25 Lenses Through Which to View How Life is Experienced

Eric Maisel, PhD
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In part one of this series, I discussed some of the challenges facing psychotherapy. In part two, I introduced multi-lens therapy and outlined its central goal, which is to do a better job than the DSM and current psychotherapies of taking into account what is causing a client’s distress. In part three, I explained how therapists can gain a beginning understanding of what might be causing their client’s distress by listening in new ways to the causal hints that clients drop in session, and by employing “talking points” to help educate clients about the reality of multiple causes and what that means for them with regard to “what might help.” In this post, I’ll introduce the 25 lenses of multi-lens therapy.

Your current way of doing therapy may not include much teaching, explaining, or using talking points like the ones above. But if you’re engaged in explorations and investigations with your clients, as I believe you should be, that requires that you help your clients understand what you have in mind. You want to be able to say, “That’s one possible way to look at what’s going on. But there are also other ways. Can we check those out?”

If your client agrees, then you will need your talking points so that you can introduce those “other ways of looking at what’s going on” in simple and clear ways. With those talking points at the ready, you’re much more likely to learn what’s really going on, which then allows you to aim your helping in the appropriate direction. By paying real attention to what may be causing your client’s distress, you greatly increase your therapeutic options.

Of course, that you have done some excellent work discerning causes doesn’t mean that you or your client will then know what to do. But that information must prove valuable, at the very least insofar as it prevents you and your client from misunderstanding what is going on. And it is bound to suggest possible avenues to try. Whether those avenues will prove fruitful must remain to be seen. But you are traveling down them for good reasons, because you have inquired and listened.

Psychotherapy as an idea and as a practice has not completely escaped critical scrutiny. But, on balance, the critical psychology movement and other critics of contemporary mental health practices have more often taken aim at deconstructing the mental disorder paradigm, as reified in the DSM, than deconstructing the psychotherapy paradigm. Psychotherapy has managed to fly a bit below the radar of critique.

But it has needed critiquing, in large measure because it has taken too cavalier an attitude toward causation. What a doctor does is generally well justified by virtue of the fact that he is treating the causes of things as well as their symptoms. He cares if it is a virus and he cares which virus it is. What a psychotherapist does is on much shakier ground, since psychotherapy has taken a cavalier attitude toward causation and not made “investigating causes” a central activity of the practice. Therapists, provided by psychiatry with a checklist way of labeling clients, have been rather left off the hook when it comes to tackling the matter of causation.

A multi-lens therapist is on much more solid footing, since he or she can say, “I check carefully for causes by investigating the causal hints I hear and the causal clues I get. I then connect my helping strategies to what I learn. If I can’t discern what is causing my client’s distress, I can still be of help, because talk helps and support helps. But I don’t act like causes don’t matter and I do my human best to figure out what’s really going on. This is no easy task, as causation in human affairs is typically complex and obscure. But I try.”

The following, then, are the 25 lenses of multi-lens therapy, lenses through which to view what might be going on “in” and “with” your client. This list is not meant to be comprehensive but it does an excellent job of not being reductionist and it allows for a lot of rich thinking and investigating.

1. The Lens of Original Personality

2. The Lens of Formed Personality

3. The Lens of Available Personality

4. The Lens of Circumstance

5. The Lens of Time Passing

6. The Lens of Mind Space

7. The Lens of Instinct

8. The Lens of Individual Psychology

9. The Lens of Social Psychology

10. The Lens of Development

11. The Lens of Biology

12. The Lens of Family

13. The Lens of Cognition

14. The Lens of Behavior

15. The Lens of Social Connection

16. The Lens of Experience

17. The Lens of Endowment

18. The Lens of Stress

19. The Lens of Trauma

20. The Lens of Emotion

21. The Lens of Culture and Society

22. The Lens of Environmental Factors

23. The Lens of Psychiatric Medication and Chemicals

24. The Lens of Creativity

25. The Lens of Life Purpose and Meaning

Multi-lens therapy asserts that if you are leaving out temperament, social and cultural realities, life purpose and meaning issues, and the other lenses through which a multi-lens therapist looks at her clients, you are leaving out too much. You are operating from too limited a place and making it harder on yourself to be effective by virtue of not meeting your client where she is “really at.” If you do meet her there, she will trust you more, warm to you more, engage responsively, and do more work out of session. Multi-lens therapy paints a truer-to-life picture of human reality and also makes the work of psychotherapy much easier. There’s a lot to value there.

