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I'm Dysfunctional, You'RE Dysfunctional


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Kaminer takes potshots at the omnipresent 12-step self-help groups that are threatening to put psychotherapists out of work. She dismisses the rhetoric and religiosity of the programs, finds their intimacy manufactured and their emphasis on ``higher power'' authoritarian. TV talk shows with true confessions by commoners and celebrities further debase the New Age movement, the author contends in a funny chapter. She also takes aim at Norman Vincent Peale, Werner Erhard and Shirley MacLaine accusing them of a related ``Don't Worry Be Happy'' approach. Kaminer, lawyer, journalist and author of A Fearful Freedom , credibly portrays the sillier aspects of recovery groups and offers some good one-liners: ``The Family that reveals together, congeals together.'' (June)

If you have been purchasing some of the many recent books on codependency, 12-step programs, or recovery, you should buy this strong critique of the self-help movement. Kaminer, a lawyer and journalist, does not address the effectiveness of such programs; she explores their social implications, arguing that they encourage passivity, social isolation, and emotionality, attitudes antithetical to democracy. A distinctive and highly recommended title. For other critiques of the self-help movement, see ``Alternative Titles'' in ``Making Room for the Recovery Boom,'' LJ 5/1/92, p. 49-52.--Ed.-- Mary Ann Hughes, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman

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