It started one ordinary day, in one otherwise ordinary session: A beautiful young woman I had known for a few years wanted to cut off her breasts. (Details changed to protect identity.)
“What happened?” In my mind, the first concern was cancer.
“Nothing. I just hate them. I’d really like to be rid of them. I was just wondering what you thought.”
So I told her. She had a long history of abuse, abandonment, and self-mutilation. Given that, I suggested, didn’t it seem like another aspect of self-hatred and rage? I urged her to take time to really consider all the ramifications -- its effect on her physiology, on her partner, on her children.
She bristled and said I was being unsupportive. I explained I couldn’t be supportive of something that was an extension of existing pathology.
She found another, more supportive therapist, and is now living with the results of her surgery.
That was the beginning of the end for me.
For weeks afterward I found myself fighting off fears of being reported to the licensing board for not agreeing with her and realized, finally, that the whole profession had become a political platform. Therapy had become a form of indoctrination and if you weren’t goose-stepping with whatever was trending, you were truly risking everything.
This is honestly a great loss for everyone because social work had so much promise in its beginnings.
Social work was a profession that was birthed by a belief in God and a devotion to charity. Its ranks were the committed and caring women who went to clean the typhus-ridden, brought food to the disabled, bandaged the botched abortion victim. They were epitomes of compassion and righteousness, ministers of presence and love. They supplied what was needed, listened with great skill, found hidden resources and advocated for the powerless.
But then, as they formalized their positions and started to ask for salaries and professional validation from related professions (e.g., doctors), it required more than a belief in goodness; it required a business plan, a mission statement, and a board of directors. Quickly, as the attachment to funding took hold and the culture became more and more laissez faire, social workers surreptitiously morphed into something that resonated more with Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood and less with the Sisters of Charity. With no other moral code in place, the Self took center stage. The motto: whatever makes you happy.
The results of that transformation are visible today in every social service agency: A social worker who wants to continue working had better understand that he or she has to support all aspects of LGBT platforms, has to facilitate partial-birth abortions, and has to eliminate any and all references to God -- no matter what he or she believes. Alternative therapies are acceptable so long as they are goddess-driven and support mandatory vaccination. All therapies have to pass their “ethical” (i.e. political) means testing… and they all revolve around the exaltation of the Self, even when that “self” has the emotional stability of packing peanuts.
The essential problem is this: the Self can only be exalted in this manner once the Creator Himself has been ejected. And that is precisely what has happened… slowly and cunningly, but steadily.
The breakdown started with Engel v. Vitale ’62 (370 U.S. 421) when God was ejected from the public square, specifically schools. And then, after that, men were ejected from the household in the welfare laws of the 60s.
Under the man-in-the-house rule, a child who otherwise qualified for welfare benefits was denied those benefits if the child's mother was living with, or having relations with, any single or married able-bodied male. The man was considered a substitute father, even if the man was not supporting the child. (law.jrank.org)
Families soon became a form of interpretive art: one day you’re there, then you’re not. Roles became fluid and this fluidity was embraced with both arms of modern media. Then in 1973 (410 U.S. 113) a form of eugenics emerged: abortion on demand. And in the 80s transgenders were officially recognized and allowed (subsidized by federal and insurance monies) to undergo sex-change surgery.
Yet, the more we were allowed to do, the less responsibility we took for doing it, and the more miserable we were. Someone had to pay, but it wouldn’t be us! With the man ousted and God gone, a vacuum of mythic proportions was left in its place. Something had to fill it.
The State was happy to insinuate itself as the new Pater Noster.
So, here we are in 2020, with socialism/state dictatorship actually being discussed on national television, with genders “fluid,” and abortion scaling to new heights of availability (an “essential service” in the COVID world). With the Self in charge, nothing but personal feelings or a blockage of funding can stop the flow of progress. In cutting out God, truth becomes relative and the value of any life dependent on its “value to you.”
The ultimate humanistic derivative of all this -- the takeaway from all these years of individualism and unconditional positive regard: There is no Other. All there remains is the perception of her/him/it in you.
So, how does this play out in the world of ordinary relationships? Very subtly and very insidiously. This is a distilled example of a modern therapeutic conversation:
“I miss her. I love her so much.”
“Are you sure? What if… it’s not about her so much as about you? You miss how you felt when you were with her. You miss what you imagined about her.”
“Gee, I was sure I missed her.”
It is so much babble it’s hard to believe that so many people not only practice therapy within that paradigm, but that patients actually believe it. It denies the self-evident. Why are we putting up with it when instinctively we know better?
The bottom line: in the modern social-work paradigm, there is nothing to believe in or hold onto besides your Self, there are no prohibitions and no judgments besides those unfairly imposed upon you by white males the world over. There is also no real experience, no real love and finally, no real other.
And there we are… alone, on the emotional dole, unsure of who we are, broken, and without hope.
It’s a far cry from the birth of social work. And if that’s all my profession offers, I’m signing off.