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Staying young

Our modern obsession with therapy

Monica Lewinsky with Bill Clinton during her internship at the White House

The White House’s “most famous intern”, Monica Lewinsky, recently confided she has five therapists, says Esther Walker in the I newspaper. These include a trauma therapist, an “energy guy”, and someone specialising in body-focused somatic work. “I can’t help but worry about the expense.” Monica must spend all the time she is not with her therapists “earning money in order to pay her therapists”. Just like we’ve insisted on importing “culture wars, turmeric lattes and Peloton” from America, so too with therapy. The number of registered counsellors in the UK has doubled in a decade; we’re obsessed with “therapy-speak” about working on “our boundaries” and “unresolved traumas”.

For most of us, it’s a desperate attempt to “buy our way out of trouble”. We eat “processed crap” packed with chemicals; drink too much; spend our days “hunched over humming screens”, consuming an endless stream of news purposefully designed to catch our attention “using spikes of envy or fear”. Fifty minutes sitting in an Ikea Poäng armchair cannot be expected to offset all of that. There are so many positive changes we can make outside of therapy, “if only we could put our phones down for five minutes and focus”.