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We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy & the World's Getting Worse
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We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy & the World's Getting Worse

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  399 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This furious, trenchant, and audacious series of interrelated dialogues and letters takes a searing look at not only the legacy of psychotherapy, but also practically every aspect of contemporary living--from sexuality to politics, media, the environment, and life in the city. James Hillman--controversial renegade Jungian psychologist, the man Robert Bly has called "the ...more
paper, 256 pages
Published May 14th 1993 by HarperOne (first published 1992)
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 ·  399 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Richard Reese
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Industrial Revolution blew the lid off Pandora’s Box, releasing a poisonous whirlwind of evils into the world. Millions of rural people were herded into vast, filthy, disease-ridden cities to live among hordes of strangers, perform miserable work, and die young. It was pure hell, and many people snapped. Insane asylums began popping up like mushrooms, and the psychotherapy industry was born.

In Vienna, Freud kept busy treating hysterical Austrians, and Jung worked with “schizy” inmates at a
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this while I was in the middle of getting my doctorate in clinical psychology. It was during a time that I was feeling irreverent and frustrated and I delighted in all the subversive ideas about psychotherapy. James Hillman is brilliant and brave. I recently re-read it and found it to be somewhat cynical and not completely informed, but still a stimulating read!
Heather Smith
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
We've Had A Hundred Years of Psychotherapy And the World's Getting Worse is a tonic for the hundreds of pop-psyche books pouring out of publishing houses every year. The book consists mainly of letters between the authors, Michael Ventura and James Hillman. Ventura is a columnist for the L.A. Weekly and a novelist; Hillman is a scholar, writer, and psychologist who has written numerous books, including Re-Visioning Psychology and Dreams and the Underworld.

The book's first and last sections
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, jungian
When I first saw this book, the title struck my attention immediately. I decided I had to read it on principle without knowing anything else about it. And it did not disappoint! Such refreshing honesty with penetrating accuracy. Leave it to a Jungian psychologist to write a book like this – this book is a great example of Jungian psychology in action from a couple of highly creative minds who are quite adept at tapping into our collective unconscious.

Does Hillman go off the deep end at times?
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish that therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, or any helpers in training would read this book. Anyone involved in any institution, whether its marriage, academia, church, business, psychology, government, whatever, should question the basic myths of that institution and try to evolve them or live them more consciously. You can't really do that until you ask the hard questions though. Getting new ideas in your mind can help you ask the hard questions and this book is about ideas, not ...more
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I find James Hillman to be most insightful and fearless in presenting truth as he sees it. Its the truth of an Outsider, who sees the dualistic dysfunction in our modern day institutions and values. It can be somewhat depressing to attend to his insight but if one can manage to do that it can lead to a liberating experience in opening towards self knowing. He is very clear about what has gone wrong in society and where it is leading the collective and the individuals.
Aja Gray
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-this-book
My first meeting with James Hillman lasted 14 hours. At the end, totally enamored with his willingness to sit and talk with me personally for an hour--about love, I hopped up and exclaimed, "James Hillman, may I have a hug?" He replied dryly, "I don't hug."

A humbling experience for the novice psychotherapist and grad student, I was still recovering from this sleight and recalled, of course he doesn't hug, look at his body of work. Duh.

This is one of many of Hillman's works that I will speak
Joli Hamilton
This is a book to be read with a grain of salt (and probably a shot of tequila with lime for that matter) but it should be read. I'm sorry to have put it off so long, the title had put me off, it was dismissive sounding when really, the book is irreverent not dismissive at all. Playing with the very idea of ideas, Hillman and Ventura wander their way through a series of conversations and letters that provoke the imagination. The book made me itchy to be in my life, to stop trying to escape the ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read and only slightly dated for being 25 years old. I didn't really care for the exchange-style format, though that is surmountable. I value Hillman's call to turn the therapy room into a cell of the revolution, that all is not well with the world and that our "disorders" may stem not from childhood but from the very abrasive and alienating society and culture we live in. A lot of poignant ideas covering a range of topics. Worth reading.
Carl Hovey
May 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction to the thought of James Hillman. The book is composed of three dialogs and one series of letters between Hillman and his friend, Michael Ventura. I won't say I agree with everything Hillman says, but his ideas are creative, sometimes shocking, and most of the time flat-out brilliant. If you're at all interested in James Hillman or Archetypal Psychology, this is a great place to start.
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Great dialogue, some parts more interesting than others. Long list of ways to evaluate an idea: is it fertile, fecund? does it make you think? is it surprising, shocking? does it stop you from habits & bring a spark of reflection? is it delightful to think about? does it seem deep? important? needing to be told? does it wear out quickly? what does the idea want from you? why did it decide to light in your mind? This way of thinking about what we think gives pause.
Jeanine Marie Swenson
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I would also give this book 4.5 stars if I could. A funny collaborative project between a seasoned therapist and a seasoned client (not with each other, by the way), this critique challenges the field to keep growing and learning and to resist complacency and structure. They come up with some deep questions and some even deeper personal answers. Loved this one!
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good read if you like idea books that will turn some common beliefs on their heads. I don't agree with all of the content or find it useful, but it was a good read.
Real Supergirl
Jun 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, favorites
this book inspired my master's thesis, which was on the therapeutic value of putting your art into the world. a brilliant, fascinating book.
Gerald Jerome
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really don't know what to think about this book. In a sense I was disappointed because I expected the content to be different going off the title, but then again the title isn't completely mischaracterizing of the content. I admire the approach and logic behind the book, but feel it was poorly executed in some facets. I can't say it's a great book, but for the attempt alone, I respect it. The following will be my attempt to understand this publishing in all of its chaos, discursive ...more
Anita Ashland
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
This book is part interview format, part an exchange of letters, and it is very fun to read Hillman in this format. His ideas are eccentric and electric, as always, covering the topics of love/heartbreak, medicority, ideas, how to turn the therapy room into a cell of revolution, plus so much more. A few excerpts are below:

