How Frightened People Should Be Treated by Doctors – RD Laing

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From Did You Used to be R.D. Laing?: “The people we meet are likely to be very, very frightened people whose so-called negative symptoms or positive symptoms or tokens of criteria of their ‘disorder’ are defenses that they are putting up against their fears. So they might actually be so flipped out that they’re not aware that they’re frightened, but we know that they are. So one of the things that one can at least do is to conduct oneself according to the ordinary ground rules of courtesy, politeness, and ways of showing the other person that you respect them as another creature and that you are not going to do anything to them that they don’t want done to them. And even then, one’s probably not going to do anything… one’s harmless. That is not immediately apparent to the other person. It’s no use saying ‘I’m harmless,’ because the most harmful people say that. ‘Trust me.’ ‘Give me direct eye contact.’ You know, I never trust anyone that asks me to trust them.

The way that we attend to each other, the way that we treat each other—the way we treat each other—is not reified as pills and things as ‘treatment,’ but the ‘treatment’ that we give someone, is the way we treat that person. It should not be a noun, it should be an active verb. So the way we treat one another is the therapy.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. If the medical and psychiatric community recognized their own irrational fears
    that are superficially protected by title and legal representations, perhaps we
    could all make strides towards a more wholesome society.
    At first glance one might think it’s just an impossibility to cradle
    the lost and wandering, because it’s an endless task, but where are we now?
    If we want to conclude that we are just dumb animals, with no ability
    to reason as to what is helpful in the long run, then sure, we are living exactly to form.

    But everywhere I hear that we believe in reasoning, logic, planning, conceiving.
    Ideas where we imagine an outcome.

    So far the “ideas” of psychiatry and psychology have achieved an absolute zero. If anything,
    they have made it much worse.
    As Humans, we are still stuck with no quality of life for many, and an overabundance of safety
    and quality for others.

  2. My PCP doesn’t take me seriously (about my being afraid) and displays that “oh Brother” expression on her face. I am traumatized by being beaten and strangled to near death (in the past). I have been diligent with repairing my mental health- but it is what it is.

    I don’t understand the “why” exactly that I randomly can’t beat down the faux threat. But if it makes me feel better to stay at home, I do! My PCP has stated she will no longer cooperate with my employer’s medical accommodations paperwork AND she has never suggested to return to therapy; I had to see it for myself and request it.

    Compassion- no. Empathy- no

  3. Anyone except a sociopath should agree with his point of being courteous.

    “The way we treat each other IS the therapy.”
    In most cases, this is absolutely true. Respectful, kind, caring, even loving treatment of one another is a basic of human interaction and some of the best “therapy” that anyone should be able to provide to another. Without this basic in, you can’t make it any farther with another person, if your goal is to help them.

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