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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt polemic
Masson accumulates a lot of evidence through patient journals and case histories to demonstrate that therapists can be domineering, egotistic and lacking in genuine concern for the well-being of their clients. I feel that this could be true of any profession where the client has less knowledge than the practitioner..as in teaching, medicine, even law....He does have a...
Published 11 months ago by Jana Sherber

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ummmmm...
Had a brief read but not that impressed.
Bit of a fascist approach and at times seems to bring in the personal beliefs of Freud and Jung into their work too much. Maybe just because I'm not a freudian thinker when it comes to therapy which Jeffreys is trying to specifically attack but in this process fails to address all other forms of psychotherapy that do not have...
Published on 17 Aug 2011 by mermaidmanooch


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt polemic, 2 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Against Therapy (Paperback)
Masson accumulates a lot of evidence through patient journals and case histories to demonstrate that therapists can be domineering, egotistic and lacking in genuine concern for the well-being of their clients. I feel that this could be true of any profession where the client has less knowledge than the practitioner..as in teaching, medicine, even law....He does have a point that therapy is the only profession where the practitioner gets to assess your whole attitude to life and make a judgement on it...there is a problem with the power imbalance and with the concepts behind 'mental illness' without a doubt,

Masson has said he feels that self help and support groups are probably a better option but that he doesn't have any answers...groups also have power dynamics and a person can also bully and abuse themselves...

If all the professions were assessed externally as are teachers, there might be less of a tendency to exploit and abuse...whistleblowers in care settings and the NHS tend to be sidelined.

HIs thesis is highly personal because Masson was brought up under the influence of a guru whom he later rejected. I have enough experience of therapists, both as a client, and as a friend of people who have trained to do the job to know that those who go into the profession do not necessarily possess the necessary empathy and integrity it requires.

Of course, people who have enough money to do so do 'shop around' for therapists and many people have been helped..Masson admits in an interview that if he dismisses the experience of those who have found therapy beneficial, he is being as authoritarian and dismissive as the practitioners he attacks.

It is unfortunate that he lumps together psychiatric abuse and therapeutic abuse because these settings are different and the first subject requires a book to itself.

Worth reading -it's subjectivity is its strong point (no hiding behind generalisations or stats) and its weakness ( no one thinks that therapists are necessarily superior human beings anyway..that's navie.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for psychotherapists/psychologists, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: Against Therapy (Paperback)
Superb book, sometimes uncomfortable reading for anyone who has an interest or is involved in psychotherapy as a profession but essential none the less. Thoroughly recommended to anyone working in the field, food for thought and excellent critical balance.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book with clear information of the main therapies available, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: Against Therapy (Paperback)
Good book with clear information of the main therapies available. I believe everyone who considers counselling should read this book. Not so much help for those receiving counselling perhaps? But provides information on the history of each of the therapies with true histories of the sources for the evidence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 10 May 2014
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This is a well needed critique of counselling / psychotherapy. I have been on many counselling courses and the tutors never allowed or liked criticism of counselling... open-mindedness is not something counsellors have about counselling itself... which is ironic if you think about it! Me and my tutor fell out over the contents of this book even though SHE recommended it. She was an intellectual fraud!

My advice: if you want to keep the calm and status quo alive, then don't read this if you are on a counselling course, even if the lecturer recommends it. It was a joy to read because it agreed with some of the misgivings I had had about some areas of counselling for quite a while. Counselling earns people lots of money so they have a psychological block in regards to using any critical thinking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 25 Jan 2014
By 
Steinbeck (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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A must read for anyone who wants to know the truth. The psychological industry is all pervasive and this book provides a refreshing antidote
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Journey towards Disaffection, 6 Oct 2010
By 
Donald Scott (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Against Therapy (Paperback)
I've read this important book several times over the last few years-and I continually ask myself what happened in the authors life to make him turn against his profession? Dorothy Rowe in her preface perhaps hints at the answer. As with all therapy and therapists there has to be a history. Some therapists believe they have a gift, and a subsequent need to express this in the form of offering their patient an opportunity to self-reflect, review and examine their life. Some patients will benefit from this relationship-perhaps it is quite obvious that others may not. The context of the therapeutic encounter and the personalities of the protagonists are essntial ingredients in the overall experience. Masson must be tapping in on some very negative experiences to write as he does-and he will probably have met some over-bearing, opinionated and arrogant therapists that have made him so vehemently anti-psychotherapy.

