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Bad Therapy : Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up - Abigail Shrier

Bad Therapy

Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up

By: Abigail Shrier

Hardcover | 2 July 2024

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From the author of Irreversible Damage, an investigation into how mental health overdiagnosis is harming, not helping, children

In virtually every way that can be measured, Gen Z's mental health is worse than that of previous generations. Youth suicide rates are climbing, antidepressant prescriptions for children are common, and the proliferation of mental health diagnoses has not helped the staggering number of kids who are lonely, lost, sad and fearful of growing up. What's gone wrong?

In Bad Therapy, bestselling investigative journalist Abigail Shrier argues that the problem isn't the kids - it's the mental health experts. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with child psychologists, parents, teachers and young people themselves, Shrier explores the ways the mental health industry has transformed the way we teach, treat, discipline and even talk to our kids. She reveals that most of the therapeutic approaches have serious side effects and few proven benefits: for instance, talk therapy can induce rumination, trapping children in cycles of anxiety and depression; while 'gentle parenting' can encourage emotional turbulence - even violence - in children as they lash out, desperate for an adult to be in charge.

Mental health care can be lifesaving when properly applied to children with severe needs, but for the typical child, the cure can be worse than the disease. Bad Therapy is a must-read for anyone questioning why our efforts to support our kids have backfired - and what it will take for parents to lead a turnaround.

About the Author

Abigail Shrier is a writer for the Wall Street Journal. She holds an A.B. from Columbia College, where she received the Euretta J. Kellett Fellowship; a BPhil. from the University of Oxford; and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Industry Reviews
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'Shrier's trenchant critiques of trauma-focused therapy, social-emotional learning curricula, and other well-intentioned practices are essential reading for parents, teachers, and mental health professionals' - Richard J. McNally, professor of psychology at Harvard University

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'Shrier persuasively and forcefully demonstrates how mental health professionals (and some parents) often make things worse for the kids and adolescents they aim to help. With splendid writing and thought-provoking analysis, she offers a compelling vision for how to make things better' - Elizabeth Loftus, distinguished professor of psychological science at University of California, Irvine and former president of the Association for Psychological Science

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'A dazzling combination of investigative reporting and storytelling. A groundbreaking book' - Gerald Posner, award-winning investigative journalist and author of Pharma

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'A well-researched and engaging exploration of therapy's limitations and potential harms, and a powerful critique of a culture in which 'traumatic' describes anything from horrific abuse to your new laptop going on the blink' - Elizabeth Gaufberg, MD, associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

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'Abigail Shrier is the smartest and most courageous reporter in the country. There's a high cost to telling the truth, but for parents and kids, the rewards are beyond measure. Five stars' - Caitlin Flanagan, staff writer at The Atlantic

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