Psychotherapy Without Makeup: Conversations on Psychotherapy Failures

This is an English title of my new book published last month in Polish. It consists of fourteen interviews – seven of them are my conversations with patients who have been hurt by psychotherapy and seven with famous Polish psychotherapists and who try to explain what has happened in each of presented case. As the whole book is in Polish, I didn’t intend to write about this book on an English language version of my blog until I received a message from one of my readers who made me aware that this book is somehow unique not only on the Polish book market but perhaps in the World. There are plenty of published interviews with psychotherapists, with patients during psychotherapy, there is even a book in which therapists relate how they were deceived by patients[1], but none similar to “Psychotherapy Without Makeup”. Perhaps… If you came across a similar book, please let me know.

It’s only been a month since the publication of the book, and I have already received a lot of positive feedback from readers. Especially from those who have bad experiences with psychotherapy and who feel ignored by their surroundings. In their opinion, this book spoke with their voices. Some of them suggested that it would be worth to translate it into English. I am not so enthusiastic about this idea, especially that every country has its own psychotherapeutic specifics. That is, what could be interesting for the Polish reader sometimes could be completely indifferent to the English one. But maybe it would be worth to translate some of the reviews and to conduct new conversations with patients and therapists from other countries? I know that among the readers of my blog are some people who had bad experiences with psychotherapy, so I am curious about your opinion on that idea. I would be grateful for your feedback.

As it often happens, as well as, in this case, I received a lot of ill-considered criticism and even hate. I do not care much about it. As Tana Dineen wrote in her wonderful book “Manufacturing Victims”:

But the Psychology Industry is not an ally at all; it is a self-serving business determined to extend its influence, expand its markets and increase its overall profits. It intends that people accept their need for psychology, assume an inferior and dependent role, and become “users.” It is through caring that psychologists create need, and through helping that they establish dependency.

The journalists and filmmakers received this book much warmer. Bartosz Panek, Prix Italia 2014 winner wrote:

Tomasz Witkowski proves once again that common sense is the greatest treasure of a man, and knowledge is still a sure investment.

Konrad Szołajski – film director and scenarist expressed his opinion about the book in this way:

Shocking stories about a sinister reality that we have no chance to see every day. Non-fiction, though one would like to believe that it’s just literary fiction.

More opinions about the book, reviews, interviews etc. you will find HERE.


[1] Kottler, Jeffrey A. and Carlson, Jon. Bad Therapy- Master Therapists Share Their Worst Failures. New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2002.


11 responses to “Psychotherapy Without Makeup: Conversations on Psychotherapy Failures

  1. I think it would be amazing if you could expand the reach of this book and conduct interviews with people in other countries. I, for one, would be happy to volunteer my story! The capacity for abuse through betrayal and abandonment in therapy is so enormous – and so little considered by therapists. And, sadly, therapists themselves are all too often damaged people who choose their profession in order to get their own needs met. They are the last people on earth who should be allowed anywhere near a person who is vulnerable or suffering emotional pain.

  2. Pingback: Psychotherapy Without Makup « Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop·

  3. To my mind not only I think that your book is a very courageous and important work but I also believe it should be published in English so to reach a larger audience, particularly the American scenario where psychotherapy is merely a joke in most cases, and heavily permeated by all sort of mumbo jumbo such as faith based protocols for instance, or ”think positive” shallow approaches, or ”just-go-out-and-socialize-and-that’s-all” advice, not to mention new age / spiritual alike nonsense of all kind.

    Regarding this matter, to my mind most people seem to forget a few salient points, both patients/clients and the psychotherapists themselves, points like:
    -On the contrary of other sciences: psychotherapy is not something that can be tested in a lab therefore it’s very hard to provide solid evidence and sound accuracy on which one can base serious approaches.
    -Any psychological approach that neglects at least the basic notions of biology can easily result into deeply biased and even nonsensical suggestions, eventually even harmful ones.
    -Psychotherapy so often gets applied without any decent level of critical thinking skills, not deductive multi-logical approaches, neither a critical sociological comprehension of the conditioning, the memes and the fallacious common sense regarding the cultural background the patient/client possesses (and that he or she probably never or poorly questioned).

    • Thank you Diego very much for your comments. Re basic notions in biology. In my book there are two very serious cases of patients were medical diagnosis was neglected. Both cases were problems with thyroid. One of them attempted suicide. As a result, he is a disabled person now. Another one was treated by psychotherapists without any medical examinations. Finally, he found out that he has cancer. Very sad stories.

    • Sadly, this is also the situation in the UK. I am particularly concerned that more and more young people are being encouraged to go into psychotherapy and that CBT is held up as the ‘gold standard’ of treatment for any and every supposedly maladaptive thought.

  4. Tomasz, thank you for the enormous work done in this book. It is really a fundamental contribution to the solid formation of any therapist. It is a stimulus to keep the attention on the risks that we face when assisting a person with mental illnesses, who places in us his trust. It is also an incentive to maintain a critical and skeptical spirit, both on traditional theories and fashionable novelties. It would be great if an edition could be made in Spanish, because in my country, Argentina, the demand for psychological assistance is usual. And psychoanalysis, alternative therapies and other frauds take a daily toll. And one of the causes is the lack of training of therapists. Count on me if I can help you with something

    • Mariano, thank you very much for your warm words. I am afraid that it couldn’t be possible to translate it into Spanish. I know only few Spanish words! Unless you know the publisher who would be interested in translating and publishing this book. Thanks for your declaration of assistance. Best regards, Tom

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