I was fortunate: back in the late 1970s I decided to give therapy a try after reading Nathaniel Branden's The Disowned Self. I was in Los Angeles, got into therapy with Nathaniel and wound up with an entirely new understanding of myself, the world around me, and how a dysfunctional society can create dysfunctional people who in turn support and continue the dysfunctional society.
A "mainstream" or "establishment" type "mental health" worker, especially today, would likely have offered a variety of chemicals in an attempt to deal with symptoms (I wasn't truly dysfunctional, just unhappy with no real idea of what to do about it). Instead I wound up with a much deeper understanding of what I consider the core issue, which is that I had already begun to internalize much of what the nutty society around me had shown me.
Working with Branden helped me to break the cycle. But going after the symptoms allows our society to continue the pretense that all is well, just a few "bad apples" or "unhappy apples" or "ADHD apples" or whatever the flavor of the day is. And the definition of "a few" gets readjusted upward, by orders of magnitude... but who's counting?
Like they say, get them asking the wrong questions and you don't have to worry about the answers. Nathaniel taught me the importance of asking the right questions -- and not avoiding the right answers when they are unpleasant or unpopular or painful. As I heard him say many times, "The truth can never be your enemy."
I learned a crucial principle from Nathaniel Branden that would transform our civilization -- for the better -- if it was widely understood and acted on: happiness is possible, provided we are willing to be 100% honest with ourselves about the reasons why it is so difficult. I am certain that a big percentage of the human race could benefit from some of the things I learned from Nathaniel.
My primary goal here is to help make this happen.