Hundreds of interviews, two years of my life, to discover the untold story of how mental health experts are making adolescents sicker, sadder, unwilling to grow up
When my now 27 year old was about 9 her small country primary school was broken into and the office vandalised (foam in computers and a bit of grafitti). She came home quite excited and keen to play detective. But the next afternoon she was quite different. She arrived home speaking of being traumatised and violated. Yes! The pschologists had been sent in to deal with the 'trauma' of the children and teachers. I quickly reminded her about how she had felt the day before and she immediately forgot about 'being violated' and reverted to interested detective mode. I learnt so much about the role of experts in creating trauma from this incident and have always sought to help my children find their strengths and resilience.
All my children were adopted as toddlers from India so do have some very real trauma issues but as a family we have always been able to have open conversations about this and my husband and I have tried to support them through their feelings of abandonment, loss, shame and more. While I do know that a really good therapist would probably have helped with some of the legacy issues, especially with my youngest, I have been too wary of the current desire to victimise to turn to the professionals in the hope of finding the very rare good one while risking sending them to a 'bad' one. Given my youngest began to have some 'gender' issues as a 13 year old in 2016 and knowing what I know now about ROGD I am very very thankful I never sent her to a therapist. Especially in my state of Australia where there is an affirmative only model! At 20 she is now a very proud gender critical woman.
BTW, with the school break in it turned out to be a couple of bored teenage ex students who had done the deed.
Painfully accurate. My own field of psychology has been ideologically captured. I hope your book provides much needed courage and solutions to break away from the current group-think.
I love that you are writing about this. What they are doing to children is very lucrative economically, and twice as pathological.
I am so excited about this book!
My pre-teen child had the best therapy that Silicon Valley had to offer and yet I continually felt something was off. My daughters lingering crisis seemed to be confirming that. So one sunny day on August 2023 I packed our bags, rented out our wonderful house and we moved out of the US. Bang! Fixed.
It has been one month that we are in Italy. My son stopped his trichotillomania (obsessive hair pulling.) My other child who was considered "high-risk" in California is blooming. Both kids are eager to be at School. Not something we saw while in the States. I am so excited to see what else this move will bring us. And I look forward to reading your book. Thank you so much for all your work, Abigail! I tell all the fellow parents about you, your books and your blog.
I'm excited to read your book. It's getting worse. I've taught part time for 8 years in an adolescent unit of a local psych hospital. COVID did a lot of damage to teens too. Those who have experienced trauma, have neglectful or just plain bad parents suffer from depression and anxiety that normally would be overcome with time and maturity. Add pot for self medicating, low confidence, bullying, gender dysphoria, abuse--and kids want to run into traffic, take a bunch of pills and give up. They do need counseling but sad to hear it's not helping. It's a national tragedy. September is Suicide Awareness Month.
This looks great! As a registered nurse who worked in mental health for over 30 yrs before retiring from that career, and as a current group and individual therapist, I have to say you are absolutely on the right track, Abigail. Mental health and wellbeing interventions for young people seem to be all about inculcating them into the belief that if they have ANY uncomfortable emotions, upsetting thoughts or distressing experiences, there must be something wrong with them, or something wrong with the way they're being treated by others, or something wrong with the world in general. Either way the solution MUST be a diagnosis (or several), meds, psychotherapy and (unbeknownst to them) a lifelong career as a mental health patient. We're creating generations of hyper-fragile kids, who obsessively take their own emotional temperature every 5 minutes (as they're encouraged to do by schools now), some of whom become quite enraged, collapse into a state of infantile paralysis or become histrionic whenever life proves challenging. This is so destructive, and is seemingly motivated by what the Buddhists call "idiot compassion". Chronic avoidance of challenge combined with self-obsession and rumination are diametrically opposed to living well and having good social and emotional wellbeing. But this phenomenon is great for the mental health and pharmaceutical industries' bottom line.
I just pre-ordered. I have 5 kids and they've turned out pretty good -- a cop, a teacher, a math major, a new college student, and a digital artist. But one of my kids -- the one who moved to NY -- has been in therapy since she was 22. Her therapist has put her on multiple drugs for depression, ADHD, and things I don't even know about. I believe in therapy when there is a serious need -- and sometimes, people need to talk to a neutral third party to work through major issues (divorce, death, etc) ... but my daughter was never abused, she was raised in a solid middle class home with a good education and two parents who, though not perfect, stayed together (30 years and still going.) Virtually every one of her friends (all late 20s/early 30s) goes to therapy. I don't understand this. She thinks I don't support her therapy because I told her that there needs to be an end point -- that 5+ years of therapy is too much. If she has a problem to work through and the therapist can't help her work through it in a year, then maybe it's time to stop. She didn't like that and says I don't understand. .... Now that my oldest has a baby, I'm going to read this book and then give it to her.
