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The Doctor Won’t See You Now

In tandem with the launch of The Open Therapy Institute, its founder, Andrew Hartz, has just had an op ed published in The Wall Street Journal. In his piece, he makes the case that therapists who judge, recoil, or quietly rage at their patients can’t provide effective therapy. See the introduction below which is followed by a couple of verbatim extracts from his article.

‘A patient came to a clinic where I worked a few years ago. He was looking for help with depression but also told his therapist that he was feeling frustrated after having lost out on a research fellowship. The patient, who was white, felt the reason was affirmative action. The therapist was Arab. A group of psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists discussed the case at a clinicwide meeting and came to an apparent consensus: Confront the patient and tell him that if he didn’t overcome his biases, he would be transferred elsewhere. They argued that it would be unfair for a clinician of color to have to provide therapy to a “racist” patient” .’

‘But the issue isn’t only that clinical practices have become more ideological. Increasing numbers of therapists lack the clinical competency to help patients with truly diverse viewpoints. Years of one-sided education have made many of them unable to tolerate being around people with different views, much less support them as empathic therapists.’

‘Today, people with unorthodox beliefs face unprecedented antagonism, yet the mental health profession largely ignores them. It’s staggering how many populations in need of counseling go overlooked.’

‘To work productively with these groups, therapists need to do more than simply refrain from attacking them or overtly politicizing therapy. Therapists need to have some understanding of patients’ experiences and feel comfortable supporting their goals. … But instead of training therapists to help these people, schools increasingly teach students to view those with unorthodox opinions negatively.’


  1. In the quote from the Op ed, why was this patient’s view referred to an “unorthodox” exactly?
    Attaching such loaded descriptors has an impact!

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