I am opposed to lay therapists, particularly those who practice body-oriented techniques. This is not just apersonal bias nor one to eliminate competition. A lay therapist cannot possibly have the necessary respect for the body that one fully acquainted with anatomy, physiology, pathology, and the various illnesses, physical and emotional, learns to have after years of studying medi- cine. Psychologists do have some knowledge of psychiatry but lack the necessary medical background a physician has acquired. This is bad enough, but today we have completely untrained, uneducated persons assuming the responsibility for patients with emotional problems. It seems that everyone believes he is capable of treating these conditions and that this in itself justifieshis becoming an instant professional meriting large financial returns. Many assume the title of doctor, and the unsuspecting patient finds himself in wholly incompetent hands. Behind this attitude is utter contempt for human misery. It is a wonder that disaster is not more frequent. To success- fully treat emotional problems is difficult even for the most experienced. To recognize physical or emotional emergencies is never easy. This is not a task for the poorly trained or inexperienced, not even for the best of lay therapists. Emotional disorders belong in the realm of disease, and disease should be treated by a fully trained physician.
Written by Dr. Elsworth F Baker