One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance Info

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Reviews for One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance:

4

Mar 23, 2020

Nothing much new here, but it never hurts to focus some light on the rather glaring, obvious problems of our culture.

I earned a degree in Psychology back in the day and I recognized a very absurd trend going on. It's called being a one-trick-pony. Most of the serious practitioners of psychology realize that no single situation or psychological issue can be solved with a single tool. To do so, or think so, is beyond stupid. Situations change and people differ. Not only do they differ, but any Nothing much new here, but it never hurts to focus some light on the rather glaring, obvious problems of our culture.

I earned a degree in Psychology back in the day and I recognized a very absurd trend going on. It's called being a one-trick-pony. Most of the serious practitioners of psychology realize that no single situation or psychological issue can be solved with a single tool. To do so, or think so, is beyond stupid. Situations change and people differ. Not only do they differ, but any single person might need a wide range of tools used at different times -- or even NO TOOLS AT ALL.

Self-reliance, resiliency, and adaptability must be sought after, brought about on a patient's own terms. It is not something that can be forced on anyone. It's not an externality.

This book, however, highlights the amazing absurdity of the notion that we're all sniveling brats and we're all broken people. If we go by real numbers, real PTSD in the population very small. Having some temporary issues one way or another is NOT PTSD. Just like having clinical depression over years is not the same thing as having a week of the blues.

There's a great analogy in the practice of the Law. It's called leading the witness. If you come at people with an assumption that they MUST have PTSD, you're providing the person with a narrative that they will try to shoehorn themselves into. If left alone, that person may never have ever SEEN themselves as a trauma victim.

And yet, over the years, we see more and more therapy-isms creeping in, everywhere we look. Are you depressed? Are you traumatized? How do you know? Come get therapy! Come on, you KNOW you're all messed up, right? COME GET THERAPY.

Does this sound like a sales pitch to you? Like there are a lot of snake-oil salesmen (and women) masquerading as legitimate therapists trying to convince YOU that you NEED therapy so they can make some money? Justify their own jobs? Justify the huge huge numbers of specialized PTSD therapists that are funded by well-meaning but thoroughly duped government agencies who now believe that the WHOLE FREAKING SOCIETY is on the verge of mental collapse?

Hmmm. Maybe it is just that. A trend not supported by real numbers. Just like the pharmaceutical industry that pumps out and encourages the total drugging-up of our children based on massive overdiagnosis of Hyperactivity or Depression. It boils down to one maxim: follow the money. Who is profiting most? Then look at the people who insist that the problem is pervasive.

Then ask people candidly if they're really having a problem or if they're following a narrative. Most people don't want to dwell on the bad things. A little repression is actually very, very good. That's why we forget about our last flu. Or about the real pain during childbirth. Or that time we passed a stone.

Do you REALLY want to relive that experience? Over and over and over? If you do, then hell... that's sick. It's better to forget.

And yet, enabling this therapism provides us with exactly this same effect. It helps us relive the trauma over and over and over. Some people do need this kind of psychological toolset. I'll never say otherwise. But it is a single tool usually only used ONCE when unconscious effects are preventing someone from functioning in real life. When it comes to light, it should not be dwelled upon. It should be understood and boxed away. Send it to the same place where you sent the memory of your kidney stone.

Otherwise, you'll keep it fresh. Who wants to keep their trauma fresh, anyway?

We are strong. We are all as strong as we want to be. Don't enable weakness if you have a choice. Be resilient. :) ...more
5

Mar 24, 2020

Sheesh! Ive been trying to find the punchline to this joke but apparently, this is all serious. All too serious.

Did you like to play tag as a kid? Well, then something is wrong with you! Best go see a therapist. Or better yet: let him/her put you on heavy medication. Because you cant be trusted. Youre emotionally disturbed and not sensitive enough. Sadly, this is also no joke.

Then there are experts that say children need special protection. If we were to talk sexual predators, Id wholeheartedly Sheesh! I’ve been trying to find the punchline to this joke but apparently, this is all serious. All too serious.

