Chapter 9: Clinical Intuition

“The real purpose of [the] scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something that you actually don’t.”
~Robert Pirsig,
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance_, 1974_

A parole board meets with a convicted rapist and its members ponder whether to release him. A worker on a crisis intervention line judges whether a caller is suicidal. A physician notes a patient’s symptoms and surmises the likelihood of cancer. A school social worker ponders whether a child’s overheard threat was a macho joke, a one-time outburst, or a sign of potential violence.

Each of these professionals must decide whether to make judgments subjectively or objectively. Should they follow their intuitions? Or should they rely on the wisdom embedded in formulas, statistical analyses, and computerized predictions?….

Chapter Contents

Intuitive versus Statistical Prediction
Why Clinical Intuition Falters
Therapeutic Intuition
Therapeutic touch
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Light exposure therapy
Electroconvulsive therapy