The March 2007 issue of the Networker is our 25th anniversary issue and features the results of a special survey of the 10 most influential therapists of the past quarter century that you won’t want to miss. But while our survey offers a fascinating look at the role models who continue to shape therapeutic practice, this issue is also at least as much about the science of psychotherapy, both its strengths and limits. Summing up what the last 25 years have taught us, Jay Efran writes, “Despite all this scientific hoopla, there’s still no compelling evidence that therapists are achieving better outcomes today than they did 25 years ago.” At the same time, Efran takes us back to what, in our quieter, wiser moments, all therapists know in their heart of hearts to be true: “If we look squarely at the fundamentals, it becomes apparent that therapy is neither science nor art-it’s conversation. Conversation is at once the most subtle and complex of all human activities, and our most important problem-solving tool.”
Is this a letdown, a measure of how little progress we’ve made? Not at all. It is evidence supporting what is most noble in our profession, what most of us have known all along, what neither managed care nor pre-digested treatment manuals can ultimately remove, and still be called therapy. The good psychotherapist is someone who intuitively knows how to transform human conversation and relationship into a form of healing, and, transcending didacticism and advice-giving, helps clients discover not only that they can ask better questions of themselves, but also find the inner resources to formulate better answers.
Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.