There's people who spank their kids for every minor infraction and then there are parents who spank their kid for serious infractions. Those who get spanked for every little thing - yeah, gonna say it doesn't deter shit. There's no abity to discern which things are truly bad and which are just honest mistakes. I fell in the latter camp though where I'd get spanked if I did something really bad but for small things I'd get more of a talking to, time out, etc. Worked for me pretty well - most of my friends grew up the same way and it worked for them too. I see the current 'process' of discipline failing miserably with those friends of mine who do have kids since their wives seem hellbent on following the non-corporal punishment routine.
Interesting POV, my friend. I think going to therapy is healthy and helpful even if one isn't clinically depressed. I do think "identities" get trendy out of a desire to fit in. That makes me think that we're doing a poor job as a society giving kids a sense of purpose and groundedness. I'm not sure exactly why that happens or how to shift it. I'd guess a big part of it is the move away from religion. I'm not a religious person, but I believe that a church, mosque, synagogue can function as "glue" for a community. If that changes, then we need something to take its place. But in general, nothing has taken the place of the religious institution.