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Consider psychologists and therapists whose hatred and contempt for Trump manifested in a disregard for the prohibition against diagnosing strangers or non-clients. Throughout 2017 Trump was clinically diagnosed in various media as having a narcissistic personality disorder and calls were made for his impeachment on the grounds that he was mentally ill. However anti-Trump one’s view, we should recall the psychiatric abuses of the Soviet Union from 1950, when many practitioners with views designated as politically incorrect were forced to retract them, and many political dissenters from the 1960s were diagnosed and hospitalised with the fabricated condition of “sluggish schizophrenia”. Last year I met a group of Russian psychology students who told me that Moscow has an emerging market of affluent professionals wanting Gestalt therapy to help them express long-repressed feelings. Some Westerners feel they are now imprisoned in a vast PC cult and witch-hunt that encompasses many areas of life, including psychotherapy. These days, when clients are invited to say anything that comes into their heads, they are likely to think twice and self-censor if it comes close to politics their therapists may not share.

Leftism in psychotherapy can be traced from therapeutic pioneers like Reich, Maslow, Fromm et al. up through feminist therapy and critical psychology. It is clear in the publications of Oliver James, the clinical psychologist antagonistic towards psycho-pharmaceutics, genetic explanations and CBT, and “affluenza”. Mark Fisher’s 2009 Capitalist Realism argued that we are enmeshed in a mental health-diminishing culture whose malignancy we cannot readily detect. In 2016 a former community organiser and now psychotherapist Richard Brouilette openly declared in the New York Times that “therapists should talk politics”. He cautions that “therapy could easily become an arm of the state” (meaning a right-wing state) without noting that therapy can equally become an arm of cultural Marxism. Loudly publicised breakthroughs in understanding and treating mental illness appear regularly, followed perennially by disappointing outcomes. Left-wing journalist and former plagiarist Johann Hari in his recent celebrity-endorsed book Lost Connections loudly and with unabashed quasi-novelty proclaims depression to result from capitalism, alienation, etc, etc: talking therapy definitely helps, antidepressants are not the answer, but under socialism all will be well. It is an all too familiar scapegoating of capitalism and failure to grasp the tragic dimension of life. We should discuss these matters openly, looking at right- and left-wing interpretations, but we should not conceal biases.
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neol maccarthy
February 17th, 2019
3:02 PM
Atkinson, a previous commentator doesnt get it. Moreover he presents the usual anti intellectual argument that those who dont pander to his ideology are inherently dispassionate. His pathetic diatribe highlights why the contents of the article are so pertinent. Imbeciles like Atkinson delineates the usual collection and litany of supposed "right wing" traits that are mere caricatures found in a radical feminist's article in the guardian. Those on the right are as diverse and eclectic as those on the left. The right is a compendium of fiscal conservatives and social libertarians to traditionalists. The traditional family structures, often considered "right of centre" were not units of competition, and alienation but a means of stability and human flourishing, which is why the nuclear family was so successful across many civilisations. In antithesis the fracturing of the nuclear family has resulted in the very claims simpletons like Atkinson rail against, alienation and lack of compassion. The problem with idiots like Atkinson is that they fail to read the contents and come to a conclusion based on premises never argued in the article.To ask what point is being made, given the point is very clear, suggests that comrade Atkinson is so committed, almost a priori like, to an ideology that a point would elude him even if it poked him in the face. He presents more strawmen in his imbecilic rant than a collective farm in the old USSR. Here's a tip Atkinson,read the contents, you may find the point there....with you, I DOUBT IT.

Tim Harvard
July 11th, 2018
10:07 AM
Great article. I've just completed an MA in person-centred therapy and have been appalled by the extent to which the 'person' has been lost, at the expense of tribalism. It often seemed more about Jeremy Corbyn than Carl Rogers. I am apparently in a minority when I see the irony: in therapy we seek to liberate the individual from social 'conditions of worth', yet many therapists are quite happy to impose such conditions on the same person via the politically correct control of word and thought, and the denials and distortions that arise with the mass psychosis of collectivist politics. We are sending new therapists out into the world with a warped sense of perspective: that there are no facts or shared values, that men are just itching to 'oppress' women, that white people are born racist, that gender is nothing more than a fashion choice, that it is more important to find the next trans maths professor than to discuss male suicide, all implying that the therapist's virtue-signalling is more important than the interests of the client. A professor even admitted to me that he considered psychotherapy to be a subset of radical left-wing politics! There it is: you can only care about others if you're a Marxist. As Jordan Peterson is helping to point out, this stuff is very, very dangerous. Was anything ever more dehumanizing than Marxism? Did any Marxist government ever get it right?

Jim buck
June 30th, 2018
6:06 PM
I met the author of the above article at a party last night. A nice enough man. We were born in the same year, and our brief conversation was indicative of similar outlook and interests--in our long-ago youth, at least. He seems to have made much more of himself since. Though, I did do a psychology BSc at SHU, as a mature student---following decades of heavy manual work. Coming from a job (British Rail) with a sturdy trade union presence, it was quite a shock to realise that one of my lecturers at SHU was a holocaust denier, and that psychology, as a subject, attracts those who would rigidly order estates. . Far from being a hot-bed of cultural marxism, there was a small glowing coterie of "critical psychologists" in the psychology department then (late 1990s)--and they provided me with a very useful introduction to the Continental thinkers. I agree with the writer that it is unethical to psychiatrically diagnose President Trump, from a distance. I recall that the Murdoch newspapers did an identical hatchet job on Tony Benn. On Brexit though, I diverge on patriotic grounds. My grandfather fought for England, and won the Military Medal. He would have hated the belittling of Britain that Farage has wrought.

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!

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