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Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Dissenter Speaks out against the Woke-Left Hegemony


Have you ever opened an email that sent you straight into fight or flight mode? You read the words on the screen and shock! horror! your heart thumps in your chest, you begin to sweat, maybe your bowels threaten to empty, while your mind reels in crisis.  

This happened to me once. I was at work patiently waiting for an elevator when I casually looked at an email on my phone and found out that I failed my master’s degree because my dissertation had not passed and I would not be given the opportunity to resubmit it. Six years of very expensive and arduous full-time university education and four years working in mental health had amounted to this? It was inconceivable, because I was a good counsellor and my practice supervisor had assessed me as being ready to work independently with clients.  

The failure left me in shock. I left work immediately. My mind raced — what was to become of my career? I had let my family down. How would I provide for my wife, who was sick and pregnant with our first baby? How would I ever pay back my student loans?

“This is how he felt,” I reflected suddenly on an old acquaintance who had committed suicide after a crippling gambling debt was discovered by his wife. Because of the shock, I vomited in the cobblestone street of the quiet seaside town I lived in, then wandered home alone on foot, woebegone and heavy hearted.  

In the hours, days, and years that followed, I concluded that politics played the predominate role in my failure: specifically, I wasn’t ‘woke-left’ enough to pass; I wouldn’t be indoctrinated into radical woke-left ideology. I finally came to this conclusion because I discovered that in the group of fifteen students, twelve had written  masters dissertations that aligned with the ideological basis of the course and they had all passed, while the three of us who didn’t, had failed.  

Some background 

I had decided I wanted to become a counsellor slowly over my adolescence and early 20s for various reasons. Firstly, I was born an empathetic and interested little fellow. From birth I demanded to be carried outward facing in order to greet strangers in the street and had a natural interest in others. Secondly, I had suffered through my mid-teens in misery (due to my own bad choices) which drove me to pursue an understanding of the depths of our souls and our consciences. Thirdly, I witnessed mental health problems around me and was naturally interested in the root-cause and the cure. I went on to work as a support worker for schizophrenics found ‘not criminally responsible for crimes due to mental insanity,’ and I undertook an honours degree in psychology. I then attempted the master’s degree in counselling at a prestigious university which involved two full-time taught years, a portfolio, 150 client hours, individual supervision and group supervision, and a dissertation. I concluded that the main cause of mental illness is relational ruptures and traumas that trigger existential anxiety and that understanding in the presence of ‘agape’ or love is reparative.  

The counselling department assigned me a dissertation supervisor who was a student who said she was busy with her own dissertation. I had previously thought that students looked for their own supervisor but that is not the way this counselling program was set up. Unfortunately, one of the only things that my dissertation supervisor advised me to do was to scrub any mention of Christian beliefs out of my dissertation. You see, I had drawn a parallel between Jesus Christ—who I believe walks alongside us throughout our lives and the counselling profession wherein we are called to walk alongside our clients. Jesus walked alongside some of his followers on the road to Emmaus after his death (Luke 24:13-33) and Psalms 23 tells us “[T]hough I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me,” (Psalm 23). I decided to reject her advice because I felt it infringed upon my Human Rights of freedom of religious beliefs and free speech. Furthermore, I believe my reference to Christianity here helped to illustrate the beautiful phenomenon of “walking alongside” our fellow man. According to the student handbook, our tuition paid for our dissertation supervisors to offer ‘pastoral care’ in the event of failure; support which was never offered to me.  

Of course, I had to consider that perhaps my dissertation was failed because it was of poor quality. But, from my examination of the other dissertations passed by the same department, I think I can make a good case that politics played a role in whether a dissertation was passed. The dissertations were, of course, supposed to ‘inform the counselling field,’ so I chose a topic based on my 150 counselling hours and the healing process of my clients. However, some students who passed wrote dissertations on topics that seemed to me to be not strictly relevant to therapy. I recall one example, in particular, of a dissertation on ‘not wanting to become a mother,’ which in my opinion, failed to inform the counselling field of anything at all. On the other hand, one of the other failed dissertations addressed what it was like to be a straight white male having to conform to the dictates of a feminist dominated training course. This led me to the conclusion that my examiners were not interested in intellectually engaging dissertations, instead the most important thing was ideological alignment. If you attend a Christian counselling course, you know you are attending a Christian counselling course. But if you attend a woke-left training, it isn’t advertised that way, so you might not realise it until it is too late.  

