The Course of Reason

Evidence Based Education

May 2, 2012

I was recently contacted by a writer who goes by the name Donovanable and blogs at Pervasive Goodness. She is a psychology student who has grown tired of woo and superstition within the field of psychology and wanted to get other skeptical students to review their programs and let people know what they might expect from psych programs all over the country. I know a lot of students in CFI On Campus affiliates are psychology students, and I think that this is a great idea, so I wanted to share some things about her project. The database site is Evidence Based Education, and you can read more about it below.

Donovanable is a psychology student at one of ‘them librul schools’. She notes: “I’m an atheist feminist flexitarian. I cook, clean, sew, study occasionally, and fall flat on my face.” The following is her post.

I’ve had an eerie number of experiences this school year of enrolling in classes I’m very excited about–only to discover professors advocating vitamin megadoses, (really), or informing the class that being too rational would hamper our learning. I’m a psychology major, as I have mentioned before, and I want to go into practicing therapy. It’s why I blog anonymously, why I double-majored and take more than a full course-load.

But I want to do therapy that is proven to actually help people. Because you know, that’s the whole damn point. That means taking classes, and being in a program where I learn what that therapy is. That means professors who know the research, the data. That means when I have a professor telling me that ‘science is like religion’ because there’s evidence for a lot of stuff, and encouraging 4x the FDA dosage for fish oil to improve brains, I get pissed. I want to do something. So here I am. Doing something.

I’ve started a website to collect information on psychology programs at universities in the United States. It can be good or bad. The goal is a comprehensive list of reviews and experiences from skeptics who want to learn. Without alt-med. Without supernatural solutions.

You can find it here, at Evidence Based Education.

What can you do to help? You can spread the word. You can tell anyone you know about it. You can blog about it, talk about it, link to it.

Want to submit some information? There’s a contact link on the site, but: 

  • You must have graduated from a US university with a major or minor in Psychology or in a Masters, Ph.d or Psy.d program in the last ten years, 
  • OR be currently enrolled in one of the above programs.

That’s all! Let’s make it so the next generation of therapists gets a woo-free education!





About the Author: Dren Asselmeier

Dren Asselmeier's photo

Dren Asselmeier does student outreach as a campus organizer at the Center for Inquiry. She got her start as an organizer while interning at Center for Inquiry–Michigan in 2008. She stayed until 2010 as a volunteer campus coordinator, and was CFI–Michigan Freethinker of the Year in 2009, as well as president of Center for Inquiry–Grand Valley State University. Dren has a B.A. in English from Grand Valley State University. She is the president of Buffalo Area Non-Profit Professionals, an event volunteer at Buffalo Subversive Theatre, and a contributor to the Buffalo Storyteller Hour. 


#1 Nicole Schrand (Guest) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 at 9:44am

I cannot express how excited this made me. One of my psych professors at my first university straight-up told us that autism was caused (not even "may be caused!") by vaccinations. I was so flabbergasted that I couldn't even formulate a response. There's a lot of woo mixed in with psychology, and the more we work on weeding that out, the more respected - and more effective! - the field will become.

#2 Anonymous (Guest) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 at 1:11pm

I have not experienced any sort of the things described in this blog post from the psychology program I attended at a top-tier institution in Boston.

#3 Donovanable (Guest) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 at 4:01pm

To both of the previous commenters--go review your experiences so that others can know!

#4 ThalesOM on Sunday May 06, 2012 at 11:23am

Donovanable: This is a wonderful initiative. What do you make of this evidence on Omega-3s?




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