The Myth of Psychotherapy

The Myth of Psychotherapy

by Thomas Szasz

s/t: Mental Healing as Religion, Rhetoric & Repression

  • Language: English
  • Category: Psychology
  • Rating: 4.06
  • Pages: 238
  • Publish Date: December 1st 1988 by Syracuse University Press
  • Isbn10: 0815602235
  • Isbn13: 9780815602231

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I have done so, not because I think that medicine and treatment are bad things, but rather because in the so-called mental health field, I know that the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic mythology is now used to disguise deception and conceal coercion by psychiatric, patients, politicians, jurists, journalists, and people in general. One can, of course, believe in and defend freedom of religion without believing in the truth of any particular religion--theological, medical, or psychiatrical. And one can object to religious coercion even though one might believe that some or all of the goals of that particular religion (theological, medical, or psychiatric) are desirable. In either case, one would be for freedom and against coercion, not for or against religion or medicine or psychiatry." "Instead of conquering what had been presented to him as mental diseases by curing these diseases, he conquered what is, in fact, the human condition by annexing it, in its entirety, to the medical profession." On Freud) "Psychotherapy is the name we give to a particular kind of personal influence. Although a particular moral practice may be beneficial when undertaken voluntarily, it is worthless or harmful when it is imposed on a person against his will." "If he is to eschew coercion, then he must exclude from his practice those patients who, because of their own coercive tactics, render peaceful conduct toward them impossible." On Luther "What all these methods had in common, and what is most important about them, is that each was at bottom a conversation between patient and doctor, and that this simple fact was disguised by a scientific-sounding Greek term that legitimized them as therapeutic interventions." "Because that proposition of Freud's is epistemological nonsense, and because Freud must have gradually realized that it was, he had only two choices: he could abandon it and admit that human affairs belonged in the realm of morals rather than medicine; or he could redouble his efforts and insist ever more stubbornly that in psychoanalysis he had created a science of "mental life," a science that is "like any other" in its power to offer causal explanations for what it observes and influences. Freud either misunderstands this or denies it; it is difficult to know which would put him in worse light." "He reinterpreted the fact that Oedipus did not want to kill his father and marry his mother. According to the "manifest content" of the legend, Oedipus did not know that the man he killed was his father or that the woman he married was his mother. The most damaging evidence against Freud's case, however, is the fact that he never considered Laius's role in the Oedipus legend. But Freud never suggested that fathers had a "Laius complex," consisting of a desire to kill their sons and keep their wives solely to themselves, and that such a "complex" is a universal trait of the human psyche." "The mind, for example, becomes the "psychic apparatus," the passions the "id," the self the "ego," and the conscience the "superego." One could easily construct an entire glossary of the equivalents in ordinary language of the Freudian semantic masquerading as science." "People have no conflicts and conflicting desires: instead, they have "complexes" and "ambivalences." "His Freud's life work, he says, has been devoted to lowering religion from the "upper floor" into the "basement"--that is, from inspiration to insanity. Jung, predictably, opted for the latter--preferring a simple truth to a convenient obfuscation--and is considered a great mystic." Jung: "I still stand up for the inalienable rights of the individual since he alone is the carrier of life and is gravely threatened by the social leveling process today." "Jung regarded both respectfully--religion as collective mythologies and neuroses as individual ones." "In Jung's view religions are indispensable spiritual supports, whereas in Freud's they are illusory crutches." Jung: "Analytical psychology...

A colleague gave me this book 20 years ago and this week, on vacation, decided to read it.

Flawed thinking when it comes to contemplating the nature of mental illness.

Also, there are times the author for instance go against theories by saying they do not provide corroborating scientific evidence, while doing exactly the same in respect to some of his own views.