There are however many genuine and caring practitioners who can provide some solace and comfort to those with many forms of mental illness-the full spectrum from ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression and the rest. By providing a safe and secure place a person (and indirectly their family) can revisist their past and gain an insight that may offer a way of seeing a more optimistic future. A skilled and authentic therapist can provide for some the equivalent of the priest or shaman. The price a patient pays to examine their inner self may for some be a price too high for the author, particularly when the therapist abuses their status. I would observe that the main safeguard has to be the rigorous and careful training of therapists who can then offer a real and viable alternative to psychotropic medication.

Overall this book deserves to be read by both sides of the debate on whether talking therapies are a source of good or bad.
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16 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good and worth a read to give view of potential darker side, 6 Dec 2007
By 
Philip (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Against Therapy (Paperback)
I'm a trainnee counsellor and bought this book due to it being mentioned in my course regularly as being a famous critique of therapy. What I really liked about it was that it opened my eyes more in the sense of cases he cites of the mental health field being abusive to its' clients. It also provided some shocking evidence that Carl Jung couldve been a Nazi sympathiser, although other evidence does seem to make this more inconclusive. It also picks some interesting holes in theories and how they may not be useful or indeed very damaging. As the title suggests, the book is against therapy.

What I can't take on board though and what I know from reading around therapy that generally isn't taken on board from Massan's work is that the solution is to totally abolish therapy and make some warm friendship groups as a possible solution. This conclusion is quite insulting to people who have genuine issues which cannot be accommodated merely by talking to friends. Professionals are clearly needed and what myself and my colleagues call for is for the counselling field to be more regulated. It is at points but at other times isn't which could allow for potential abuse.

There are several counselling charities around, not to mention my current working for the NHS which are highly regulated and supervised to constantly do what is best for the client.(although Massan would argue we're not actually doing best for the client). Also some of his claims such as in UK on counselling course you don't have to have your own personal therapy simply are not true. Most courses actually require counsellors to have their own therapy for about 50 hours. Not only that but within the course there are groups which you are expected to make a good contribution to pass.

Also, what I feel is very important to say is whereas the abusive cases he sites are no doubt really important and make me say how it should be regulated. I would like to say that they are so so far removed from either my experience or anyone I've known. Most people I know who have had counselling (and I know a lot) see it as a very rewarding experience and not only that but very difficult to go through and commendable to go through and as result of which can have relationships and live a life which before wouldnt of been possible. Some people including myself see having counselling and the best thing theyve ever done for themselves.

Counselling charities which I worked for provides an invaluable service to people in need of someone to speak to. This has very professional training and supervised counselling. So I would say it is well worth a look but read a lot around it. It contains some useful interesting insights for sure and obviously the abuse is so important but as stated earlier very few people agree with what his conclusion is.
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16 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How I wish that I had read this before I started work!, 16 Nov 2005
By 
Karl Ericsson (South of Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Against Therapy (Paperback)
This book consists of an almost complete catalogue on psychodynamic procedures and a review on each of them, demasking them. It should be pointed out that it is not a defence for biologic therapy as an alternative to psychotherapy. The attack on biologic therapy (=pills) has been done by others but this book is almost unique in its attack.
It's been written by a person, who went into personal analysis for 9 years and who was appointed librarian for the Freud Archives by Freud's daughter in Austria. This guy isn't just anybody - he's been there and is well worth reading (that's for all you fools who need authoritarian arguments).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 5 Oct 2014
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Criticisms of therapy., 3 Feb 2013
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As a student or trainee in therapeutic practice, this book will be useful in highlighting some of the criticsms to therapy.
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Against Therapy by Jeffrey Masson (Paperback - 23 July 1992)
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