Did you like to play tag as a kid? Well, then something is wrong with you! Best go see a therapist. Or better yet: let him/her put you on heavy medication. Because you can’t be trusted. You’re emotionally disturbed and not sensitive enough. Sadly, this is also no joke.

Then there are „experts“ that say children need special protection. If we were to talk sexual predators, I’d wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately, we are talking about games such as dodge ball or tag as they are „too competitive“ or „too violent“ (correct me if I’m wrong but I’ve never seen a kid dying from dodge ball) and put children under a lot of stress.
Instead of regarding such games as what they are - exercise to blow off steam after sitting in a classroom for a long time - a war is waged for „the soul of our children“ and apparently the souls need coddling because real life isn’t stressful or competitive and nobody’s feelings ever get hurt so we don’t need to prepare for it or learn how to cope.

Apparently, there is a very big interest in telling people that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, psychologically. That they are frail, too frail to handle anything without therapy and drugs.
Personally, I think this is as stupid and disgusting as telling women (or men!) they need plastic surgery to look better.
It was a joke here in Germany when I grew up that Americans were constantly seeing therapists, even just over having written the grocery list wrong. I’m scared to see the trend spreading across the world in the meantime.
And yes, you guessed it, the people saying you need therapy and/or drugs are the same people you’re gonna pay for the therapy and/or drugs.

The industry (for that is what it is) is getting stronger and better organized, too. They start with children, changing the way children are taught, sowing doubt into the minds of their parents so the children hear nothing but this one narrative. This trend continues throughout our lives; we’re told we need professional help because otherwise we won’t be able to cope with anything.

This is not to say that going to a therapist is wrong and that nobody ever needs one. There are real psychological illnesses, of course, that indeed require treatment.
However, I, along with the authors who penned this book, am against the notion that we cannot deal with anything without therapists. Grieving, for example, is a natural process, painful but also vital. And every person grieves differently. Some cry, others don’t; some need to talk about a trauma while others prefer to stay silent. All of which is OK.
Moreover, there is a point to be made about therapy often actually being self-absorption amplified and signed off on by a doctor. Not to mention all the meds people get prescribed that nobody actually needs (we’re talking about really harmful chemicals - again, with the exception of actually sick people).

You can see an example right now: Corona has quarantined many people and most of the rest of us are not supposed to have contact with one another. While it isn’t ideal, it could also be over fairly quickly if everyone adhered to the rules. And it’s not the end of the world if we’re being entirely honest. Yes, I’d also like to go hiking in the beautiful sunshine instead of staying in the house (in fact, I’m still allowed to do that if I stay away from people). We’re NOT victims of horrible circumstances. The situation might not be ideal, but it’s far from being in insurmountable catastrophe (I’m talking about the situation of not being supposed to going to parties, not the death toll by the way). We have more entertainment at our disposal than anyone else in the history of mankind. Books (print, ebooks, audiobooks), games, music, movies, TV shows … we have so many things available at a click that we don’t even know what to do first! Even if you live in a tiny apartment instead of a house with a garden, it is more than survivable.
But what do I see and hear online and on official news or in government officials’ speeches even? That this is the greatest challenge since WW2 and that therapists need to be there for people in these dark and horrible times. *snorts* Give me a break!

I think it’s all a self-created problem as people seem to LIKE being victims (because they then get pity or whatever). It might even be a new form of addiction.
Simultaneously, I see it especially here in Europe that there is next to no self-reliance whatsoever anymore. Almost everyone constantly looks to someone else to make decisions and handle matters and people angrily demand being told what to do even. As if we were sheep.

All this is to say that we are not incapable of making our own decisions - the problem is that we then also have to take responsibility. I think that is the problem. It’s so much easier and more comfortable to hand it all over to somebody else. I’ll NEVER get on board of that way of thinking or even only understand why people like this.

The biggest problem is that it’s actually spreading. Just like a virus. It hinders progress, invention and thus causes humanity to not evolve any further. It starts with our children. Stop shoving completely unnecessary and very harmful chemicals down their throats. Go outside. Play tag with them. Or dodge ball. It won’t kill them and it won’t turn them into monsters.



