Monday, 2 June 2008

A therapeutic culture of the self.

Victimizing Christians: developing therapeutic mentality

from the PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter

May-June 2008, Vol. 16, No. 3

Psychological counseling theories and therapies have given Americans a new way of thinking and have turned our country into a therapeutic culture of the self—where the self and how it feels about itself are at the center of meaning. People from coast to coast have embraced a psychological mindset that puts emotional deprivation and woundedness as the root cause of nearly every personal and social problem. This mindset has the potential to make everyone into a victim needing the services of the ever-expanding mental-health system. Fifteen years ago Charles Sykes wrote a book titled A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character, in which he says:

The ethos of victimization has an endless capacity not only for exculpating one's self from blame, washing away responsibility in a torrent of explanation—racism, sexism, rotten parents, addiction, and illness—but also for projecting guilt onto others.1

Sykes also says, "The impulse to flee from personal responsibility and blame others seems far more deeply embedded within the American culture."2 In fact, he declares, "The National Anthem has become The Whine," and explains, "Increasingly, Americans act as if they had received a lifelong indemnification from misfortune and a contractual release from personal responsibility...

...While, indeed, there are real victims, the psychotherapeutic mindset has trivialized the horrors that some people have experienced by so expanding the meaning that now everyone qualifies if they want to. The role of victim can actually be quite enticing. Besides qualifying for sympathy from friends, engaging in endless psychological therapy centered on self, and gaining exoneration from responsibility and guilt, being a victim provides a new identity of being the hero or heroine in one's own drama of overcoming horrendous obstacles in the grand quest for psychological healing. Rather than having to face the ugly fact of their own sin without excuse or reason or blame-shifting, they choose to be victims. Dr. Carol Tavris and Dr. Elliot Aronson describe the usefulness of victimhood that comes from recovered memory therapy in their book titled Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts...

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