OVERRIDE

One Nation Under Therapy

How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance

Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, M.D.

St. Martin's Press

Americans have traditionally placed great value on self-reliance and fortitude. In recent decades, however, we have seen the rise of a therapeutic ethic that views Americans as emotionally underdeveloped, psychically frail, and requiring the ministrations of mental health professionals to cope with life's vicissitudes. Being "in touch with one's feelings" and freely expressing them have become paramount personal virtues. Today-with a book for every ailment, a counselor for every crisis, a lawsuit for every grievance, and a TV show for every conceivable problem-we are at risk of degrading our native ability to cope with life's challenges.

Drawing on established science and common sense, Christina Hoff Sommers and Dr. Sally Satel reveal how "therapism" and the burgeoning trauma industry have come to pervade our lives. Help is offered everywhere under the presumption that we need it: in children's classrooms, the workplace, churches, courtrooms, the media, the military. But with all the "help" comes a host of troubling consequences, including:

* The myth of stressed-out, homework-burdened, hypercompetitive, and depressed or suicidal schoolchildren in need of therapy and medication

* The loss of moral bearings in our approach to lying, crime, addiction, and other foibles and vices

* The unasked-for "grief counselors" who descend on bereaved families, schools, and communities following a tragedy, offering dubious advice while billing plenty of money

* The expansion of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from an affliction of war veterans to nearly everyone who has experienced a setback

Intelligent, provocative, and wryly amusing, One Nation Under Therapy demonstrates that "talking about" problems is no substitute for confronting them.

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One Nation Under Therapy
1The Myth of the Fragile ChildIn 2001, the Girl Scouts of America introduced a "Stress Less Badge" for girls aged eight to eleven. It featured an embroidered hammock suspended from two green trees. According to the Junior Girl Scout Badge Book, girls earn the award by practicing "focused breathing," creating a personal "stress less kit," or keeping a "feelings diary." Burning ocean-scented candles, listening to "Sounds of the Rain Forest," even exchanging foot massages are also ways to garner points.1Explaining the need for the Stress Less Badge to the New York Times,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, M.D.

  • Christina Hoff Sommers is the author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys and is the editor of Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life, one of the most popular ethics textbooks in the country.

    Dr. Sally Satel is a practicing psychiatrist and a lecturer at Yale University School of Medicine. She is the author of PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine.

    Both authors are resident scholars at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
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One Nation Under Therapy

How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance

Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, M.D.

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St. Martin's Press

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