#273 – Victimization Nation with Ofer Zur, PhD


Ofer Zur, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and forensic consultant practicing in Sebastopol, California. He is the director of the Zur Institute, which offers over 100 online courses and is one of the most extensive online CE programs for psychologists, counselors, LPC, social workers, MFTs and nurses. His teaching, consulting with therapists, and writing focus on private practice outside managed care, ethics, standard of care, boundaries, dual relationships, and Internet addiction. His books include Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy (Springer, 2002, co-edited with A. Lazarus), HIPPA Friendly (Norton, 2005), Private Practice Handbook, (ZI, 2007), and Boundaries in Psychotherapy (APA Books, 2007). Dr. Zur has deep concern regarding the harm inflicted by dogmatic, inflexible and ideologically rigid psychotherapeutic practices. His articles page at ZurInstitute.com provides dozens of free articles and guidelines for psychotherapists and the public.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.


One Comment

  1. gloria
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I understand Dr. Zur’s concerns about ‘professional victimhood’ but I think his approach is somewhat lacking in compassion. His line that a woman who marries several abusers in succession gets no sympathy from him indicates to me a person who deals with suffering by hardening his own heart.

    I also found his scale of victimhood rather simplistic – a child who is abused is a victim but a woman who continually forms relationships with abusive men is not. What Dr. Zur doesn’t realise – presumably because he hasn’t had the personal experience, is that when a child is subjected to severe abuse and trauma by supposed care givers they generally identify either with the abuser and become abusers themselves, or against the abuser and become victims. It takes a great deal of suffering – even to the point of death – to let go of that identification. Growing into maturity is a long slow process with an extraordinary number of variables to help or hinder the process. It’s not a sudden transition from being a severely abused child to being a fully autonomous adult.

    Another thing I found troublesome about his approach is his holier-than-thou attitude. Perhaps the fact that he didn’t suffer PTSD from his military experiences and was able to realise his own complicity in being falsely arrested in Africa had something to do with being raised by an existentialist psychologist mother. Not many people have that kind of advantage in life. And where he got the notion that soldiers returning from WW11 didn’t generally suffer from PTSD is quite beyond me. The medicines of the time were cigarettes and alcohol and the medical remedy was a frontal lobotomy.

    Having said all of that, I agree that there is a huge vested interest in supporting those who are inclined to be victims to perpetuate that mode of being. The distinction he failed to make is that between victimhood and victim consciousness.

    I was also surprised that he didn’t mention Karpman’s drama triangle which I came across in the late 70’s and which has been most helpful to me in understanding the dynamics of victim consciousness and going beyond it.

    If anyone is interested in another approach to the issue of victimhood Lynne Forrest has an excellent website.
    http://www.lynneforrest.com/ Like Dr. Zur she advocates self responsibility but I find her approach has a bit more compassion and sensitivity. Ultimately the motivation for change has to come from within the individual.

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