Therapy Junkies

Therapy junkies are people who rely on psychotherapy - or holistic medicine - as a crutch to get through life. In an article titled "Paths Toward Self-Worth" psychotherapist Ginger E. Blume, PhD, comments on the ways therapy can be used appropriately or inappropriately:

"The purpose of self-awareness is to be able to enter into a genuine “relationship with another.” Some people get stuck in focusing on themselves and lose sight of the real purpose of therapy. When this occurs, it is obvious. The individual begins to wallow in feelings of self-pity and tales of victimization become a weekly lament. They become “therapy junkies” - people who look for reassurance that they are OK according to some higher authority."

The article online:

David Smail, a retired clinical psychologist, has written several books in which he gives his views on how psychotherapy turns a blind eye to social forces that shape, and sometimes distort, human minds. In a talk he gave in 1999, he began by saying:

"There is no doubt that psychotherapy can be – perhaps usually is – a very powerful experience. Like many other kinds of experience, however, its power – the weight of conviction it imposes – is no guarantee of its validity."

Later in the talk he commented on therapy junkies:

"... people become so exquisitely sensitive to their own feeling-states and intuitions, etc., that they are virtually removed from the public world of spontaneous social action. ... Therapy junkies can easily find themselves in that kind of condition, and spend far more time than is good for any of us writing about it."

The talk online:

David Smail also wrote the Foreword to the UK edition of a book by Tana Dineen, "Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People". Psychologist Dylan Evans reviewed the book for The Guardian Newspaper and said:

"There are two things that everyone should know about psychotherapy. The first is that almost every study ever done has shown that it is no more effective than a placebo, or even no treatment at all. The second is that most people who have had therapy feel that it has benefited them in some way."

The review online: