The Onion Mocks Therapy, We’re Not Happy About It


February 21, 2014 by gabnormal

In an article titled “Supposed Adult Pays Man To Sit In Room And Listen To Him Talk About His Feelings,” the Onion mocks therapy and in doing so makes mental illness seem like a joke.

Here’s the piece in full:

BRIDGEPORT, CT—Reportedly going twice a week to his special safe place where he’s told he doesn’t have to be afraid, local accountant and supposedly grown adult Carl Rowley confirmed Wednesday that he pays a man to sit right next to him in a room and listen to him talk all about his feelings. “It’s really helpful to talk through my issues out loud with someone who has an objective viewpoint,” said the feeble approximation of a mature self-respecting grownup, describing the hour-long sessions in which he nestles himself on a big comfy couch with a soft pillow and tells the nice man how he’s sad and lonely and wants everything to feel good again. “I think I’m making a lot of progress, especially around issues with my family. I definitely think it’s something every [oh-so-fragile little infant masquerading as an actual grown man] should try.” At press time, sources reported that Rowley felt much better after the kindly listening man, a so-called doctor, told him that it was okay to cry.

First, we’re disgusted. Mental illness is nothing to joke about and in no way does attending regular therapy sessions make anyone less of an adult, or more of an infant. If anything, the above story reinforces the misinformed stereotype surrounding mental illness, that those who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder etc are either crazy or weak and should learn to deal with those things on their own.

Not to mention the fact that psychology and psychotherapy are very real and very valued fields of work, and the people who went to school for such things and now practice them are most definitely not “so-called doctor(s).” Having the knowledge and ability to care for patients who suffer from mental illness is a skill set that most do not possess and those who do should not be mocked for it.

We know it’s the Onion’s job to make a mockery of most things, and for the most part we enjoy their work, but it’s times like these that reinforce negative stereotypes that we’re not okay with.

9 thoughts on “The Onion Mocks Therapy, We’re Not Happy About It

  1. Sarah says:

    Reblogged this on bi[polar] curious and commented:
    Normally I’m a big fan of the onion, but this was a tad upsetting. When does joking about mental health go too far?

  2. dyane says:

    I have mixed feelings about mental illness & joking – yesterday I posted my very first joke piece ever that I wrote about bp; while I was worried it would offend people, I thought it was funny. Someone liked it enough to reblog it. If someone who *didn’t* have bp wrote something like what I wrote, I’d be mad, though. I don’t know. It’s not like I have a lot of readers, so I’m not losing sleep over it, but if you saw it I hope I didn’t offend you!!!!!

    • gabnormal says:

      Awww no, not at all! I just read your piece, and I think it’s great! I actually laughed out loud at the padded room/Enya part. I think it’s totally okay to laugh at things that are normally taken seriously. I have depression, and have had it my whole life. If I never took a second to laugh at myself I’d be even more miserable than the illness already makes me. There’s definitely a difference between someone who has a mental illness making fun of it versus someone who doesn’t. Also, the way that it’s done is super important. Comedy in light of tragedy is a wonderful coping mechanism but in this case I think that the Onion took an improper approach, and were really offensive rather than funny. Instead of just making light of therapy sessions they mocked them and if anything made it worse for people who go to therapy, making them feel weak and embarrassed for something they have no control over. Your piece, on the other hand, was hilarious and took a jab at public figures which is something that most people can laugh at. It also didn’t alienate anyone or make them feel like an outsider. Good work =)

  3. Gavin says:

    Reblogged this on Going Sideways and commented:
    To be blunt, what “The Onion” says just pisses me off!!!

    • gabnormal says:

      I like they’re stuff for the most part, like I said to Sarah they take everything that’s ridiculous in the world and make it more so, showing the absurdity in most things. This time they definitely crossed a line with me though.

  4. dyane says:

    Thank you SOOOOO much for that! I’ve thought my TV show idea was funny but no one else in my inner circle did, and I was thinking WTF???? But you have made my day! You have awesome taste in humor. I agree with you that the Onion piece was a cat of a different color. (Or a dog of a different color – pick your pet!) I really hope that the Onion editors realized they f’d up and they print some kind of acknowledgement…do you think they’ll get a lot of emails? I hope so! Thanks again for making me feel warm and fuzzy!

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