By Frank Furedi.
Furedi explores the pathologisation of “everyday disappointments” in late 20th and early 21st century life, and cautions against the therapeutic responses which are now so widespread.
He has polarised critics and earned criticism from the likes of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, which has been horrified by his pronouncements.
Can it really be such a bad thing that we are now more aware of the place of mental health in our make-up? Furedi leaves us in no doubt that the therapy culture has invaded our media, our workplace, our intimate relationships and our politics. It is an interesting polemic. We should be grateful for the balance this book inspires.
There is no doubt that there are many well-intentioned people probably doing more harm that good to the mental health of those they aspire to help. Certainly the idea of “self-esteem” and the claims made for it need scrutiny. Excessive self-esteem is sometimes dangerous and life-threatening in the person who believes he or she is invincible.
Furedi’s analysis of what happens to the image of the family as a result of this culture, showing it as a dangerous place with dependencies that are addictive and negative, is timely.
Dinah Morley is deputy director, YoungMinds.