Seven years ago, I began enduring gaslighting and emotional abuse at the hands of therapists. The last therapist I ever spoke to voluntarily was a man who chased me out of his office screaming and swearing at me. When I reported him to the psychological board he was licensed through, I was told that it probably wouldn't make a difference, and he continued to work as a psychologist. The existence of Ms. Shrier's book is the first thing that makes me feel like someone sees and understands my pain. We live in a society that is obsessed with mental health but doesn't put enough regulations on the people we pay money to safeguard it. Our society says "go see a therapist" as the answer to every problem, but when the problem IS therapy-created trauma, there is nowhere left to go. Thank you for your book.
My 65 year old friend has sole custody of her delightful granddaughter who just turned eleven. Several months ago, the child asked to see a therapist, and my friend asked me to help her find a good one. I went through all the local listings posted on Psychology Today but came up empty handed.
Even though this is a southern state, a red state, the therapist profiles bent over backwards to state how "trans" friendly and "inclusive" they were. And I told my friend they all seemed like they'd cause more harm than good. I shudder to think what might have transpired if my friend's dear granddaughter had been subjected to the indoctrination that passes for psychotherapy these days.
Yes- I was looking forward to your next book!. We so need your voice again on many podcasts as well!
Glad to see this pernicious toxin getting an airing! I've been observing this for decades now, in adults and now young people. Recently I watched a 'detransitioner' on Soft White Underbelly, and what struck me was how covetous she was of "my trauma." She seemed to have no other interests than herself and her "trauma." However, it did appear that she made her way to a better therapist who got her off the trans train and out into the world somewhat better off.
At the universities where I work, news stories that bear no relation to where we are beget mass emails encouraging students to seek therapy. When Trump was elected, the students asked what was wrong with me that I wasn't canceling class and crying. I get snarky remarks from colleagues for treating the students like adults. Some years ago, a student jumped out a dorm window (committed suicide) and one of my Korean students had been standing below when this happened. We all received the message to send students to counseling. This student told me that her parents said NOT to take the anti-depressants that were being nudged at her, and what did I think? I told her that even though what she had seen was terrible, and it would disturb her for a while, it would pass, and that she should listen to her parents regarding getting on medication. I then received a phone call from the Director of our department taking me to task for telling the student to listen to her parents and forego getting on anti-depressants. She also told me it was wrong to tell someone that the discomfort would pass. When I tried to convey to her that really, who has a choice, we all have to get on with it, the director said (I cannot stomach this sentiment as it's always used as an excuse for failure to thrive): EVERYBODY'S DIFFERENT!
It would seem obvious that encouraging people to feel upset in the guise of "mental health" would wreak havoc on our mental health. But apparently not. What's worse is that experiences labeled "trauma" are just.... part of life. Add to this the social justice white people bad, heterosexuality bad mantras....
Joshua Slocum and just last week Christopher Rufo argued that we're living in a "Cluster B Society" driven by narcissistic impulses. Absolutely. I hope this book sheds light on this matriarchal malaise. I hate to say it but...the drama queens are running the asylum. We need to wrest it from their control.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for all you do!
Just put in my pre order and can’t wait to read it. Thank you for your tireless work. I hope you know you are appreciated🙏♥️
As a psychologist and parent, I applaud your efforts.
way back in 1969, i went to see a therapist. i was 16 and had a crush on an older boy who was in therapy. it was "the thing to do" and i wanted to impress him. the psychiatrist gave me a month's prescription of Elavil. i took it for a few days but didn't like how i felt so every morning, when my mother gave me my pill, i palmed it and sent it down the sink drain.
after a month, i saw the shrink again and he said "i guess you need a refill on your antidepressant."
i said "you could do that but i'm just putting them down the drain. i haven't taken them for nearly the whole month. i didn't like how they made me feel."
"you don't need them then" was his reply and that was the end of our contact.
in college i majored in psychology with the intent of becoming a therapist but on the way to graduate school, i decided to do something useful instead.
in 1980, i befriended a man who was constantly in therapy. his wife was in therapy; his daughters were in therapy, he and his wife were in couples therapy. they were all in family therapy. i said to him "the only thing that changes in therapy is your bank account relative to the therapist's bank account."
in 2008 he got a divorce, saved a lot of money by not going to therapy and moved in with me.
As both a mother to an ROGD-afflicted daughter
and also a child and adolescent therapist, I am 100% in agreement with you. Your book helped save my daughter from medicalization because it was the first important work I came upon that finally supported everything that I was thinking but that the world was telling me was wrong. There’s a chance I might be able to be at both your Carolina and Virginia presentations, and I would sit in the front row and show you my unceasing gratitude and support.