Psychologist says her industry blames rather than heals

'The Psychology Industry casts a long shadow over life in North America," writes renegade Canadian psychologist and author Tana Dineen, "[yet] it is not concerned about the damage it wreaks on users and society as a whole." These fighting words are found in Dineen's newly revised Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People. Due to the mass popularity of psychotherapy in the past decades, argues Dineen, ordinary lives take on a melodramatic quality, and "victim" stories flow into conversations, becoming excuses for people's embarrassments, regrets or personal failings.

Sadly, we have become a society that prefers to sulk and blame rather than take responsibility for shaping our lives. "Just as there are real victims (of war, rape, torture, etc.)," acknowledges Dineen, "so too are there fabricated victims who are, by and large, the products of the Psychology Industry. The practice of psychologizing and pathologizing is now so widespread that it is difficult to garner support to stop the practice, even in its most harmful forms." And how would Dineen like to see the damaging effects of psychology stopped?

- Eliminate the licensing of psychologists and other psychotherapists. These legally sanctioned vestments of power, argues Dineen, serve to falsely set therapists apart from astrologers, soothsayers and psychics.

- Curtail insurance coverage for psychological services.

- Stop the public funding of victim support groups, court-ordered treatment programs, compensation for psychological stress and damage, paid stress leave, and mandatory stress debriefing for victims of trauma.

- Prevent psychologists from posing as experts in the courts. In many cases, says Dineen, psychologists have fooled judges and jurors into believing their testimony is based on responsible, scientific research.

- Hold therapists accountable for personal damage or loss caused by "junk therapy." This includes filing complaints to licensing board and launching lawsuits.

- Redirect money that is spent on psychological services to more pressing issues, such as the seriously mentally ill who have been abandoned.

On the Couch Carol Milstone, PhD National Post 03/05/2001

Copyrigh t© 1998-2007 Tana Dineen,