a woman with tape on her mouth

Lionel Shriver Reflects on Cynical Therapies

In her weekly Spectator column (26th August magazine issue) titled Therapy has turned on itself Lionel Shriver reflects on the CTA book, Cynical Therapies, and delivers her verdict. She highlights what she considers to be the key message of the book: the therapy professions have just slavishly copied other cultural institutions and, by allowing Critical Social Justice (CSJ) into the field, therapists are now just conduits for a harmful ideology. She characterises the contributors to the book as: ‘… heretics and, to many colleagues, traitors.’ She states that ‘The book is a cry for help.’

Written in her characteristic acerbic style, Lioner Shriver pours acid over the claims made by CSJ advocates that this approach to therapy can be in any way helpful. See below for a couple of verbatim extracts from her column. Read the whole piece here (it is behind a paywall).

‘Why would anyone seek counselling to be browbeaten with a partisan cudgel? They wouldn’t. Thus, writes Cynical Therapies editor Val Thomas, ‘The most likely outcome will be the chaotic breakdown of the field itself. As CSJ moves through the therapy professions in its usual manner, dismantling, disrupting, decolonising, and problematising all that exists therein, it will hollow out the centre.’ When clinicians aim no longer to heal but to morally re-educate their patients, therapists aren’t therapists, and ‘the whole house of cards’ will collapse.’

‘What’s happened to psychotherapy is, writ small, what’s happened to western education, healthcare, left-of-centre governments and NGOs, as well as the civil service, the sciences and the arts. By its nature, this nihilistic doctrine corrupts from within every sphere it invades. CSJ resembles the fibrous, species-threatening fungus in The Last of Us, which smothers cities and takes malign control of human minds. At length, elites oppose the very purpose of their professions. Hence the National Trust despises the culture it’s pledged to preserve. The British Museum gives away its artefacts. Doctors reject western medicine for indigenous superstitions. Classicists denounce the Greeks and Romans as too white. English professors renounce Shakespeare. Therapists renounce therapy.’

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