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One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  182 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
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. Today---with a book for every ailment, a lawsuit for every grievance and a TV show for ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2005)
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Jul 18, 2008 Adam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partially-read
I was highly disappointed with this book. I was expecting a balanced critique of therapy and the helping professions, instead I got a biased slam of parts of culture that the authors picked out of a much bigger body of evidence. For example, they routinely criticize Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) but they only pick out the few things they can make a case against, leaving the rest untouched. I do agree that we should not coddle our kids, nor prevent them from dealing with consequences or hardsh ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
I am reviewing this book from a Christian worldview. Although the book is not religious, it is nevertheless an important work that affirms some of the observation Nouthetic counselors have made about pop psychology. The book argues against much of pop-psychology’s assessment and various pseudo-scientific psychotherapy that is rampant in today’s society. Time and time again the author demonstrate that many popular works advancing ideas that Americans as a nation have serious psychological problem ...more
May 15, 2011 gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
An overview of a compilation of studies and quotes from famous people (dead and alive) to support the authors claim that we are "overtherapizing" and focusing far too much attention on our emotions. While there was a great deal of evidence to support their claim, they've got a long way to go to change the trend of "getting in touch with your feelings" and talking something to death that pervades in psychological/psychiatric treatments.

The PSTD section was particularly interesting. I thought a lo
Jan 24, 2013 Denis rated it liked it
This author starts out strong with a good premise. Therapy is being overdone and now the therapeutic milieu permeates our schools. Fine, I but that -- somewhat. What Sommers leaves out is that the diagnoses and illnesses whose vailidity she questions concern students with very real problems that need to be named so they can be accomodated in the classroom. The author skips too many steps in her argument and seems to count on a complete consensus of agreement from her readers. This makes for a we ...more
Mar 23, 2010 Kristi rated it liked it
Shelves: reference
I liked the overall message, but it was hard for me to get over the way it was written. It just seemed poorly organized for me. But it was well researched and well supported. The main question the book presents is if we as Americans will stick to the tradition of perseverance through trials or if the new culture of therapy will drive us into "theraputic self-absorption and moral debility." Worth reading.
Oct 31, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: current-issues
I would recommend reading sections of this book but not the entire thing. I found it uneven, with some parts leading me to consider our culture in a new light, but others seeming obvious.
Aug 03, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it
As some reviewers have already mentioned, this book was written by people who's political slant leans to the right. However, it really does not matter.

The foundamental information is sound and built upon studies within the field and sound arguments. I particularly liked reading about how the diagnosis of PTSD has morphed into a monster that can be used when anyone undergoes the slightest of "traumas", even if it is so much as hearing about a stranger's trauma. This ultimately has consequences fo
Good, research-based expose of how ineffective, and often unnecessary, therapy is. Takes some welcome pot-shots at the way grief counselors have become the new ambulance-chasers in our society, there to suck up FEMA grants more than they are there to help anyone. The promise of the subtitle did not bear fruit: the authors present no evidence that the therapy culture is undermining American self-reliance, but it does present considerable evidence that therapists would LIKE that to happen. Because ...more
Michael Vint
Nov 01, 2014 Michael Vint rated it liked it
Good segments in particular on our culturally influenced understandings of trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. Another segment of the book worth analysing is the large area on humanistic or positive psychology and person centred counselling. The critiques are off base sometimes totally and it sometimes relies too heavily, as does other anti therapy texts, on character discrediting.
I agree with most of the premises of the book though, particularly the notion that the rise in counselling in
Dec 30, 2012 Hillary rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2013
This book was terribly difficult to get through - the authors seem to refute almost every example provided about therapy. While therapy can be a hinderance in many of the occasions presented in the text, the authors didn't provide a well-balanced argument for varying opinions - it was a text filled with their own. While I do agree with some of their views, they took it to the extreme - and at times their arguments and research seemed questionable for its reliability and accuracy.
