by Tana Dineen
Book Review, Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, November, 1999
Subtitled, "What the Psychology Industry is Doing
to People," this remarkable book comes from a secular psychologist
who writes to rescue serious psychology from the unscientific (and
even unethical) practices which have swamped the profession from
top to bottom in recent decades. A best-seller across the Atlantic,
it is not written from a Christian vantage point, and is published
by a leading secular publisher. Nevertheless it is of tremendous
importance to Christian readers, particularly to pastors and other
What do secular counsellors (so readily provided by the
various public authorities) actually say to the bereaved and traumatized?
Do their "therapies" have any serious scientific basis
or do they get results? The ringing answer of Tana Dineen is that
they do not.
The title perfectly describes the book, the author showing
how psychologists have changed the public attitude to all forms
of heartache or hurt, so that almost everyone at some time becomes
a "victim" in need of psychological treatment. In these
pages reference is made to many events that the reader will remember,
such as the sinking of the Marchioness in the Thames, the Iran hostage
situation, and the Scottish ritual child-abuse trial, where leading
psychologists were proved utterly wrong in their expectations of
wrecked emotions and permanently blemished psyches. The author quotes
other psychologists who are also deeply critical of the scientifically
baseless (and sometimes even deceitful) direction in which their
industry has lurched.
Dr. Dineen charges her profession with the fabrication
on a grand scale of synthetic victims, referring to studies which
have shown that therapy often causes more suffering than if the
patient had been left alone. She builds up her case with constant
reference to real case histories and statements of "experts".
Writing in an attractive and cultured style, she shows
how psychologists have seized the vast opportunities open to them
by inventing problems, and therefore prospective patients. To her
the profession has become an industry which proliferates briefly
and badly schooled "junior-counsellors", sending them
with their useless therapies into a politically correct (and therefore
vulnerable) society. With a number of other writers she warns that
the emperor has no clothes, but she does it with better reasoning
and evidence than others.
Popular psychology is one of the greatest opponents of
the application of Christian principles in handling and helping
people's troubles. If we could get a book like this read by major
and minor officialdom in our land "psychobabble" would
be trusted far less.
Our traditional response to troubles (lasting from times
when even the ungodly admired the standards of the Bible), advises
the limiting of excessive emotional self-indulgence. Not so the
world of psychologists. Grief must be worked up to be got out. Those
responsible for our troubles must become objects of anger and vengeance,
and so on. "Anger", they say is "the backbone of
healing". Cultivate rage, they advise. "Like priming the
pump you can do things that will get your anger started." No
wonder grieving people, who have lost relatives by murder, stand
outside law courts screaming for vengeance - it is the response
urged by counsellors.
From a Christian perspective, all this is foolish, counterproductive,
self-centred, and above all godless. The list of problems which
the psychology industry insists must be treated grows almost by
the hour, as do the horrific predictions about the ultimate fate
of "sufferers" if they do not entrust themselves to counsellors.
Of course, the "lower level" are not necessarily
as guilty as the upper level of academic psychologists. The later
know what they do. The footsoldiers (or shall we say the
salesmen) of the industry may not. They merely retail what they
have been taught, having insufficient knowledge or discernment to
see its inadequacies.
The author describes the incredible route of questioning
devised to discover whether people have been abused as children.
We are compelled to ask - how did such illogical and absurd lines
of "diagnostic" questioning ever come to be respected?
In this book the author calls for people to be given back
their private lives. Every page adds to a documented picture of
what the psychology industry has become. Having read it, one is
all the more convinced that its therapies, point by point, contradict
and negate the biblical approach to life's hurts.
This, although popularly presented and most readable, is
an education and deserves to be taken seriously.