How a Multi-Lens Therapist Views Life

How is life really experienced? The actual experience of living is very different from the reductionist view that we are either healthy or have a mental disorder. Our experience of life isn’t captured by words like normal and abnormal, healthy and disordered, and the other sterile constructs of contemporary psychology. Do you view your life as either “normal” or “abnormal”? Do those words capture anything about how it feels to be alive?

Each of us is a real human being dealing with real circumstances and experiencing the passage of time. First, there is a real human being. A real human being is a willful creature with drives, needs, opinions, beliefs, and all the rest. No adjective or list of adjectives captures his particularity. A given member of our species may be dull or brilliant, empathic or merciless, feverish or apathetic, and all the rest. And each member of our species will be knitted together and wound together as his or her own multiplicity, smiling one moment and dreaming of revenge the next, oblivious to the world one moment and marching in protest the next, selfless one moment and selfish the next. Labels do not capture this reality, adjectives do not capture this reality, and what goes on “inside a person” happens behind closed doors, making each individual implacably mysterious.

Second, there are real circumstances. A prisoner’s cell and a monk’s cell may look very similar but the prisoner is in one set of circumstances and the monk is in another set of circumstances. If your parents are cruel to you, that matters. Those are real circumstances. Try shrugging them off or wishing them away. A war breaks out and you must fight or not fight. Will your choice not affect you? You spend a dozen years learning a subject and at the end of that time you discover that it bores you. There you are, a professor of nothing that interests you. Try ignoring that.

Then there is the matter of time: the passing, pressing nature of time to be filled. Time is the wild card. Time is most often described nowadays as “not enough,” as in there is too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. But in reality, time is “too much” rather than “not enough.” The astounding pressure put on us to pass the time is a full player in our experience of life. How many billions of people are racing into cyberspace hours and hours each day because time must be filled? Imagine a life without the experience of time passing. We would live that life very differently from the ways that we currently live.

These three together make up each snapshot moment in the sequence of snapshots that amount to a lived life. Life may feel more like a film than like snapshots, but that is a trick of the mind. A film implies a director. There is no director directing human life, including the self. You and I are not auteur directors. Rather, we live in discontinuous time and the continuity that we experience has to do with the consistency of our formed personality, which causes us to repeat ourselves, for better or worse.

That felt consistency also occurs because when we head off in a certain direction, we tend to keep heading there, as the laws of physics and human nature predict. Life plays itself out with plenty of anticipated results: the divorce can already be seen in the first date, the abandoned career can already be seen in the first day of work, the clash between you and your society can already be seen the instant you say “No, I refuse.” The power of our formed personality to cause us to repeat ourselves, our tendency to keep going in the direction we have propelled ourselves, and the logic of life producing anticipated results, give life its filmic look. That look obscures the real nature of each moment, which is up for grabs.

How is each moment up for grabs? Maybe every time you get off the subway after work, you go home. But you might not go home. There is always the potentiality for flying off and leaving your life behind. We know this because people do exactly that: they do not go home to dinner but instead run off to South America. But even if no one ever did it, we know by virtue of our own experience how wild and tumultuous each moment is, how we just might have had that affair, how we just might have thrown over our profession, how we just might have decided to sharpen all of our knives, how we just might have changed our mind about life being worth living. That we do go home each time we get off the subway amounts to a decision, one that we usually only vaguely comprehend but that sometimes we very clearly know that we are making.

The experience of being human can only be understood in terms of these dynamic, pregnant snapshot moments, one happening right after another. And circumstances must always be factored in. A person is one “snapshot of himself” in one set of circumstances, say as he rushes down the street to get home for dinner, and another snapshot of himself in another set of circumstances, say when he is the subject of a psychological experiment. Countless psychological experiments have shown that most people are different in an experimental setting from how they usually are. In experimental settings, they are more obsequious than usual, more savage than usual, more deferential than usual, more sadistic than usual. They are not different people but they are different expressions of themselves.

