This text forms part of my series on psychotherapy. For the personal context (e.g. my dealings with Leon Redler, a sidekick of discredited sixties psychiatrist R. D. Laing, please see my therapy page).
1. They steal your life.
Therapists steal the lives of their victims.
Common to all therapists is the belief that they can run your life better than you. It may thus come as something of a surprise when one learns about the messed up lives that one’s therapist leads. In my case; a broken marriage. One story I’ve heard is that a therapist was apparently beaten up by her son and conducted a therapy session with two black eyes! Based on the propaganda and the claim that they can help you run your life perfectly one would expect that their lives would be shining examples of virtue, fulfilment and success. But in general they aren’t. This, of course, is why it is so important for therapists not to talk about their private lives. The illusion of being a superior being to the client mustn’t come under any threat.
So, these inadequate people “help” their clients by getting their clients to tell them their problems. The client pours out their problems. (Naturally enough; they really do have problems and need someone to advise them). But then the twist happens. The client is led to believe that the source of the problems in the world lies deep in their past and in their ‘unconscious’. And that resolution to these problems doesn’t happen in the world, by engaging with the world, but by this private discourse (in fact not discourse; it is entirely one-way) between therapist and patient. The patient gives emotionally while the therapist sits there with their paid-for “listening service” – and gives nothing of themselves in return. And while this goes on the patient is ever increasingly drawn away from engagement in the real world – where they belong and where their problems actually need to be solved.
The therapist steals their emotional energy and their money. A cunning trick. They do this either, in the better cases, for purely mercenary motives. Or, in the worst cases, out of personal inadequacy. An inadequacy which they are trying to compensate for by lording it over the client.
2. The natural process
Therapy, all forms of therapy, tell you that “self-development” is a natural process. You have to let it happen. The idea is that there is some kind of natural inner process. You have to stop blocking it – you have to “release” the blocks. “The answer lies within”. Your therapist can help stimulate this natural process.
This is fundamentally not true. There is no inner natural process of development. Self-development; if it means a stronger mind, “knowing yourself”, better ethics – or any other criteria which philosophers have put forwards throughout history as criteria for self-development means effort. Anything meaningful requires effort. It doesn’t happen by itself.
The “self-development” which therapists talk about started in California in the sixties. It is a hedonistic ideal of emotional self-indulgence. It requires no self-discipline. Its highest virtue is “losing your inhibitions”.
“Radical psychotherapy” e.g. that practised by Laing and his sidekick Redler is an especially egregious form of this culture of emotional indulgence and hedonism posing as spirituality.