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Therapists Try Tough Love for a ‘Nation of Whiners’

A new article in the Wall Street Journal says that some therapists are changing their tactics regarding their clients. They’re trying “tough love:”

Whining, as defined by experts—the therapists, spouses, co-workers and others who have to listen to it—is chronic complaining, a pattern of negative communication. It brings down the mood of everyone within earshot. It can hold whiners back at work and keep them stuck in a problem, rather than working to identify a solution. It can be toxic to relationships. How do you get someone to stop the constant griping? The answer is simple, but not always easy: Don’t listen to it.

Moms, and bosses, are good at this. Some therapists are refusing to let clients complain endlessly, as well—offering up Tough Love in place of the nurturing gaze and the question “How does that make you feel?”

A friend quipped, “If therapists are going to start getting paid for ignoring people and telling them to quit whining, then I’ve got some hope for a second career.”

I’m not sure if this is a good development or not, but it all reminds me of this wonderful Bob Newhart clip from MadTV:

Nancy French — Nancy French is a three-time New York Times best-selling author and a longtime contributor to National Review Online.

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