P.S.: Yes, this was more of a rant than a review, but the book greatly showed proof of everything I said above - and more (except they didn’t use Covid-19 as an example). The writing style is great and the research sound so I definitely recommend this to anyone sick of participation awards and being told to take this or that pill to see the rainbow. ...more
2

Jul 18, 2008

I was highly disappointed with this book. I was expecting a balanced critique of therapy and the helping professions, instead I got a biased slam of parts of culture that the authors picked out of a much bigger body of evidence. For example, they routinely criticize Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) but they only pick out the few things they can make a case against, leaving the rest untouched. I do agree that we should not coddle our kids, nor prevent them from dealing with consequences or I was highly disappointed with this book. I was expecting a balanced critique of therapy and the helping professions, instead I got a biased slam of parts of culture that the authors picked out of a much bigger body of evidence. For example, they routinely criticize Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) but they only pick out the few things they can make a case against, leaving the rest untouched. I do agree that we should not coddle our kids, nor prevent them from dealing with consequences or hardships in life, but this book seems more like sensationalism with the intent to make $ rather than do any good in society. ...more
1

Jun 12, 2018

This book makes some good points, but I disagree with so much of it. It reads like this:

Authors: Most people can grieve on their own and don't need help.
Me: Agreed.
Authors: Talking with a grief counselor doesn't work for everyone and may be harmful for some.
Me: Still with you.
Authors: Therefore, all grief counselors are worthless and harmful and need to get a life. Anyone struggling with grief or trauma (statistics show there aren't that many of you) just needs to suck it up and get over it.
Me: This book makes some good points, but I disagree with so much of it. It reads like this:

Authors: Most people can grieve on their own and don't need help.
Me: Agreed.
Authors: Talking with a grief counselor doesn't work for everyone and may be harmful for some.
Me: Still with you.
Authors: Therefore, all grief counselors are worthless and harmful and need to get a life. Anyone struggling with grief or trauma (statistics show there aren't that many of you) just needs to suck it up and get over it.
Me: What???

That's probably not at all what they were going for, but that's how it sounded because they hardly mentioned anything positive about therapy. This book picks the worst examples of how psychology has failed and then applies it generally to the whole field. They take things out of context or twist them then whine that psychology is evil and destroying America. I kept shouting, "You're drawing the wrong conclusions from that! You're not getting it!" I feel like it was written just to attack Daniel Goleman and grief and trauma counselors everywhere. Definitely not an objective take on the pros and cons of therapy. ...more
5

Mar 13, 2013

I am reviewing this book from a Christian worldview. Although the book is not religious, it is nevertheless an important work that affirms some of the observation Nouthetic counselors have made about pop psychology. The book argues against much of pop-psychologys assessment and various pseudo-scientific psychotherapy that is rampant in todays society. Time and time again the author demonstrate that many popular works advancing ideas that Americans as a nation have serious psychological problems I am reviewing this book from a Christian worldview. Although the book is not religious, it is nevertheless an important work that affirms some of the observation Nouthetic counselors have made about pop psychology. The book argues against much of pop-psychology’s assessment and various pseudo-scientific psychotherapy that is rampant in today’s society. Time and time again the author demonstrate that many popular works advancing ideas that Americans as a nation have serious psychological problems lack actual scholarship, either by falling short of rigorous empirical verification or being blatantly unscientific. I recommend this book. Below are some of my notes from my reading:

