Comments by l_e_cox

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  • For decades now there has been a creeping campaign to return to doctors the power they held over patients before the patient rights movement got protective laws passed.

    I have certainly seen the doctors gain ground in places like California. This proposed law is another example of this. They desperately want total medical control to be legal everywhere. I don’t even think they know why. It certainly won’t result in better health across this planet, neither in body nor in mind. Medicine as it is currently constituted is not the answer to health; it is however a potent control mechanism.

  • Technical note: The images are displaying backwards.

    My teacher was very aware that “aberration is contagious,” especially from parents to children. This starts, according to his research, even in utero. He outlined in 1950 the mechanism he thought was responsible for this “contagion” and how to treat it – to break the cycle.

    Unfortunately, his ideas and methods remain largely unknown and un-discussed today. Sure, kindness, respect, and acceptance can go along way. To the extent that we are all “peer advocates” for somebody, it is something that everyone should learn to do. But this mechanism – which counselors and therapists don’t even know how to practice on themselves – would be a big help along this line, yet we remain conveniently ignorant of it.

  • Wow. This is a report on a very paradoxical piece of writing.

    Both of these Roses are academics. The biggest problem with most academics (not to generalize) is that they can’t confront, and thus see problems as much more complicated than they really are.

    The problem with psychiatry and psychology is that they never figured out what a “psyche” is. As the psyche is immaterial, it may be a bit difficult to confront, but not impossible. Look at all the work done in physics on light. And light is very nearly immaterial.

    They also failed to figure out what a mind is.

    With these two subjects unresolved, psychiatry and psychology can go nowhere.

    Thus this pair of academics, by failing to point out the obvious and instead trying to deal with the complexity they call the biopsychosocial environment, once again fail to move the subject forward.

    It’s nice that they have an understanding that changes are needed. It’s too bad they can’t see their own noses and so once again miss the point.

  • OK. So you – and these studies – are defining “help” as a relief of symptoms. And for how long? I have heard many of those studies only lasted for a few weeks.

    But what about finding and handling the underlying cause of the depression? I have engineering training. I know I can’t fix a piece of equipment where a warning light is blinking by putting a piece of tape over the warning light. I need to find out the underlying cause of the alarm.

    By telling “millions” that these drugs are “helping” them we are also telling them to expect nothing more than a temporary alleviation of symptoms. And that’s not what they really need or want, nor is it what society really needs or wants. In short, it’s a scam pushed on us by doctors who care more about their pocketbooks than their patients and the overall health of their communities and the planet.

    I have no patience (pun intended?) for people who claim they are “helping” millions by masking their symptoms for a few weeks, and I don’t think you should either. They are ignoring their actual responsibility to their patients and to society. They are being notoriously arrogant, pretending “we don’t know all the answers yet” to hide their unwillingness to deliver real help.

    I see anyone claiming that these drugs “help millions” as hiding from reality.

  • I am surprised at the finding that psychotherapy is less expensive – I assume for the patient. I thought that was one reason that more people weren’t getting it. I don’t know how really true this assertion is. You have to take time off work to get therapy (if you work). The average person doesn’t look at the overall cost of an action, but at its monthly cost in money and time. They can go on taking a drug or paying off a credit card or an insurance policy forever, even though that choice is much more expensive in the long run.

    Of course it is not less expensive for psychiatrists to deliver therapy, but much more. Most psychiatrists, we have found, want to be paid more than they want their patients to get well.

    Though therapy works better than drugs, I know full well there are other healing modalities that work better than psychotherapy. The major problem here is getting insurance to cover the expense. Without insurance coverage, only the rich can afford many of the more effective treatments. Only total sanity among the ruling classes could change that situation.

  • I know there are some who see the whole “mental health” message and system as just a cynical or creative new way to oppress people, silence political dissent, etc.

    Yet many are quite aware that “mental health” problems can be quite real. That is part of what keeps the current system alive. I have met people with real mental health problems. They don’t need drugs or to be locked up in a padded cell. But they do need skilled help, love and respect.

    I think we should all be able to help each other in this way. I think we should be trained in how to do it starting at the age of maybe ten or twelve. But the current powers that be don’t want real help to occur and don’t have a clue what real help looks like. In this sense, the dream of “replacing” dishonest people with honest people might be just a dream. But I think it’s worth working on.

  • I should also note that the video elan linked to was a 3 hour coverage of a political rally about medical freedom versus medical tyranny. Not exactly the place anyone would look for carefully considered scientific research.

    But in fact, the world of academia is doing an extremely poor, bordering on treasonous, job of digging up the facts of life so that we could understand it better. That pushes many of us to less reliable sources.

    Yet, perhaps not that less reliable. I would not be too swift to judge a “conspiracy theory” just because it sounds outrageous. We still haven’t gotten the original event for which the term was invented right, and that’s been nearly 60 years ago.

  • If one has time to look into all this, a lot more information can be uncovered. I would not, however, rely on “news channels.” Read books or sites based on real research or experience.

    Of course banking is essential to business life on Earth. So we can be assured that some bankers are involved in the effort to control our planet.

    But I have also looked into spiritual control of the planet, and that takes us off world. There is a lot going on out there that we are not much aware of. It affects mental health and many other aspects of life. I use Courtney Brown as a researcher I trust, beyond the more basic research I have studied.

  • I can appreciate your viewpoint on this.

    There are a lot of imperfect language choices that we have to deal with in this world. The word “ill” or “illness” as used in English today does have enough breadth of meaning to include phenomena that are not body-related. Our constant use of the word to describe body problems does color its meaning, however.

    My original interest in this site was using it as a way to keep up with research and events regarding psychiatry without having to comb through academic journals, etc., myself. I am doing this to assist a group that I volunteer for.

    But what has struck me the most about our response to psychiatry, both at this website and in the broader public sphere, is our unwillingness to disagree with the basic assumptions that psychiatry promotes for what is really going on with the “psyche” and what can be done about it.

    I offer my view, not as a personal opinion or belief, but as my best rendition of the results of research that has actually taken place and is only unreported because it was not done by a member of academia or if it was, was refused publication and so exists only in the form of popular or scholarly books written by the researchers.

    I may at times misinterpret the materials I have studied, but my hope was to find others who have also studied these materials, or encourage others to do so, so that we could have a real discussion based on our understandings of the work that has already been done to answer some of these questions.

    When I characterize the psyche or the mind as I do, it is based on materials I have studied and research that has been done verifying that this model is workable. Though this information may be described as “religious” the bulk of what I have studied was done in a secular context, and does not require any particular article of faith. In fact, the most basic aspects of this model have been described by real academics who do get their work published in real academic journals. Those people just haven’t developed their subject to the point where they have a technology that can be used to test their theories.

    My experience in communicating this information to people outside of my church has been frustrating, though predictable. However, my basic purpose is to just “put it out there” so that others interested in the subject realize that this viewpoint exists and the information behind it is available if they wish to look into it further.

    That said, I am totally convinced that a failure to consult the type of information that modern, non-medical researchers have been producing will result in a failure to ever resolve the problem of “mental health” regardless of what words we use for it.

    I am also aware that many people would prefer that certain problems never be resolved because it gives them something to do, or may even define their place in life. I don’t think this particular problem should be one that endures to the end of time. Mental breakdowns of various kinds WILL plague us forever. But I personally am ready to implement workable methods for fixing those breakdowns. Those methods do in fact exist today, regardless of the various academic voices asserting that “we haven’t figured it out yet.”

  • I appreciate you trying to defuse any potential blowups based on the meaning of words. But I get the clear impression from this poster that he or she believes that the whole idea that anyone can become mentally “ill” or mentally “healthy” is the mistake we are making that allows psychiatry into our lives. And I disagree with that.

