New York Daily News, or People, orneven the National Enquirer? Hencenmy conviction that while the New Journalism’sndisrespectful treatment of thenOld may (like Khrushchev’s denunciationnof Stalin) be good for a heartynchuckle or two, it should inspire thosencitizens most sensitive to the claims ofnjustice to demand that Ms. Ephron andnher cult-followers be given the skeweringnthat they so richly deserve.nWhat the republic sorely needs isna journalism that will brazenly flout thenrules set down by both the New YorknTimes and Hunter Thompson. For sonlong as American journalism remainsnthe hothouse of Walter Winchell-clones,nAnthony Lewis’ militant partisanship,nRolling Stone’s brazen obscurantismnand Nora Ephron’s juxtaposition ofnvoyeurism and conceit, for just so longnmust the literate citizen be maroonednon an arid and desolate moonscape, anSahara of the prose art. QnBeliefs and Verbal VehemencenMartin L. Gross: The PsychologicalnSociety; Random House; New York.nThomas Szasz: The Myth of Psychotherapy;nAnchor Press/Doubleday;nGarden City, New York.nby Ernest van den HaagnOome years ago Philip Rieff publishednhis The Triumph of the Therapeutic.nNo work has equaled the depth,nbrilliance and originality of his analysisnof the relation of psychology to society.nOthers here and there have sought tonadd to his work—^with more or lessncompetence. The Psychological Societynattempts to, although mainly it attemptsnto debunk psychoanalysis. (Rieff, incidentally,ndoes not appear in the index)nA journalist known for a nose whichnleads him to marketable subjects, Mr.nGross has given us The Doctors andnThe Brain Watchers before. His formula—thensame whatever the subject—ntells us that we are being cheated,nor even endangered, certainly overcharged,nby whatever profession he debunks.nIt sells worthless, ineffective orndangerous services or at least servicesnworth less than we pay. There are alwaysndisappointed people willing to buynMr. Gross’s books, to find confirmationnProfessor van den Haag, a distinguishednscholar, is now president ofnthe Philadelphia Society.nof their suspicions in the melange ofnfactual tidbits, anecdotes, selective quotations,nstatistics, experiments and authoritativenstatements which Mr. Grossnslaps together. People who like intellectualnjunk food gobble it up.nIn his dealing with psychotherapynGross is occasionally right although hendoes not tell anything new, and oftennmisinterprets what he gleans fromnsecondary and tertiary sources. It isntrue, for instance, that, as therapy, psychoanalysisnis often unsuccessful (sonare most things currently available) ornthat it is credited when a spontaneousnremission took place (as is often thencase with medical treatment) ; it is alsontrue that much of the psychoanalyticntheory has not been demonstrated tonbe correct. Gross mixes up these twonthings and misunderstands each. Hengives the impression that the therapynis (1) always unsuccessful because (2)nthe theory is altogether invalid. Onendoes not follow from the other andnneither is true. But it is better to considernThe Psychological Society as ansymptom.nPsychological do-it-yourself booksn{Im O.K. You’re O.K. etc.) regularlynmake the bestseller lists. They promisenhelp to everyone who follows the formulanoffered. Psychological nostrumsnpracticed as therapies by gurus of evernnew schools are similarly rewarding (tonthe gurus). Lately, “sex therapists” donnnwell. But so do primal screamers ornself-asserters or rational therapists. Whynare the Utopian promises these therapistsninvariably hold out so readilynaccepted ? Obviously the books and thengurus promise what people want andnfeel deprived of. It used to be moneyn(Z Can Make You a Millionaire). Butnnow people worry more about whethernthey are happy enough, confidentnenough, loved enough, orgasmicnenough . . . Obviously money is nonlonger the most acutely felt problem.nPeople have found out that “you can’tnbuy happiness.” Some of their presentnworries are iatrogenic, promulgated bynthe books they read. But others originatenindependently.nw e live in a society whose institutionsnare no longer capable of conferringnmeaning on our lives. Yet, sincenwe are no longer absorbed by a quotidiannstruggle for survival, we neednmore than ever to feel that our livesnhave some meaning. We want to livenright and need confirmation that wenare spending our time well, that ournefforts, our sufferings and our pleasuresnmake sense, that we amount to something.nMost people are not able, unaided,nto give meaning to what they do.nThe “significant others” who once controllednand confirmed our self-esteemandnshaped our self-concept have movednaway. We have many contacts but fewnrelationships. Churches quite oftennhave become impotent, as much inndoubt about their faith and even theirnliturgy as their followers. Anywaynmany people are all too understandablynalienated from them. (Some churches,nbreathlessly trendy, blame the death ofnGod for their inability to cultivate thenDivine. Anyway, they prefer socialnwork.)nUnder these circumstances, peoplenlook for nostrums to overcome theirnfeelings of futility, their desperatenboredom, be it restless or listless. Drugsnare resorted to. And renewed para-religiousndisciplines, even the ReverendnMoon, must have helped some, else then9nChronicles of Culturen