Friday, September 02, 2005

The War on Therapism

The other day, I was telling my friend SSMW about a local group of therapists who were falling all over themselves to get to New York the week after 9/11. Here's a piece from Reason Magazine about the PTSD industry and the carpetbagging therapists whom it profits. It's adapted from One Nation Under Therapy by Sally Satel and Christina Hoff Summers. Excerpts:

“Disaster vultures” was the name given to overly enthusiastic mental health professionals who rushed into the scene at the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. “Their credibility in the future would be their claim to have worked in Oklahoma City,” a dismayed local psychologist observed.

Also -- you think FEMA could have used an extra $155 million since then? Maybe used it to keep a thousand or so security people and their pump-action shotguns on retainer?

When the New York State Office of Mental Health applied for its first FEMA counseling grant right after September 11, it estimated that 1.5 million New Yorkers would need counseling. A grant of $23 million came through promptly in October. As of June 2002, about 120,000 had sought assistance, not even one-tenth the projected number. Yet around that time, FEMA announced another grant, of $132 million—nearly six times as large—in response to a second request for counseling funding. This time, the Office of Mental Health projected that two million New Yorkers, or one in four, would need counseling (“to allow necessary healing to continue”).

I'm surprised we haven't seen rowboats full of this crowd fighting their way to the French Quarter. Maybe they just opted to hang around in the Astrodome parking lot instead.

Update, 10:55 PM, 9/5/05: Speak of the Devil...


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