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Re: What exactly is

I don't argue that psychology, as a whole, is somehow bad or redundant. I just think that it needs a reform of a kind to weed out the large potential for bad or outright wrong treatment. Also, children that have trouble home or other emotional problems are immedietly carried to therapy. Isn't it a natural coping mechanism to handle with life at that age? Supressing the mechanism for the brain to cope and adapt seems like a disaster waiting to happen and no drug is without side-effects, which are mostly unneeded. Society coddles our children and holds them in a glass box, it sickens me. Our whole future generations will be a mass of emotionally unstable wussies who are used to getting what they want and winning even when losing.

Re: What exactly is

I don't think there is a response that will be completely satisfactory, for you, to what you propose, but I can try to get close to it.

First of all, I don't know where you are finding the examples that support your view of psychology, but, although you are right in many respects, it sounds like you live in a very paranoid country with a counterproductive view of the human mind. Do you live in the USA?

Even if your country is given to those aflictions, and even if psychology in many places (like the USA) is being slowly changed to converge with the, usually, more balanced view that exists in most of Europe, the reason for such events is not an inherent property of psychology or psychiatry (even in the USA, at least to some degree) but of the therapists themselves (if there is really such a profound problem, as you will see later in this post).

Sciences that study, and propose themselves, to help heal the mind still have a very long way to go, but what is considered correct in them is not what you describe. The behaviour of therapists, that I described in the previous post, is what is commonly viewed as correct by unbiased scientists in the area.

A lot of misguided actions have taken place in the name of psychology and psychiatry, but those disciplines, as a whole, do not defend those same actions. I had to go through several psychologists and psychiatrists to achieve the equilibrium from which I benefit now, after years of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and poor social realtionships, and not one of them behaved as you described.

If anything, my conclusion was that I should have started therapy earlier: I have a borderline personality disorder and, by the time I started therapy, my personality was already so well established that it was extremely hard to change the misconceptions about life in general that had imprinted themselves in me and created my own disfunctional view of reality.

This is why children and adults that suspect they have, or are suspected of having, mental unbalance should always search help from a therapist. However, there is something extremely important you must remember, and that I have already stated: therapy does not imply medication. If a good professional is consulted, she will try to do a thorough evalution of the possible patient, even if, when in doubt, more than one session is recquired, and then decide if therapy really is needed if medication will be necessary, or less agressive techniques are enough, and if another medical view is necessary (such as that of a neurologist if it appears the problem is truly physical and not psychological only). If all is well, a therapist will sometimes have the pleasure, that all therapists should feel, of being able to confidently say there is no reason for concern and allowing the patient to continue with her normal life unhindered.

There is nothing wrong with going to a therapist under these conditions. Every healthy person is advised by the medical community to do regular examinations, with variable intervals depending on factors that may increase or decrease the probability of disease (such as family members with genetic diseases, agressive working enviroments, stressful way of life, too many sexaul partners, etc), so why not talk to a therapist once in a while? Psychiatrists are the “big guns” against mental illness and there doesn't seem to be anything to gain by going directly to one in case of some minor problem. Neither does it make sense to go to a psychiatrist to have a casual conversation with a therapist, just to get a good picture of how your life is going from an unbiased third person point of view, firmly based in knowledge and experience. I would only go directly to a psychiatrist if no psychologist were avalable and I had reasons for concern. However, even taking this into consideration, what is the problem of talking to a psychologist in a very comfortable way if you feel you or your children could benefit from it? Psychology is not only for those who suffer from mental disorders, it is also a way of helping a person cope with the, sometimes agressive, events of their daily life. The purpose of therapy should not be to cure alone but, as with all other medical disciplines, also to prevent the problems before they appear or at least catch them in time to heal them successfully. A person who has just lost a dearly loved family member may or may not become truly depressed, but such a person can always benefit from discussing his or her feelings with someone who can understand them and guide that person through the many stages of mourning.