"If we begin in a poetic basis of mind, then psychologists have to be at home in the poetic, first of all, and that means not white bread. If our methods are to meet the
Alan Conrad
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is not just a strong critique of psychotherapy/psychology - it's an assault on all our unjustified beliefs and prejudices. Ventura isn't just a sounding board for Hillman's usual challenging ideas - he is a self-made psychologist in his own right. If you want to think seriously about why we and the social world we live in are the way they are, this book is essential reading
Lliam Gregory
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fresh and important take on pyschotherapy and the socio-politic of the world. As relevant now as it was twenty years ago. I can't wait to read it again.
Garret Vreeland
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A surpassingly excellent book about the problems with modern psychotherapy. Still as compelling a read now, as when it was published. Starts fast and hard, begins to slow a bit as the book progresses. The format predates weblogs or comment forums, yet the format of the book will seem familiar now: James Hillman and Michael Ventura trade thoughts back and forth at the speed of ... paper ... and telephone wire ... and it still comes across as blazingly fast, blindingly brilliant. A mercurial, ...more
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those out of the box, and those who need to remove themselves from their boxes.
I should just add everything this guy's ever written to my "to read" list. I'm just finishing up a Psychiatric nursing course, which has reminded me just how far medicine is from curing the soul (for lack of a better word). This book, on the other hand, is just about there...or at least searching, in earnest, for answers.
Feb 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, psychology
A great debate book between two intellectual heavy-weights who both desire to take psychology to the next level - and who also realizes the inherent danger of the self-indulgence that can arise out of going to therapy/analysis
One of my favorite books
Mar 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has gone to therapy
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Hillman is mentioned in Thomas Moore's books
I keep this book in my pack for emergency reading.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read!!!!!! Such good thoughts - Kate and I have talked about this book but I want to read more by this guy :)
Frank Palardy
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-scripts
I used to read him in the LA weekly or whatever. He's better in small doses. There's some interesting ideas in this book but they don't go anywhere.
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
These guys are amazing. There ideas are still fresh. I read it when it first came out and then again just the other day and it's still beautiful.
Stephen Abraham
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psyche-socioligy
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Chicken Soup for the Pynchonian Soul
victor miro quesada vargas

quote with each round to your user interface or perhaps a small dog from Germany had joined kids like zombies combined via books not mad
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can think of at least two handfuls of people who I'd like to share this with.
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

This book is like a really intense brainstorm.
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James Hillman was an American psychologist. He served in the US Navy Hospital Corps from 1944 to 1946, after which he attended the Sorbonne in Paris, studying English Literature, and Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a degree in mental and moral science in 1950.
In 1959, he received his PhD from the University of Zurich, as well as his analyst's diploma from the C.G. Jung Institute and
“Of course, a culture as manically and massively materialistic as ours creates materialistic behavior in its people, especially in those people who've been subjected to nothing but the destruction of imagination that this culture calls education, the destruction of autonomy it calls work, and the destruction of activity it calls entertainment.” 36 likes
“(too much info, keeping up), breakdowns and frustrations in the school systems, taxpaying, bureaucracy, hospitals, and making ends meet. You see, Michael, at last therapy is going to have to go out the door with the client, maybe even make home visits, or at least walk down the street. Jim” 0 likes
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