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162 - The Over-treatment of Young People

"We can't lay all the blame at the parents."

Are you a parent seeking support and practical strategies for navigating the complexities of having a gender-questioning child or young adult? If so, consider exploring Gender: A Wider Lens hosts, Stella O’Malley and Sasha Ayad’s, respective parent coaching membership groups. Both Stella and Sasha provide specialized resources and coaching services tailored to assist parents and families facing gender-related challenges.

In this episode, Sasha and Stella take time together without the company of a guest to explore the topic of the over-treatment of young people and the increasing emphasis on mental health diagnoses and interventions. They discuss how societal attitudes have shifted towards relying heavily on therapy and professional intervention, often at the expense of parental involvement and relationships. And they highlight the erosion of parental authority over the years, attributing it to the influence of the parenting and mental health industries.

The conversation touches on the growing lack of confidence among parents in their own abilities and instincts, as well as the tendency for parents to outsource their power and authority to professionals. Sasha and Stella examine how this trend can lead to a disconnect between parents and children, as well as a loss of intimacy within families. They reflect on the implications of these shifts for both individuals and society as a whole, stressing the importance of maintaining a balance between professional support, parental guidance, and interpersonal connections.

They get into a variety of thought provoking considerations including:

  • The trend of over-diagnosis and over-treatment stemming from a cultural belief that happiness is the norm and any deviation from that indicates a ‘problem needing fixing’.

  • The disregard for the complexities of human nature, the inherent difficulties of the human condition, and the inevitability of life's challenges.

  • The role of societal messaging and the mindfulness movement in perpetuating the idea that negative experiences can always be traced back to childhood trauma or parenting mistakes.

  • The importance and value of a balanced parenting approach that combines warmth and structure.

  • The potential pitfalls of over-reliance on therapy.

  • The impact of individualism on relationships, highlighting the need for genuine connection and support. 

This episode covers a lot of ground, emphasizing the complexities of therapy, the necessity for critical examination of conventional wisdom, and the importance of nurturing authentic relationships both inside the family and social circles (but more specifically, outside of the clinical setting).

Resources & Links

Stella’s parent coaching membership group.

Sasha’s parent coaching membership group.

The Bigger Picture Conference 2024 | 'Reframing the Future' (Lisbon, Portugal | 27th - 29th September 2024)

What Your Teen is Trying to Tell You, by

Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up, by

The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness, by

Click above to read Stella’s Review of The Anxious Generation

Diana Baumrind's papers on parenting styles that emphasize warmth, expectations, boundaries, and structure, which are believed to produce more resilient and successful children.

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Therapy First

If you liked this episode, more episodes you might find interesting include:

Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
In this podcast, now in it's fourth year, therapists Stella O'Malley and Sasha Ayad take a deep dive into the psychological and cultural forces impacting the social changes around "gender." Through interviews with researchers, doctors, therapists, parents, detransitioners, and others, Sasha and Stella's podcast is a "must listen" for anyone trying to navigate the current gender landscape. With their sharp analytical minds and deep compassionate hearts, Stella and Sasha have also become known throughout many parent networks as lighthouses in the midst of some very stormy seas. Previous guests include Helen Joyce, Jesse Singal, Leor Sapir, Kathleen Stock, Jamie Reed, Peter Boghossian and more.