Beyond Help: A consumers' guide to psychology
ISBN 978 1898059 54 7 (2003)
Why do we think that there are 'psychological' problems, and that therapy or medication offers the answer? This book will tell you how it comes to be that we think we have psychological problems, and why it is that 'needing' therapy is increasingly the answer. And, if we are to produce a future where we can help ourselves, without helping the business of therapeutics, it outlines some of the ways that we might re-think our selves. The version of human experience promoted by psychology defines twenty-first century western culture. That a way of understanding ourselves unheard of 100 years ago now dominates the 'helping' professions and the common sense of everyday conversation, TV talk-shows and magazine problem pages, is remarkable. This book examines how this knowledge of ourselves is produced, packaged and marketed. We demonstrate how the psychological professions sell themselves as the authority of human nature, and on appropriate forms of 'help' for personal distress. That is, we show the methods by which psychology — as a self-conscious social, cultural and entrepreneurial project — both defines an ever-increasing range of human experience as needing its expertise, and then markets proprietary solutions to ordinary people, aspiring professionals and other disciplines.
• Trading in the self
• 'That boy needs therapy'
• Self-help etc.
• Psych dot com
• 'Pictures of Lily'
• 'Here's Johnny!'
• Beyond help?
Susan Hanson and her colleagues have assembled a densely argued critique of the role of psychology and psychotherapy in twentieth century culture. If you enjoy the writing of Michel Foucault, Nikolas Rose and Craig Newnes you will want to read this book. … It is an important and stimulating book, which raises fundamental questions about the basic nature of the therapeutic enterprise. Julia McLeod, HCPJ, July 2003
How unusual … to come across three psychologists so concerned about their discipline as to risk the odium of many of their colleagues by documenting diligently and illuminatingly the ways in which professional psychology has taken with such enthusiasm and lack of restraint … to selling its wares. … a wide-ranging and well-informed critique of psychological methodology and practice beyond merely therapy. Furthermore these authors do not stop at critique but think also about some of the things we need to do to put matters right. Written with an intelligence and depth of thought that demand careful attention, no one with a serious interest in the field will regret reading this book, even though it may make some pretty uncomfortable. David Smail, Mental Health Today, November 2003