    Psychiatrists stepped in to fill a need in society. They did not do it in a noble or honest way, but that need was not that noble or that honest, either. It was, however, a real need. If we want psychiatry to go away, we need to replace it with something better. We can’t just say that all the people who think mental illness is a fiction imposed upon us by some evil ruling class are right and everyone else is wrong. We can’t solve the problem by running away from it or refusing to accept its existence.

    By the way, I don’t consider the mind non-physical, That is the spirit. The mind is composed of “invisible” energy (like radio) but is quite real and can be affected by electronics and indirectly by damaging the body.

  • What makes you so certain that what you assert is true?

    Have you seen these principles successfully applied?

    I have seen the principles I have studied successfully applied. It is the only reason I use them. I am not interested in ideology for its own sake.

    We need knowledge that works. A mind can become corrupted and unusable and it can also be restored. People need this knowledge. It does no good to tell them that what they are experiencing is “does not exist period.”

  • OK. Here’s what I think about people who think they were subjectively helped: The drug “helped” them.

    Well, that’s nice for them, but it’s also a very superficial look. There are lots of people who feel “helped” by having a drink every day, or by their morning coffee and donut. But we can as members of a society step back and ask ourselves how we are doing overall and if we are fooling ourselves about this “help” or really doing the best we can.

    We have a whole system that uses propaganda and coercion to encourage and discourage a variety of behaviors. Some people don’t mind that much being pushed around or even harmed by this system while others totally object to it. The question seems to be a problem of minority rights in the face of an apparent “majority” that don’t mind being sheep.

    As people in a minority position in this society, we have several challenges. They include operating in a way that avoids excessive levels of suppression against us, and finding better ways to help and getting them into use.

    We may be fooling ourselves if we think the situation will ever change. But knowing what we know, we are not going to stop trying just because “the majority feels helped.” We know what is really going on, and are confident that if we were in control, there would be less coercion and less deception in society.

    I realize there is an inherent tension in the situation due to the fact that the majority of people are not involved in running this society and probably don’t want to be. Thus “majority rule” is in some ways a sham and can be seen from history to often result in some very poor outcomes. We could even be accused of being hypocritical for advocating for better care when most people think their current care is good enough. But I think we correctly see that as a propaganda tactic of those who wish to keep us suppressed.

    Each person who decides to be part of an activity like this has to decide if it makes sense to them or not. It won’t make sense to everyone, maybe not even a majority, But that doesn’t mean that things would not be better for everyone if we could succeed in lessening the amount of suppression occurring on this planet. If you aren’t convinced that’s true, you should probably walk away from this.

  • They are pretty good with their propaganda, aren’t they? What studies have you seen that found more patients feeling helped than those feeling harmed?
    Do realize, that both help and harm, when it comes to the psyche, are subjective.

    The objective harm is on top of that.

    “In 2014, 10,574 people died of heroin overdose while 15,778 died from an overdose of psychiatric medications, nearly 50% more.”

    And that’s just one example of objective harm.

  • The big questions are: Is this what you want therapists to be? Is this what society wants them to be? Is this what therapists want to be?

    You could create a profession that would help people cope with all the complicated rules involved in the various games of life. They would do what many therapists do now, but they would not be therapists. In some way they would be an extension of the practice of modern medicine, which controls symptoms rather than correcting the root cause.

    For people to be real therapists they would need to learn how to locate and handle the root cause of the problem. Currently most are not taught to do that.

  • I am happy to learn a little more about Szasz, as I have never read him and probably never will.

    If the above depiction of his ideas is fair, then I would consider him an “extremist” in his field. I find the idea that all “mental illness” is simply voluntary disliked behavior doesn’t hold water.

    By refusing to entertain the idea that Spirit might be a valid phenomenon, one limits too much the range of possible explanations for Man’s troubles. Does the psychopath “volunteer” to go through life deceitful because he is afraid all others are out to do him in? Do the simply forgetful or easily distracted volunteer to be that way? I think not!

    And do “real” doctors never treat their patients against their will, force them to take unwanted medicines, or lock them in their rooms? I think not.

    “Real” medical doctors are siding with psychiatrists for a reason, which I believe amounts to them both being in on a similar scam. Of course, broken arms need to be set, wounds need to be cleaned and sewn up, and babies need to be delivered. But I think most modern doctors would prefer that nurses or technicians perform those jobs. They are there to sell medicines and other treatments to the public and the insurance companies so they can make big salaries because they are so good at protecting our bodies.

    But it’s a scam. They aren’t protecting us at all. They are protecting their own miserable selves from life in the poor house, and that’s about all. Many of them deserve life in the poor house. They have turned their backs to, if not supported, a host of environmental poisons, including many of their own medicines, simply because it was not profitable to speak up against those dangers. They have, as a profession, let down the entire population of Earth.

    If Szasz had a vision of mental therapy being totally voluntary, then I think he downplayed the seriousness of the situations that many find themselves in. Would many if not most current patients do better left alone? Yes. But not all of them. If a psychopath is found in my apartment building, I don’t want him to be left alone.

    And while many doctors appear to be willfully ignorant, some of them are probably struggling with their ignorance and would like to actually help people. It would be sad indeed if the healing professions could never be brought to the point where people like that could thrive as doctors.

  • Well, if this theory results in a rigorous technology for improving mental health, let us all know on this website.

    But the theory I’ve studied led to such a technology around 60 years ago, and that technology is quite robust and still in use today.

    I can’t make anyone believe this data. But I can mention it so that readers know that it exists and is being used. The finding is that Spirit created biology, and that Spirit is the essence of personality and thus is the factor or entity to be addressed if one wishes to resolve mental health difficulties.

    Make of this what you will. But we are in a time when we are long on theories and short on workable answers. Find the workable answers! We can figure out exactly why they work later. Primitive man did not wait for the science of Mechanics to start using wheels and other simple machines. We need, more than anything, effective healing technologies.

  • I am glad to hear someone in academia has crossed that bridge.

    Most of the books I read are considered by most people to be propaganda tools, so I got out of the habit of recommending that others read them. I could also recommend a website, but I figure if someone is really interested, they will figure it out for themselves.

    But I did look up Alva Noë and watched a talk he gave at Google. What gives his ideas an appeal to “ordinary” people like software engineers is that he stays within the realm of biology. The people I study don’t do that.

    The problem with staying in the realm of biology is that we cannot escape the drug scene that is “modern mental health.” And we need to escape that scene. When one pays attention to the data that indicate that consciousness is a property of personality which is separable from the body, one does accomplish that escape.

  • I don’t agree that this is what is wrong with society.

    I do think that it is cruel to punish people for not being able to keep up rather than to help them be stronger.

    That said, we do have unrealistic expectations for many people. To “help” or “push” people to strive for results they aren’t really capable of is a form of emotional torture.

  • We definitely need to free ourselves from the DSM.

    And to the extent that any of the behaviors that it attempts to describe fall into the field of psychiatry, they should certainly NOT be interpreted as brain disorders, as the psyche is not a body organ.

    However, I am very interested in “coping mechanisms” that result in criminal behaviors, and are listed in the DSM (apparently) as Anti-Social Personality Disorder. This is more commonly known as psychopathy and sociopathy. I believe that a solution to understanding “mental health” relies on clearly seeing the role of the psychopath in society and finding ways to protect ourselves from psychopathic behaviors.

  • Though I resent and alert others to the references here to skin color and political ideologies, the facts in this story seem rather clear.

    The detour into COVID policy was likewise misleading and irrelevant. Whether COVID really was the awful threat to society that it was made out to be or not, that is not relevant to this discussion except to connect the narrative that was being pushed by corporate media to the profitability of the companies that produced the “authorized” shots.

    Psychopathology in government has been a problem LONG before the invention of “neoliberal” political ideologies. Was Hitler a neoliberal?

