Therapy Aphorisms 3 [Psychotherapy]

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). Some of the points relate specifically to my experiences with Redler – others are more general.

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. 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.  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! 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.

Continue reading “Therapy Aphorisms 3 [Psychotherapy]”

Calling the rebels mad – psychiatry and repressive regimes have the same aim [Psychotherapy]

A comment on modern psychotherapy.

People who are ill at ease of (in slightly old-fashioned terms) maladjusted are so – at least when they are young – almost always because they have been abused or failed by caregivers and teachers etc. The abuse may be active; e.g. sexual abuse, or a case of not rendering the kind of love and care which children need. The latter can be even an unintentional failing. Continue reading “Calling the rebels mad – psychiatry and repressive regimes have the same aim [Psychotherapy]”

Therapists [Psychotherapy]

The vast majority of psychotherapists and counsellors are frauds and con-artists in it for the money and an easy life. It is just not possible when you consider the scale of little lies they have to tell themselves and their clients to see them as misguided do-gooders, however much one would want to.

Therapeutic discourse [Psychotherapy]

The literature of psychotherapy adopts a peculiar and specialised language. Like, for example, legal documents, or certain business discourses (e.g. oil futures) the discourse is specialised and makes few concessions to be be intelligible to the layperson. It appears to pertain to a specialised ‘discourse community’. Specialised ‘discourse communities’ use their own language which is often at least somewhat impenetrable to outsiders because they are communicating about a specialised subject which the members of the discourse community have a special knowledge of. They don’t need to take the trouble to add the additional layer of explanation for the lay reader because these are technical documents intended for internal consumption by the community talking about their specialised field. Continue reading “Therapeutic discourse [Psychotherapy]”