At least in my country, psychologists are taught, and must know, all about the relation between the different forms of psychology (usually they only specialize in one branch) and the relation between psychology and psychiatry, as well as having to learn how to identify problems that can be psychiatric or neurological in nature.

I started the resolution of my problems by going to a sleep therapist because one of the main quantitative signs of the problems I had was a terrible sleep pattern. The psychologists who saw me, quickly realised there was need of psicotherapy because my sleep disorder was not a primary disfunction, but a secondary problem derived from a deeper unbalance. My new therapist took only a couple of sessions to have a clear idea of what I truly needed and concluded that the branch of psychotherapy she used was probably the most effective one against the problem I had. I was lucky to have her since, although not too old, she is an excellent and experienced professional and she is a teacher at my city's Faculty of Psychology, as well as being one of the few experts that lead the interns at the hospital. After this she recommended I start seeing a psychiatrist to complement the therapy and, at first, that doctor only perscribed a light ansiolitic.

As my therapy progressed, external stress made me fall into deeper depression and my anxiety went through the roof. Another, more experient, psychiatrist took over my case and noticed I had multiple “gaps” in my mental structure and medicated me accordingly. It took a few trials and errors, and a lot of time, to get to the precise combination of medication that would truly help me but, as soon as we found the right one (this kind of therapy is only possible with the aid of the patient's own view of the problems) I totally overcame my depression, my social life became completely reversed (for the better), I finally began a normal romantic life and my work rocketed into space with the new found confidence I now have.

The medication did not cure me, it controlled the simptoms, but in this position, after a lot of psychotherapy, I am able to heal myself and, if all goes well, at some point my medication will be slowly reduced and my mental state will stabilize by itself without the need for any further medication.

(to be continued)

Re: What exactly is

This is what good therapists atempt to do (at least in my country): provide the means for a person to heal, if possible. The case is different in chronic cases where a cure is impossible, or nearly so, and therapy is of little, or no help, alone. This can happen with any numver of disorders like with severe schizophrenia, which scientists believe may be more of a neurological disorder than a purely psychological one, or bipolar disorder, which can benefit from psychotherapy but requires constant medication. Only then do psychiatrists recomend perpetual consumption of the appropriate medication to keep the patient's mental health.

If anyone suspects the behaviour of a child is strange for that age, and if such a person is truly concerned, that person doesn't need to rush the child to a psychiatrist: unless the symptoms are truly severe, a concerned parent, for exemple, should go to a psychologist and explain why he or she believes their child's behaviour is not normal. The psychologist can assure the person that there is nothing wrong, if that is the case, or ask that she be allowed to observe the child if there is any doubt in the therapist's mind about the well-being of the possible patient. Even if the child needs to be seen by a psychologist because of some doubt, they can still be sent her back to her normal life, without ever noticing anything unusual happened: it is just another doctor, right? Only if the therapist finds genuine reasons for concern will it be necessary to start therapy.

Even overdependancy on therapy and/or medication is something a good therapist can detect and solve! Unless a therapist is completely unethical and is trying to make a lot of money out of other people's misery, there is no reason a therapist would tell someone to keep coming to therapy, to keep taking medication or that a person still has a problem that has already been solved (or, extremely worse, feed a patient's illness to keep her constantly dependent on the therapist).

That's the process that psychology and psychiatry recomend as far as therapy is concerned. If a therapist does otherwise or sujests anything other than this, she should be viewed as a potentially problematic therapist. And this includes therapists who believe they can evaluate and solve complex problems, such as a deep distress about sexual identity, through short replies to very confined requests for help, under public scrutiny over the radio, in talk shows or on the internet.

Most of the problems you have justly raised can sometimes be related to problems in these sciences themselves but that is rare nowadays and, with time, it will keep getting even rarer. The true source of the problem may lie with the poor education of the therapists, or their lack of vocation and basic capabilities, and sometimes even because of the parents of the children and the adults who seek help. It is not strictly a problem of what psychology and psychiatry defend: it is a problem about how, less than enlightened, professionals interpret what they are taught.

