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Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Part 1 of the David Bedrick Interview July 27, 2013

Posted by Onely in book review, Interviews.
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A love-based psychology promotes social justice, whereas mainstream psychology treats the difficulties of individuals in a vacuum –David Bedrick, J.D.

Copious Readers, Onely has been unhappy with Dr. Phil for a very long time, because he has counseled single people to embrace themselves and their hobbies and be happy, so that they can find a partner. Instead of just being happy, period.

So we were glad to have the opportunity to interview David Bedrick, author of Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology. (Belly Song Press, 2013). He proposes a “love-based psychology” that goes beyond the normative (restrictive) ideals that our society (as evidenced by Dr. Phil) puts upon people.

Bedrick’s approach parallels Onely’s efforts to dismantle normative prejudices against unmarried people. We disagree with the idea that couples (whether socially coupled or married) are “better” than single people, or more deserving of government protection.

We came up with some questions for Bedrick that we hope will flesh out the similarities in our missions. In a series of posts, we will tackle one or two questions at a time.

Today’s Topic:

Are people trying to “Normalize” your way of living to their (more common) way of living?

Don’t React to their behavior–Act Out their behaviour!

Onely: Dr. Bedrick, you say in your introduction to Talking Back to Dr. Phil (xvii):

The norms inherent in mainstream psychology’s diagnoses essentially reflect the majority’s beliefs, values, and viewpoints regarding psychological health. As such, it is a psychology often in service of normalizing people, seeking to help them act more reasonably and get along better with others even when the accomodation is contrary to their natures and life paths.

Do you agree that the normalization performed by mainstream psychology parallels the normalization of romantic relationships that occurs in our culture on a daily basis? If so, how do you think this impacts people who are “single at heart” and have no desire to seek a committed-romantic partner (which would be a life path contrary to the norm)?‚Ä®

Bedrick: Absolutely! Most blatantly in the way mainstream psychology promotes stereotypic gender roles that not only marginalize GLBT relationships but all relationships.

Mainstream culture encourages, celebrates, and bestows privileges on people who partner, especially those who partner in a traditional marriage. People who use their energy to focus on their own creativity, ambitions, healing, happiness, or non-traditional paths are looked at as if something is wrong with them. The internalization of this experience, a kind of shame, can leave people feeling depressed, angry, or both. This shaming can pressure people to look for a partner even if that is not truly their way.

Onely: How would you apply a love-based-psychology to someone who fears being single because of family pressure, or (Western) cultural pressure? (more…)

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