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Since the explosion of new psychotherapies introduced since the 1960s, a veritable explosion of options became available to those who found the Freudian approach wanting. As with any field that grows so quickly, consumers now find themselves in the position of sorting through dozens of choices. Some are more effective than others, some are a complete waste of time and money, and some are downright dangerous.

What constitutes an effective form of therapy? How can we spot the cons and the pseudoscience that masquerade as clinical psychology? And how can you avoid being taken advantage of?

In this talk, professor of experimental psychology Sheldon W. Helms describes several quack therapies – some from mainstream psychology – pointing out why they are less than sound in their approach to mental health. He also gives tips on how to spot the fakers and provides practical advice for those interested in entering into therapy to improve their lives.

Sheldon W. Helms is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA, where he serves as senior faculty member in the psychology department. He holds a master’s degree in psychology and has over 20 years of teaching experience. In addition to his full-time teaching role, Sheldon serves as faculty adviser to the Ohlone Psychology Club through which he runs their successful Ohlone Speaker Series, hosting lectures and presentations by top-name scientists and skeptics.

Sheldon has written for the James Randi Educational Foundation and was recently appointed co-organizer of the Psychology Forum at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. Sheldon is also the host of the popular ShelShocked podcast, whose wide variety of guests have included the magician and skeptic James Randi, memory expert Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, and pop star Belinda Carlisle, to name just a few.

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Bring a snack or beverage to share if you can.

Photo credit: Karl Withakay