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Therapist Hardcover – June, 1985

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; First Edition first Printing edition (June 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312799128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312799120
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,402,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on March 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I didn't even know this eye-opening book was still listed on Amazon until someone pointed it out to me. What a shame that it's out of print.

In it, the courageous Ellen Plasil details her horrifying experiences with "Objectivist psychotherapist" Lonnie Leonard, a manipulative sexual predator who nevertheless somehow managed to pass muster among the ranks of Ayn Rand's "Objectivist" movement (with the blessing even of the movement's "official" psychotherapists).

Plasil's upsetting account of Leonard's monstrous behavior should be read not only by those interested in the misuses and abuses of "psychotherapy," but also -- and especially -- by those who still think Rand's "Objectivism" might somehow be philosophically respectable if only it were purged of some of its personal elements.

On the contrary, those "personal elements" infect very nearly the entirety of Objectivism, and Leonard's behavior (particularly his manipulative technique) is demonstrably connected to Rand's own "philosophical" premises.

And the Objectivist _movement_ (for the propagandistic support of which most of Rand's nonfiction writings were expressly developed) was never anything more "respectable" than a psychologically totalitarian personality cult that allowed Rand and her protege Nathaniel Branden to exercise personal power over their unwitting victims in the official name of "reason." Objectivists won't like being reminded of this book's existence and will undoubtedly claim that Leonard wasn't an exemplar of Rand's principles. And it is true that Rand would have been horrified by Leonard's behavior.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sue on August 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was an important book in my regrouping after harmful therapy.

It illuminates the dangers of the paternalistic model which the psychotherapists call healing. Power corrupts.
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14 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mark Wallace on February 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Blaming Ayn Rand or her philosophy, Objectivism, for the misdeeds of Dr. Lonnie Leonard, is like blaming Jesus, or his philosophy, Christianity, for the misdeeds of Christian serial killer Robert Yates (which, by the way, were a lot worse than those of Leonard).

The other reviewers claim that adherence to Objectivism MUST lead to the behavior exhibited by Lonnie Leonard, but they fail to explain why most Objectivists (including many mental healthcare professionals) DON'T behave that way. The fact is that Lonnie Leonard pretended to be an Objectivist, and he fooled a lot of people (including some real Objectivists) into thinking that he was. Being an Objectivist (or practicing any other philosophy) is no guarantor against being fooled by a clever fraud.
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14 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Greg Nyquist VINE VOICE on March 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Plasil's account of how her therapist, Dr. Lonnie Leonard, took advantage of her emotionally fragile state to turn her into his own private sexual plaything is not for the squeamish.  But the book is important nonetheless for the light it sheds on what can happen when individuals turn away from traditional sources of social support like religion and instead try to follow some sort of rationalist ideology.  Dr. Leonard had no trouble passing himself off as an important follower of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy.  Allan Blumenthal, the leading Objectivist psychotherapist of the time, described Leonard as "the only psychiatrist I would recommend."  Plasil herself was an Objectivist--as were all her friends and acquaintances.  She would learn from brutal experience what happens when all one's friends are true-believing ideologues.
Normal people--that is, people who are not adherents of some rationalist ideology--look for emotional support in the social and moral bonds of traditional social groups, such as the family or church.  But when these social and moral bonds are destroyed through rationalist criticism, human beings are left without any support whatsoever.  This is what happened to Plasil.  At the time of her therapy with Dr. Leonard, all her friends and acquaintances were Objectivists.  They were, as Plasil herself put it, her "entire support system."  If they abandoned her, she would have nobody.  So what happened when Plasil finally stood up to her therapist and accused him of shamelessly exploiting her?  Did her Objectivist friends stand by her and give her the support she needed?  No, of course not.  In keeping with the heartless rationalism which is at the center of Rand's ideological philosophy, Plasil's Objectivist all sided with Dr. Leonard.
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