There is too much paranoia today: that is a cancer that can yet undo a lot of our social evolution in the last decades (like it is happening in a couple of countries in Europe, as it has been happening continually in the USA and as it happened completely and unfortunately in many places around the globe). Freedom, the right to self-determination, even some basic human rights or rights agreed upon many decades ago (like the Geneva Conventions that the USA is breaking almost every day with impunity) are being slowly eroded. Fear is what is driving the masses today and fear is a very powerful, unethical and dangerous tool in the hands of politicians, other influential people and some specific communities (like the mental therapy community). It was fear and frustration that led the people of the former USSR to follow a vicious despot, that seduced part of Europe to subject itself to the ideals of a megalomaniac madman many decades ago and that led to the cold war and related disgraces just a little later (and the, so called, Mutual Assured Destruction policy, MAD for short, which could have taken mankind to the brink of extinction or even succeed in annihilating us all).

I hope this will help you understand what I believe is truly wrong in our modern view of normality. We spent decades learning some of the difference (not all, not by a long shot) between normal and abnormal behaviour, although the line between them is extremely delicate and always shifting a bit. The problem today is not that we don't have the right tools to know, within the obvious limitations imposed by subjectivity and, of course, only to a certain degree, what is normal and what is not. The problem today is that, at least in some places, many have unlearned how to use those tools.

Just keep in mind one thing: as far as biologists and neurologists can tell, the human brain adapted to allow us to live in small comunities with no overwhelming source of information. For the past few millenia, specially since the industrial revolution and even more so in the last few decades, humans have constructed ever more complex social structures and exposed themselves to increasing amounts of information. A couple of millenia is simply not enough for a species to adapt to all of this, specially one that is no longer under the complete influence of natural selection as we are. The weakest among us are, wherever there is any sort of social responsibility, protected and allowed to procreate endlessly. This is a sign that we have evolved positively as a society, but it is a double edge sword: it is the right and ethical thing to do (in my opinion) but can be the source of problems later on.

There have always been problems with the minds of many, but today we have every reason to believe we are getting more prone to mental illness: stress alone could justify almost all of this, now combine that with all the other factors of agression upon the human mind. In earlier days, any different behaviour would be considered madness and yet, as we learn that many things that are unusual are also natural, the number of persons with true mental illness is rising for two reasons: the agressive environment in which we live and the increased awareness about more subtle conditions that lead to a miserable life but were once disregarded. This may also be one of the things that makes you see more problems than solutions. Although there are bad therapists, part of the problem may be a cognitive illusion. How can we truly know what is happening in our world today if we are immersed in it and it seems to have become more complex than ever before?

Think about it...

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." - Robin Williams

Re: What exactly is

I'm actually from Finland. I've just seen, first hand, the impact bad pshychologists have had on people that I know. It's not just an isolated incident either. It's just that the effects of overlooking something and giving the wrong treatment can have devsatating effects and has the potential to ruin a person for the rest of their lives. Especially when the person in question is still a child and their brain is still developing.

Also, i'm totally against coddling children to believe they are somehow special. It's already evident in the new 15-20 generation, they are just pathetic beyong belief for the most part. They can't handle losing, emotions or relationships that go south. I think it's a totally wrong direction. Mind you, i'm not advocating eugenics or "cleansings" because even though that would solve alot of problems, we are too compassionate as a society, not as a race, to do such things.

Re: What exactly is

As for the first reply to my post:

My personal experience is insignificant compared to the message I am trying to convey. "I" only exist when it benefits the explanation of whatever I feel is important to transmit in this forum.

If you think you may learn something important from my, less than agreeable, experiences with mental disorders, I will subject myself to the exposition of my personal life once more, but I will not do it because someone is "interested" in it.

As for Hexi's contribution:

I may have understood at least part of your position. Don't misinterpret what I wrote, please. Something can be, and probably is, wrong.

