Where two of the helping professions could use a little help themselves

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There was an eerily resonant blog posting in the New York Times last week that describes a troubling disconnect between how mental health therapists treat patients and what research tells them they should be doing instead. There are striking parallels with the teaching profession, namely how many teachers are taught to teach with little attention to what the research has to say. 

The blog talks about how many therapists reject cognitive behavior therapy even though there's substantial research of this method's efficacy (e.g., utilizing exposure therapy to work through a traumatic experience), preferring instead a more intuitive approach, even perhaps winging it. Many therapists approach their work as artists, with their unsuspecting clients serving as canvas.

Make a few word substitutions and you've got a pretty good description of what we find when we look, for example, at how a lot of teachers are prepared to approach reading instruction: the five scientifically based components of reading instruction take a back seat to some concoction of approaches based on a teacher's views of what might work best for the individual student.

We find that these quotes from the blog on therapists could apply equally well to education and the teaching profession:

"The idea of therapy as an art is a very powerful one."

"...medicine committed itself to science rather than to producing medical artists or gurus. 'As a field, clinical psychology needs to do the same thing. . .We need to commit ourselves to science.'"