- Many secularized doom and gloom prophets have come and gone, defending their latest theories by anecdotes rather than proper social scientific methodologies. For example, the book documents recent advocates who say males today have psychological problems because of our society's high standard of responsibility imposed upon them that’s unrealistic; then there’s the anti-homework crowd who say school work are psychologically damaging upon minors; and the anti-tag and anti-dodge ball experts who don't want kids to be "it" or "out" lest these kids feel excluded and get messed up for life.
- The book has a sobering analysis of "unmerited self-confidence” promoted among leading experts of children education with the unintended consequences of producing a generation of narcissists. Self-confidence apart from merit is not a good thing.
- Studies have shown that there’s no correlation between self-confidence and success. The book also bring attention to the self-confidence of some psycho-paths, criminals, etc.
- The book has a serious indictment against some group therapeutic method and its practitioners unwillingness to call something that’s evil for what it is since it attempt to foster an atmosphere of extreme tolerance and understanding. The book records a morally disturbing dialogue during a group therapy session in which a man confesses that he has a problem of raping his sister in which the facilitator went after participants who were repulsed rather than the rapist himself.
- Chapter 3 dealt with the enslaving concept of addiction as a medical disease, which makes victims out of addicts and often disolves the need for responsibility in the eye of addicts.
- The book counters the argument made by advocates who have charts of brain activities showing drug addiction as a rewarding experience by noting the fact that those resisting addiction also show brain activity of being more intensely rewarded and gratified.
- All this "getting connected and talk about one's feelings" promote self-absorption.
- In a 1973 article titled "Case for bottling up rage" in Psychology Today it criticizes venting therapy: other studies agree and confirm talking about trauma per se has little effect despite what most people think. For instance, Yale studies on Gulf War vets show no differences among those talking about it and those that didn't.
- Talking about problems also does not significantly help with the lifespan of cancer patients despite what advocates say. The largest study on group therapy for longevity of cancer patients proved that those who talk about their problems only survive 9 more days on average rather than the previous claim of a two year difference
-Perils of overthinking not accounted for in the grief industry which fail to take into account people grieve in different ways and there's nothing wrong with not "talking about it"
-Grief industry had two presuppositions that need to be reconsidered: strangers are assumed to be always welcomed during grief and grief needs specialized assistance
- The phenomenon known as delayed grief (technically, not the same as repressed grief) in which not grieving now can come back to haunt you later on with the feeling of grief has not been proven empirically.
-PTSD is different than the experience of being traumatized in of itself. Thus PTSD is different from the experience described as "shell-shock," "combat fatigue," etc.
- Chapter 5 talk about the origin of PTSD was during the Vietnam War era by anti-war psychologists who originally advanced it as Post-Vietnam Syndrome. They proposed that it was a unique experience to Vietnam veterans suffering from self-punishment for being duped by society in an unjust war with the lack of a proper home-coming which result in the symptom of a delayed traumatic response.
- Contrary to what most people think about Vietnam veterans, studies have indicated that by the 1990s Vietnam Veterans were roughly the same statistically when compared to those of their generation who did not serve or were military veterans who did not serve in Vietnam. These reflect the same statistics as their counterparts in the area of suicide, homelessness, income, divorce rate, employment and level of education.
- Studies on delayed PTSD (defined as past 6 months) indicate that it is very rare.
- Group therapy for PTSD that focuses on re-living Vietnam intensify PTSD and ends up producing more problem instead.
- Crisis counselors and mental health workers for genocides and wars in Bosnia, South East Asia, Kosovo and Rwanda are often unwelcome by those whom they are trying to help since these victims don't see their problems as a pathological issue. These mental health workers often fail to address the problems the refugees themselves have identified which are more practical in nature such as health, sanitization, employment and financial needs, etc.
- Psychotherapy by means of briefing might end up hurting more than help trauma victims since it can prime them to see themselves and their experiences as pathological issues rather than normal grieving.
- There is the reality that our psychobabble culture might be “overhelping” which itself can produce problems.
- Good quote: "If one's worldview accommodates the likelihood of horror, one is prepared for it and better able to cope when tragedy does at last strike." (Page 211)
- Good quote: " Numerous studies have shown that ideological commitment to a cause plays a protective role." (Page 211)
- A sense of commitment to a cause checks the likelihood of PTSD.
- As a tangent afterthought, this work made me realize that to interpret those who do immorality in unbiblical and non-moral categories is spiritually and socially dangerous; for instance those who understand criminals as psychological victims approach solutions that fail to account for the responsibilities of criminals: most disturbing is the lady quoted who did not see Jefferey Dohmer was evil among Wolfe's subjects. ...more
3

May 15, 2011

An overview of a compilation of studies and quotes from famous people (dead and alive) to support the authors claim that we are "overtherapizing" and focusing far too much attention on our emotions. While there was a great deal of evidence to support their claim, they've got a long way to go to change the trend of "getting in touch with your feelings" and talking something to death that pervades in psychological/psychiatric treatments.

The PSTD section was particularly interesting. I thought a An overview of a compilation of studies and quotes from famous people (dead and alive) to support the authors claim that we are "overtherapizing" and focusing far too much attention on our emotions. While there was a great deal of evidence to support their claim, they've got a long way to go to change the trend of "getting in touch with your feelings" and talking something to death that pervades in psychological/psychiatric treatments.

The PSTD section was particularly interesting. I thought a lot during this book and I can't even beging to come close to covering all my various threads of thought in this review. I would have needed a pad and pencil with me the entire time and that's tedious. I'd suggest people reading the book to come to their own conclusion. There were definitely some amazing aha moments where I felt like a veil had been lifted. However, there were also some moments where I felt like they overlooked research. For instance in Origins: How the 9 Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, there was some starting research done on women (all ages) who survived a major crisis and grew up to have children. The crisis could be period of starvation and stress during WWII, surviving terrorist attacks, or even something like a major earthquake or disaster- so long as it was a pretty big event. These females grew up to have children that had some serious problems that the research attributes to the female's having lived through the event. Even if she dealt with the stress well there were unforeseen Long Term effects on her eggs/fetuses. Problems like abnormally high rates long term health problems or schizophrenia in her unborn/not yet conceived children. Why this book didn't mention it I don't know. But their la-te-da "just get over it" "get busy and deal" attitude towards people who had lived through an event is dismissive of potential effects that go far beyond the emotional. Maybe they are right and we don't need therapy, we just need to forget about bad stuff and move on. But regardless, there is evidence that a connection is made between the body and stress that we are still figuring out. Perhaps they just didn't want to open that can of worms of physical reactions to major stressors that are beyond our control, because I mean really, a bad event happens, your future children might be on the road for serious problems and there's nothing you can do about it because the event was unavoidable. Perhaps they just wanted to stick to emotional/therapeutic topics.

But I give the above as an example that you too might find something that you wish was better about the book, or more tightly written, or contradicts with what you've read elsewhere. But that's the point of these kind of books isn't it?

My major advice is DO Not get the audiobook. The reader sounds great at first, but then you realize she has NO differentiating voice when transferring between reading a quote and when the authors pick back up with their own words. Really? It makes it IMPOSSIBLE to know when a quote is over, which is very important. Really pissed me off. Come on old lady, get your shit together and read properly or please authors/publishers, find someone who knows how to change their voice between these types of things. Bleh. ...more
3

Mar 23, 2010

I liked the overall message, but it was hard for me to get over the way it was written. It just seemed poorly organized for me. But it was well researched and well supported. The main question the book presents is if we as Americans will stick to the tradition of perseverance through trials or if the new culture of therapy will drive us into "theraputic self-absorption and moral debility." Worth reading.
3

Nov 01, 2014

Good segments in particular on our culturally influenced understandings of trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. Another segment of the book worth analysing is the large area on humanistic or positive psychology and person centred counselling. The critiques are off base sometimes totally and it sometimes relies too heavily, as does other anti therapy texts, on character discrediting.
I agree with most of the premises of the book though, particularly the notion that the rise in counselling Good segments in particular on our culturally influenced understandings of trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. Another segment of the book worth analysing is the large area on humanistic or positive psychology and person centred counselling. The critiques are off base sometimes totally and it sometimes relies too heavily, as does other anti therapy texts, on character discrediting.
I agree with most of the premises of the book though, particularly the notion that the rise in counselling interventions is not linked directly to a frail psychological need but rather a misguided set of assumptions about the human condition.

...more
4

May 17, 2017



I agree with the overall theses of the book:
1. Being too quick to offer therapy to everyone implies that people cant cope on their own and erodes other forms of assistance such as friendship, family, and community.
2. Forcing people into therapy or therapeutic situations violates the principle of informed consent. School children should not be forced to identify and process their feelings in the classroom. Teachers should teach, counselors should counsel, and politicians should run for office.



