Posted this thread to my twitter today, @Riddle1689:
In Thomas C. Oden's A Change of Heart memoir he notes how his
"conversion" from Protestant liberalism to traditional Christianity
led him to rethink pastoral care and "psychotherapeutic fads" (see
In 1971 Oden gave the Finch Lectures at Fuller looking at empirical
outcome studies of the effectiveness of psychotherapy. This later became the
book After Therapy What? (1974).
After reviewing over 300 empirical outcome studies, he found "that
the average psychotherapy cure rate was not better than the spontaneous
"The average outcomes of all types of therapy approaches turned out
to be the same rate of recovery as that which occurred merely through the
passage of time, approximately 63 percent."
"Indeed those studies found that symptoms would disappear
spontaneously about two thirds of the time without any therapeutic
"That finding was coupled with the alarming specter of 'client
deterioration,' which showed that 10 percent of the patients found their
conditions worsening under the care of professional psychotherapists."
"Those empirical facts took me aback. I had spent two decades
trusting the assumed effectiveness of psychotherapies, but now I had actual
rigorous empirical evidence of their average ineffectiveness."
These discoveries led Oden to move from study of modern psychotherapy to
classic pastoral works like Gregory the Great's Book of Pastoral Rule