A study of trained and untrained therapists by Hans Strupp at VanderbiltUniversity compared the mental-emotional improvement of two groups of male college students. Two groups of “therapists” were set up to provide two groups of students with “therapy.” The two student groups were equated on the basis of mental-emotional distress as much as possible. The first group of therapists consisted of five psychiatrists and psychologists. “The five professional therapists participating in the study were selected on the basis of their reputation in the professional and academic community for clinical expertise. Their average length of experience was 23 years.”
The second group of “therapists” consisted of seven college professors from a variety of fields, but without therapeutic training. Each untrained “therapist” used his own brand of therapy. The students seen by the professors showed as much improvement as those seen by the highly experienced and specially trained therapists.
According to [psychiatrist] Jerome Frank, over six-and-a-half million persons see mental health specialists during a single year. Frank reveals the shocking fact of: “...the inability of scientific research to demonstrate conclusively that professional psychotherapists produce results sufficiently better than those of nonprofessionals.”
Psychoheresy pp. 180-81