At the beginning of the film Analyze This, the psychologist played by Billy Crystal incredulously asks his gangster patient (Robert DeNiro), "What is my goal here, to make you a happy, well-adjusted gangster?" The Sopranos on HBO has a similar but more serious running theme about the therapy culture's inadequacy when it comes to matters of right and wrong.
According to an explosive new book, Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student, large numbers of campus shrinks think their job is to turn your children into happy and well-adjusted slutty, amoral, disease-ridden, atheists. Add any element of sexual androgyny to that mix, and it's really time to put a gold star on the patient chart.
If there's any challenge to college professors for the title of Most Politically Correct Profession, it comes from the nation's therapists. The American Psychological Association has spent the last generation "updating" its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual based on political pressure and the latest fads, from changing the discussion of homosexuality to considering UFO Abduction Syndrome as a legitimate billing diagnosis.
While individual therapists might protest that such a charge of professional fatuousness is unfair – just as all lawyers are not represented by the leftish politics of the American Bar Association — the anonymous author of this book certainly makes the case that when you mix the psychological profession and the dominant PC campus bureaucracy, the term "institution" of learning takes on a whole new meaning.
"I once assumed that campus medicine and psychology had one priority: student well-being," writes author Anonymous, M.D., a discouraged and fed-up campus psychiatrist. "I'm no longer so naïve. Radical politics pervades my profession, and common sense has vanished. … I see the consequences daily. Dangerous behaviors are a personal choice; judgments are prohibited — they might offend."
The once-anonymous author, it can now be said, is Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist who works with students at the University of California at Los Angeles. She wanted to remain anonymous out of worry that revealing her identity would adversely affect her practice and maybe even her patients. But about a week after publication of the book, when Grossman realized she would be a far more effective spokeswoman for this important issue if she were able to do it openly, she revealed her identity on Dr. Laura's radio show. Risking the scorn of her politically correct peers – and possibly her job at UCLA – the courageous doctor not only put her patients first but also took into account the well-being of students' not fortunate enough to consult her.
Grossman details a public health scandal that may be the worst since the 1980s San Francisco gay bathhouse cover-up at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic. Her comparably shocking revelation is that campus officials are encouraging behavior that spreads disease — and actively discouraging any attempt to curb that behavior.
Grossman finds that her young charges have received plenty of "sex education" that plays up the importance of condoms and other devices of "safer sex." But young people still come to her, shocked that they still have contracted diseases despite practicing "safer sex" and complaining that no one prepared them for the emotional problems of the hook-up culture.
Reporting on the cases of her own patients (anonymous, of course) and experiences as a campus psychiatrist, Grossman presents a world of Orwellian doublespeak and ideology run amok. For instance, she tells of attending a weekend conference on how to avoid offending "transgender" patients while counseling them, which she figures might account for .08 percent of the students she is likely to see. But after hearing from other students that their religious views are regularly trampled by campus medical professionals, she suggests that perhaps a similar discussion might be in order to help in dealing with the students who take their faith seriously. "I don't think that's allowed," is the response she receives.
Ideological bias permeates every treatment option that has any consequences for the sexual revolution, Grossman reveals. Every patient is quizzed about trauma or abuse, no matter how long ago it may have occurred. At the same time, a recent abortion is treated as though it has the emotional impact of a tonsillectomy.
Birth control is among the campus clinics' top priorities, even as loose sex enables the spread of disease. Grossman tells the ironic story of a married Mormon student who wanted to conceive and was given an appointment date months in the future. When she cleverly called back and asked for an appointment for "birth control," she got in that day, only to be told curtly she didn't need more babies – she needed contraception.
But then, it seems as though there would never a good time for women to conceive if the campus clinicians had their way. Grossman searches in vain for publications that inform women they have a time limit on having babies; and the ideal window is a lot shorter than the distorted picture presented in media stories about middle-aged moms.
Grossman's stories of students seeking help and a system designed to deny it to them if the solution is not politically approved are, in turn, heartbreaking, outrageous and infuriating.
When one reads a book that leans so heavily on anecdote – no matter how persuasive — there is always that niggling doubt at the back of your mind that tells you to remember that the term "anecdotal evidence" is largely an oxymoron. How widespread is this phenomenon, really? Is it centralized only in the author's limited world?
As I was putting the finishing touches on this review, I ran across this e-mail from a Harvard dean, a continent away from Grossman's practice reprinted and commented upon by Travis Kavulla.
Hooking Up: Hot Hints For Making Your Harvard (or Future) Sex Life Great
Thursday, March 1
Want to know more about how to access pleasure, how to communicate your desires and how to make sure that you're getting what you want and need from your partner? Do you have questions about sex or sexuality that you've never had answered? You won't want to miss this!
Join us for a scintillating and sexy talk with Amber Madison, author of the recently released book "Hooking Up: An All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality," before her appearance on the Today show the following day! Amber will share helpful advice and crucial information about having a gratifying sexual life now, or later! You'll also have the opportunity to submit a question anonymously to have answered during the session.
In addition to sexxxxxy suggestions, come enjoy chocolate covered strawberries and HOT chocolate. Other snacks and opportunities to win prizes (including Amber's book), as well as other great "stuff' will be included.
ALL students of every gender are welcome!
Kavulla writes: "After some students complained about the event, they received a response from Susan Marine, the Director of the Harvard College Women's Center, who said she was writing on behalf of the Dean of the College and the Dean of Freshmen. She wrote: "Our role as educators is to enable all students who wish to learn about their own development to have access to accurate, meaningful information."
Reading all this I had to scratch my head. Who would have thought that feminism would combine with medical professionals and college faculty to ensure that randy college boys have a steady supply?
Since most universities attract federal money, the fact that public institutions are enabling the spread of disease seems an apt subject for congressional hearings. Of course, this is impossible until at least '09, and I wouldn't bet the college fund even then. Perhaps a state legislature that is considering its response to the HPV vaccine will take into account that it is funding institutions dedicated to its spread and put some common sense strings on state support.
In the meantime, perhaps parents' second stop after they check out the class syllabi — and well before they stop by the financial aid office — should be the publications rack at the campus clinic.