Psychoanalysis and Digital Taylorism

Of course, even psychoanalysis is not immune from Digital Taylorism.  In fact, there are already attempts, as part of the drive towards HPC regulation, to devise a set of core competencies and skills sets that would apply to psychoanalytic therapies – though at the moment these seem to have been rejected by large elements of the talking therapy world.

However, this hasn’t stopped Peter Fonagy and others trying to develop what is effectively an evidence based psychoanalysis, which seems designed to take on the proponents of CBT at their own game.  The problem, as always, is deciding what constitutes ‘evidence’ in the first place for psychoanalysis.  And if the criteria for evidence in psychoanalysis is fundamentally different from, say CBT or other short term interventions, then how can there be any meaningful comparisons?  And if no meaningful comparisons can be made what value is the evidence?

Going back to Digital Taylorism, how does it relate to the idea of evidence based practice?  I would argue that evidence based practice encourages the development of metrics or measurements which can be used to evaluate the efficacy of a particular intervention.  This is an important part of Digital Taylorism: measurement is linked to evaluation which is linked to standardisation and routinisation.  ‘Objective’ measures mean that it no longer matters who is providing the therapy: as long as there is a measurable outcome which conforms to accepted criteria, then the lived experience of the therapeutic relationship becomes secondary at best and irrelevant at worst.

How should psychoanalysis respond?  Is Fonagy right to try and promote psychoanalytic treatments as being evidence based (albeit not necessarily using the ‘gold standard’ of evidence, i.e. meta analyses of randomised control trials)?  The problem here is that the ‘evidence’ for/of psychoanalysis is in the lived experience of the analysand – and for each analysand that experience is going to be different.  It is not that there is anything wrong with the notion of ‘evidence’ per say – it’s simply that for psychoanalysis this has a radically different meaning than it would for interventions such as CBT, which is some strange way seem tailored made for RCTs……………