Why Schools of Psychotherapy are Reluctant to Accept New Solutions for Anxiety

anatomy arm

The course of human knowledge and sciences has been marked by opposition to new methods. The following examples illustrate scientists’ resistance to accept innovative approaches.

For centuries scientists believed that blood was created in the liver and moved around inside the body and disappeared in the extremities. In 1628, William Harvey, a British physician and anatomist, announced his discovery of the circulation of the blood. He described, in meticulous detail and backed by solid arguments, the circulation and properties of blood. Harvey’s shocking announcement was that the heart was a pump that pushed around the blood through veins and arteries. The British censor forbade the publication of his scientific treaties on blood circulation. He was ridiculed by other scientists for his preposterous theories. According to Harvey, he actually made his discovery 12 years before sharing it publicly!

It took him such a long time because he was afraid. In his own words:“…some chide and calumniated me and laid to me as a crime that I had dared to depart from the precepts and opinions of all anatomists…I not only fear injury to myself from the envy of a few, but I tremble lest I have mankind at large for my enemies…”

In 1816 a French physician called, René Laennec, invented the stethoscope. His invention became a major tool in diagnosis. However, many physicians opposed this idea arguing that there was nothing worth listening to.

Edward Jenner is considered “the father of immunology”. He created the first successful vaccine, saving countless lives. However he was much criticized by his contemporary scientists. It all began in 1796 when Jenner observed that milkmaids who caught the cowpox virus did not catch smallpox. His “outrageous” idea was to contaminate healthy human blood with cow pox. Many doctors warned that if the new idea of vaccination were to be implemented, young men and women would develop tails and horns, and even bellow like cattle.

Other shocking examples have to do with the importance of hygiene in hospitals. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was an assistant in the maternity wards of a Vienna hospital. He pointed out that the mortality rate in a delivery room staffed by medical students was up to three times higher than in a second delivery room staffed by midwives. Semmelweis observed that the students were coming straight from their lessons in the autopsy room to the delivery room without washing their hands. He postulated that the students might be carrying the infection from their dissections to birthing mothers. He ordered doctors and medical students to wash their hands with a chlorinated solution before examining women in labour. The mortality rate in his maternity wards eventually dropped to less than one percent.

Despite the sharp decrease in infant deaths, Semmelweis’ colleagues greeted his findings with hostility. He eventually resigned his position. Later, he had similar dramatic results with hand washing in another maternity clinic, but to no avail. Ironically Semmelweis died in 1865 with his views still largely ridiculed.

Up until the 1840’s doctors washed their hands after operations. There were also many surgeons who sharpened their scalpels with the sole of their shoes! Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur suggested washing hands beforetreating patients. In 1910, Josephine Baker, M.D. started a program to teach hygiene to child care providers in New York. Thirty physicians sent a petition to the Mayor of the city protesting that Baker’s idea “was ruining medical practice” by “keeping babies well.”

In the early days of transfusion there were scientific papers written against this practice. Various experts argued that if you transfused the female blood into a man’s body he would run the risk of developing breasts or that women could get pregnant from masculine blood. They warned that girls would grow a beard and have their voice deepened. Those papers were written by learned people who were absolutely certain of the scientific validity of their warnings.

In late 1930’s the Surgeon General Thomas Parran, in a newspaper interview, mentioned two names of venereal diseases. He immediately received much condemnation for exposing the eyes of young readers to such strong words. However, despite the condemnation of the medical and church people, the result was a decrease in the syphilis of the brain.

There were some articles written about the effects of supersonic speed. The experts argued that traveling at this speed would result in the molecular disintegration of both the aircraft and the pilot.

A Massachusetts physician wrote a series of papers warning people from the dangers of riding a train He wrote that if the train exceeded the speed of 15 miles per hour, it would result in the suffocation of the person who faced in that “horrible” wind. He proposed that all seats be placed backward to prevent the suffocation of the passengers.
A large number of experts explained to Henry Ford that “the horse is here to stay”. They all considered him stupid for not listening to their warning. Similarly many thought that the Wright brothers were mad because they were trying to fly a machine heavier than air. There were innumerable mathematical formulas to prove conclusively that machines heavier than air could not fly.

My approach may challenge your knowledge about anxiety, fears, phobias and obsessions. The methodology I apply to help people may be counter-intuitive. It may not agree with ordinary logic, and may appear much different from what the majority of experts suggest you to do. However, it works!

Even though my methods might appear to be nonsensical, they are based on new findings in a variety of scientific fields, and they obey a non-ordinary logic. Some of the techniques are my own inventions. However, the majority have been already invented by others. As Michel Montaigne wrote:

And one might therefore say of me that in this book I have only made up a bunch of other people’s flowers, and that of my own I have only provided the string that ties them together.