We are each full of such potentialities: to be more savage than we usually are, to be more dismissive than we usually are, to be more frightened than we usually are, to be less principled than we usually are, to be more demoralized than we usually are, to be a million things different from how we “normally” are. We contain a multitude, both as potentiality and in reality. One and the same person can have a deep understanding of the power of cravings and give a wonderful talk on the subject of addiction, then leave the stage and eat a thousand peanuts. One and the same person can be charming in public and a monster at home. All of this makes our experience of life even more fraught. These potentialities and realities give lie to the idea that we can ever really be settled.

Multi-lens therapy envisions each individual as an unsettled creature for whom each moment is up for grabs. That each moment is up for grabs provides the multi-lens therapist with a golden opportunity to help clients proceed differently and grab a next, new, so-to-speak better reality. In charting this course, the multi-lens therapist takes a particular view of personality as made up of original personality, formed personality, and available personality. Investigating that “take” on personality is the subject of the next several posts in this series.

30 COMMENTS

  1. A psychotherapist is not an ally of the client. They are loyal to their profession, and this supports middle class values.

    If a client discloses personal things to a therapist, they really are selling themselves out.

    So I have proposed an Anti-BioPolitics movement, more broad than the Anti-Psychiatry Movement, as it will also stand against Psychotherapy and the Recovery Movement.

    • To break with the mistakes of the past, I would consider dropping the *anti-*. And then perhaps find some post-millennial word to slip into it that’s internet friendly.

      The term “Anti-Bio-politics” sounds conceived by an academic, which is no hindrance, as such (note where the term Extinction Rebellion started, and who started it, and why), only it belies its critique of middle class values.

      Biopolitical Freedom.

      Are you going to be vegan-friendly?

      Nittygritty aside, I have read through your comments and found many nuggets of wisdom. The rejection of religion ensures the nook and cranny for the forseeable future. Reminds me of the times in my life when I have ensured a bad outcome by not making the effort to wash my face.

      I visited the forum you’ve linked to and it has information about the R Project for Statistical Computing. Do you see statistical computing as a basis for activism?

      • Rasselas, I am not sure what Anti-Psychiatry mistakes of the past you are referring to. In my view, the main issue today would be that the Anti-Psychiatry Movement did not go far enough.

        Foucault meant BioPoliticts in a totally negative way. Like most of his ideas, it is something which sounds good, like Enlightenment and Freedom, but it is actually a death trap.

        So something could be done, which is Anti-Biopolitics in intent, but which uses some name which is positive. Not sure though what this would be.

        Religion is the opiate of the masses. The only country which is more religious than the United States, is East India. And in the United States, it is religion itself which is the sacred cow.

        And starting with the G. W. Bush (43) admin, it became a federal gov’t priority to bring the disposed to Jesus.

        https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393329763/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

        They want to take us back to a pre-New Deal time, when the poor have to plead for pity from religious charities, and they want to run this with tax payer money.

        Of the forum I posted a link to, we can use it to exchange PM’s. MIA does not have this.

        When there is some consensus, I will create new section to that forum. And then we can see where it goes from there.

        What it really comes down to is, do Survivors want to make their own movement, or do they want to seek approval and pity form the mental health, recovery, motivational, therapy, and religion sector?

        • Well… naming anything anti- is problematic as it invites an eternal dance. It also suggests a lack of confidence in whatever alternative is being proposed.

          Some anti- movements, I concede, are legitimately and necessarily named. For instance, an anti-fascist movement is necessary because fascism will never entirely leave the human race. It’s a way of thinking which repeats.

          Besides, anti-psychiatry is a term coined by psychiatrists who wanted a new kind of psychiatry, so those fundamentally opposed to psychiatry as a bone fide institution have gotten themselves saddled with an unfortunate term which kinda locks them in an eternal dance.

          Some say, when psychiatry is dead and buried, antipsychiatry will go with it, but as you rightly point out, that void would soon be filled by the psychologists and the psychotherapists and the life coaches, many of whom hanker after the power of psychiatry and would gladly take up the cause of oppression, should the opportunity arise.

          Antibiopolitics suggests that biopolitics is a bad thing, whereas, biological politics is probably something that will never leave humanity.

          Abortion rights are biopolitics.

          Transexualism is biopolitics.

          The prohibition of drugs is biopolitics.

          Transhumanism is biopolitics.

          Being against biopolitics suggests conservatism.

          • Just to add that in the news today is the decision by the IAAF that Caster Semenya must unnaturally decrease her testerone in order to go on competing in women’s events.