There were only two points I wanted to make. The first one is that the obvious sign you mentioned, the increased number of persons described as having mental disorders, isn't the best argument because it can be explained by other means. The second point is that the problem is not in psychology or psychiatry itself but in the community that is supposed to act in those areas with good sense, based on knowledge of the science they use and practical experience (like any kind of doctor).

I think you understood both points and I now I believe I finaly understand all that led you to express this concern. As far as you can tell, there are entire generations being poorly raised in such a way that their members do not know how to live with reality or deal with the obstacles of every day life. Instead of addressing the cause of the problem (poor upbringing of children and teenagers into adulthood) you believe your country is hiding the true nature of the consequences and puting the responsibility on mental disorders or, if the consequences truly are a drastic increase in cases of mental disorder, people are only dealing with the end result and not the root of the problem itself.

This is what I understood from your reply. If there is anything I misinterpreted (or if I got it all wrong), please, let me know.

About what you said as far as new generations are concerned, what you say may be true in your country, I am not there to see for myself and I will obvisouly trust your insight, but it is not necessarily true everywhere. In my country strange things have happened with some generations but the one that might be more similar to the one you describe has already passed. I have been in close contact with freshmen at my university two times with an interval of 12 years: I didn't notice much difference. Twelve years is a very short time, granted, but you must admit it means the two generations should already show signs of what you say is happening, and they don't.

It is sad that what you say is happening in a country like Finland, which I always thought had a more advanced mentality than the usual first-world countries. I have a limited knowledge about your country but I always had the impression that it was one of the last places on earth where I should suspect such a thing would happen.

Perhaps your society has achieved a state where it has some characteristics of an utopia but those same things, because they are too perfect and dificult to mantain, have resulted in distopian effects. Perhaps your country functions so well people are loosing contact with harsh realities and don't learn, during their childhood, how to deal with the normal problems of every day life.

These are just wild guesses... I'm talking completely out of the void on this one. I would like to say there is a very logical explanation to what is happening, tell you what that explanation is and be able to reassure you that things will get better, but I cannot.

Look to sociologists and people in related areas: only they have any chance of understanding, with the help of psychology, the true nature of whatever aflicts your homeland. Anything else is as unwise as trying to understand the changing of the tides by explaining the behaviour of every molecule of water in the oceans.

I will be waiting for your reply.

"There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten." - Indira Ghandi

Re: What exactly is

No, you got my point quite well. I'm not a verbose person so i tend to keep my posts short and to the point which, at times, leaves room for misunderstanding but that is fine with me as i care very little about the subjects i write about. This is just stimuli for me.

As to the subject at hand. In Finland, we are slipping towards a total nanny state. When i got to 7th grade, there was an initiation of sorts for getting out of elementary school which included some humiliation and picking on the new kids, to welcome them to a new chapter of their lives. It was all in good fun. As an example, i wore one my mothers dresses for the day, it was required, and some lipstick. Then we were guided, 1 class at a time, to the gym hall and taken through a course with our eyes blindfolded to stick our hands into all sorts of nastyness. This was a fun day for everyone. Now, it's banned and any such activities which "pick" on the new kids is punishable by severe detention. In sports, they no longer keep score in PE classes as everyone wins. This is the kind of pampering idiocy that goes on in our younger kids at school. These are just 2 examples but i can list more if you insist, it's just to illustrate how ridiculous it's gotten.

Also, i don't think Finland has ever been a "stable" country mentally, i don't get where you got that impression. Our suicide rates are quite high and violence is common. Especially at home. Kids are dragged into school counselors at the first signs of trouble (i was a regular there) and you are labeled as "crazy" or atleast "odd" after that. This in itself is not such a problem but how on earth can they expect 1 person to have any meaningful relationships with a hundred children, or more. This one person decides if you need professional help and at that point, you are labelled for the rest of your academic life and in some cases, makes one unable to even apply to certain jobs. I just find the whole system so... ****.

