Review by The State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)

Book attempts to indict psychologists

DAVID BLOOMBERG David Bloomberg is the chairman of the Rational Examination Association of Lincoln Land (REALL). August 2, 1998, Friday,

The first paragraph of Dr. Tana Dineen's book, "Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People" (Robert Davies Multimedia Publishing; $16.99), grabs the reader and makes Dineen's point known immediately: "The foundation of modern psychology, its questioning and critical thinking, if not an illusion from its inception, has at the very least been largely abandoned in favor of power and profit, leaving only the guise of integrity, a show of arrogance and a well-tuned attention to the bottom line."

Dineen, a psychologist herself, closed her clinical practice because of her belief that psychology had changed from a caring profession to an "industry" that churned out victims and churned in money. Unfortunately, she has not proven her case well enough here.

While there is little doubt that there are therapists out there who have essentially discarded science in favor of their own pet beliefs -- witness the "repressed memory" movement -- Dineen maintains that the "psychology industry" pervades our culture and is trying to place more and more people in therapy.

Indeed, she provides a number of examples of cases in which some psychologists have gone out of their way to promote "victimhood" among people who might otherwise have never thought about it.

In one case, parents are encouraged to seek counseling for children doing well in school, because they might become victims of their own success.

Dineen notes that there are enough real victims in the world without psychology creating more. One set of such real victims she refers to repeatedly are Holocaust survivors.

These people who lived through death-camps and slavery and other horrors are true victims; yet most are now well-adjusted to their lives. Meanwhile, some therapists are telling people that if they just see violence on a movie screen, it might affect them psychologically and they had better seek counseling!

Real victims would never have chosen the path of victimhood for themselves.

But the "victims" created by therapists sometimes clamor to gain that status. Victimhood as a part of our culture has been examined in many previous publications, but Dineen links it to the "psychology industry," stating that the industry is responsible for creating the atmosphere in which victims thrive. Why? Because the industry then profits from all the victims it has created.

There are undoubtedly bad therapists who encourage victimhood where none exists. The " repressed memory" and "Satanic ritual abuse" debacles have shown that in excruciating detail. If that weren't enough, the "alien abduction" accounts solicited by some therapists certainly push it over the top.

And psychology has indeed strayed from the scientific basis it is supposed to have. Dineen explains how subjectivity has often replaced the objectivity that is the hallmark of good science. For psychology to be taken seriously, it needs to impartially examine itself, its diagnoses and its methods.

When therapists state that they are interested only  in "helping" the client, rather than in finding out objective facts -- as many have done when treating supposed victims of ritual abuse -- it's time for a change.

Is it truly possible to help while ignoring reality? This seems to be an extension of the old "ignorance is bliss" cliche when, in fact, therapists should focus more on "the truth shall set you free."

But some poor science and bad therapists do not equate to proof that the entire "psychology industry" is at fault and part of an overwhelming conspiracy to take our money.

Dineen has not adequately shown that the entire psychology promotes poor science and victimhood just to cash in on clients. She has tried, but the results are not as convincing to the reader as she would probably like them to be.

That is not to say this book is without merit. Indeed, it would behoove many therapists to read it and examine their own practices, and patients should read it as well to see what she has to say about the treatment they may be receiving. Psychology, as described by Dineen, does need some correction, but the extent of the problem
appears to have been a bit overstated in this book.

Copyright 1998 The State Journal-Register

Copyrigh t© 1998-2007 Tana Dineen,