Psychobabble: Fast Talk and Quick Cure in the Era of Feeling by Richard Rosen

Here are some highlights from this 1977 book:

* These days, fewer seem willing to settle for anything so quaint as ordinary human suffering. Consumer expectations have risen, demanding the “permanent and uninterrupted bliss”…the you you never thought you could be, a total eclipse of anxiety… [M]ental health is…a total triumph over all that threatens the autonomy of the individual.

* Because of this free mixing of the psychological and the spiritual in popular therapies and popular speech… Their words don’t belong to them so much as to the current guru of choice or best-selling self-help book. It’s as if they’ve rented their insights for the occasion.

* What appears to be occurring in the therapeutic culture of the seventies is the suppression of natural narrative speech…

* It is the ultimate effect of too much psychobabble to repress those surprises during which we start to glimpse the ingenious deceptions of our lives.

* In order for quickie therapies like est to achieve their “remarkable results,” they must provide an engaging vocabulary, indicate a therapeutic goal (“getting It”) and, in fact, often bluntly tell you what is wrong with you (“You’re all asshole whose lives just don’t work”).

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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