    Likewise, the connection of the rise of “neoliberal” thought with the rise of a professional military class is tenuous at best. Ancient India also had a professional military class.

    What I think happened in the 1960s and 1970s is that researchers and intellectuals discovered the phenomenon of psychopathology. It had always been there, gnawing away at the fabric of civilized societies nearly forever. But people like Hare and others focused their attention on it and thus brought it into sharper focus.

    A “shiv” is a makeshift knife (for those like myself unaware of the term).

    Psychopaths have always existed and have always taken advantage of whatever current ideology seems most aligned with their criminal purposes. I am indeed concerned about what such people would do with legal psychedelics among their line of products. They have already left a trail of broken lives in their wake, from their use of various other “treatments” for “mental illness.”

    However, to see this as a problem with an ideology rather than with a certain type of personality will, I believe, lead us off course and into a ditch. The psychopath is the correct target. Keep psychopaths out of ALL the helping professions!

  • I have no idea how common this line of experience is, but I am guessing that the downward slope is quite common, while recovery by getting off the drugs is less so.

    Shiloh had an incredibly strong base of abilities and experiences before she got “sick.” I look forward to what she will write, or other ways she might help in the movement to stop drugging people for psychiatric purposes.

  • What we call “trauma” is certainly a reality for many people. After all, who has not experienced birth?

    And I agree that a better understanding of irrational human behaviors includes traumatic experiences.

    What would be one of the most traumatic experiences you could imagine? Dying? Being horribly murdered? “But…how could the trauma of death be relevant to emotional healing?” Indeed, how could it? You can get a hint of the answer by talking to people who have had NDEs.

    Then there is the trauma involved in inflicting trauma on someone else. Outflow instead of inflow. Still trauma.

    As many comments above state, psychology has ignored the obvious for so long that many people think it should be abolished as a subject.


    Someone who did not want psychology to succeed took it and ran it into a brick wall (trauma). And there it has remained stuck. Psychology just needs to be liberated from its own trauma so that it can begin to serve mankind, its higher purpose. Who is going to make that happen?

  • I was wondering, when I read the headline, if the authors would simply circle back and assert that neuroscience, as failed as it is in resolving the problems of “mental illness” and its healing, must still be the path to an answer.

    In this assertion they prove themselves to be little more than pompous asses.

    They embrace the concept of “computational models of cognition.” The book I read in 1981, written in 1950, also compared the mind to a computer, with memory banks and analyzers and circuits. The hope was to find a way to “clear” (reset) the computer so that it could begin to function properly. The problem, then, is not in our “models of cognition.” The problem is looking in the brain seeking cognition. Any shaman or reiki master knows that is not where cognition occurs. It is not more modern to look in the brain; it is less modern!

    Can these people ever learn to look at the workable data that is all around them and then change their own minds about this? What would happen to them if they did? Could they even tolerate psychiatry or psychology becoming successful and regularly curing people?

  • A “thought” is usually a recorded mental image revivified by the being we know as the personality. Once revivified, it can result almost immediately in a body response, without further analytical filtering. Such a body response would then be considered “reactive.”

    Thoughts weigh basically nothing. They don’t travel, but they can be shared telepathically or by other more mechanical forms of communication.

    “Abnormal thoughts” are not the point. We are concerned about self-defeating behaviors. To the extent that thoughts bridge over into behaviors, they can inform the cause of those behaviors, but are not the primary causes. Mental mechanisms (or machines) are the prime cause of irrational behaviors.

    Pain, as one potential reactive response, may or may not leave any measurable trace on the hippocampus or any other human organ. Neuroscience, in the service of psychic healing, is worse than useless.

  • In a democracy – even a democratic republic – you would not expect either party to be dominated by corporate interests. All the major parties should be populist organizations almost by definition. Yet that is not what we have seen in politics. I think that’s because high-level politics and policy is not that interesting to most people. So you get the parties marketing their ideas to the population just like you get companies marketing their products. The best marketing campaign wins. That’s part of the reason why the choice of Federal President is left up to an Electoral College in the U.S.

    This is not an easy problem to solve in a democracy. What exactly IS the “will of the people”? Would the majority prefer to be told what to think and do, or perhaps be left alone to fend for themselves? When a huge disruption to life occurs, who do they want to handle it? Are they even able to understand the event well enough to make an informed choice? Democracies do not work that well in periods of high anxiety, and that has been the situation since at least about 1900.

    Though the problem of modern psychiatry is in many ways a political problem, I don’t know that we can solve it with popular (democratic) politics. We need enough people in leadership positions who are sane enough and courageous enough to see that our existing agreements about human rights and patient rights are actually enforced by governments. The population itself has no real mechanism to enforce these agreements save boycott, which I consider unlikely to be sufficient in this case.

  • If one does not like criminal behavior, it is going to work to be empathetic with, curious about, and respectful of criminals?

    That actually does work with people who felt forced into crime and regret their actions. But it doesn’t work with psychopaths. When psychopaths obtain control of some organization the only way to deal with them is to get them kicked out. How exactly that is best accomplished is a matter for discussion.

  • Though I am no expert, there is almost certainly a political dynamic to this situation. That is, the “old guard” are probably protecting their monopoly while the newer younger practitioners are trying to carve out a space for themselves.

    But I should point out that the field of human psychology (which psychiatry tries to dominate) holds the key to some very important and ancient human problems. If an entire population could figure out how to free itself from addictions, fixations on past traumatic events, and the fear of being found out for one’s past transgressions, a whole new civilization could arise on Earth which would be freer, more creative, and potentially much stronger than any that exist today. Those who wish to preserve the level of slavery and dependence on authority that exists on Earth today don’t want that to happen. And yet psychology, out of any scientific study, COULD cause that to happen.

  • Some would even argue that the concept of a “political spectrum” is ill-conceived and only meant to give the impression that there are two distinct sides in politics, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Of course, when majority rules, the simplest political setup is to have two parties, so that in elections one of them will get a majority. I think it is telling, though, that in the U.S. so many elections have been so close that they can be plausibly disputed.

    I only differ with your comment about power and land tenure. Land ownership – when that land is used to generate an income stream – is still a very potent way to generate wealth off the labor of others. A similar strategy is used in the financial world in the form of loans and lines of credit. The activity of loaning money is not that different from the activity of leasing property. They both require the ownership of a significant asset capable of being loaned out.

    Though we used to think of the Republicans (in the U.S.) as being the party of the land and money owners and the Democrats as being the party of the wage earners (though it was not that in its earlier form), today the situation is much less clear. We now have both parties somewhat captive to different corporate groups, and so both less willing to “rock the ship” of corporate power which depends, in part, on the current system of allopathic medicine.

    I too see the Right/Left paradigm as outmoded and in particular not suited to any discussion regarding mental health. I see the current political scene as dominated by corporate players who use the media to continue the old Left – Right story hoping most of us will remain captivated by it. There is definitely more going on here than meets the eye!

  • Now I have just watched the first two hours of “Hiding in Plain Sight.”

    It is indeed a field trip in Empathy. But in understanding it gets us nowhere. The “experts” are all convinced (or want us to be convinced) that these people have diseases of the brain. This false understanding will NEVER get us where we want to go.

    Perhaps at this point what many people still need is the simple realization that the “mentally ill” are people, too. But that’s not what the reform community needs. It needs real answers!

  • Clearly Charlotte did not talk with ALL the critics of psychiatry!

    It seems she was interested mostly in academic critics. Religious critics (such as myself) are clearly excluded and considered by the community to be extremists and non-scientific. This is not the case. We are interested in the science, too, but are frustrated by Science’s lack of interest in us.

    In some ways it is amazing that an established medical profession with strong academic support has critics within academia and also among active practitioners. I sometimes wonder if the message of these critics basically amounts to: “Hey, you are making the rest of us look bad! Can’t you get yourselves under control so you at least LOOK like real doctors?”