Re: What exactly is

You know the position I am in at the moment, because of another thread, and, since I have already learned much in this forum, even in the few days I have been here, my contributions may soon end, as I continue my work as an alexanthropogist in other, more ethically sound, fora. However, this is a very important discussion, about a problem that is deeply troubling for me, and I will try to see it through to the end.

The method you described, for aiding the mental evolution of children and their social integration, does not seem completely sound but, if it was based in your culture's tradition and it was a natural part of a child's life, there is no reason to believe it was damaging and may, in fact, have been positive for the edification of children in your country.

I cannot be sure because public humiliation can be detrimental and I do not know exactly how it was done, but this is my honest opinion. I have little or no knowledge about the effect of that exact kind behaviour on children but, it seems within the reach of my own good sense to meditate upon the subject.

As for what happens today, using your accounts as a base its analysis, it is very clearly an extreme position in the other direction: it is just as paranoid as what is happening elsewhere about pedophilia. A ten year-old child was forced to apologise to a friend for hugging that child and it is no longer permitted for children to sit on the lap of Santa Claus impersonators in at least one place where it was traditional to do so.

As a rule, no extreme position is healthy for anything pertaining to the social and psychological life of an individual, and the way your country seems to be functioning borders on utter insanity. There is little a single person can do in your position with the exception of publicly debating the subject, searching for like minded persons who can spread the word and try to change the status quo.

If you were more, as you say, "verbose", I would encourage you to write articles explaning your point of view, in a clear and fundamented way, and send them to every mass media entity you thought might be open to consider publishing your point of view. Even if your opinion isn't popular, there may still be some smaller or more controversial newspapers and magazines that would accept you contribution and start a possible cascade effect that could eventually result in a country wide open discussion of what you find is wrong.

The only problem you might encounter is persecution by those who adamantly defend the current state of the country and those who, out of fear or ignorance, follow them.

If there is nothing you can do, trust the human society's hability to heal itself and return from extreme positions to a natural balance. It is common for many cultures to fluctuate between extremes continually, over decades or centuries, or to take some time to reach an equilibrium. Your country may have suffered some negative influence from other cultures, specially the USA culture, that have turned to fear and paranoia because of certain events and facts that, although they should be viewed with care, have been exploited by fearmongers to the extent where there is little or no rationality left in what people think about the related subjects.

Let us hope this doesn't lead to the birth of yet another, very negative, mass revolution as it happened in the early decades of the twentieth century in places around Europe, at the hands of another megalomanic insane manipulator of the masses. I do not wish to live through what can become something of the magnitude of the "holy" inquisition or, much less, something even remotely similar to the holocaust.

If you want, since I am devoting many ours to reading and writting, you can send me very thorough e-mails about what you feel is happening in your country, and why you think it is happening or why it is wrong, and, if you find my writing style agreeable, I can help you create a reasonable text for you to express your opinion in public.

Other than this, I can only advise caution and patience.

Good luck.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

Re: What exactly is

Adam, you are an idiot. On another thread you asked me to stop flaming. The person who started that other thread said he needs help and asked me to take my comment over here so that my argument with you would not interfere with the help he needs. OK.

Adam, why have you not yet apologized to Dr. Robert for your failure to respond properly to his answer to your first post, for your rudeness and disrespect to him and to his excellent work on his website and in providing this forum, and for the misinformation which you keep putting out here?

Now, listen, you jerk: You are an idiot. This is not flaming. It is a simple fact. You criticized the doctor in a rude and disrespectful manner. He answered you politely, and pointed out that your ideas about sexuality were mistaken. He demonstrated your mistake with a number of references (which I doubt you ever even checked). You did not even have the courtesy to acknowledge that he had replied to you with new information, much less the intelligence to respond to the new information.

You are on some kind of vendetta here, and that is obvious to many of us, not just me. You don't make the rules here, so stop trying. I suggest you leave this forum where you really are just a useless pain in the ass. If you want to parade your absurd ideas about sexuality, or if you want to slander Dr. Robert, why not get your own website to do it, or start your own forum.

