Incels: Inferences on Etiology & Therapeutic Treatment
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This paper examines the emerging phenomenon of ‘incel’—or ‘involuntary celibate’—online subculture from a therapeutic perspective. Also known as ‘blackpill’ ideology, this subculture has evolved in recent years into a growing hotbed of radical apathy, nihilism, self-loathing, and—often—misogyny and antisocial bitterness, for a minimum of tens of thousands of romantically unsuccessful young males. At its most extreme, incel subculture has been implicated in a number of mass murder attempts in both North America and western Europe over the past decade. Currently, most of the information on incels and blackpill ideology that circulates in the public sphere is speculative and journalistic in nature. This entails distortions and conflations that obscure, rather than clarify, the true nature and scale of this emerging societal malaise. This paper, in contrast, aims to take as empirically-informed, and evidence-based an approach as possible to, one, introducing the topic to the mental health community, two, surveying the therapeutically-relevant extant literature, and finally, three, proposing a best-practice-based approach to conducting well-informed therapy with men and boys under the sway of blackpill thought.