Theater of Cruelty

Stop whining

You don't have to love yourself.


[therapy community] A man comes to the first hour with a psychologist:

- My problem is that I can not express my feelings.

- But it's fantastic, women love the silent type!

- Yes, I know, but I wish I could express better what I mean.

- Do you think anyone would find it interesting, then?

- I do not know. I never try.

- Do you have any thoughts that you think might be interesting, then?

- That is the problem, most often I do not think they are so interesting.

- Why should not it vote?

- You mean, like, saltines and their ilk, eh?

- Yes, and there are then enough idiotic people who express their opinions in the cabin and weather. Think of all the empty nonsense you save the world for!

This is what Jeffrey Wijnberg's typical therapy time looks like, according to himself. The Dutch-American psychologist believes he cures patients faster, cheaper and more effectively than traditional psychologists. In the book Who Needs a Shrink? or You do not need to love yourself, as it is called in Swedish translation, he goes to the frontal attack on traditional forms of therapy. Wijnberg breaks holes in the myths of human consciousness, one by one, and we all know them: You must first love yourself. You can if you want. Negative thinking is wrong. It must be the subconscious. Slut, Wijnberg thinks. Why should you love yourself when it is far from certain that you deserve it? Concentrate first on loving others and doing good things, then you will be well-liked, and then your problem will be solved. Instead of settling for patients' problems, Wijnberg is trying to normalize our "suffering" as part of life. If you feel guilty, it's probably because you've actually done something wrong. The anxious are right, it is dangerous to live, and yes, death is scary. So what?

In the process of replacing the belief in God with the belief in "ourselves," the therapists became our new priesthood. When we seek out a psychologist, we do not necessarily want change, but a confirmation that our problems are real, that we have human depth and are worth loving. We expect comfort and forgiveness. We get it, too, as the hundreds of bills run out of the bank account. To an even greater extent than against self-pitying patients, it is his colleagues Wijnberg strikes out against. Just like most people, psychologists dislike namely confrontation and conflict. So they rather brush up on the patient's problems, nodding understandingly and asking empathically, "Why do you think you feel this way?" With robotic predictability. And the more complex your problem, the thicker their wallet becomes.

This little book is, of course, also a great marketing trick for Wijnberg's own practice, and he happily admits that his motive for writing books is largely to pay off the big, slightly too expensive house he and his wife bought. He must like that for me. I immediately replace a shelf meter of self-help literature with this refreshing little fig of a book. n

Book mentioned:

Jeffrey Wijnberg

You don't have to

love yourself

Swedish Publishing House 2005

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