‘Therapy is indeed the new opium of the people, as Frank Furedi makes clear in this fascinating, readable – and disturbing – book.’ – Virginia Ironside, The. Furedi has written a textbook-style assessment of this new therapy culture. While he lacks the illuminating gifts of sociologists such as. The official website of Frank Furedi, author of Therapy Culture, Paranoid Parenting, Culture of Fear.

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It is a timely question: When the family unit was a site of respect rather than suspicion. What the American critic Laura Miller has characterised as the “illness memoir” became one of the most distinct literary genres of the late s. Its advocates continually remind people of the virtue of the unconditional acceptance of the self.

In the US, where counsellors now outnumber librarians, fire-fighters, postmen and dentists, a stress clinic has been set up for third-grade Brownies. He claims that therapeutic culture is primarily about imposing a new conformity through the management of people’s emotions. Even anti-poverty campaigners have shifted their focus. It was promoted as a positive way of exploring and expanding the individual’s personality.

His is a cartoon world of “therapeutic activists” greedily demanding more resources for their projects; of clients being placed in a state of permanent “recovery” rather than being cured; of craven obeisance to the god of “self-esteem” self-esteem promotes the idea that we all need encouragement and praise – to him a very bad idea, since apparently we don’t.

Health, mind and body books Higher education reviews. And when alcoholism was regarded as moral weakness, not a disease. Contents The culture of emotionalism. And it fosters the “normalisation of illness”, driving people in on themselves and blinding them to the socio-economic realities of the day. That may be so. Tony Adams, former England football captain, only earned the respect ofthe media after his public admission of an cultture problem.

Adams has become the paradigmatic victim-hero of British sport.

Therapy is a sedative cynically administered to stifle dissidence and unrest. Therapeutic claimsmaking and the demand for a diagnosis.

Pull yourself together!

culure As American cultural critic Christopher Lasch notes, “The dominant conception of personality sees the self as a helpless victim of external circumstances. But its tough-guy assault on vulnerability leads Furedi into some dark waters. At an individual level, low self-esteem is presented as an invisible disease that undermines the ability of people to control their lives.


The act of “sharing” – turning private troubles into public stories – is now deeply embedded in popular culture. Fragile identity hooked on selfesteem. The belief that the impact of crime has a major influence on people’s emotional life is a relatively recent one. A key theme promoted through confessional television is that in order to heal, emotionally injured individuals need to let go of “private wounds by sharing them with others”. We are all used to seeing TV celebrities telling the world about their illnesses, addictions, sex lives and personal hurts.

Selected pages Title Page. So any claim for privacy represents a refusal to accept the new etiquette of emotional theeapy. This static, conservative view of the self represents a rejection of previous, more ambitious calls for “changing yourself”, “improving yourself” or for “transcending the self”. As Miller remarks, “In a world where unadulterated heroism is harder and harder to define, let alone accomplish, the syndrome memoir turns simple survival into a triumph.

Extract from Therapy Culture, by Frank Furedi | Books | The Guardian

The self at risk. My library Help Advanced Book Search. Targeting privacy and informal relations.

Therapy today, like the wider culture of which it is a part, teaches people to know their place. In fact, it’s the Furedi world-view – centred on cultrue era of silent fortitude – that seems acquiescent. Jayne Zito, whose husband was killed by a mentally-ill assailant, recalled that she had a “huge need to go on talking”. Individuals who have lost a loved one through tragic circumstances have found the invitation to share it through the media difficult to resist, in the belief that talking to the public about their pain is an effective form of therapy.

Review: Therapy Culture by Frank Furedi | Books | The Guardian

Thus major social problems are atomistically recast as individual woes. Professor Furedi suggests that the recent cultural turn toward the realm of the emotions coincides with This is the first coloring book i have gotten and i love it so so much A powerful furexi development to this is the acceptance of an ever-widening definition of what constitutes psychological distress.


How did we get here? Colin Parry, whose young son Timothy was killed by an IRA bomb blast in Warrington, became a public figure often consulted about the political situation in Northern Ireland. This elaboration of the impact of mental disorders is matched by the growth in the number of routine experiences that are said to cause furedk damage. Through framing the problem of everyday life through the prism of emotions, therapeutic culture incites people to feel powerless and ill.

When heroes weren’t dragged through the dirt and “literally tried” sic by biographers.

The point was echoed by Oprah Winfrey when she informed her audience that “what we are trying to change in this one hour is what I think is the root of all the problems in the world – lack of self-esteem. As the old hierarchies have collapsed, so people have become more demanding – and in their drive towards self-improvement look to therapy for relief. Furedi questions the widely accepted thesis that the therapeutic turn represents an enlightened shift towards emotions.

If he had talked to the counsellors at his own university, Furedi might have discovered that the problems students bring furdi are real enough. Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, has become something of a cult figure. They are far more likely to be instructed to acknowledge their problems than to conquer them. He describes domestic violence, child abuse, date rape, road rage, stalking culturf bullying as “recently constructed crimes”, as if that somehow makes them less real.

Such a conservative orientation towards the future is clearly reflected within the role of therapy itself. This profoundly disabling view sees the individual as existing in an almost permanent state of vulnerability.