Mental health professionals are replacing evidence-driven therapeutics with political ideology.
Thanks to all who wrote in. I just want to add yet another entry to the growing compendium of proof that scholarly standards are dropping precipitously.
For those with access, check out this two pager in jamapsychiatry_brown_2021_vp_210005_1628043316.03785 (2).
The paper's title" Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Implementation of Antiracism
Anyone who wants a pdf should email me at email@example.com
This paper is yet another addition to what is becoming, to put it bluntly, a fraudulent literature on anti-racism in medicine. It is a jargon filled, echo chamber in which terms are rarely defined and it embodies the the well-known circular reasoning of the anti-racism movement: if you are not an anti-racist by our definition, then you are a racist. And every inequality is the result of implicit bias and structural racism - no questions allowed. Lastly, in the examples they give, they don't even control for race.
Kudos to Ms. Satel and others for taking up the cause of the Individual in their field. The idea of personal agency and dignity lies at the heart of therapy, democracy and Western culture in general these past 300 years. Make no mistake, the neo-Marxists/neo-Racists are thrusting a dagger at that heart. So long as their philosophy of group identity, and more precisely their charge of systemic racism holds sway in elite circles, they will continue to bleed out the culture. Persuasion Community, take them on. Asking them to place nice achieves nothing. Counter their accusation directly and relentlessly. Fortunately, the case against them is easy to make. A handful of commentators are making it strongly. But a handful is not enough.
These tendencies have been underway for a LONG time. I've been around the social science side of academia for most of my life. This specific focus began in the 70s. Every aspect of life is understood through the rigid lens of the standard -isms and -phobias, not through the lens of individual empathy and individual experience.
Glad to be warned about concerns in this field. And I'm especially glad to hear new professional institutions are being founded to push back in a principled manner.
I wrote a comment earlier and deleted it. Just wanted to say I think the article obviously has its merits and its observations undeniable. However, it is a bit hyperbolic and mischaracterizes clinical training, painting it as farcical. I’m sure there are problems but I doubt people are being supervised to view everyone not as unique individuals with different histories and subjectivities but as “avatars” for an ethnic, racial group, or whatever identify groups.
There are so many different things under discussion in the context of this topic I think: (a) dealing with issues of race, class, sex, etc in the context of a therapeutic relationship and psychotherapy, (b) ethnic diversity in the field of mental health professionals, training, education, etc, & (c) identity politics & what feels like a forced, insincere, unhelpful attempt at being holier than now which I think can actually be detrimental to authentic interpersonal relating & insight as well as antagonistic to critical thinking generally. Politics is everywhere & everyone is political but I don’t love seeing groups, organizations, or entire schools of thought adopt rituals that while well meaning can be undermining to an honest way of being in the world and with others. There should be more of a focus on the real world as experienced by therapists & patients not abstract talking points.
Overall, every field is dealing with how to address identity politics which is quite pervasive across all aspects of society. The mental health field is no different but should try to keep it real. Most importantly, we have to preserve the capacity for critical thinking about topics that are highly emotive.
I do appreciate the comment about specific examples. Please take a look at the website criticaltherapyantidote.com. It contains posts from trainees, practitioners, and patients and supplies the details. To be sure, older therapists tend to be ill-at-ease with these developments and where the rubber meets the road in a clinic, behind closed doors, I suspect that a good many therapists are professional. Among the younger cohort, those working in university mental health, and working for advocacy groups, there seems to be significant infiltration of ideology that does not put the patient first.
Another article of interest....and 2 excerpts follow:
"Medicine's Getting Major Injections of Woke Ideology (Two-Part Series)"
"Lurking just under the surface of this debate is the sensitive question no one wants to discuss on the record: the quality of med students and doctors who have lower test scores and worse grades, and presumably would not have been admitted if not for affirmative action. That’s an issue broached by Norman Wang, a University of Pittsburgh cardiologist whose peer-reviewed article questioning the legality of racial preferences was, four months after publication, retracted, leading to Wang’s demotion and public denunciation by his employer and by the journal that initially saw fit to run his article."
"The AMA’s [American Medical Association] 86-page strategic plan endorses critical race theory, intersectionality and equity as core elements of a medical school education. Consistent with those doctrines, the AMA’s equity strategy repudiates equal treatment and meritocracy, denouncing them as “malignant,” white supremacist ideologies that serve to obscure “true power and site of responsibility.” The AMA condemns the “detrimental effects of colonization, racial capitalism, and enduring forms of supremacism” that contribute to a “persistent cycle of structural violence.”
Related to the present essay, readers may want to also read this:
"Med Schools Are Now Denying Biological Sex
Professors are apologizing for saying ‘male’ and ‘female.’ Students are policing teachers. This is what it looks like when activism takes over medicine."
And listen to this podcast...."When American Doctors Are Scared to Tell the Truth"
Comment from my intern on the article: This article lists a number of concerns that pose itself as a stalwart defense of therapy's sanctified status as a clinical, empirical profession. It -intentionally or otherwise- positions the idea of accounting for systemic power dynamics in elements of therapy as not being evidence-based, despite decades of research and lived experiences proving otherwise. Awareness is not ideology, and cross-cultural competency is a feature, not a flaw. It's concerning to read a therapeutic professional expressing so much resistance to the notion that humans -as social creatures- are significantly affected by the sociopolitical realities of social structures rooted in centuries of history. Self-determinism and individuality are certainly factors of the human experience, but we are now in a sociocultural era in which these greater hegemonic forces are finally able to be acknowledged and addressed; clearly, this is disorienting for some who cling to tradition, which is understandable. That being said, the framing of social justice as "radical" is irresponsible, inaccurate, and incendiary rhetoric that verges on conservative talking points that seek to limit the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health care. Perhaps instead of worrying for the profession's future and conformity, energy would be better directed in exercising cultural humility and empathy, a desire to holistically understand all of the factors that both patient and therapist bring into session and navigate outside of it. To answer the article's title thesis: therapists may not necessarily be activists, but comprehensive therapists understand how to be advocates.
Sally I have really really really huge issues with " When therapists use patients as receptacles for their worldview, patients are not led to introspection, nor are they emboldened to experiment with new attitudes, perspectives, and actions. Patients labeled by their therapists as oppressors can feel alienated and confused; those branded as oppressed learn to see themselves as feeble victims. It is difficult to imagine how a healthy therapeutic alliance between counselor and patient—a core bond nurtured through a clinician’s posture of caring neutrality and compassionate detachment—could thrive under these conditions." I don't necessarily disagree with the statement. I don't even disagree with the fact that there could be some type of apolitical statement but I do disagree with is the years and years and years and years that black people have been marginalized with no action, systematically had rights taken from them with no action, Medicated for some of these things with no action, minimized and dismissed still no action. We've had to go along with the go along just to stay alive. Your wording further for me as a black woman to read it it further fuels a fire and not solve a problem it further fuels a problem without any resolution in a positive manner. I would love to discuss further and work together. Statements don't mean a thing.
This article here. So you are not going to even mention that the Institution of social work has done this for years. They have led the way of advocacy but it did not, does not or even will not champion beside the other mental health professionals. They have lobbied and advocated against anyone else to be paneled to take medicare. They plotted and planned how to stay relevant as computers were the next big thing in 1985. For as long as I can remember other mental health professionals have wondered what is up. I have worked in the profession since the late 90's. They are the opposite of what they claim. And are not hiding it. I researched this topic for over a year and I am calling it out but no one has an answer. WHY ARE SOCIAL WORKERS THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN BE PANELED WITH MEDICARE?