petrosino, PhD, Learning Innovations at WestEd, Woburn, Massachusetts

Monica Pignotti, PhD, College of Social Work, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

Raymond G. Romancyzk, PhD, Psychology Department, Binghamton University, The State University of New York, Binghamton, New York

Gerald M. Rosen, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington

Melina Sevlever, MS, Department of Psychology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

Kelley L. Shindler, MS, Psychology Department, Binghamton University, The State University of New York, Binghamton, New York

Whitney Taylor, BA, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Bruce A. Thyer, PhD, LCSW, BCBA-D, College of Social Work, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

Laura B. Turner, MS, BCBA, Psychology Department, Binghamton University, The State University of New York, Binghamton, New York

Tracey Varker, PhD, Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Harald Walach, PhD, Samueli Institute, European Office, European University, Frankfurt, Germany

Daniel A. Waschbusch, PhD, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania

James G. Waxmonsky, MD, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania

Lauren M. Weinstock, PhD, Psychosocial Research Program, Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island

James M. Wood, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas


Clinicians, researchers, and students in clinical psychology, clinical social work, psychiatry, and mental health counseling.

Course Use

Serves as a text in graduate-level courses in clinical psychology, psychotherapy, and evidence-based practice.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2003
ISBN: 9781593850708
New to this edition: