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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rise of therapism

Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Patel wrote a brilliant 2005 book, titled One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance.

The book concludes:
The American Creed that has sustained the nation is now under powerful assault by the apostles of therapism. The fateful question is: Will Americans actively defend the traditional creed of stoicism and the ideology of achievement or will they continue to allow the nation to slide into therapeutic self-absorption and moral debility? Our very future depends on our answer.
They did not coin the word therapism, but I could only find it in one obscure dictionary:
therapism n. a culture or ideal of mental therapy, empathy, or sharing of feelings, especially as a cure.
The book defines it as:
Therapism valorizes openness, emotional self-absorption and the sharing of feelings. It encompasses several additional assumptions: that vulnerability, rather than strength, characterizes the American psyche; and that a diffident, anguished, and emotionally apprehensive public requires a vast array therapists, self-esteem educators, grief counselors, workshoppers, healers, and traumatologists to lead it through the trials of evertyday life. Children, more than any group, are targeted for the therapeutic improvement. We round reject these assumptions.
The book thoroughly documents the rise of therapism, the harm it is doing, and why it should be rejected.

While this book may sound extreme, I believe that it does not go far enough. Therapism is a direct attack on the American family. Those American ideals of determination, engenuity, courage, endurance, heroism, acheivement, and success are learned in the nuclear family. From the days of the 13 colonies to the settling of the West, America has been about building something great, with autonomous patriarchal families being the basic units of our society.

Now an army of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers, teachers, and others are out to destroy that. They say that parents are not competent to solve their problems and rear their kids, and they want to destroy parental authority and give shrinks authority over child-rearing.

Where family autonomy was once admired, it is now despised by the American left. Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren is campaigning contending that "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody." She also supports the Occupy Wall Street protests, saying "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do."

Feminists especially hate the self-made man. They want everyone dependent on public health insurance, food stamps, public schools, counselors, and social workers. They want their husbands to get counseling in order to de-masculinize them. They often claim to have an intellectual position, but it is really an ideological attack on traditional American values.

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