We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Psychotherapy has undergone a great transformation since America’s mental health crisis began. Gone are the days when therapists were dedicated to the doctrines of Freud and Jung, when the field was suffused with an air of priestly sanctity, heavy with the odors of tradition and authority. In the old days, psychotherapists constructed vast philosophical fabrics out of the writings of visionaries. They dallied with ideas that bordered on philosophy and religion; their emotional natures were totally absorbed in the partisan passions of their analytic cliques; their subtle intellects concerned themselves with the dialectical splitting of dogmatic hairs. The words they used — id, ego, and superego, among many others — seemed like a transcendent manifestation of divine power, an example of humanity being vouchsafed glimpses of eternal truth flowing down through an elaborate and immense cascade of books, with individual therapists stretching back, through their pedigree of technique, to some godhead. A whole universe of understanding was brought about by means of these words. In this universe the therapist was not as his clients, but, instead, a creature apart.
In the past few decades, a new breed of therapist has emerged — sympathetic, friendly, lighthearted, warm, and caring. His therapeutic style bears everywhere upon it the signs of human imperfection. It is the outcome of efficiency and practicality, of the exigencies of business executives and the ambitions of professionals, of the preferences of society and of the necessities of unhappy people. Gone is the transcendent manifestation, the abracadabra of therapy. Gone are the fervors of piety, the zeal of disciples, and the enthusiasm of intellectuals imagining themselves to have discovered a new theory of human nature.
Once a consecrated priesthood, therapists today walk along the smooth road of ordinary duty. They help people with their everyday problems. They speak in a casual manner and even crack jokes. They are friendly. They smile. They differ neither outwardly nor inwardly from the clients they serve, for whom therapy has become a useful organization, a convenient and respectable appendage to existence, a sometimes necessary form of artificial friendship.
I would cheerfully dispute the notion that physicians no longer constitute a priesthood of sorts, and I would dispute the notion that most people practicing psychotherapy, regardless of their training, are mostly busy with people with "everyday problems." (Some are, most aren't.)
As for "happiness," that's not something either physicians or "caring professionals" have the power to deliver. Relief of unnessary suffering and problematic behavior is difficult enough in itself.
In my view, psychotherapy is a deadly serious endeavor with the ambitious goal of rescuing lives and souls from their emotional problems and limitations, as much as possible. More like a mind-surgeon than a paid friend.