Unfortunately for the three of us who failed, due to the self-protective university policies, we were not able to appeal the failures or to resubmit. The university administrators told me that the appeal committee can’t pass judgement on faculty decisions that involve “academic judgement,” because they don’t have the same specialist knowledge as the dissertation markers. This leaves the student with only one option for redress—sue the university in a court of law. I did consider that for a while and was encouraged by some collogues to do so, however I didn’t have the money or the energy and my family was growing and pulling me in other directions.    

One ideology  

I gather from other anecdotal reports that some counselling departments are becoming increasingly like woke-left indoctrination camps. In these departments, such as the one I attended, you must write about ‘difference, diversity and power,’ in every assignment. In these departments you will be told to talk about ‘power differentials’ in the counselling room, which isn’t client led. In fact, I did this, as I was told, and I ruptured my relationship with my client. I was told to ask my client how her being of African descent affected our power differential in the counselling room. When I did this, she was shocked by the question. In these departments, a lesbian faculty member could be called ‘homophobic,’ for not being up-to-date on the latest gender pronoun terminology, and while she might not lose her job, she might be pushed to the fringe of the department, well outside the ‘in-group.’ The irony of these radicals calling a homosexual ‘homophobic’ might be laughable, but then no absurdity is too extreme for such ideologues. And, needless to say, in these departments, straight, white, Christian, conservative males such as myself get phased out, never to be replaced by anyone remotely like them.  

Ironically, the teachers preaching about diversity aren’t very diverse. In my department they were all white, middle class, leftist, homosexual, and, as far as I could tell, atheistic. As a Christian I found this relentless focus on diversity degrading particularly because we are called to ‘love thy neighbor,’ and to strive to see all of humanity as God sees us; his beloved children. “[I] will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” (2 Corinthians 6:18). It pained me to write about difference, diversity, and power in every written assignment, as I didn’t find woke-left ideology relevant to the topics at hand. My teachers preached at the students about how certain groups, such as Asians, don’t have a voice because of racism in society. Yet, instead of offering those populations a voice by asking them what they thought, I witnessed my teachers silence the very populations they claim to advocate for. It seems to me that this destructive ideology gives people a means of pursuing and protecting their own ambitions. Let’s be clear: ideologuescare about power, not people.  

The woke-left fallacy  

I believe that the woke-leftists in university departments will never be satisfied because there is no end point in their power game. Their quest is for power and for change that might set out to ‘modify’ but ultimately destroy whatever they oppose, and the quest is insatiable; once one demand is met, more demands always follow. That is the method, and so it is a fallacy to believe that power-hungry idealogues will ever be satiated. If you play the game by bending over backwards to meet the latest demand, you set yourself up for endless gymnastics. These radicals use shame as a motivator to make you succumb to their ideology, saying things like, “if you disagree, you are a privileged, racist, bigoted, white supremacist, male chauvinist etc.” Of course, the irony of being called a bigot by a bigot shouldn’t be lost on anyone. But, listen—if you aren’t a hateful person, don’t let people fearmonger and pester you into falsely going along with a destructive ideology by their threat of defamation. To quote my four-year-old daughter, “don’t let anyone bully you,” a sentiment she started saying during the covid-19 pandemic.  

Counselling is a profession that attracts people from all walks of life, different religions, different cultures, etc. But counsellors have some things in common. They aim to walk alongside their clients, help them along on their journeys, and bear witness to their lives, their struggles, their triumphs, their suffering, their healing process. No matter where counsellors might be on their own spiritual journeys or what they think about, say, religious or social matters, or who they vote for, shouldn’t it be obvious that all qualified counsellors should be able to practise freely in their profession? To get qualified? To do good works? To contribute to their fields and their community’s understanding of trauma healing and the human condition? There ought not to be one ideology that presides over the counselling field, especially not a radical ideology that blatantly disregards the mental health of the individual in favour of power and political or social objectives.  

I am currently wading through the treacle that is the counselling associations woke-left ideology considering what counselling association I might join if I should begin practising as a counsellor. I have moved to a location that does not require me to have a master’s degree in order to practice, and I am qualified to practise here with a post-graduate diploma, which I have. Unfortunately, the counselling associations have adopted complete falsehoods as their modus operandi, surrounding the treatment of the gender dysphoric and what types of treatments increase suicidal ideation (and this includes Christian-affiliated organisations). To abandon the client in their time of need and to toe a party line is corrupt in my book and I will have no part in it—I dissent.        

ByCyril Loxley”  

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