            That is biopolitics.

            You can be against the ruling or for the ruling. Either way it is biopolitics.

  2. I largely agree with most of what’s written in this blog. But I do think this blog was written by a paternalistic psychologist who is now embarrassed because most psychologists, for the past several decades have been DSM devotees, thus have behaved largely as highly delusional, DSM deluded, ignoramuses.

    As he pointed out, most modern psychologists have been “leaving out temperament, social and cultural realities, life purpose and meaning issues, and the other lenses through which a multi-lens therapist looks at her clients, [they] are leaving out too much. [They] are operating from too limited a place and making it harder on [themselves] to be effective by virtue of not meeting [their] client where she is ‘really at.'” They’ve been DSM believers only, and the DSM was confessed by the head of the NIMH in 2013 to be “invalid.”

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

    I’m not certain this author’s complex “25 lenses of multi-lens therapy” will be helpful to any psychotherapist or psychiatrist. Unless our psychotherapy and psychiatric industries choose to get out of the “mental health” industries’ historic, including their current DSM’s primary, by design, child abuse and rape covering up business.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    If no “mental health” worker may ever bill any insurance company for ever helping any child abuse surviver, without first misdiagnosing them with an “invalid,” but billable DSM disorder … Which is the truth of our current fraud based “mental health” industry.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    And since covering up child abuse has been, for over a hundred years, and still is, the primary business of both the scientifically fraud based psychological and psychiatric industries.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    Perhaps, it’s time to end a bunch of child abuse and rape covering up “mental health” industries? Or at least some day turn them into industries that actually can help child abuse survivors.

    Rather than our “mental health” industries, being a bunch of industries which bill innocent individuals’ insurance companies for their reglions’ cover up and attempted murder, of themselves their child, and millions of child of child abuse survivors, and their concerned parents, via the lies of psychiatry and their BS DSM.

  3. It seems here almost like the idea that the mind is running a bunch of processes in parallel, each one almost like a separate entity, with a central awareness or self. Like the IFS idea. Probably, if we didn’t run many parallel detections and interpretations of our environment, we wouldn’t ever have been able to survive, because we would have taken too much time to figure out threats or opportunities. The formation of our minds is when we assign various tasks for the parts. That would be heavily influenced by our experience with abuse or neglect, or care and attention. The brain doesn’t come subdivided, it’s mode of operation is to make separate parallel functions as needed, so we have various numbers of parts. The extreme parts are making the distressful feelings, so if you get to them like with your multi lens idea, that would be good. Of course, this is all just my conjecture.

  4. Hi Eric,
    you know, my wife’s d.i.d. has taught me so much about myself, to the point that I talk about myself being a ‘non-dissociated multiple’ on my blog. And as I have helped all the girls in her network learn to live together in harmony, I have learned to harmonize all the various, disparate parts of my own personality, especially the uglier parts of myself that I used to try to suppress, now I channel them instead, kind of the ‘benevolent monster’ like we see in Kong: Skull Island or even Tom Cruise’s Mummy.

    Anyway, I appreciate your attempts to expand how people are seen, away from the simplistic, narrow lenses that most psychological frameworks espouse.
    Sam

  5. The lens of the psyche.
    The lens of the polytheistic imagination.
    Psyche is too complex, this is not spirit religion or Jungian theological fantasy about union. Psyche was destroyed by religion and materialism, by ideology of monotheism. Psychiatry uses pseudo science against psyche, to prove theological beliefs in medical disguise. We don’t have human psychology, we have religion and spirituality or economy and politics in the place of real psychology. Psyche needs Copernicus not medicine.

    James Hillman. “Re – Visioning psychology”.

  6. I feel like we’re getting a defense of psychotherapy, perhaps in response to another 25 items, only those items are reasons. The 25 reasons I am referring to are the 25 reasons delineated in 25 Reasons Psychiatry Must Be Abolished by Don Weitz.

    http://www.antipsychiatry.org/25reason.htm

    Psychotherapy, in relation to the rest of psychiatry, is somewhat of a diversion. We’ve replaced “mental disorder” with “mental distress”, and the doctor is now counselor, but perhaps the problem is more fundamental to lop-sided relationships, such as the relationship of “client” to “analyst”, or of “worker” to “boss”, or of “inferior” to “superior”, or of “slave” to “master” than all that.

