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Made You Think


Apr 11, 2024

"We’ve never had a generation more focused on its feelings and, frankly, not one more tyrannized by their feelings.”

Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! Today, we're delving into Abigail Shrier's Bad Therapy, a thought-provoking book which highlights the impact of therapy on individuals, especially younger generations. Join us as we explore the nuances of therapy, its incentives, and its effects.

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • Challenges of parenting in a therapy-centric culture
  • Unintended consequences of therapeutic incentives
  • The fine line between taking thoughts too seriously vs. dismissing them
  • Why boundary-setting is crucial as a parent
  • Implications of having an external locus of control

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow NatNeil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.

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(0:00) In today’s episode, we’re covering Bad Therapy by Abigail Shrier, who discusses the impact of therapy on individuals, particularly younger generations, and questions the efficacy and motives behind widespread therapeutic practices. 

(1:57) We provide an overview of the book, examining the sense of loneliness and sadness prevalent in today's youth. It poses the question of whether therapy-related interventions are actually a part of the problem rather than the solution. 

(5:32) How incentives in therapy can sometimes lead to unintended consequences. Shrier highlights that therapists often prefer patients with milder mental health issues, as these sessions can be more relaxed. This raises questions about the subjective nature of screening and diagnostic tools in mental health care.

(10:15) The distinction between chronic and acute treatment, noting how the medical industry often favors chronic cases for their profitability. We touch on various types of therapy, noting that the results of physical therapy, for example, are much more tangible than talk therapy.

(12:42) Nat, Neil, and Adil talk a bit about their personal experiences with therapy.

(15:55) Why going to the gym and being physically active can improve well-being, and how it offers a sense of control and measurable progress in various aspects of life.

(21:12) Shrier emphasizes the lack of agency children have in deciding to continue or end therapy. We also discuss how dwelling on problems, or forced rumination, can exacerbate issues, especially in the context of depression and anxiety.

(25:19) We discuss how therapy can often lead us to give undue weight to passing thoughts, turning them into more significant concerns than they should have been.

(29:33) It can be a challenge for parents to know when to seek therapy for children or teens. The author suggests exploring all alternatives before turning to therapy. We also dive into the theme of internal vs. external locus of control, where the fear of making mistakes can lead to seeking external validation.

(34:25) Are doctors too quick to prescribe medications in non-serious cases?

(39:51) Where is the balance between taking every thought and emotion seriously vs. dismissing them? We discuss generational differences, stoic parenting, the importance of discussing feelings with a trusted friend or partner, and the impact on children who feel unheard.

(45:30) Similar to therapy and mental health, public sentiments on various topics can evolve over time. Nat, Neil, and Adil draw parallels with the changing views on vaccines, from widespread acceptance to increased skepticism post-Covid. We also touch on the topic of birth control, highlighting the lack of female perspectives in these discussions often dominated by male doctors.

(53:26) Happiness, when constantly pursued, can often evade us. Instead, we explore the concept of finding contentment and balance in life, recognizing that happiness is not always the ultimate objective.

(56:50) When we attribute our life circumstances solely to external factors, it can lead us to feel powerless.

(1:02:37) We explore the notion of discipline and touch upon various parenting styles, including gentle parenting. 

(1:06:05) Differences in the cultural dynamics of Zen X and Millennial parents. Each generation has its parenting narrative. It's about finding the balance between micromanaging and giving your child space, allowing kids to explore within set boundaries.

(1:09:14) We discuss the dynamics of the nuclear family and how it affects the level of involvement from extended family members.

(1:14:11) Differences in parenting style based on immigration status, and how punishment was carried out between different generations of parents. 

(1:18:37) There's an internal pressure to be a flawless parent, often fueled by therapy that revisits childhood experiences. This cycle of rumination can lead to hyper-vigilance in parenting.

(1:24:08) Social media's impact on how we view and express ourselves on different issues.

(1:28:56) The level of risk in your humor often reflects the closeness of your relationships. However, we must be careful as words can always be misconstrued.

(1:31: 37) Can empathy actually have negative consequences? Nat, Neil, and Adil share their final thoughts and takeaways from the book.

(1:36:48) That wraps up this episode! If you were intrigued by today's discussion, check out Bad Therapy by Abigail Shrier. Next up on the show, we'll be covering Einstein’s Dreams. Also, be sure to check out our new Instagram page!

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS@adilmajid@nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.

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Thanks for listening. See you next time!