Psychoanalysis in the Age of Apology
The age of apology has now extended beyond the political world to the psychotherapeutic consulting room. The American Psychoanalytic Association has offered a heartfelt mea culpa for trauma caused to "LGBTQI" patients.
Ever since it emerged from the Viennese consulting rooms of Sigmund Freud, political utopians have used psychoanalysis to diagnose and cure social ills. From early Freudo-Marxists like Alfred Adler and Wilhelm Reich to Herbert Marcuse and Paul Goodman in the '60s, they argued that neurosis would disappear once the repressive chains of capitalism were broken. Unlike Freud, who viewed human beings as the authors of their own psychological misery, the Freudo-Marxists viewed happiness as the natural human condition, corrupted by external institutions like religion and capitalism. It is therefore the duty of psychoanalysts to align themselves with their patients' struggles against those patriarchal institutions. Despite their efforts, utopia never arrived, and so, like other revolutionaries, they turned on one another, demanding confessions and apology. In the Soviet Union, those who did not share the utopian faith were themselves "analyzed," given psychiatric diagnoses, and locked up in mental hospitals. So far in this country, dissidents have not been hospitalized. Instead, they must confess to having been misguided and been the cause of the very pain they supposedly sought to cure. If they don't, they risk expulsion from the "woke" community of analysts.
Utopian yearnings never die, but since they can never be realized, scapegoats must be found. Today the utopian revolution is fueled by postmodern ideas, a dramatic example of which is the attempt to alter reality by changing language. Thus is biological sex severed from biology, and drastic change can occur simply by change of clothing, surgical mutilation, and mere assertion that one is "male" or "female" or anything in between, regardless of biological reality. Victim status is then conferred on the oppressed group that has courageously broken free of biological reality. Instead of being authors of our pain and able through hard effort to change, being a victim requires victimizers be found and forced to pay. One way to avoid lawsuits or worse is to pre-emptively apologize. Political correctness is a way of enforcing the "intersectional" dogma that regards various groups like members of LGBT and others as united in victimhood. In the world of psychotherapy, the task changes from one of achieving insight and inner freedom to raising consciousness so as to identify and turn on oppressors.
Organized psychoanalysis, eager to stay in the good graces of the utopians who tend to regard Freud's conservative view of human nature as anathema, has now officially apologized for the terrible damage it has inflicted.
One way to establish bona fides with the utopian left is to apologize for being a tool of capitalist oppressors.
"It is long past time to recognize and apologize for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession and say, 'We are sorry,'" said a statement by Dr. Lee Jaffe, president of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Fifty-plus years of clinical practice has taught how challenging it is for individuals to change maladaptive and self-defeating ways of getting through life. It is not so easy as announcing that one has chosen a new gender or picking an institution to blame. As Casey Stengel once put it:
The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for... reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration.
By substituting blame for self-knowledge, organized psychoanalysis is offering the worst possible way of dealing with psychological pain.
Image: Jty 33.
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