By Richard Handler

January/February 2006

Has Therapy Gone PC?

Some Distinguished Psychologists Critique the Field

Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm

Edited by Rogers Wright and Nicholas Cummings.

Routledge. 346 pp. ISBN: 0-415-95086-4

Nobody wants to be called "politically correct." The term has become the universal, all-purpose insult, used by both the Right and the Left as the definitive put-down. And perhaps no field gets such a bashing for its alleged "political correctness" as psychotherapy.

On the Right, therapists are ridiculed as ersatz mommies and daddies with professional degrees, who've turned us into a nation of victims and squirmers, whiners and wimps. Critics like Christina Hoff Sommers, in her book One Nation Under Therapy, bemoans the overpsychologized, pathologized nation that America has become.

On the Left, one hears a variation on the same theme. In Therapy Culture, Frank Furedi, an old-fashioned British lefty, rails against therapists as active agents of psychic dispossession. According to this critique, it's in therapists' interest to keep us passive and blinded to the problems in the wider social context that form the roots of our individual malaise.

So the Right castigates therapists for individuals' loss of autonomy, while the Left lays the blame for our loss of community…

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