You are here:   Civilisation >  Critique > How Marxists took over psychotherapy

The most recent churn in right-versus-left dynamics has manifested in Brexit and Trump, presented by liberal progressives as a populist backlash and neo-Nazi lurch. Free counselling sessions were being offered to NHS staff in 2016 to cope with the referendum’s distressing outcome. The Universities of Leeds and Nottingham similarly offered counselling support. I was in a meeting at a psychotherapy training institute in 2016 when a fellow academic spontaneously launched a Brexit-hating tirade as if no rational defence of Brexit was thinkable. The few academics who voted for Brexit, or admitted it, have often found themselves ostracised. Unfortunately, this is unsurprising in the academic profession that is reckoned to be between 70 per cent and 80 per cent staffed by left-wing sympathisers. Neither is it surprising that a majority of young people voted for Remain, partly due to indoctrination by teachers and academics. Tony Blair’s push for a 50 per cent enrolment of young people into university education led not only to high student debts but also to dumbing down and uncritical leftism. The reported snowflake phenomenon, the inability to listen to dissenting views, and violent protests against visiting speakers hated for PC-questioning opinions, underlines this. While therapists are not necessarily academics or intellectuals, the vast majority of training programmes are located in, and validated by universities whose administrators push for equality and diversity targets.

The cat is out of the bag: the majority of therapists have been schooled in liberal views and uncritical espousal of cultural neo-Marxist memes. Most are still unaware of this, since the typical training curriculum, while dwelling somewhat on “socio-cultural contexts” or “difference and diversity”, omits critical thinking applied to leftist therapeutic tenets. Many trainees are recruited as disaffected nurses, teachers and social workers already marinated in diversity training, anti-discriminatory and anti-sexist dogma. Still, socially sensitive practitioners are invited by Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility to “examine whiteness”. A recent counselling textbook sponsored by the British Psychological Society presents chapters on disabilities, on (non-binary) sexualities, ethnicity and gender that invert majority values. Set this alongside contrasting figures: only 9 per cent of British women call themselves feminists; only about 1.5 per cent of people are gay and only 0.1 per cent transgender; 13 per cent are BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic); 9 per cent are disabled. Too much therapy training is oriented towards the needs of the few, not the many. Females in psychology and psychotherapy outnumber males by over 80 per cent. We do not know how therapists, students, or clients vote, but my money would be heavily on Labour, Lib Dem and Green.

Psychotherapy’s skew towards psychological pietism and a politically-correct identity politics contrasts with encounter groups. These show that listening to experiences other than one’s own, engaging in vigorous dialogue, and facing stubbornly different viewpoints, can loosen or affirm ego-based and tribal affiliations. Traditional psychotherapy and counselling promote the introspective, sensitive, androgynous, feeling soul rather than the vigorous, resilient, stoical or enterprising character. We are certainly not all Ayn Rands but neither are we all Foucaults, Fanons or Orbachs. The psychotherapy world has yet to make the shift towards viewpoint diversity, a concept promoted by the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Meanwhile, very few texts advance anything like a right-wing psychology of well-being. Jordan Peterson, the Toronto University professor of psychology and clinical psychologist, was famously threatened with disciplinary action by his university and hated by many students for his “transphobic” refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns. His research-based views are robustly “traditional” and irksome for the leftist psychotherapy world but might herald hope of some eventual political balance.
View Full Article
Paul Atkinson
March 1st, 2018
1:03 PM
Your point is what? Of course a majority of therapists are more concerned with compassion, people’s capacity to relate, to support each other in the pain and difficulty of life than they are in a more “right-wing” empahasis on competition, self-sufficiency, economic success and other alienating life goals. You can call the former liberal or even Marxist if you like but Surely that’s you groaning some axe of your own against therapy. What’s your alternative approach to psychological distress? Why not come out and declare your own politics and prejudices.

Michael McManus
March 1st, 2018
10:03 AM
Excellent. I do wonder about how much influence tutors have on students: my experience has been that what is transmitted is seldom what is received. Perhaps it's more a case of birds of a feather. The major failure is the total lack of an evidence base, other than anecdotal. (Freud made number of colossally stupid diagnoses, and I believe the only people who thought being counselled after 9/11 was any help were the therapists.) Least said, soonest mended - not something you'll find in a counsellors office.

March 1st, 2018
5:03 AM
My therapist of nearly 2 decades severed all contact with me after I refused to vote for Obama. And to think I once blindly trusted her to guide me into becoming an adult. Sheesh!

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.