The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


mental health

Sex, Mental Health, and the Culture Wars

What happens when sex is more about identity than pleasure, intimacy, or interaction? And what happens when culture warriors gang up on sexuality—and from several directions? And has this affected our mental health? After over 40 years and 40,000 sessions with individuals and couples as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist, […]

Jessica Schleider — How to Build Meaningful Moments that Can Transform Your Mental Health

Shermer and Schleider discuss: her own experience with mental illness and eating disorder • 80% of people meet criteria for a mental illness at some point in their life • the goal of therapy • navigating therapy modalities, access, payments, insurance • What prevents people from getting the mental health help they need? • outcome measures to test different therapies • traditional therapy vs. single-session interventions • growth mindset • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) • difference between goals and values…

Bethany Mandel — How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence & Indoctrinating a Generation

Shermer and Mandel discuss: the problem of woke ideology • anecdotes vs. data about woke actions and intentions • sex and gender • woke medicine • transgender affirming care • government vs. private responses to social movements and ideas • Trump, DeSantis, Liz Cheney, the Lincoln Project, and other GOP issues • abortion: pro-Choice or pro-Life? • support for children: government or private? • What is “the left” and how does it differ from liberalism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism? •…

Jean Twenge — Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents, and What They Mean for America’s Future

Shermer and Twenge discuss: untangling interacting causal variables (age, gender, race, religion, politics, SES, big events, slow trends, time-period effects, and generational effects) • fuzzy sets/conceptual categories • how historical events effect generations: the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War and its end, AIDS, 9/11, The Great Recession, Covid-19, #metoo, #BLM, trans, AI • how long-term trends effect generations • technology as a driver of generational differences • civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, trans rights • abortion and reproductive…

Psychotherapy Reconsidered

Is psychotherapy effective? Which of the many types is best? Are certain therapies better suited to treat certain problems? How can you rationally choose a therapist? Is it better to pick a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or some other type of counselor? There is a veritable cornucopia of individuals offering advice about mental health issues, from celebrities to life coaches to pastors to concerned friends, some with formal training and some with no credentials at all. Does psychotherapy ever make patients…

Marc Schulz — The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness

Shermer and Schulz discuss: an operational definition of the “good life” or “happiness” or “well being” • the reliability (or unreliability) of self-report data in social science • relative roles of genes, environment, hard work, and luck in how lives turn out • personality and to what extent it can be scientifically measured and studied • factors in early childhood that shape mental health in mid and late life • generational differences: • the impact of loneliness • misconceptions about happiness…

Wild Psychotherapy: Untested and Questionable Methods of Psychological Advice and Treatment

Scientifically trained psychologists and social scientists have long been skeptical of clinical psychotherapy techniques because they are so dependent on anecdotes instead of data. In response, clinicians with scientific training have developed data-based techniques, like Cognitive Behavior Therapy. But these new techniques have not trickled down to pop psychologists like Laura Schlessinger (Dr. Laura) and Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil), along with self-help gurus like Tony Robbins. This article critiques these pop psych nostrums.

eSkeptic for March 10, 2022

Announcing Skeptic 27.1: Transgender Matters — an overview of the debate, research, and policies; supporting kids who identify as transgender or who are experiencing gender dysphoria (marked distress at an incongruence between gender identity and biological sex).

Trans Reality: “I Didn’t Know There Was Another Side”

Social psychologist Carol Tavris thoughtfully explores and questions “affirmative trans medicine,” the latest dangerous medical practices bubble. Few question the mystifying explosion of cases of gender dysphoria among adolescents and the proliferation of clinics to treat them. Vulnerable teens and baffled parents resort to internet misinformation and succumb to biased media influence, while experts spurn exploratory therapies and promote untested treatments that have long-term effects. Dissenters are vilified and silenced as being transphobic.

eSkeptic for January 25, 2022

Social psychologist Carol Tavris thoughtfully explores and questions “affirmative trans medicine,” the latest dangerous medical practices bubble. Few question the mystifying explosion of cases of gender dysphoria among adolescents and the proliferation of clinics to treat them. Vulnerable teens and baffled parents resort to internet misinformation and succumb to biased media influence, while experts spurn exploratory therapies and promote untested treatments that have long-term effects. Dissenters are vilified and silenced as being transphobic. PLUS: Michael Shermer Speaks with Johnjoe McFadden…

Amishi Jha on the Neuroscience of Attention

In episode 232, Michael Shermer speaks with neuroscientist and professor of psychology, Amishi Jha, about how to achieve Peak Mind, based on her book Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day.

eSkeptic for Dec 4, 2021

In episode 232, Michael Shermer speaks with neuroscientist and professor of psychology, Amishi Jha, about how to achieve Peak Mind, based on her book Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day.

Tim Samuels — Future Man: How to Evolve and Thrive in the Age of Trump, Mansplaining, and #MeToo

If ever there was an urgent need for a frank understanding of what’s going on with men, it is now. Male rage and frustration have driven resurgent populism, mass shootings, and epidemics of addiction and violence. Powerful men who have abused their positions for decades have been and are being #MeToo-outed and dismissed. The patriarchy, that solid bedrock of male power for thousands of years, seems to be crumbling…

eSkeptic for November 19, 2019

In Science Salon # 92 Michael Shermer speaks with Tim Samuels about his brand new book: Future Man: How to Evolve and Thrive in the Age of Trump, Mansplaining, and #MeToo. PLUS: Michael Shermer reviews The Violence Paradox, a PBS NOVA film special based on Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature.

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