Shrink Rap: The Trouble with Tiger

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Shrink Rap: The Trouble with Tiger

A Telluride local, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer is an internationally recognized expert on treating clinical issues at the nexus of relationships and behavioral health. (Scroll down for more on Dr. Paul.)

Recently Dr. Paul authored an opinion piece for the New York Daily News. In it, he discussed how we must stop objectifying celebrities who suffer from addictive and behavioral health challenges. Tiger’s troubles showcase society’s weaknesses too.

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

The world loves a celebrity mug shot, especially when it involves an alleged DUI or a sexual misstep. When it entails a celebrity with a story of both, the internet blows its circuits.

Tiger Woods, on a really bad day. Courtesy, New York Daily News.

Such was the case this week when an image of an incarcerated Tiger Woods found its way into virtual commerce. Although one of the most exceptional athletes in the universe, a minority who’s attained improbable success, Woods’ extraordinary accomplishments are being overshadowed by what appears to be a host of physical challenges and have made him the fodder of jokes and snickers.

As a clinician who treats celebrities for addictive and relational disorders, I always have an “oh sh*t” response to the latest news story highlighting the challenges of celebrities. That matters so private and physiologically grounded are turned into public spectacles evidence the work that needs to be done to stop our deeply rooted compulsion to objectify our fellow human beings.

And we view celebrities as objects. Rather than appreciating the fullness of their beings, we exploit celebrities to feed our fantasies and escape the reality of our lives. When they step outside these boundaries we slay them.

We’d like to think we’ve progressed from the days of human executions for public spectacle, but we haven’t. Today’s coliseum is the insatiable news machine. Dare a celebrity gain a pound, struggle in their marriage or develop an addictive disorder, and they’re immediately reduced to debris then sold for a fleeting moment of schadenfreude.

The real trouble with Tiger has nothing to do with Woods’ character. The trouble with Tiger is our response to his struggles. By taking pleasure in his stumbles, we’re showcasing our persistent need to strip human beings of their humanness and place them into boxes. The danger in this compulsion is dire.

Those of you who think its okay to snicker at our celebrities for their human frailties are treading down a dangerous path.

Continue reading here.

More about Dr. Paul Hokemeyer:

Dr. Paul is frequently quoted in a host of media outlets including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He serves on the panel of experts for the “Dr. Oz Show” and is a Fox News analyst. Dr. Paul served on the board of directors for the New York Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and received his certification as a clinical trauma professional. He also holds a law degree.

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