Jean Cottraux

Psychotherapy Does It Serve Any Purpose? Publication date : January 1, 2004

Psychotherapy devoid of any therapeutic effect is a vast and constantly growing field. There are now more than 210 schools, trends and styles, of which only a few have undeniable results. The effects produced by the rest are questionable — or simply worthless.
If we limit ourselves to the available body of scientific data (it certainly exists) and exclude the self-proclaimed successes of the various schools, what should we expect from psychotherapy? Should its current success be interpreted as the result of a generalised crisis of the Self? And what does each one of the various types of therapy really offer someone who is in the midst of self-seeking?
Jean Cottraux has undertaken here a comparative study of the various different types of psychotherapy practised in France today. In the process, he unearths some disturbing truths. His conclusions are edifying: not only can we live without psychotherapists, we are sometimes better off without them.

Jean Cottraux teaches at the University of Lyon-I and heads the unit for the treatment of anxiety at Lyon’s Hospital of Neurology. He is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, in Philadelphia, and was formerly the president of the European Association of Behavioural Therapy. He is the author of Les Ennemis intérieurs (1998) and La Répétition des scénarios de vie (2001), both published by Editions Odile Jacob.