Table of contents:

The Right Side. Who Can You Trust? - Self-development
The Right Side. Who Can You Trust? - Self-development

Video: The Right Side. Who Can You Trust? - Self-development

Video: The Right Side. Who Can You Trust? - Self-development
Video: The Dark Side of Self Improvement | Suzanne Eder | TEDxWilmington 2023, March

Do we often try to find answers to our questions in books with attractive titles "How to become rich for 9 rubles 99 kopecks" or "How to become happy" for the same two kopecks, do we think about who wrote them? Where do we get valuable advice? Is it important what fate the author of a book about success and prosperity had or has?


Many adherents of Freudianism assure: no matter what troubled life their guru lived, it is important that his theories work and help people. Skeptics, who to this day - even in a professional environment - are not ready every time to blame patients' problems on the "Oedipus complex" or the behavior of the notorious "It", shrug their shoulders: how deeply can one believe in the theory of a man who went through the hell of a large child from childhood families, pokes of anti-Semites, oppression of him as a "nerd" (and he was such, of course, he was), and then failures on the professional-friendly front (painful story with followers Adler and Jung).

In addition, he constantly fell into depression, often did not his own business (he himself admitted this: he was not interested in medicine), this is not to mention cocaine, the use of which Freud long and unsuccessfully tried to prove, he himself periodically resorting to his “life-giving »Action.

In general, it is not surprising that the statement of such a character that it is repressed memories of a sexual nature that underlie hysteria, which he is ready to prove by his own example, not only provoked a scandal in society, but also caused a number of doubts about the reliability of these hypotheses. The empirical basis of Freud's theory was called "inadequate" by Frederick Crews and Adolph Grünbaum, psychoanalysis was dubbed "fraud" by Peter Medawar, and Karl Popper considered Freud's pseudoscientific theory.

In this context, one involuntarily ponders: who are we reading today? Aren't all these books about happiness, love, wealth a fraud? Perhaps, they are written by deeply unhappy people, constructing on the pages of crystal castles of non-existent prosperity? It is quite difficult to check this, because this is about Freud, just a lazy one has not written a treatise, but modern authors are far from being studied so deeply. Why, they have not been studied at all. So is there a catch?


Many may have heard the acclaimed story of a South Korean TV presenter and author of more than twenty books on happiness, who committed suicide in October 2010. She also “grabbed” her husband with her (it was her 72-year-old husband who, judging by the data of local law enforcement agencies, helped 63-year-old Choi Yun Hee to hang herself, and then repeated her “feat”).

It would seem that it is not the most cheerful behavior for the one who received the nickname "preacher of happiness" for constantly urging her compatriots to live in harmony with themselves and the world around them and enjoy life.

On the other hand, Choi Yoon Hee left a suicide note, in which she said that about two years ago, her health deteriorated - she suffered from lung and heart diseases. Perhaps she hanged herself and indirectly killed her husband, being in a state of utter happiness. Perhaps getting rid of the disease in this way is also in the paradigm of happiness. Now you won't ask, but it is worth admitting that the very fact that the apologist for happiness commits suicide is alarming.

And the realization that this case is not at all an isolated one is also alarming. This April, a professional psychotherapist and author of a book with advice on how aging gays can find happiness, also committed suicide. Moreover, if in the case of the South Korean star you can still suck out the hypothesis that she was not disappointed in her ideas from the books, then this number will not work with 49-year-old therapist Bob Bergeron. He left a suicide note on the cover of his book The Right Side of 40s: A Complete Guide to Happiness for Middle-Aged and Older Gays: "This is a lie based on the wrong information." Recognition of one's own mistake evokes respect, but it's scary to even imagine what kind of resonance the author's behavior can have on followers who have already read the book …

However, not all unfortunate authors of books about happiness decided to interrupt their life path. Take, for example, the brilliant Virginia Satir, recognized as the "mother of family therapy", a truly authoritative specialist in the professional environment. She left this world very positively, having addressed her relatives in advance with the words: “I am sending you my love. I ask you to support me in entering a new life. I cannot express my gratitude in any other way. You all played a significant role in the development of my love. As a result, my life was rich and complete. And so I leave full of gratitude."

And yet, it should be admitted that this bright person and master of his craft, an eminent practitioner of family therapy, the author of many books on this topic, never had a family of her own. Moreover, she came to the path of psychology of relationships, as they say, not from a good life: at the age of five, from mental distress due to constant abuse of her parents on the verge of divorce, she took to the hospital with acute appendicitis, which later was not forgotten and led to a conscious decision become a "judge of parents."

History in the subject. From the Quack Psychologist Forum

Nickname 1: The Story of Occupational Therapy.

Patient: You know, I have a problem …

Professional: Ah-ah, but it’s not like that for me, - there is a long story about his.

Patient: What should I do?..

Professional: I usually do in such cases …

Patient: Well, what should I do?

