This is an excellent point: in the interim I've definitely given up on the Kick muling, not least because there are so many things vying for slots.
I really would like to keep the psy epic, and not just for thematic reasons: after 30+ levels of abject squishiness, mass hypnosis followed by fulcrum shift is immensely satisfying. You'd think it would get old, but er, not yet. Historically, it has also often saved my bacon when things go pear-shaped, if you'll excuse the mixed metaphor.
The defense problem is the key: as you say, I'm going to be up and personal a significant amount of time. Especially because of Transfusion. I did have trouble finding sources of S/L defense that also had +recharge. Even then, 30% or so ranged defense was still very far from the cap. But broadly, you'd recommend S/L over everything else? I know I am making things much harder for myself without SS.
[I think it's a shame Psychic Blast doesn't come with some psychic defense: given the number of very psionic resistant foes (including mez-resistant mezzers) one encounters after level 20, a bit of a break would have been both a nice gesture and thematically appropriate.]
Also a good point. The bonus accuracy is really the only significant benefit, and it's not that much.
Yes, indeed. I was over-compensating for lack of control, but Dominate is just a better power all round: faster cast, faster recharge, and consequently usefully stackable on bosses once recharge is good enough.
Psy scream was always frustrating to use on the way up: with the standard group of three mobs, it's hard to position in combat efficiently, and even under the best of circumstances it requires running backwards back out of Transfusion range to fire it off, and then back in again, and then back out again, etc. This time around, I respec'ed it out. An AoE slow or immobilize would have been very handy.
But it's not like Psionic Tornado is particularly good either: long cast time, anemic damage, and it doesn't seem to knock up very reliably at all. Certainly it's almost pointless solo, and on solid teams, most of the mobs who would even notice the damage are already defeated well before the DoT finishes. And of course, it has zero synergy with Mass Hypnosis.
In short, I don't really know what to do about contributing AoE damage outside of Psychic Wail: all the options seem to be somewhat meh.