Power Therapies and possible threats to the science of psychology and psychiatry


  • Grant J. Devilly

  • Centre For Neuropsychology, Swinburne University, PO Box 218, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122, Australia. Email: gdevilly@swin.edu.au

Grant J. Devilly, Professorial Fellow


Objective: Advocates of new therapies frequently make bold claims regarding therapeutic effectiveness, particularly in response to disorders which have been traditionally treatment-refractory. This paper reviews a collection of new therapies collectively self-termed ‘The Power Therapies’, outlining their proposed procedures and the evidence for and against their use. These therapies are then put to the test for pseudoscientific practice.

Method: Therapies were included which self-describe themselves as ‘Power Therapies’. Published work searches were conducted on each therapy using Medline and PsychInfo databases for randomized controlled trials assessing their efficacy, except for the case of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing has more randomized controlled studies conducted on its efficacy than any other treatment for trauma and thus, previous meta-analyses were evaluated.

Results and conclusions: It is concluded that these new therapies have offered no new scientifically valid theories of action, show only non-specific efficacy, show no evidence that they offer substantive improvements to extant psychiatric care, yet display many characteristics consistent with pseudoscience.