    I have a problem with the idea of being framed by a snapshot. Automatic association, blackmail. Of course, personalities are more fluid than that, but what I’m getting at is that the “mental health” system bubble has all of these shiny associations floating around it’s bulbous interior surface.

    Things have changed. Once it was the abnormal the professionals were trying to make normal. Now it is the normal they would make out to be abnormal. If everybody was content, of course, there goes somebody’s paycheck.

    All it takes is a long sharp needle. One prick from the point of the needle, and POP, the fantasy is over, the bubble has burst, and the unreachable “mental health” goal has been attained, that is, the “mental health” torture is over. The long rehearsal is over. Time to get on with one’s life. One’s real life.

  7. There are as many lenses through which to see life as there are people on the planet. We can group them in so many ways, and I think we mix and match throughout the day. Certainly we can shift lenses and expand our perspective over time, which to me would be the foundation of personal growth.

    Overall, I believe that we can see life through a victim lens or we can see life through a creator lens, depending on how we self-identify by how we interpret our life experiences. I also believe this to be the precursor to our future life experience, based on how we identify in present time and respond to life events. I believe when we expand consciousness to creatorship, we see our best options and do not feel stuck, but more so, envigorated and motivated by our challenges.

    • If one’s biography has been nullified, then political consciousness demands that they understand the ways in which they have been victimized.

      If they want to promote the Self-Reliance Ethic, then they are supporting the abusers.

      Motivationalism and Pedagogical and Psychological theories are just more abuse.

      • Thanks for speaking your truth, as always, I really sat with this and thought, why would this come back to me again as such?

        Knowing the extent to which I have called out abuse in my family and in society (not just from “the system,” but the general trends of abuse and oppression of a marginalizing and scapegoating society, and also on very personal relationship levels), and also the extent to which I have identified enablers and challenged that part of the systemic abuse as well (even on a sibling level), when I see you calling me out as an alleged enabler, it gives me great pause and I have to wonder what is the reality here.

        I have, indeed, been around abuse for so long, and quite consciously even (given my life’s work), that I’ve no doubt that I have played all kinds of roles unwittingly from time to time, while trying different strategies in life to deal with all kinds of people. I am human, after all, and far from perfect. And I’ve had to stand up to all kinds of bullying, and especially as an adult all snared up in systemic abuse.

        Many powerful distortions of reality happen when bullying is called out, that’s the strategy–project, project, project, and then lie and gossip. There’s your sysetmic abuse, to cast a hopelessly negative shadow on someone–usually the real truth-speaker. That is dark wanting no light (nor change), despite whatever illusion of change might be being projected. That is false, a cover. To me, that’s the dead end system dragging everyone down, abusive to society on the whole.

        I’ve been part of many social and professional communities all my life, and have had all kinds of personal connections in my 58 years. Thanks to the healing path to which my life led me, I’ve changed so much over the years, and I’m always willing to look inward before calling out a projection.

        Mind-fucking is the most common form of abuse these days, and it is insidious and extremely challenging to awaken to and heal. Calling it out is part of the healing. Not enabling it is vital to systemic healing. The problem is that not everyone can recognize covert abuse, it is so damn tricky and can fool even the smartest people, if they are sensitive and heart-based. It’s become the norm, which is why we (well, I, at least) want a new normal. I’d call that not only a profound awakening, but a core paradigm shift in absolutely every facet of society. This affects EVERYTHING!

        Imagine if oppressors, bullies, steamrollers, gaslighters, shamers, liars, and cheaters were not enabled. There goes their infrastructure! But in reality, who is whom?? I think this is what people are fighting most over and disagreeing about, which I find incredibly interesting, if not frustrating at times.

        (And to stay in step with the article, I’d say I’m viewing life through the lens of “what is systemic dysfunction and how to transform it.” I imagine it would begin with each one of us identifying our habitual roles and deciding if we want to keep playing it or go for something else. We can choose how we respond to any situation, that is by no means universal. In fact, that’s what defines “personal truth,” to my mind, and we all have the right to our own, that is our agency and free will).