I agree with the overall theses of the book:
1. Being too quick to offer therapy to everyone implies that people can’t cope on their own and erodes other forms of assistance such as friendship, family, and community.
2. Forcing people into therapy or therapeutic situations violates the principle of informed consent. School children should not be forced to identify and process their feelings in the classroom. Teachers should teach, counselors should counsel, and politicians should run for office.

Throughout the book, the authors contrast two different approaches to the human condition. On one side you have “therapism” and on the other you have “moral philosophy” and “the American creed.”

Below are the ways in which these views are contrasted (therapism first):
- All-is-forgiven tolerance of the intolerable vs. Repentance and responsibility are required for forgiveness (84)
- Psychological diagnoses vs. Ethical judgments (84)
- Biology is a get-out-of-jail-free card vs. People are responsible for their behavior
- Determinism vs. Free will (92)
- Non-judgmentalism and the “abuse excuse” for behavior vs. Responsibility (unless psychotic, demented, or intellectually disabled) (96)
- Primacy of feelings vs. Primacy of behavior
- All cultures are equal vs. Freedom is exceptional and a better way to live
- Causes can be identified vs. It is impossible to know for certain what caused what (98)
- Those with addiction are helpless, passive, and fragile vs. People have natural fortitude and the capacity to make behavioral choices (244) and drugs don’t neutralize free will (105)
- Addiction relapse is inevitable vs. Individual choices and behaviors mitigate risk and addiction has both a biological and ethical/moral component (which is a more hopeful view) (100)
- Failure to express distress is denial vs. Lack of outward expression can be a valuable coping skill for some people (136)
- Self-expression vs. Self-control (217)
- Salvation through psychology vs. Ethics, philosophy, and/or religion are the way to the good life (216)
- Psychic pain is pathology in need of a cure vs. Pain is a normal part of life (217)
- Self-absorption and moral debility vs. Self-reliance, stoicism, courage in adversity, valorization of excellence, problem-solving, perseverance, achievement (218)

The authors summarize Bernie Zilbergeld regarding the therapistic sensibility, which “holds that 1) people are really sick even if they don’t appear to be, and especially if they deny it; 2) everyone can benefit from therapy; 3) normal problems are to be made into mental health issues; and 4) those problems are widespread and are unlikely to be solved without professional help” (200).

Tracing the history of therapism, the authors note that it expanded when returning Vietnam veterans were encouraged by anti-war psychiatrists to seek treatment for PTSD. The veterans soon learned that this qualified them for total and permanent disability payments for the rest of their lives. The authors argue that such an incentive for secondary gain led to over-diagnosis and treatment. Of course some patients were truly suffering and needed the treatment, but many didn’t. The authors caution, “The ease with which symptoms can be deliberately faked or unwittingly exaggerated, and the incentives for doing so, should worry PTSD researchers” (164).




Potent Quotables:

A growing body of research suggests there is, in fact, no connection between high self-esteem and achievement, kindness, or good personal relationships. On the other hand, unmerited self-esteem is known to be associated with antisocial behavior – even criminality (6).

Treating addicts as morally responsible, self-determining human beings free to change their behavior is, in the end, more effective, more respectful, and more compassionate.

Pluralism is an American tradition, but moral relativism is not.

“All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it.” Samuel Johnson

[AA’s] founders were leery of the word disease because they thought it discounted the moral dimension of addiction.

[Brain imaging techniques] almost never permit scientists to predict whether a person with a desire-activated brain will act on that desire. Nor can they distinguish between an impulse that is irresistible and an impulse that is not resisted.

The “clinician’s illusion” occurs when practitioners generalize too readily from a clinical subgroup to a wider population.

