Experts Warn That Alternative Therapies Such As “Cuddle Curing” and “Brainspotting” May Cause Psychological Harm

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Experts have cautioned against alternative therapies like “brainspotting” and “cuddle curing” due to potential psychological harm. London researchers have identified the United Kingdom as a hub for charlatans and tricksters offering unregulated treatments. These practitioners charge exorbitant fees for untested therapies that lack established psychological benefits.

“Cuddle curing” and “brainspotting” could cause psychological harm

These alternative therapies involve long hugs for PTSD and depression, and identifying “brainspots” in the eye to address trauma. Another controversial therapy called “rebirthing therapy” claims to heal attachment disorders by simulating the womb experience with blankets and pillows. However, experts warn against these unproven methods and their lack of established psychological benefits.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous alternative therapy providers, like “Cuddle Coaches” and “Rebirthers,” offered discounted virtual services, despite lack professional training and relying on brief online courses, as observed by the London Centre for Applied Psychology. The surge in these businesses exploits public anxiety.

Some practitioners lacking expertise are not registered with reputable bodies like British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Matt Wotton and Graham Johnston from LCAP fear unproven therapies could worsen mental health, providing only temporary relief. They emphasize the need for trained, regulated practitioners and NHS-endorsed therapies to ensure effective mental health care.

Private therapy unregulated in the UK

In “A Straight Talking Introduction to Therapy,” Johnston and Wotton, drawing on government advisory and mental health in the criminal justice system experience, advocate for quality private therapy due to the lack of regulation in the field. With a quarter of Brits facing mental health issues annually and NHS therapy waiting lists, the authors highlight the risk of unqualified individuals providing services.

Unconventional therapies like “Thought Field Therapy” and “sand therapy” lack the research support of NHS-backed treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). With no mandatory regulation for practitioners, individuals can pose as therapists without proper training. Matt Wotton warns that some therapies are akin to “snake oil,” offering, at best, short-term benefits or, at worst, exacerbating mental health issues. He emphasizes the importance of choosing regulated therapists offering evidence-based, NHS-recommended treatments.

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