    One way or another, all the alternative practitioners (the ones your medical insurance doesn’t cover) plus the academics and non-academics dealing with spiritual phenomena that obviously impact mental health are left out of the discussion. And I firmly believe that if we really want to solve this those voices need to be included and NOT made to look like nuts themselves.

  • I am not familiar with CBT but I expected that it was a training-type of therapy, and not “psychodynamic” in any way.

    If all you have is a training type of therapy, it can only possibly work on people willing and able to be trained. That does not include many people who are in trouble.

    This is an interesting story, but limited by the usual restricted understanding that most people have of what people are and how best to help them when they get in trouble.

    The obvious takeaways include the fact that you can’t just apply an approach (like CBT) in a rote way and expect it to work. The therapist must be mentally and emotionally agile, and the patient must be willing. The therapist must be VERY will-trained to handle any but the simplest of cases.

    And of course, there are all sorts of barriers in the way of getting therapy, including economics and all manner of related factors.

    Without therapies that really do work and don’t take a ton of training to apply correctly, there is actually not much incentive to create a system that actually works. We see this in Medicine as well, and particularly in Public Health.

    We really need a boost in our understanding of life and the availability of therapies that work. Without those things, we might as well pack up and go home. I think many people in this field already have.

  • There was an old study done in Washington state, several years old now, that tried to assess the effectiveness of various mental health interventions.

    Its outcomes included things like “was unemployable, now employable” or “was addicted, no longer addicted.” By outcomes of this type, the mental health interventions utterly failed. I don’t think this was a controlled study. But I don’t think it showed any real difference between intervening and leaving the person alone.

    The problem is that when many personal problems go too far south, there is a demand from the person themself or their family or the community to “do something!” Underneath all that is a demand from many governments to use “mental illness” as a way to deal with their political enemies. With these various pressures on the system, along with its obvious ignorance of its subject, we get the results as mentioned above: NO RESULTS, or negative results.

    Though my colleagues don’t normally treat psychotics, we totally depend on the person’s own opinion of whether or not they are getting better. We do a metered test just to make sure, but even if that is a “pass” if the person themselves does not express total happiness with their treatment, something went wrong.

  • This is a classic and well-crafted example of propaganda aimed at the “sophisticated” people who are drawn to PBS programs. They like to have their liberal values respected and their scientific assumptions left unquestioned. There is no room in their minds for a new way of thinking about mental health. And so they are told that mental health issues are “diseases” which must be treated by doctors administering drugs.

    I have seen at least one of these episodes (2 I believe). They could have covered the large and ever-growing community of people who disagree (with very good reasons!) with the corporate narrative. But of course, then it would have been an actual documentary instead of a carefully crafted piece of propaganda.

    In viewing it as propaganda rather than real journalism, we can wonder if it is preparing us for the next big move in this field. And if I read the indicators right, that would be psychedelics. When you are dealing with the PBS crowd, you are dealing with a not of people who are involved in New Age thinking. This includes an element of spirituality. And that could easily get out of hand. Admitting that a spiritual existence could be the first step towards discovering some very disturbing facts about our situation here on Earth.

    So we see here a very controlled dip into the ocean of spiritual thinking, reminiscent of the original Vedic “teachings” which New Age thinkers tend to espouse. We hear talk of being on a “journey” and learning our “lessons” and of a great sense of love and “oneness.” The actuality of spiritual life is a lot less sweetness and light than these New Age platitudes would suggest.

    In the old days, thought leaders could hit us over the head with Karma or The Bible and other such dogmas. Today, as we enter into our Space Age, we have become more sophisticated than that. And some of us, amazingly, have moved beyond the old paradigms entirely into a whole new way of looking at our world. One key factor in that new way is the concept of freedom as good and desirable in life. And this is a central problem for the propagandists: To convince us otherwise.

    The better we understand freedom and why those who wish things continue to go their way fear it, the better chance we will have at eventually elevating it to its proper level of seniority in the games of life. Though Ken Burns and his crowd may be unwitting accomplices in this propaganda war, I really wish that people of his caliber could be convinced that they are being controlled so as to keep our blinders on. The truth is really very different than what is being portrayed to us, regardless of the number of beautiful personal stories we are exposed to. All you have to omit is a few crucial personal stories to skew the whole picture, and that certainly has been done in this series. I cannot celebrate it as a step forward in our cause, though it may be a step forward in the cunning art of persuasion.

  • This was written by Bryan Eden, a New York rock musician, in 2009. He used to write for a blog between 2009 and 2013. I don’t know Bryan, but know he is not really qualified to teach about Spirit, though of course anyone is welcome to express their beliefs and opinions.

    Of course child abuse is a terrible tragedy in this world. Of course it should stop. And of course there is a spiritual component to getting that to happen.

    However, the proof that reincarnation is a real phenomenon on Earth is a done deal, and for us to abandon looking in that direction for answers, even if that search is difficult, is now just a case of lack of perseverance. Yes, we need a “spiritual revolution.” It is in fact happening. But if we continue to argue about facts that are settled, we will only delay the successful application of this “revolution” in the area of mental health.

  • This “friendly” article contains what I would refer to as “covert hostility.”

    I am a Scientologist and I am aware of how my church has been portrayed in the mainstream.

    However, my church is only an organization charged with the dissemination and protection of a subject named by its founder “Scientology.”

    Almost no one on any side of this issue can tell you what Scientology actually is, though volumes of information about it is available on the church’s streaming website, which anyone can access for free. So much for “secretive.”

    Hubbard jumped into this conflict in 1950 when he published a book subtitled “The Modern Science of Mental Health.” We have had to deal with the blowback from the “mental health” establishment ever since. Hubbard had a lot to say about that establishment, which is one reason CCHR was formed in 1969. But the church prefers to concentrate on its mandate.

    My personal opinion is that people involved in the subject of “mental health” should have at least a rudimentary education in Dianetcs and Scientology. I think the subject (not the church) should be a part of the conversation about mental health. So far, however, the ability of the mainstream to invalidate a subject with propaganda rather than frank discussion has rendered this hope largely unfulfilled. In fact, I have never met a person involved in mental health who can have an intelligent discussion with me about the spiritual aspects of mental health.

  • Where, then, would you draw the line, Joshua? Promoting health DOES serve a purpose: The continuation of the species.

    Are you OK with screaming incoherently at a bus stop? Are you OK with stealing things just for fun? Are you OK with killing people just for fun? These are all signs of “unhealth.” Do you really consider the opposition to (or wich to change) such behaviors as a form of eugenics?

  • If this is true, then the main question before us is how very young organisms learn to react in ways we consider “psychotic” when “bad things” happen to them.

    You realize that I am informed by a healing modality that is reported to be effective but that has not been tested by academics. These techniques are based on the observation that past life events (trauma, one could say) have an impact on this life responses to various stimuli.

    The only other explanation for responses that seem to be “learned” in very young organisms is that they were inherited. That means behaviors must be inheritable, and thus, supposedly, encoded in the genetics. I don’t see a lot of discussion here about the feasibility of this hypothesis. But it frankly seems to me like it would be unworkable.

    However, if we hypothesize a non-biological “mind” that can be inherited, then we get a mechanism that can explain much more complex and individualized behaviors appearing in organisms at quite a young age. If such a mind exists (and I can assure you that it does), then it must be addressed by any healing modality aimed at the psyche.

  • The book on “critical psychiatry” just announced by Gøtzsche also emphasizes the weakness of twin studies in assessing heritability.

    I see the whole idea that mental illnesses could be inherited as a guaranteed dead end.

    But I would like to see a review assessing the severity of the psychotic event compared to the severity of the triggering events, as that seems to be the only reason inheritability was brought into the discussion in the first place. There also may be a pattern of “infection” in some mental conditions, but I have not seen much data on that, either.

