Sunday, July 17, 2005

Welcome to the wild world of SHAM...

This is the opening post of what--I hope--will be a spirited, (relatively) no-holds-barred give-and-take on the self-help-and-actualization universe. I have created this blog in response to overwhelming consumer demand. (OK, a few people who'd investigated the book or caught one of my media appearances took me to task for not having one.) That book, btw, is SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. It's available on Amazon, of course (follow the link) and at major bookstores everywhere, as we authors like to say when we're tying to sound like we're all Stephen King...

I'm eager to hear from anyone on any aspect of self-help. Whether you've been saved or scammed, helped or harmed, this is the place to talk about it.

So fire away...and let's see what happens.


Robin said...


Robin Plan here (flawedplan) from Our Common Condition, a mental health site for people with severe psychiatric diagnoses; my board is based on the scholarship of the humanities. Its target audience includes mental patients who self-harm, who have been hospitalized, who are over and under-medicated and stigmatized for the rest of their lives. We live on psych disability. I've had over 20 years of psychotherapy. I am the real deal.

I am a critic and foe of anti-intellectualism, the low-brow pop psychology you criticize, and our "therapized" culture.

I believe the theoretical underpinnings of the human potential movement are solid, but misunderstood, misused and abysmally misappropriated by the general public. I point readers to my own critical analyses on the psychiatric establishment, as well as the very good books (classics) already out there by Lasch, Masson and Kaminer, to name but three. Are you familiar with these author's works?

The Houston Chronicle review of SHAM gives the impression of a single-minded, superficial and obvious handling of a topic that's already been thorougly appraised. The recovery movement is so 1990s, innit?

Having said that, my board, Our Common Condition does indeed utilize the teachings of the human potential old-timers (Perls, Maslow, and Rogers, and their forerunners Emerson and Horney). I promote self-actualization as such, including peer support, journaling, personal narrative and the cognitive restructuring properties in affirmations. I'm grateful as hell for whatever helps people, and I advocate self-education by critical readings of self-help books.

Let me know if I can be of any help.

Steve Salerno said...
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