  8. I am delighted to read you, once again even if I try to stay wary of new gurus and trends. As a psychotherapist (please dont bash me, I work very hard to earn and deserve my living), I appreciate your enlarged and innovative vision. From the delirious categorial DSM to the three prong “bio-psycho-social” perspective, your 25 – and many more- way of conceiving the complexity of human “being” is by far a good push in the right direction. And very helpful. How many times have I grappled with my clients bad, good, sacrificed, sad and afraid or again the lost parts, the traumatized and others, having trouble putting all these peaces of the puzzle together. Your model makes much cense. Lastly, I despise the comments about psychotherapists as “cover uppers” for sexual abuse. I have gave so much compassion, listening and all of my emotional attention go the point of getting numb, since 1984 to sexual abuse survivors, it really hursts me to my stomach and even my guts to read so grave accusations. Yes, of course, it happened. And I am so sad for all and every one of these double victims. But to generalize to all psychotherapists is simply “basing”. A kind of rage I can understand but object.

    • jclaude, so you don’t like the idea that psychotherapists are “cover uppers”.

      When a child is brought to your office and there is clearly evidence of a negative relationship with the parents, do you report that as suspected child abuse?

      So you have listened to sexual abuse survivors, what you done to make sure that perpetrators are punished and that reparations are obtained by survivors?

      • Too many questions that would take very long to answer, I’ll just stick to whats essential because we are a but off focus. In line with Eric’s text, – His opinion would be appreciated here – I’d say that fist of all, I am a psychotherapist. I am not a social worker, an attorney or a police or a community activist so my work has to do with helping out the person I am with and no one else (unless it is ALSO helpfull for their loved ones, significant others or even the community as a whole, which is often the case since we are all in a social or interpersonal world). I have worked with aggressors, as well as victims (over 30 years in he addiction field and a few in forensic settings so you can guess I didn’t just deal with victimization …) and even then I did all I could to support bullies, criminals, very sick people who often have a lot of nice sides as well as more shady and even dark sides. Changing lenses has always been the norm (even thought I didn’t call it that way). What can you do about this or that : what happened in your history that can help explain how things are now ? Let’ just imagine you go through a formal complaint and try to anticipate if it is the right thing to do, now or latter,.. Sometimes, I’m basically a problem solver searching for a good plan. At other times, I help sort out feelings and work towards a better understanding. I very often invite and even train in assertiveness, empowerment, realizing that the person I am with is abused, mistreated and numbed on different issues that are creating stress and other ailments they sometimes don’t even know about, or so vaguely. My work is constructing new meaning, consciousness and then coaching to take action somehow. I very often think out loud my knowledge so as to be transparent and give all I can so my client-patient can profit from my clinical experience and theories. OK, enough bragging about myself. I juste wanted to illustrate that doing psychotherapy is usually heart born, skillful, never easy and, I hope strongly more helpfull than damaging. And of course, there are srew-ups, errors and even bad therapists that may have took the wrong directions and damaged peoples lifes. But I honestly dont think I am one of these last ones. So, today, I will keep listening to the radio broadcasts up here in Canada that have been covering the very sad news about a young 7 yr old girl found dead a few days ago in awful circumstances and to the many questions as to why she had to go through such a terrible ailment. It seems our youth protection services, schools, police and other radars where just not doing a good job. Listening and mourning on these bad news is also a part of my profession so as to never close my eyes nor my lips if I get involved with such cases that should’t be.

  9. ^^^^^^^ Unless we organize and act, then survivors will always be portrayed as those needing Psychotherapy and Recovery. The very desire to restore our social and civil standing by punishing perpetrators and obtaining reparations, will continue to be portrayed as a medical and moral disorder.

    • “I’d say that fist of all, I am a psychotherapist. I am not a social worker, an attorney or a police or a community activist so my work has to do with helping out the person I am with and no one else ”

      But jclaude, making people believe that their problems are purely personal, and that they are not the survivors of social marginalization, but rather that the problems and the solutions are inside of their own heads, is one of the main ways which Psychotherapists harm people. These therapists get away with this, in my opinion, only because they are targeting the already abused and hence vulnerable.

      I say we should stop the gov’t licensing of Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists, and then enforce mandatory reporting in suspected cases of child abuse as written. So the sessions would fall under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Dependency Court. Then when therapists serve as “cover uppers” they would be facing prison sentences.

      As I see it, the profession of Psychotherapist should not exist, at least it should not be licensed by the gov’t.