Ellis Amdur
Jan 16, 2015 Ellis Amdur rated it really liked it
A discussion of how therapy-gone-wrong (called “therapism” by the authors), undermines self-reliance in our culture. Particularly valuable are the discussions on the misuse of “critical incident stress debriefing,” the pathologizing of normal reactions to crises (the “epidemic” of the PTSD diagnosis), and the treatment of children as vulnerable and fragile, thereby creating kids without resilience or resources to handle life.
Skylar Burris
Mar 17, 2008 Skylar Burris marked it as unfinished
I think the authors make a valid point about the problems with focusing excessively on our feelings in this current culture (especially encouraging children, who have not learned to manage their feelings, to do so). However, I lost interest in the book about half way through and have added it to my unfinished pile.
Aug 03, 2007 Sue rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with nertz
Finally! Someone with the nertz to say that all feelings aren't pathological, we don't have to share everything (and no one's really interested, thank you), repression can be a good thing, therapy is intrusive and makes you dwell on your problems instead of getting over them and children don't develop healthy self esteem just because you tell them they're wonderful. I love these ladies!
Sep 30, 2007 Amanda rated it really liked it
Recommended to Amanda by: My hubby
This book was a little conservative but it brought up many great points about the helping profession. I especially liked the idea that people are far less fragile than the helping profession would like to say that they are. I found myself agreeing with the assertions in this book far more than I disagreed with them - their ideas on PTSD were a little "out there" but were generally spot on.
Feb 20, 2011 maven rated it liked it
An interesting book at how incorrect ideas about psychology have negatively affected Americans. The book was a bit light and not well-balanced, but it was a decent read. I was especially interested in the section discussing personal responsibility vs. blaming problems on brain disorders.
Feb 23, 2008 James rated it it was amazing
It's high time someone pointed out the insanity of modern therapy and our willingness to trust this new false priesthood with our mental health. The critical data presented are powerful and sobering. Get off that couch, America, you have been seduced by the followers of a madman.
Stephi Cham
Dec 25, 2011 Stephi Cham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worth-a-reread
Rather opionionated, and I don't necessarily agree with all of this, but some valid points are made and I think this is worth a read. More importantly, it does say something about how mental issues are too often diagnosed to people in America (and certain other parts of the world).
Barbara Lovejoy
Feb 09, 2012 Barbara Lovejoy rated it it was amazing
This book gave me lots of food for thought! Rushing in to quickly to help can give the wrong message and actually make matters worse. It is going on my list of recommended books for our Esperanza educators.
3 Stars and a Half, really.. My Favorite chapter was the one on Emotional Correctness! THAT deserves 5 starts..
Janna Sanford
Aug 20, 2008 Janna Sanford rated it liked it
The purpose of this book is to make an arguement (and further an agenda) so obviously the evidence is cherry picked, but the points are interesting to ponder nonetheless.
Mar 30, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
This book criticises the way the mental health profession has disempowered people and made 'normal' abnormal. It is a very readable book for one that references a lot of research.
Dec 17, 2008 Laurie rated it liked it
Shelves: already-read
This was a difficult read. Skip the first chapter and come back to it at the end if you are still interested in the book.
Dec 03, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing
you are over medicated and fussed over to the point of absurdity. must read for anyone who (like me) feels better than everyone else.
Apr 19, 2009 Nate rated it liked it
A very interesting read & I agree with much of it. Great references and backup material...not just their opinion. Parts of it can be tough to get through due to "doctor speak".
James rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2016
Jason Hale
Jason Hale rated it it was amazing
Jul 06, 2014
Joe rated it really liked it
May 18, 2011
Lindeman rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2014
Amy Grigg
Amy Grigg rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2015
Melissa Rozmiarek
Melissa Rozmiarek rated it really liked it
May 28, 2014
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An American author and former philosophy professor who is known for her critique of late 20th century feminism, and her writings about feminism in contemporary American culture.
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