    Neither of these phenomena, assuming they actually exist, require the conclusion that some mental illnesses might have a genetic component. It does suggest another possibility, obvious to me: That some conditions may have a past-life component.

    This possibility becomes even more appealing if one rejects the biological models of mental illness, which seems to be what we are in the process of doing. For me, past life recall research confirms that the mind (and its emotional responses and past traumas) move with the being, not with the body. So for me, past lives must play an important role in human experience and patterns of human response.

  • The problem with these drugs is not their side effects but the fact that they are based on a faulty model of the mind and spirit.

    The confusion about which model is correct leads to at least two camps warning against the use of psychoactive drugs: The ones who reject them only because they don’t work or have horrendous side effects and the ones who reject them because they are based on a false model of the mind.

    I would only reject your arguments because I don’t believe that we should use drugs to treat the psyche. From my point of view, those who do think it is OK to use drugs for “mental health” purposes can fight endlessly over which drugs are safe and effective. They’ll never really figure it out.

  • I was caught by the idea of what gets missed in psych textbooks.

    Though the most obvious missing data would most likely be critical data, less likely but more important would be rival ideas and therapies, particularly those developed and practiced outside of academia.

    Though I would not expect a thorough coverage of that subject, I think more students in academia need to recognize that the intellectual world extends beyond the walls of colleges and research institutions.

    I want those students to be at least dimly aware that several theories and practices have been developed outside of academia. Perhaps that would help them to realize that there is a level of exclusivity practiced in academia that may extend beyond the obvious desire to keep academia sane and rational.

    Academia, particularly of late, has been known for its willingness to exclude perfectly sane and rational thinkers and researchers simply based on some idea that they “don’t fit.” Besides in the subjects of psychology, political science, history and economics, we also see this in research biology, where advocates of intelligent design find little support in academic institutions, even though they have credentials and are obviously sincere people.

  • Though this was a very progressive and forward-lookng study, it only involved 19 recorded interviews. How much real data can you glean with only 19 interviews?

    My own (limited) training in spiritual counseling included a “code” for the counselor to follow whenever he worked with someone (NOT called a “patient” in our practice). This code has existed in some form since 1950. So it’s not like no one has ever looked at this issue before. To my mind, the field of mental health is famous for its ignorance of the human experience.

    The “code” and guidelines I was taught are very similar to those outlined in this article. It is really a shame that they were never embraced and adopted by “professionals” in the field of mental health.

  • The cynical believe that psychedelics are being set up to be the next big cash cow for the drug companies. They want to get into this market and need these substances legalized and studies showing them as beneficial in order to achieve that. Similar to the story of marijuana.

    Though I don’t know this is true, it is certainly a pattern we have seen with other “new” psychoactive drugs.

    Your point about Max Weber’s work is very well taken. My understanding of the situation is a bit extended by my interest in past life memory, but there is no doubt that the materialist sciences and their accompanying industries have turned “modern life” into a dull and pointless struggle for survival for many people.

    The Hindus DID have a valid view of life, though it was incomplete.

    In the end, I know with certainty that psychedelics will be no panacea and growth in their use will more than likely only lead to further problems. The way to spiritual growth is not through drugs, of that I am certain. And I see the most important path to mental health as being through spiritual growth.

  • J Q, Though your data about how insurance companies have handled payments for mental health issues is valuable, a lot more is going on here than the profit motive.

    The whole history of health (medical) insurance is a rather strange one. In earlier times, doctors and hospitals had to work on a charity basis if patients weren’t able to pay. Now it is assumed that most patients will not pay for their care, but that insurance companies will. Many medical providers are involved in the insurance industry, and I can see why, as insurance helps to guarantee the income of doctors.

    Yet we must not forget the overarching “rule” of human interaction, which is that “help” should actually help. In the case of medicine, care should result in remission or cure, from the viewpoint of the patient.

    And in the case of mental health care in particular, it is not even logically obvious that doctors should be in the business of mental health. In the case of healing in general, MDs have been largely successful in crowding out other healing professions (chiropractic, functional medicine, etc.) This is also blatantly true in the field of mental health. Even if my church took insurance, I could not get the mental health care provided by my church (“spiritual counseling”) covered by any insurance company.

    If mental health providers really cared about the results obtained by their patients, they would be fiercely decrying the use of drugs that do no good and very actively searching out effective remedies for the mental problems of their patients. I know that this society and the corporate world does not always reward effectiveness, but people who get into this field should demand it. In this field, the provider could always become the patient at some point in their lives.

  • I am intrigued by your assertion that an experiment could not be designed to determine the location of the mind.

    Perhaps this is due to the reluctance of Science to use the being itself as an observer capable of reporting facts and observations. Odd, since humans are often involved in the chain of data produced by experiments, and also design the experiments and interpret their results.

    On the one hand, it could be imagined that one day “mental energy” could be described and detected using electronic devices, the way we do for radio, infrared, and other non-visible wavelengths today.

    On the other hand, we already have people themselves, who obviously interact with at least their own minds and could possibly learn how to locate that mind relative to other related spaces such as the body. Attempts already made along this line have come up with visualizations such as “an array of golden balls surrounding the body.”

    I personally don’t see the point of pursuing this particular question. We know from past life recall research that the mind, whatever its exact location and shape, is portable, can be taken with the spiritual being to its next body, where it can be used to inform the being of various past events and skills that may seem relevant in the current life.

    It is the reluctance of Science to accept these findings, not the absence of data, that is the problem. This is not simply “philosophical.” The data derived from past life research has been used to create therapeutic processes that help people. So this data is in the realm of applied science, just like basic quantum physics can be applied to the manufacture of light emitting diodes and other working electronic equipment.

  • With the mind and body so intimately connected (many mental mechanisms are only there to take care of the body, but others aren’t), there is great tendency to get the two confused. We know the mind is a separate thing from the body because this has been observed in a variety of different ways. But we have never really gotten an image of a “mind.” There are various visualizations and descriptions of what a mind looks like. But in the end it is more important to understand our interaction with the mind, and not exactly what it is.

  • Well, rebel, you have presented your understanding oh how biological life works. You present it as fact, which is customary in our language. But the fact is that this is mostly a theory. No one has looked back into the history of plants or animals and actually seen them “adapt” their behaviors or structures to changing conditions. We just assumed that they somehow adapted over generations (in the case of evolution theory) as we see no other obvious explanation.

    When we add an active intelligence into the picture, which can remember from generation to generation and make compensatory changes in form and behavior, we get a different idea of what it means to “adapt.” This is in one sense a theory, but in the case of human beings, is also a tested and workable theory. You can learn this theory and its associated practices, or ignore them. But once learned, they are difficult to overlook.

    In this context, emotion is a mental phenomenon designed to bring the body into action in a sensible response to stimuli. Yet in humans (at least) emotions can be triggered that are not sensible responses to stimuli. That doesn’t mean we should allow psychiatrists to tell us when our emotional response is sensible and when it isn’t. But this does open up various “therapies” that can be employed when this becomes too much of a problem for someone.

    “Science” does not see these theories and practices as “scientific.” They are not taught, tested, or used in academia. So if you depend on academia for your understanding of human psychology, you might never find out about this theory and the practices derived from it. I am only trying to counter that omission.

  • Well, I guess my explanation of my understanding of how the mind works was not that convincing.

    The fact that different people react in different ways to life events is obvious but the reasons why really aren’t, are they?

    I know there is more to it than meets the eye, because people recover when those hidden factors are brought to the surface. But it is not a convincing argument intellectually.

    I would probably do better by refraining from describing the theory that I have studied and stick to my main message, which is that Psychiatry is purposely ignoring information that would lead it out of the woods, indicating that it would prefer to remain ignorant of its own subject.

  • I don’t know that I want to say too much about this.