      We have Fortune Tellers, Psychics, Motivationalists, and Channellers, and the amount of harm that they do is far less.

      https://www.amazon.com/Against-Therapy-Emotional-Tyranny-Psychological-ebook/dp/B008KPZRDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=against+therapy&qid=1556834960&s=gateway&sr=8-1

      And really, isn’t it the same, just without the E-Meter?
      https://files.ondemandhosting.info/data/www.lronhubbard.org2/files/styles/tl_large/public/ron-series/profile/profile_chronology_50_l-ron-hubbard-e-meter-demonstration.jpg

      • OMG, Our opinions are miles appart. Mandatory reporting in sexual suspicion cases is the rule here in Quebec for well over 25 years. Any other form of abuse or negligence is not mandatory but highly encouraged. So you figure that courts can actually fix things all the time ? I commented on the case of a young girl that went to court a number of times and still, she suffered a life of hell and eventually died (up in Granby, largely covered by french and english medias) And by the way, I can’t imagine you think I stick the personal side of things. I have been working from an interpersonal perspective for decades, engulfed in bio-psycho-social and systemic lenses as well. I have practiced groupe therapy, couples and family therapy. But I dont work very much with children, mainly with adults. You seem very biased in my mind but I guess you think the same about me. I wont comment further on this matter, have a nice day.

        • If the parents are bringing the child to your office, that alone should reach the threshold of suspicion of child abuse.

          Can the courts fix things, more often that not no. But judge can still give the parent(s) and ear cleaning which they will not forget.

          Real fixing probably will require the development of adult communes, who intern open foster care group homes.

          These will be for raising a Revolutionary Vanguard.

          I know a man who grew up in Quebec. He had a nervous break down while in the 4th grade. He had to be removed from school.

          This would be the first of three nervous breakdowns, and the beginning of a life in the psychiatric system. Always talk therapy and drugs.

          But no one stepping in to protect this 10yo. The level of sexual abuse in his home was extreme.

          Things change when the survivors realize that their Psychotherapist is not a comrade, they are another abuser. And so then, survivors will realize that they have to take the situation into their own hands, and so they have to politically organize and act.

  10. Dr. Maisel, thank you for this excellent blog. It presents a well thought out way to approach helping someone deal with difficult life challenges. I believe pulling all corners of the picture together defines and legitimizes the various causes and context of distress and provides validation that distress is a normal – and expected – human reaction to difficult circumstances, and is NOT some “mental disorder”. In my experience sorting through cause and context and having it validated as the reason for distress helps empower someone who has been marginalized to stand up for themselves.

  11. I think this is a good place to bring attention to this, I have followed the matter of Elliot Rodger, the 2014 rampage throat cutter and shooter. UC Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, CA. Killed 6, injured others.

    He allowed himself to be influenced by all sorts of misogynist stuff. And this is echoed in his 135 page Manifestro. But he wasn’t born that way. No reason he should have been so susceptible to it.

    So I look at what information is available and I ask how did this happen? One thing jumps out at me, when his father Peter Rodger is being interviewed by Barbara Walters, she asks about them sending Elliot to a psychotherapist, and yes, Peter said that they were. So what this sounded like was that Elliot was going, but know one else.

    Well as I had thought that psychotherapists rejected that. People should not be able to hire them as FixMyKid Doctors.

    In my view, all such things should automatically be under the supervision of the Juvenile Dependency Court. But then this would eliminate 98% of the business for private practice psychotherapists. Makes me so sad.

    Why Children Don’t Belong in Therapy — A Former Psychotherapist Speaks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqvqLUSNv98

    Looking over the Elliot Rodger episode, I look to see what could be there that we have not been told. That the parents were sending him to a therapist, but he only, not them too, to me suggests a serious problem.

    We don’t really want to be sending people to therapy, teaching them to see the difficulties they face as personal problems, and then opening them to the theories of the therapist. We want to be giving them a political education, and then getting them involved in direct activism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1PmnZ9hejw&feature=youtu.be&t=34m40s

    https://youtu.be/pKvE6_s0jy0?t=14m59s

    https://youtu.be/pKvE6_s0jy0?t=46m15s

  12. This is a nice series. I wonder if it’s not the amount of time that you speak of that’s concerning for some (having too much) but rather the feeling of unfulfillment or frustration that it’s not spent pursuing a passion due to competing priorities as well as perceived or real lack of resources, social connections, energy, or additional time required.