About “Psychology Gone Wrong”

Are you convinced by the latest claims for brain power, hypnosis, memory decline or the dangerous effects of video games? Are you tempted to waste money on a fancy new therapy and convinced that at least it can do no harm? Then read this book first and you may change your mind.

Prof. Susan Blackmore


Psychology Gone Wrong is a title of the book written by me and Maciej Zatonski as a co-author. It was published in English by BrownWalker Press in January, 2015. In Polish this book was published as Forbidden Psychology which is also a title of my trilogy. Two volumes have been already published in Polish. The third is  in preparation.

These book explores the dark sides of psychology, the science which penetrate almost all areas of our lives. It is a must read for everybody who is interested in psychology, who is studying or intend to study it but also for present and potential clients of psychotherapists. By reading it they will learn which parts of psychology is built on hard fundamentals and which on the sand. Psychology Gone Wrong. The Dark Sides of Science and Therapy is a first book which shows in a comprehensive way mistakes, frauds and abuses of academic psychology (1st part), psychotherapy (2nd part), and its degenerate forms which we call psycho-business (3th part). In the 1st part we describe historical examples of malpractices within academic psychology and its consequences. We also analyze contemporary cases from different countries to examine ethical problems in scientific psychology such as frauds, plagiarism, need for replications, responsibility for rawdata etc. We also present results of our own experiments. At the end of this part we point out possible solutions to the ethical problems of scientific psychology. The 2nd part is concerned with problems derived from psychotherapeutic practice. Similarly to part one, we describe some historical as well as contemporary cases of pseudoscientific therapies. Next, we discuss problems: Do psychotherapists influence their patients’ values? What is the measure of therapy effectiveness, is it the client’s satisfaction or something else? Why do psychotherapists think that they know what is best for their clients? The last chapter of this part is a kind of guide for patience. The 3rd part  describes problems of psycho-business, a kind of psychological activity which is absolutely beyond any control. Important part of this part is our psychological Sokal-style hoax and the resulting broad discussion among academics about pseudoscience and psycho-business. We analyze the hoax in terms of possibilities of creating quite new pseudoscience/pseudotheraphy and selling it as a market product. We also try to answer questions raised by the hoax: Are representatives of scientific psychology responsible for how it is popularized and what type of knowledge is popularized? What is the difference between the tolerance of editors, therapists, and scientists for various forms of practicing science and conducting therapy, and the indifference to abuses in this sphere? Should we, as psychologists, abandon the market of psychological services, often referred to as psycho-business, to the rules of the free market?

“Psychology Gone Wrong” is a powerful and forceful effort to expose dangerous ideas in psychology that mascaraed  as science. Readers who care about the problem of pseudoscience in psychology will love this book. And those who don’t  care really need to read it.

Elizabeth Loftus

Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine, USA

Do you need a therapist? Are you convinced there’s something wrong with you and a wonderful new kind of psychotherapy will help – or that an ancient technique revealed for the first time will transform your life? If so, buy this informative and alarming book instead. ‘Psychology Gone wrong’ reveals the muddles, motivations and even the outright frauds that mean much of the popular psychology we consume is meaningless – and may even be harmful.

Prof. Susan Blackmore

Psychology, the study of the human mind, continues to struggle to shake off its nonscientific attributes. In this engaging and informative book, Tomasz Witkowski and Maciej Zatonski courageously take on the “dark side” of psychology, both within the hallowed halls of the academic world and the private walls of the psychotherapy room. In doing so, they expose the often neglected features of contemporary psychology that themselves require treatment.  In this respect, Witkowski’s and Zatonsk’s book is a helpful and much needed roadmap for forging a scientific psychology in the 21st century.

Scott O. Lilienfeld, Ph.D., Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

I highly recommend this thoughtful and stimulating book to all. Not only should it be required reading for every psychologist and psychology student, but readers in general will benefit immensely as well, especially those who may be contemplating psychotherapeutic treatment. Its purview is broad, ranging from a penetrating examination of fundamental problems that plague academic psychological research to a critical analysis of the psychotherapy jungle, where pseudoscience thrives amongst the plethora of theories and practices offered to the public.  Psychology and people at large  can only benefit from this excellent analysis.

Professor James Alcock, PhD, C.Psych.

Department of Psychology, Glendon College, York University

See also:

All reviews


Readers’ Comments

2 responses to “About “Psychology Gone Wrong”

  1. Dear Pr Witkowski, I am reading your book right now and find it very interesting and, yet, I disagree with you on one fundamental issue: that psychology can be turned into a real science.

    Dr Lilienfeld, on this site, state about your book that “Psychology, the study of the human mind, continues to struggle to shake off its nonscientific attributes”. What is missing in this sentence is the length of time this struggle has been going on. For more than a century, now, professionals from the field of psychology have underlined the unscientific nature of many subfields of psychology and, yet, the nonscientific nature of psychology has never been lessen a bit. Read authors like Hugo Munsterberg, Knight Dunlap, Morton Prince, Carl Murchison, among many, who, at the beginning of the twentieth century, have written on this particular problem, to easily see that it has never been overcame.

    So, if fierce critiques of psychology like Dr Lilienfeld and you cannot make the mental shift of concluding that psychology WILL NEVER be a science, then I am afraid the day we will get rid of this pseudoscience is far from coming.

    • Hi Eric – I wonder if you would be kind enough to point me in the direction of other books and articles to help me better understand the critiques of psychology. I am interested especially in clinical psychology and the various ‘therapies’ it has helped to spawn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s