    I totally support the basic argument of the original paper. But the bad reactions are partly due to the fact that while the paper knocked out a basic stable datum of “mental illness,” it failed to replace it with a new (hopefully more workable) stable datum. Simply destroying a stable datum leads only to confusion. You must be willing to supply a new stable datum if you want to reduce the confusion and clamor around changes in science.

    If the best we can come up with is that we should start addressing the events that trigger depression (and other non-optimum mental reactions) then let us state that.

    The fact remains that the depth of the reaction often is not consistent with the depth of the triggering event. Most people can bounce back from “depressing” events, even including the death of a spouse, parent, or sibling. There must be some other variable at work.

    I think better answers already exist and have simply been suppressed by a criminal mental health system. But you don’t have to agree with me to agree that the academic world does not have a complete picture of these processes, nor of course really effective treatments. Those people need to change something in their thinking, or they will never arrive at more workable answers.

  • All I know is that when I was in my 20s I thought Science must have all the answers, that humans evolved on Earth, and that my best bet for handling emotional problems was to see a psychologist. (Even then – late 1970s – psychiatrists were not trusted as healers).

    Then I found out that there was a huge body of data about life and people that Science (and Psychology) was refusing to look at.


    Well, I looked at it and I saw that people were using it to get results. So I studied it.

    All I’m trying to tell people here is that that data exists. That the mainstream refuses to acknowledge its existence, and that I think we should be bright enough to study it and discuss it, even if we decide not to use it.

    I don’t think “human nature” is as set in stone as many people believe. The data I refer to totally challenges many basic assumptions of materialistic Science. Studying it changed everything for me. All I am asking people to do is question their own beliefs and see if there isn’t some data out there that might suggest that things are different than they appear to be.

  • Any person, once trained to do a job, will tend to resist doing the job different than how they were trained.

    That said, the “better treatments” narrative being put out by some psychiatrists is mostly just feel good marketing. You can see coverage of such things in the PBS series “Mysteries of Mental Illness.” It includes “better” shock therapy machines and techniques that produce “much less” brain damage than they used to. They are whitewashing an awful situation.

    From the point of view of the average mental health worker, the really better treatments are a secret, because they aren’t allowed to study or use them. Psychiatry wants an endless stream of patients; it doesn’t want everyone to actually get better.

  • I am not happy with this discussion. If you want to “open up” the topic of mental health for those who consider themselves “free” thinkers, why not start with Dianetics, written in 1950?

    Of course the various human institutions, particularly the “healing” or charity institutions, have secondary and less haughty reasons for existing and seeking to perpetuate themselves.

    So even if science or technology totally destroy the premises on which some institution was founded, you will still find people trying to preserve it. Such is certainly the case with psychiatry.

    PBS has recently been airing a set of shows on mental health, “Mysteries of Mental Illness.” The series raises many of the same criticisms raised here or by other anti-psychiatry groups. But brain function remains the holy grail of the subject. And so they only cover “innovations” in the field like deep brain stimulation, ECT using “modern” equipment, and psychedelic drugs.

    Though I personally totally disapprove of such techniques in the field of mental health, my point here is that another whole world of thinking and practice concerning healing, and mental healing in particular, remained totally unexplored by PBS. And in fact many of those other innovations are not much discussed on this website, either. So, how “radically enlightened” are we? I’m still waiting for a hopeful sign that someone in this field actually is.

  • Birdsong, you wrote: “For some, capitalism means a way of doing business, while for others it means exploitation.” Well, that’s confused, isn’t it? I wasn’t saying you are confused. But you seem to think that we are dealing with a level of confusion or “human nature” that we just have to live with.

    Well, does that mean we just have to live with psychiatrists committing crimes against society? The whole motivation behind intellectual efforts is the hope that we don’t have to be satisfied with the current level of “human nature.”

  • Capitalism: “An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development occurs through the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.”

    We don’t have to be confused about these terms if we use a dictionary. We can talk about how different people have different ideas about what words mean. Let’s at least look them up.

  • But it’s not rational to tear down others to “get ahead” is it? We need friendly relationships with others. That’s sanity. It’s insanity that makes people take advantage of each other. Not the “mental illnesses” that psychiatrists pretend to treat, but real insanity.

  • I don’t want to be overly dismissive about this. But the idea that emotional reactions are caused by various stimuli has been floating around at least since 1950, and we are all familiar with this basic mechanism, as it is so obvious.

    By the mid-1950s at least one researcher had worked out all the basic mechanisms behind these reactions and a theoretical model explaining how that worked and how to treat it. This work was dismissed or ignored by both Psychology and Psychiatry, as they were already hellbent on a biological model, regardless of its unworkability.

    Most people today are still ignorant of that work and of the rather amazing spiritual realizations that it disclosed. The mind-body-spirit model IS workable, but is only studied and discussed by a few theologians and those who have studied that research that started in the 1950s and practice its results today. For us, then, many answers worth looking at are right under our noses. We should at least study them and discuss them. Our continued ignorance of them is extremely frustrating for someone like myself.

  • I don’t know what a “pre-capitalist society” is supposed to be. Pre Marx? But I don’t think this answers the question. Why did we choose corporate business and government structures? Why did we agree to it?

    I don’t agree with Szasz, either. Sanity is the only sane reaction to an insane society. Insanity is an insane reaction, as are most reactions. It’s just that the spokesmen for that society will claim the sane responses are insane.

  • I don’t know that I can successfully describe what I’m talking about.

    We are familiar with creating automatic mechanisms in life to handle “drudge” jobs we don’t want to have to think about. Can openers, sewing machines, automated elevators.

    We can do something similar mentally.

    A really simple example would be a machine that responds “OK” when you are asked “How are you?” But say you are experiencing a real emotional or physical challenge and all you can say when someone concerned about you asks “how are you doing?” is “OK!” Now that mental mechanism is no longer operating in your favor.

    There are various ways to dig out such mechanisms and return control to more rational thinking. I know the whole thing sounds a bit mechanical. But how do you think people who want to control us can treat us like machines and get away with it? It has a lot to do with all our own mental machines, but they can be switched off when they stop working for us. Too bad psychiatry knows nothing about this.

  • Well, that’s fine, but I don’t consider greed and survival to be “mechanisms.”

    Survival is an urge shared by most biological creatures and greed is an anxiety or emotional reaction to a perceived (not necessarily real) threat of perpetual scarcity.

    Mechanisms are mental constructs where a stimulus is received and later a response (often considered reactive or irrational) is produced.

    The human psyche normally contains various mental mechanisms that tend to result in self-defeating responses or self harm when confronted by various stimuli.

  • You’re going to have to think and dig deeper to find real inspiration here, Birdsong.

    Both the spread of large corporations and fancier technologies were created by PEOPLE. So the driving force for these changes must exist in people.

    If you are truly interested in this subject, you should look into Hubbard’s work. We are looking at mechanisms in the psyche that date back millions of years.

  • I read the entire paper as published at ResearchGate.

    Though it is basically a personal and evocative message, I have no doubt that the pressures towards depersonalization in Medicine are very real.

    What is missing from this paper, besides the statistics that you would expect from an actual study (though the high suicide rate among doctors is noted), is any real sense of what is causing this.

    And while an obvious target is our “modern” brand of capitalism, which seems much more exploitative and opportunistic than it used to be, I am not sure that even begins to answer the question. In other words, what drove us here?

    On top of this shortcoming, we have obvious historical realities. The mass slaughter of indigenous peoples by “white” invaders from Europe is documented and generally agreed to be egregious. So was the African slave trade and the Holocaust. And these all were, to some extent, capitalist ventures. And while that history creates a cloud over the “value” of free markets, it does not in the end condemn capitalism as the cause of those moral lapses.

    And since we can find similar lapses in societies that call themselves “communal” (or Marxist), we are impelled to look further into human experience for an answer.