Naturally, professionals should be ready and available to treat people with disabling levels of distress, but in general the people’s psychological well-being is best maintained through non-clinical means. ...more
3

Oct 31, 2008

I would recommend reading sections of this book but not the entire thing. I found it uneven, with some parts leading me to consider our culture in a new light, but others seeming obvious.
4

Sep 30, 2007

This book was a little conservative but it brought up many great points about the helping profession. I especially liked the idea that people are far less fragile than the helping profession would like to say that they are. I found myself agreeing with the assertions in this book far more than I disagreed with them - their ideas on PTSD were a little "out there" but were generally spot on.
5

Oct 02, 2019

"Too many Americans have been convinced, for example, that self-expression is more important than self-control, that non-judgmentalism is the essence of kindness, that psychic pain is a pathology in need of a cure."

The authors trace the history of "therapism" (their term for the general cultural trend favoring emotional openness and the sharing of feelings) from psychological theory to widespread public acceptance, and in turn its influence on law, education, and the helping professions. "Too many Americans have been convinced, for example, that self-expression is more important than self-control, that non-judgmentalism is the essence of kindness, that psychic pain is a pathology in need of a cure."

The authors trace the history of "therapism" (their term for the general cultural trend favoring emotional openness and the sharing of feelings) from psychological theory to widespread public acceptance, and in turn its influence on law, education, and the helping professions. Especially interesting to me were the stories of health professionals who venture into advocacy and in the process "overstep their data to support their politics".
...more
3

Jan 24, 2013

This author starts out strong with a good premise. Therapy is being overdone and now the therapeutic milieu permeates our schools. Fine, I but that -- somewhat. What Sommers leaves out is that the diagnoses and illnesses whose vailidity she questions concern students with very real problems that need to be named so they can be accomodated in the classroom. The author skips too many steps in her argument and seems to count on a complete consensus of agreement from her readers. This makes for a This author starts out strong with a good premise. Therapy is being overdone and now the therapeutic milieu permeates our schools. Fine, I but that -- somewhat. What Sommers leaves out is that the diagnoses and illnesses whose vailidity she questions concern students with very real problems that need to be named so they can be accomodated in the classroom. The author skips too many steps in her argument and seems to count on a complete consensus of agreement from her readers. This makes for a weak argument as the book goes on. I found myself skipping entire sections because the tone of the writing had becomes too strident. By the end of the book I concluded that therapy has a definite place in all of our lives and that Sommers' strongly held point of view came off as reactionary and counter-productive to the best interests of everyone. Reading the book was useful for me, though, because it served to open up my own thinking about this topic and make me interrograte my own thoughts. ...more
3

Jan 02, 2020

Good food for thought. The mental health revolution that has taken place in the last 10 years has really changed things from when I was a kid at the very beginning of the "self-esteem movement."

I think our culture has, to a large extent, come to value self-expression over self-control and has replaced religion with therapy. Acceptance has become the only value that really matters in today's society, to the exclusion of all others (including kindness/tolerance toward those who don't accept Good food for thought. The mental health revolution that has taken place in the last 10 years has really changed things from when I was a kid at the very beginning of the "self-esteem movement."

I think our culture has, to a large extent, come to value self-expression over self-control and has replaced religion with therapy. Acceptance has become the only value that really matters in today's society, to the exclusion of all others (including kindness/tolerance toward those who don't accept anything and everything.)

I also think we've come to need mental health professionals more as our traditional communal support systems have been eroded by technology and affluence (in 1st world countries, anyway.) My favorite chapter was the one about rumination and how it is actually not beneficial for us. Many people would be happier if they knew that. I also liked the authors' point that post-traumatic growth is much more common than PTSD and we are stronger than we think we are.

That said, I definitely didn't agree with every conclusion the authors made, and was surprised to see that a psychologist co-authored a book that claimed the purpose of therapy is endless talking and introspection for its own sake (any therapist will tell you it's to help people develop strategies for dealing with life.)

