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Doctoral candidate Frank Murtha sure did a job on Dr. Laura Schlessinger. And how many followers did Dr. Laura lose? Probably not many -- if any -- despite the belittling attack on her (In the Debate, June 27).

Dr. Laura will keep her devotees, who number in the many millions, because she and Murtha come from different directions.

He lays claim to "meaningful therapist-client relationships," "validated psychological research" and many "psychotherapeutic techniques." Dr. Laura, on the other hand, impresses her numerous followers with a deep well of wisdom. They understand her when she stresses a tried-and-true moral code, decent conduct and the need for strong family structure. They cheer when Dr. Laura in no uncertain terms advises a young girl who is sleeping with a married man to "cut it out or you'll be badly burned." In such a case, they see no need for hours of therapy.

When high schoolers with real or perceived problems gratefully hang up after talking to Dr. Laura, there is an excellent chance their lives are intact. Dr. Laura's forte is that she knows how to speak plainly to the one seeking help.

Dr. Laura has her astoundingly large following because her partisans see in her a force for good in this immoral society. She enunciates moral principles. We are thankful that we have her.

EDNA THILL Williamsville

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