    I believe it starts with the realization that if you enter into a profession or line of work because you want to help or heal people, and then fail time after time to help or to heal, you will begin to feel and act like a fake, like a criminal. I think that’s a big part of what is happening in Medicine. But that doesn’t explain why it is becoming more and more difficult to feel one is truly helping.

    One might be inclined to believe that there must be some sort of self-defeating mechanism built into the human psyche and into human experience. And indeed, such mechanisms have been found. It could be imagined that these mechanisms may be triggered by certain environmental factors. A quiet walk in the woods results in a relaxed if not happy state of mind for most of us, while spending a few minutes in a “modern” hospital room among all the whirring, beeping gadgets and commotion of people rushing to and fro will leave most of us with a sense of considerable dis-ease, if not outright revulsion.

    Though bringing ethics back into the field of medicine may seem like a straightforward idea, when confronted with the human problems that tend to prevent that from happening, it does not seem so easy to accomplish.

    And in the case of mental health, the situation is even more challenging, as while we have a decent grasp of how the body works, most doctors have no clue how the mind works. I would support the proposition of removing medical doctors entirely from the field of mental health. I don’t know if that would be enough to send the drug companies off to find their victims elsewhere, but as long as mental health as seen as a medical problem, I am quite certain that no real progress will be made in the field.

  • Though it may be inappropriate for me to interject into this conversation, my concept of “soul” is not so much “interior” as “superior.” Though a proper sense of self does require some “soul searching” producing a healthy level of self-awareness, there is no reason to see this as an “internal” thing particularly. Though one may not wish to show one’s real self in all situations, it does tend to shine through, using both the body’s energy and its own energy. I love it when a being feels free to show their true self to me (very common in children). It can be a truly awesome experience compared to interacting with someone who is putting on a show or so worried about what others will think that they suppress their own “light.”

  • Are you inventing your own therapy?

    I notice you have followed CCHR but have an issue with them. Do you consider there is something wrong with the other alternative therapies out there?

    Do you think the only form of triggering is from the presence of a toxic personality? You don’t allow the possibility that triggering can take other forms and that the responses are supplied by the person who gets triggered and not by the toxic personality?

  • Thank you, and feel free to contemplate the whole notion that behaviors are “wired” in the brain. I, however, thoroughly reject it, though it might work as a kind of analogy, as the mind IS very mechanical and operates similar to some sort of electrical machine.

    You might be familiar with learning how to drive, or how to play an instrument, or some other skill like that. With time and practice, those trained behaviors can become so well learned that a person doesn’t have to “think” any more in order to do them. That’s the sort of “rewiring” that a “behavioral intervention” can accomplish. I don’t know why they can’t just call it “training.” That’s what my teacher calls it.

    I have been taught that the mind is an energetic construct that is invisible to most people, though a few people have the ability to “see” or “read” another’s mind, and most of us have the ability to recall past events, even to revivify them. So while the brain serves as a analogy for the mind, it is NOT the mind, nor is it the location of the mind.

    There are even a few people who exist (or have existed) that have little or no brain mass but lead somewhat normal lives.

  • I see the only way through this to be to find non-biological remedies that are very effective and promote them loudly and persistently. Then, like with organic foods and other better alternatives, we might at least build a user base (or market) for therapies that are actually beneficial.

    Some people, factually, don’t really want to get better, but only want to demonstrate to others that they are “doing something about it.” They don’t care if the remedy doesn’t work; they are more comfortable being “sick.” We are up against this problem in all of the healing professions, as well as more broadly (such as in politics). It is something to keep in mind.

  • To me this analysis, though valid, is a bit superficial.

    As Dr. Levelthal notes: “As behaviorists we must speak out about what has gone terribly wrong with mental health care (it happened before with eugenics and lobotomy) because of psychiatry’s wrongdoing with respect to the scientific method.”

    So this does not date from 1980; it started much earlier. Eugenics and psychosurgery are also based on the false premise that mental characteristics are essentially structural. The “modern” work on this began with behavioral experiments (!) in the late 1800s. So behaviorism is stuck in this rut along with medical psychiatry, it is just that behaviorists were more willing to use scientific processes which led them in the direction of more workability. Their most common explanation for why behavioral interventions work is that they cause “neural pathways” to “rewire” which is almost as ridiculous as the chemical imbalance theory.

    Psychiatry (of course) but also psychology has been neglecting other work done in this field in some sort of mistaken sense of territoriality (at best) or fixed ideas about how life works (itself a rather unscientific approach to knowledge). There are even pockets within psychiatry and psychology that are exploring these areas, but tediously (probably without proper funding) and extremely conservatively (so as not to ruffle too many feathers?). After all these years, you would think human nature might have made some progress, at least among our academics, but it appears it hasn’t.

  • This is all quite valid as an observation of what has been going on in this field.

    I can only add that modern alternative ideas and therapies have been available since the 1950s, and were disregarded or purposely dismissed without any actual testing.

    Thus, not only is the “meat robot” idea misguided, there are some pushing this idea who have a vested interest in it remaining the dominant idea about human life, regardless of how ineffective it has been in helping people get better.

  • Though I can’t agree with this body-brain centered narrative regarding the ill effects of toxic stress, that fact that is does have ill effects is without question.

    We can work to reduce childhood trauma. But what exactly does that look like? And will that totally proof up someone against emotional attacks against them when they are older?

    From my point of view, we all need to get better-educated on how we think, why we feel, and how to know when to tolerate a behavior and when to treat it as concerning. The real villains in this story are the events that turn some of us into dangerous criminals, and then those criminals. From my view, we cannot protect ourselves from the effects of childhood toxic stress simply by eliminating childhood toxic stress. There are too many other factors that result in violent events. We need to be aware of all of them and the best ways to mitigate them.

    Not only does psychiatry and psychology not measure up to this challenge, but neither does our legal and justice system. All of it needs rethinking. Better answers do exist but are being fought by vested interests who may well include many of those dangerous criminals.

  • Most psychopaths (anti-social personalities) HAVE broken written laws. I would not advocate isolating people who have not gone through a legal/justice process.

    I do agree that most psych hospitals act as prisons, and that shouldn’t be tolerated.

    But I would argue that killing a person releases the personality to start living a new life, whereas keeping them alive but isolated from society keeps them out of circulation longer and gives us the opportunity to rehabilitate them.

    I realize this argument is not much supported by “rational” people. But I don’t base my views of life on what “everybody knows.”

  • I found out about this guy a few years ago. As I understand it, he had a metabolic condition that prevents the Paxil from being broken down and excreted by the body, so it just kept building up. No one tests for things like that before prescribing these drugs. This was a truly awful result of that level of negligence. I think we are lucky it doesn’t happen more often, but I am sure things like this happen more often than they are reported.

  • Frank, the path of “hospitalizing criminals” (giving them therapy or training instead of mere punishment) WOULD work IF the treatment worked! Why deny that any treatments work on some criminals when some do? Would you prefer a world perpetually filled with crime, rather than some day figuring out how to do something about it? Don’t you think the process of doing something about crime would probably include sitting down with the criminal and sorting some things out in their life?

    I am not juxtaposing imprisonment with execution. Why are you? I am juxtaposing isolation from society with doing something to help the person return to society. Some people cannot be returned to society successfully without undue expense. For them, isolation does not equate to punishment, but more likely would be experienced as a mild form of therapy.

    Killing people for what they did simply returns them to new lives probably resentful. But that’s a different discussion.

  • I am among those who believe that punishment doesn’t work.

    There are some people in prisons who will respond to educational “therapies” and some who won’t. Some addicts will respond to detox and rather mild therapies while others will not. The deciding factor seems to be whether or not they are a psychopathic personality or are closely connected to one.