Interesting food for thought and not life-changing, but things everyone should have in mind when living in the culture we have and evaluating the messages we receive from society about values and mental health. ...more
3

Mar 30, 2008

This book criticises the way the mental health profession has disempowered people and made 'normal' abnormal. It is a very readable book for one that references a lot of research.
0

Mar 17, 2008

I think the authors make a valid point about the problems with focusing excessively on our feelings in this current culture (especially encouraging children, who have not learned to manage their feelings, to do so). However, I lost interest in the book about half way through and have added it to my unfinished pile.
2

Dec 30, 2012

This book was terribly difficult to get through - the authors seem to refute almost every example provided about therapy. While therapy can be a hinderance in many of the occasions presented in the text, the authors didn't provide a well-balanced argument for varying opinions - it was a text filled with their own. While I do agree with some of their views, they took it to the extreme - and at times their arguments and research seemed questionable for its reliability and accuracy.
4

Jan 16, 2015

A discussion of how therapy-gone-wrong (called therapism by the authors), undermines self-reliance in our culture. Particularly valuable are the discussions on the misuse of critical incident stress debriefing, the pathologizing of normal reactions to crises (the epidemic of the PTSD diagnosis), and the treatment of children as vulnerable and fragile, thereby creating kids without resilience or resources to handle life.
A discussion of how therapy-gone-wrong (called “therapism” by the authors), undermines self-reliance in our culture. Particularly valuable are the discussions on the misuse of “critical incident stress debriefing,” the pathologizing of normal reactions to crises (the “epidemic” of the PTSD diagnosis), and the treatment of children as vulnerable and fragile, thereby creating kids without resilience or resources to handle life.
...more
3

Jan 31, 2016

Good, research-based expose of how ineffective, and often unnecessary, therapy is. Takes some welcome pot-shots at the way grief counselors have become the new ambulance-chasers in our society, there to suck up FEMA grants more than they are there to help anyone. The promise of the subtitle did not bear fruit: the authors present no evidence that the therapy culture is undermining American self-reliance, but it does present considerable evidence that therapists would LIKE that to happen. Good, research-based expose of how ineffective, and often unnecessary, therapy is. Takes some welcome pot-shots at the way grief counselors have become the new ambulance-chasers in our society, there to suck up FEMA grants more than they are there to help anyone. The promise of the subtitle did not bear fruit: the authors present no evidence that the therapy culture is undermining American self-reliance, but it does present considerable evidence that therapists would LIKE that to happen. Because, hey, job securty is a wonderful thing. I was surprised to find that the last third of the book was citations -- this is a much shorter read than I expected. ...more
3

Aug 03, 2016

As some reviewers have already mentioned, this book was written by people who's political slant leans to the right. However, it really does not matter.

The foundamental information is sound and built upon studies within the field and sound arguments. I particularly liked reading about how the diagnosis of PTSD has morphed into a monster that can be used when anyone undergoes the slightest of "traumas", even if it is so much as hearing about a stranger's trauma. This ultimately has consequences As some reviewers have already mentioned, this book was written by people who's political slant leans to the right. However, it really does not matter.

The foundamental information is sound and built upon studies within the field and sound arguments. I particularly liked reading about how the diagnosis of PTSD has morphed into a monster that can be used when anyone undergoes the slightest of "traumas", even if it is so much as hearing about a stranger's trauma. This ultimately has consequences for us all.

If you are interested in psychology, mental health, or health policy, I think this is an important read.

Three stars given because I think the writers could have spent time discussing other well known and most likely inappropriately used diagnoses: ADHD, mood disorders, and anxiety. ...more
3

Oct 08, 2017

Well researched and supported and an important read in this age of self help books.
2

Mar 01, 2019

On the surface this sounds like an interesting read, but I got bored with it quick. I am a fan of Sommers' opinions though and will continue to check out her works.
3

Nov 24, 2019

Premises and argument of the book were solid, but the authors took pains to make the same point over and over again in different ways throughout each chapter.
4

Feb 27, 2019

Poor organization, good content. Not every patient benefits from a given treatment. Psych is no exception.
3

Aug 08, 2017

This book explains why I see so many of my college classes being taught in a therapy style setting where almost all of our writing assignments require us to discuss our "feelings" instead of focusing on learning new information. This book also explains how therapism is affecting today's schools, especially at the elementary level. I would strongly encourage any educator to read this book.

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