This forum is not about slandering Dr. Robert, it is about open minded discussions of serious topics among people of good will. You obviously are not interested in that kind of discussion since you lack even the common decency to have replied to the doctor properly or to acknowledge that he presented you with new ideas which required serious consideration.

You talk about flaming--my god, man--your entire communication with Dr. Robert has consisted of you flaming him. No wonder he cut you off just like he cut Zenemy off. You are just like Zenemy, and I suspect you are him in disguise. Why should the doctor have anything to do with you? Why should any of us, for that matter?

As I say, you are an idiot. And it is even worse than that, Adam. You are an idiot who thinks he is smart (you aren't). You are the kind of puffed up idiot, who uses the word "fora," and then feels obliged to explain it to us inferiors out here just in case we aren't brilliant and educated idiots like you.

Adam, you are a raging narcissist, and that's not flaming but pure fact. Not only that, you are a liar, and those of us who have followed the doctor's website know it. In a pig's ass he changed that reply to the boy to evade your scrutiny as you keep implying. I read that piece months ago, and I know better. It hasn't changed a bit.

You really are lost. Get a life.

Re: What exactly is

I would be interested in hearing greater detail about your sleep problem. Please go on about that matter.

Re: What exactly is "normal"?

Thank you Hexi, for a very interesting debate. I may wish to reply to one post or another, specially if it is about something very relevant like the question you proposed, but it would be foolish of me to keep contributing to this forum on a regular basis if there has been such an upheaval against me. I will leave this forum almost completely out of my regular routine for the time being. If you ever wish to further discuss this or another subject please, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Even if I won't advise you to ask something directly to Dr. Robert, I wish others continue debating important matters with you and that your experience here will be a positive one.

Enjoy the summer! =)

Re: What exactly is "normal"?

The "upheaval" was entirely self-inflicted. You said that Dr. Robert's website was "lacking and biased." He asked you to specify. You did. He demonstrated that your objections were based on an incorrect understanding of human sexuality. You claimed that sexual orientation is culturally created so that the doctor was wrong in telling that boy to accept his sexuality. The doctor proved you entirely wrong by giving you a number of references to the contrary. Instead of admitting your error, you began a long series of attacks against him, including accusations of mal-practice, accusations that he had changed his posts in order to somehow fool you, you accused him of being "underhanded," you threated to harass him and hound him even though you have no grounds for doing so and worst of all you said that he is not an authority on human psychology and so should not be giving his opinions. That is ridiculous. If a doctor of psychology and psychotherapist of many years experience is not an authority, who is? It is YOU who have been pretending to be an authority when you are not. Your misunderstanding of sexuality ("Heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality are constructs of society, every psychologist and psychiatrist knows this almost since the 70's: that's thirty years ago!") which the doctor tried to correct shows that not only are you not an authority, but you are simply so full of shit that it is leaking out your mouth. How do you have the nerve to come on here giving all kinds of advice as if you really know anything, claiming to be an expert because you have met experts, claiming to be some kind of savior of humanity, and basically stinking up the joint, and then say that the DOCTOR is not an expert? This is his forum, Anthropussy, not yours. He IS an expert. YOU aren't.

You brought this "upheaval" on yourself. If you had the ordinary decency to apologize for your mistakes, everyone here would have accepted you even though you do come off unbearably pedantic and superior. But when you launch a dishonest attack against the founder of this forum who is a person many of us admire for his open mindedness and willingness to accept everyone without judging, you should expect to meet resistance. The worst anyone called you is idiot, and that seems fair enough to me.

If you had any real integrity you would apologize to the doctor for your insults and your lack of respect for his learning. At least you would say that you were mistaken about what "every psychologist and psychiatrist knows." But if can't manage that kind of intellectual honesty then you, Anthropussy, are a fake and a fraud, and you will not be missed here at all.