Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry Is Doing to People

Description

330 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
$21.99
ISBN 1-895854-58-X
DDC 616.89'14'023

Author

Year

1996

Contributor

Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is an associate editor of the Canadian Book Review
Annual.

Review

The central premise of this book is that psychology has become “a
voracious, self-serving industry that proffers ‘facts’ which are
often unfounded, provides ’therapy’ which can be damaging to its
recipients, and exerts influence which is having devastating effects on
the social fabric.” The author, a licensed psychologist who recently
left her clinical practice, details how the “psychology
industry”—which comprises psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis,
clinical social work, and psychotherapy—has abandoned scientific
rigor, critical thinking, and healthy skepticism in favor of junk
science, subjective beliefs, and, above all, “power and profit.”

Meticulously researched and documented, the book is divided into seven
chapters that examine, respectively, the differences between authentic
and fabricated victims, and the techniques employed in victim-making
(recovered-memory therapy is later singled out as a particularly
insidious example); the three types of fabricated victims, and the
social and personal costs of fabricated victimhood; the growth of
psychology as a profit-driven industry; violations of scientific
principles within the industry (including misrepresentation and
fabrication of data); marketing and business strategies used by the
industry; the trend toward psychological mechanization, a process
whereby the industry simultaneously attracts “psychologically prone
individuals” and screens out “informed customers”; and strategies
for restraining, and eventually dismantling, the industry. Although the
psychology industry is identified as a North American invention, almost
all of the examples in this book are drawn from the United States. The
text is supported by figures, tables, and an abundance of endnotes; the
index is disappointingly perfunctory.

Dineen argues persuasively that such popular victim-making techniques
as trauma/abuse therapy, codependency, and addiction therapy ultimately
serve to infantilize people, robbing them of their individuality and
autonomy. Taken as a whole, however, Manufacturing Victims is seriously
marred by repetitious writing, typos, spelling errors, illiteracies,
misplaced punctuation, and inconsistent stylings. The author deserved
better from her editors.

Citation

Dineen, Tana., “Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry Is Doing to People,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/5770.