Picks and Pans Review: Take Charge

UPDATED 10/20/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/20/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

It's clear we're in for some serious psychobabble on this tape—it's subtitled "How To Become Your Own Best Therapist"—when psychiatrist Harold Bloomfield introduces himself as the co-host. "I don't think of myself as a shrink," Bloomfield says. "I think of myself as a stretch." For the next hour he and co-host Sirah Vettese—who has a Ph.D. in psychology, sings the title song ("You're gonna see a brand-new day/ You'll be feeling better in every way") and is Mrs. Bloomfield—pour forth platitudes like a Mount St. Helens of mellowness. They act out little dramas, like a husband and wife argument during which one spouse says only "Tell me more." Members of a studio audience brought in for the taping, including a woman whose resentment of her dead mother is turned into a kind of skit, appear onstage. Bloomfield acts out, throws tantrums and tries to be ingratiating. Vettese says: "It's not how many times you fall but how many times you get back up." She estimates that "we need three hugs a day to survive." While a flute plays soothingly, she says, in much the same reassuring tone one might use with a sick hamster, "If you feel tears coming up, that's okay. Don't hold back." The ostensible point is (hold on to your hats) that people should take responsibility for their own lives. That central cliché, however, gets lost amidst all the clichés with which it's packaged. That's all right. We can all take charge by avoiding this tape like a psychoplague. Somebody should put out a tape titled "I'm Okay; You're a Californian." (McGraw-Hill, $24.95)

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