    We can attempt to separate criminal behavior from mental illness, but I don’t think that path will ever be productive. The trick is that some “criminals” are pushed into criminal behavior by psychopaths while others ARE psychopaths.

    Psychopathy can be treated, but not by punishment or by conventional therapies. We isolate criminals from society to reduce the harm they do to society. It behooves us to try to return those who respond to treatment to society, as imprisoning a person is expensive, and can deeply upset someone who is put away unjustly or is capable of reform. But for most psychopaths the only realistic handling at this time is isolation from the community.

    As far as “demonizing criminal behavior,” what would you prefer we do about it? Treat it as normal? Criminal behavior can be discouraged by a system of laws and legal responses, but real criminals are inverted on the subject of punishment and will sometimes seek it as a self-deterrent, or see it merely as a game of cat and mouse.

    While popular culture will often label people with mental disorders incorrectly, I am more interested in how the legal system and mental health system handle the subject. We call people “crazy” all the time. But that doesn’t result in them getting electroshocked! Both these systems regularly lead to injustices but more importantly don’t produce productive happy people; they are ineffective.

    Society would find effective systems of justice and mental health helpful, so I don’t believe in simply abolishing them. But we desperately need to handle the fact that they are doing things wrong.

  • I had what was described at the time as a mild depression or might today be termed social unease or something on the autism spectrum. I had no thought of “recovering.” I just wanted to make some adult friends. I had lots of friends when I was a kid.

    One thing my therapist counseled me to do was to simply look more adult. I would describe this now as improving my image or my PR. Though I did this, I don’t know that this was a key action.

    Another suggestion that was more helpful was to find a gradient of social contact that worked for me. She recommended group hikes with Sierra Singles or dance classes. I tried both of these, and out of this I made two good friends – girlfriends. Neither friendship lasted, however, because I did not have a full complement of social skills. I also fell into an amazing year working as a volunteer musician with an ethnic music ensemble in the Bay Area named Gamelan Sekar Jaya. This was a truly great experience for me.

    My therapist also had me study the theory of Transactional Analysis, though she didn’t practice it with me. After I was sold and read a Dianetics book, I cut off my therapy.

    Did I “recover?” Well, I went on to live an amazing life, but I now recognize how much more I would have to do to fully “recover.” Our fall started a long long time ago. With all that mental baggage attached to us, it’s a real accomplishment just to make it through one lifetime. To live with utter confidence for an eternity is going to take a bit more work.

  • Susannah, I appreciate your attempt to get a more realistic time frame for my comment, but I gave the figure I did in total seriousness.

    As far as agriculture goes, I was under the impression that indigenous practices were the oldest (and wisest?) and more than 10,000 years old. I don’t believe they used any kind of slavery.

    Slavery and tyranny is at least as old as the Space Opera period in this universe, and that is at least millions of years old. I know this seems simply fantastic and made up, but I am familiar with the research that has dug into the longer history of life in this universe, and I feel that research has produced reliable data. In fact, I am being conservative in stating “millions” of Earth years, but I don’t feel the need to be more exact than that or delve into details just to make this point.

    There is much we can do in the field of mental health without delving into our very ancient history. But it is wise to understand that that history exists. Occasionally people will spontaneously recall events from long ago times, and we could easily see them as delusional if we don’t allow for our very ancient history.

  • I want to comment that this is indeed a valid phenomenon that may be causing undue upset in some people.

    Though exorcists take a very narrow-minded Biblical approach to this problem, others like Simon Parkes are more aware of how many different forms or “possession” or “harassment” are actually possible.

    I have even seen it in my community, where a trained person once ran into a baby that was being bothered by a disembodied spirit. He could only tell this was going on because he had developed his spiritual awareness to the point where he could communicate with that spiritual being.

    The point is that an expanded horizon of possibilities will lead to an expanded number of workable therapies. If those therapies are well-tested and not simply sold as “miracle cures” by grifters, then the cause of mental health could be advanced.

  • Dr. Maté has always been considered a leader in the more humanistic approach to emotional and physical healing.

    I was struck by the opening remarks in his article because this is a truth: That some people take emotional difficulties out on their own bodies. This has been known (and ignored by psychiatry) since the 1950s.

    Dr. Maté also describes almost perfectly the sort of personality that is most likely to get sick for purely emotional reasons. I have seen this with my own eyes.

    But his theory and solutions are weak and lack thoroughness. Yes, this article is about how “culture” can support healthy individuals or create unhealthy ones. But he fails to recognize that these same dynamics have been in play for millions of years, and though dealing with the current culture would inevitably help the situation – such as how the Bill of Rights in America helped advance our social life – it cannot wipe out the ill effects of lifetimes living under slavery or tyranny. This is a truth that more people in the field of mental health need to confront.

  • It is encouraging to find that some psychologists are not going along with the current psychiatric way of doing things.

    However, I would like to point out that the original meaning of “-iatry” refers to a “healing practice.” Though today that gets conflated with “doctors” and “medical” those are associative meanings and not necessarily the original meaning.

    That psychiatry in its current form has failed to live up to the meaning of its name is obvious. But so has Medicine in general. At least to the extent that it ever intended to be a healing art.

    Though I don’t see any detailed examples of how Dr. Sørensen operates, his comments remind me of the work of people like Jordan Peterson who take a didactic and persuasive approach to mental health, similar to how a “life coach” would operate. While there are many people willing to take this route in therapy, what about all those who are not?

    Kelly Brogan, for example, runs a very successful program for her clients that uses no drugs stronger than vitamins. But her clients must be willing to show up and pay her fee. I can only imagine that it is similar for anyone out there practicing some form of non-medical therapy. Can you get insurance to pay for such work? If not, then you are left with mostly well-to-do and more highly motivated clients.

    The methods I espouse run into the same problem. Practitioners want to make a living at what they do, but insurance won’t pay for it (even though it is highly effective). So they are left to serve the well-to-do.

    Clinical psychologists like Anders, Jordan and now even Kelly are getting closer to what is really going on with people. But they haven’t made it yet. Those who have are still considered to be outliers, or quacks. When clinical psychologists start talking about their subject – the psyche – in proper spiritual terms, then I will be even more encouraged. So, keep going! Hopefully you will catch up in time to make a difference!

  • Short term personality changes are common. A person is happy in life, then hears that a parent died and becomes sad. Then the question becomes: How long before they return to their “normal” selves?

    What happened there? The person had his attention out on the various activities of life, and was happily handling those activities, then his attention got pulled onto a tragedy in his life. So it is a matter of attention and control of attention.

    Drills that could put the being more in control of his own attention would help him feel more impervious to the bumps and twists that are bound to show up in life.

    Similarly, if a person loves dogs and carpentry, but feels sad all the time, the ideal “therapy” results in a person who still loves dogs and carpentry, but is less sad more often.

    The idea that a person has a depressed “personality” if he is sad or apathetic all the time is not very workable. The idea that a person who is depressed just has his attention stuck on something that is very depressing is more workable. It’s not a matter of changing his whole personality. It’s just a matter of unfixing his stuck attention.

    I see IQ as more of an acquired skill. Of course there are people who seem to be smarter than others, but a general aptitude like intelligence should not be confused with personality traits like what a being wants to achieve in life or how they like to dress or things like that.

  • I was largely unaware of these studies, except to know that they existed, and was surprised to learn that inherited IQ was still being pushed by anybody as “science.”

    If anything, the studies that include fraternal twins probably point to the conclusion that how the children are raised is more important than their genetics, at least for traits like IQ.

    I have been taught that IQ can be changed (improved) by various intellectual drills. I don’t know if this has been studied by academics, but my group is quite certain this is true. In fact, there are mental drills that can alter all sorts of personality traits. It’s an interesting subject that has been largely ignored in psychology. We can only assume that psychologists are being used to find ways to control people better, not to make them more intellectually and emotionally free and happy.