Professional: My aunt not so long ago …

Nickname 2: My friend lives in Germany, with her exactly the same story happened. Her psychologist (Russian-speaking) cried for two hours, how bad everything is in her family, and what kind of children, and what a terrible depression, and what antidepressants she herself takes, and invited my friend to take them too - maybe it will also help? Both laughter and sin.


Olga Dyachuk, consultant psychologist, member of the Professional Psychotherapeutic League


Once, a very long time ago, as a student, I found myself in a difficult situation. A rather difficult decision had to be made. And at that moment I came across an amusing brochure from the series “help yourself”. Some recommendations seemed strange to me, others just made me laugh. But at the very end of the booklet I read: “Listen to everyone and hear yourself”. And these words at that moment were just what you need! I will not dare to challenge the belief in "three-kopeck happiness", but as soon as we start trusting the "guru", the following arises: if everything goes well, then - bravo to the author, difficulties arose - the theory let us down something. We strive to shift the responsibility for the successes and failures of our lives to the mentor. For me, trust is linked to responsibility. To be responsible, according to Sartre's definition, means to be the author, the author of your life. And all kinds of manuals "on a short course of making happy" those who have taken a step towards understanding themselves may not be needed.


The thought that tomorrow you will buy a book in the store about the happiness of a person who will hang himself the day after tomorrow is not at all happy, of course. But it is still worth reasoning in a balanced and sensible way, without throwing aside all psychological works at once. Yes, some authors were not as happy as they could have been, but is this a reason to distrust their judgment?

Take, for example, the already mentioned Virginia Satyr (we will leave Freud alone as an unshakable lump of psychoanalysis). Most family therapy practitioners unanimously say that the methods work. So why put on the shelf works that are useful if the author's only defect is the absence of his own family?

Or, for example, the work of Martin Seligman, the founder of a new direction in psychology - positive psychology. He wrote an extensive work "In Search of Happiness", although all his conscious life he is exclusively engaged in research, that is, work, and he does not seek happiness according to the points of his own book, he does not have time for this.

At the same time, there is no reason not to trust him, because his research is "experiments on humans" (calmly, no one was hurt). This is how he identified "learned helplessness syndrome" and "learned optimism syndrome." Dogs that received a light shock did not try to run away if they were convinced they would get it anyway. They became helpless and did not try to change anything. The same thing happened with people (he affected them with noise).

Even if then the situation changed and the person had the opportunity to act, they still did nothing. They have learned to be helpless. There were some of the participants in the experiment who did not stop fighting, they tried again and again, and when conditions changed, they achieved what they wanted. Seligman called them "conscious optimists." And it is precisely this conscious optimism that he is trying to teach everyone with his book. In other words, he teaches science spied on by others. But is it so blasphemous? After all, a mathematics teacher is a teacher, not a mathematician, but there is no reason not to believe the formulas on the blackboard.

Again, it is Adam Jackson, author of The Ten Secrets to Happiness, who teaches us about happiness. We only know about his life that at the age of eight he had had severe psoriasis. This left such a serious mark on his soul that he, already a practicing lawyer, at some point decided to abruptly change his field of activity, hit the field of medicine and began the development and production of non-steroidal treatment for psoriasis. Is this person a specialist? No: he has a law degree and works as a journalist in a couple of medical glossies. He does not have a single psychological direction in which he is good. Judging by the titles of the books, he knows ten secrets in each area - success, love, wealth, health, happiness. That is, a person “from the street” came - a person who has little to do with psychology - and let's write books, earn money on sales. And we are glad, everything is in the order of things. But the question arises: how would we look at the work of a plumber on surgery?


Elena Spirkina, PhD in Psychology, Rector of the Institute of Practical Psychology and Psychoanalysis


Freud's biography is widely known to anyone who is interested, and from it it is clear that he was a fairly balanced person, moderately ambitious. Biographers explain this by the fact that he was the first-born and favorite of his mother, who expected a lot from him. Freud was quite happy in his personal life - he had a strong family and many children. As for his career and his relationship with Jung and Adler, this fits well into the normal life of any person making a career and creating a new teaching. There is a mass of scientific and non-scientific research trying to connect the personality of Freud and his teachings. However, as you know, there are no direct connections here. As Roland Barthes wrote, the personality of the creator and his creation are two different things. And often with the completion of a work, the personality of its creator dies. Symbolically, of course. Although there is such a point of view,that the author's personality can be traced in his psychological concept. However, only in a sense. An ingenious creation is often born in the minds of non-genius individuals.

Meanwhile, we know that Adam Jackson overcame psoriasis - and now he helps others in this, that is, you can believe his ten health tips. We know that he is happily married and has two wonderful children. This means that he is all right in love, you can believe. Working as a motivational speaker and journalist, he manages to do business too, money is abundant, a wonderful house, a beloved dog. Perhaps he speaks competently about success with wealth.

So what can be done? Whom to trust? A person “off the street” who demonstrates by personal example that his theories about happiness and well-being work, or specialist psychologists who have failed in their own lives? It's hard to figure it out. One thing is certain: The Right Side of Fortieth Anniversary: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Middle-Aged and Older Gays is best not read, the author has retracted it.

Popular by topic