The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education (Paperback) book cover

The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education

By Kathryn Ecclestone, Dennis Hayes

© 2008 – Routledge

186 pages

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Paperback: 9780415397018
pub: 2008-06-27
Hardback: 9780415397001
pub: 2008-06-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203870563
pub: 2009-05-07
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The silent ascendancy of a therapeutic ethos across the education system and into the workplace demands a book that serves as a wake up call to everyone. Kathryn Ecclestone and Dennis Hayes' controversial and compelling book uses a wealth of examples across the education system, from primary schools to university, and the workplace to show how therapeutic education is turning children, young people and adults into anxious and self-preoccupied individuals rather than aspiring, optimistic and resilient learners who want to know everything about the world.

The chapters address a variety of thought-provoking themes, including

  • how therapeutic ideas from popular culture dominate social thought and social policies and offer a diminished view of human potential

  • how schools undermine parental confidence and authority by fostering dependence and compulsory participation in therapeutic activities based on disclosing emotions to others

  • how higher education has adopted therapeutic forms of teacher training because many academics have lost faith in the pursuit of knowledge

  • how such developments are propelled by a deluge of political initiatives in areas such as emotional literacy, emotional well-being and the 'soft outcomes' of learning

The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education is eye-opening reading for every teacher, student teacher and parent who retains any belief in the power of knowledge to transform people's lives. Its insistent call for a serious public debate about the emotional state of education should also be at the forefront of the minds of every agent of change in society… from parent to policy maker.


"This robust polemic challenges almost everything I thought and was taught about the role of the teacher. Ecclestone and Hayes place current concerns about wellbeing and mental health in a broader, critical context, arguing that therapeutic education diminishes and limits individuals, and creates the problems it claims to solve. I suspect any reader would be left reconsidering fundamental beliefs about education after reading this book." -Harry Fletcher-Wood works at the Institute for Teaching and is an author

Table of Contents

Foreward by Frank Furedi Preface: The rise of emotional problems 1 In an emotional state 2 The therapeutic primary school 3 The therapeutic secondary school 4 The therapeutic college 5 The therapeutic university 6 The therapeutic workplace 7 Explaining the emotional state 8 The therapeutic turn in education: a response to our critics Bibliography Index

About the Authors

Kathryn Ecclestone is Professor of Post-Compulsory Education at Oxford Brookes University. She has written two best selling books on assessment, and is a member of the Assessment Reform Group and the editorial board for the Journal of Further and Higher Education.

Dennis Hayes is Visiting Professor in the Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University. He is the editor and author of several books including The RoutledgeFalmer Guide to Key Debates in Education (2004).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects