Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Comments by Ross

Showing 33 of 33 comments.

  • I’ve got news for you , Doc: What you call “responsiveness” is exactly what trained psychotherapists call “empathy.” Therapists do not take “empathy” to mean “I know exactly how you feel because the same thing happened to me.” Therapists are not taught to convey empathy by telling stories about themselves and their experiences, but by tuning into their clients’ feelings and accurately reflecting them.

  • A “delusion” is a false belief. As for hallucinations, I don’t know what your son’s consultant has seen or heard, and neither do you. He has offered the opinion that your son has improved while on neuroleptics. The consultant may be seeing or hearing things that are quite “real,” but making inferences that differ from the inferences that you make. In other words, you and he may be seeing and hearing the same things, but interpreting them differently.

    I’m all for critically examining the beliefs and behavior of psychiatrists and others in the mental health industry, but I don’t like stooping to the same defamatory, “diagnostic” name-calling that they do. And, yes, I understand that you did so in jest.

  • Why even bother to provide a link to mealymouthed trash like this?

    The comment about mandated outpatient treatment being non-coercive because there’s a judge involved really made me hurl. If a treatment is foisted on someone against his or her will, it’s coercive, whether a judge is involved or not.

  • It is by no means clear how you arrived at your conclusion that secular humanism is a religious belief. Your “therefore…” hinges on a headline (“Good Without God”) that completely contradicts your conclusion.

  • The sad thing about David Bates’s long postings is that few people will take the time to read them. He’s talking to himself. Also, for someone who’s critical of “repeating other people’s wisdom,” he quotes others (supposed “experts”) quite often, sometimes at length. His usual response to criticism is to attempt to disarm the critic by psychologizing about the latter’s “unconscious” motivations, which Bates thinks he has a bead on.

  • Of course it’s a choice. It’s a very understandable choice in light of imminent tragedy, but it’s still a choice (and not one I’m interested in condemning). Many people face such catastrophes and don’t commit suicide. Saying suicide is not a free choice plays right into the hands of biopsychiatrists, who also proclaim that suicide is not really a choice, and thereby justify confining the suicidal against their will.

    Also, CBT does not deny the occurrence of real catastrophes. “Catastrophizing” in CBT terminology means magnifying commonplace disappointments into catastrophes.

  • Yes, that’s what I intended the sentence to mean, bit it has to be read in context, as the closing sentence of that paragraph, which offered the CBT perspective. CBT does not define “depression” as broadly as you might. It acknowledges the soundness of “realistic sadness,” but distinguishes that from self-destructive forms of sadness and other downeresque feelings.

    I’m never getting off this thread, am I? (Shoots himself in the head.)

  • CBT does not assert that there is anything wrong with sadness per se. Read Burns on “realistic sadness.”

    I agree with much of what you’ve written in this comment. I went through a “psychotic” phase when I was younger, hearing voices telling me to mutilate and kill myself, and experiencing other disturbing phenomena as well; so I’m no stranger to such extreme states, and I definitely don’t view them in “medical” terms. I’ve received many psychiatric “diagnoses” over the years (including, of course, “schizophrenia”), so I know how hurtful they can be. And I’m very familiar with the shallowness and obtusity of many mental health professionals. In my work as an MFT intern, I try to avoid using psycho-diagnostic terminology.

    As a left-anarchist, I’m very much interested in broader social change, but individual change has its place as well (as I know you agree). CBT is one tool that many have found useful in accomplihing personal change; for that reason, I don’t like to see it excessively slighted, even if it isn’t my modality of choice.

    I’ve also found this dialogue very enlightening, even if I’m sometimes in sharp disagreement with the anti-CBT faction.

    Honestly, I did not expect you to defend CBT after what you had written about it. I was just kidding around with that comment. Thanks for responding, anyway, and once again clarifying your position. I hope I’ve clarified mine, as well.

  • Of course low self-esteem is the product of interaction with the external world, but that’s the key term: interaction. Said interaction involves the encounter of a particular human subject with the external world. We’re not talking simple material-mechanical causation here, but the dynamic interplay of intrapsychic and environmental factors. Subjective interpretation (involving perceptual, affective, and cognitive factors) is important.

    Joanna, referring to an earlier comment of yours, I never called YOU “simple-minded”; I was referring to the implications of Stickley’s analysis as I read it. And I never called you “uneducated” in some general sense; I said I thought you had not taken the time to educate yourself thoroughly about CBT. I may have been right, I may have been wrong, but that’s all I said. Also, you took too personally my comment about “wasting our time” with Stickley’s analysis. My point was that when thinkers deny the existence of objective reality, they undercut themselves. If Stickley’s viewpoint is as subjective, partial, and biased as, say, Rupert Murdoch’s, then why should we bother with it? I apologize for any bad feelings generated.

  • The real problems that those with “mental health” issues experience can be external (poverty, etc.) or internal (low self-esteem, etc.). It’s best to avoid dogmatic commitment to simple-minded, one-sided “idealist” or “materialist” perspectives.

    The idea that there is no objective truth has been accepted in some academic circles, but it is increasingly rejected by academics and others as an artifact of a fading, once-popular “post-modernist” perspective, an ideological toy of “tenured radicals.” That is, it is scorned by many academics. Also, if there is no objective truth, then Theo Stickley’s analysis has no objective truth either, so why waste our time with it?

    Ron Unger notes below that many CBT practitioners are opposed to biopsychiatry.

  • Of course there are instances (many instances, I would think) in which purveyors of CBT ignore certain realities. But, as I mentioned earlier, that is not a problem limited to CBT practitioners. It pervades psychotherapy and our society generally.

    Meanwhile, look into CBT more thoroughly; you may even find it useful in some respects. Or don’t look into it. The choice is yours.

    Joanna, I love this conversation, but I have to check out for now. Things to do.

  • You haven’t taken the time to educate yourself about CBT. CBT does not deny the existence of harsh realities such as economic deprivation, and it does not view all painful emotional responses as irrational. Do you seriously view all emotional responses as “valid” in all ways? If a student fails an exam and concludes that he is a moron who can never succeeed academically and falls into a depressive funk, do you consider that a sound, logically-based response? I hope not. This is the kind of “cognitive distortion” that CBT addresses and (hopefully) corrects.

    I’m not saying that CBT is the only approach to changing people’s experience of themselves and the world; as I noted in an earlier comment, I definitely prefer (like you, it seems) the Rogerian approach; but CBT (unless it’s being abused by the practitioner) is not what you say it is. If nothing else, read David D. Burns’s popular book on CBT, FEELING GOOD. It’s a handy introduction.

  • CBT identifies a number of common cognitive distortions. (You can easily reference them and decide for yourself whether you consider them irrational and destructive.) One can agree or disagree that these constitute “distortions”; that doesn’t change the points I’ve made about the philosophy and principles of CBT. I’m just trying to clarify that CBT is not what Richard Lewis represents it as being.

  • Let me add that I seldom use CBT in my work as an MFT intern; instead, I tend to favor humanistic approaches (especially the Rogerian, person-centered approach). But I don’t like to see CBT misrepresented.

    Also, a philosophical note: though there may be a reality independent of our minds, we can only experience this hypothetical reality through our minds.

  • CBT is not an “idealist” philosophy that denies the existence of a reality (“material” or otherwise) independent of our thoughts. It merely addresses the fact that our thoughts can shape and distort our emotional responses to reality. CBT labels “depression” an array of negative feelings rooted in distorted thoughts; it does not say that all painful emotions (such as all instances of sadness and remorse) are rooted in cognitive distortions. Bush and other evildoers feeling horrible about their crimes would not necessarily constitute “depression” (which is always irrational) under this definition.

  • Szasz did not subscribe to a “Cartesian notion of mind”; he didn’t believe in the existence of the “mind” at all.

    He correctly perceived that the “mentally ill” and people with actual brain diseases still have reasons (though not necessarily good ones) for what they do, and that their actions are still governed by choices (though not necessarily good ones). Recognizing the moral responsibility of such persons furthers human autonomy and dignity; failing to recognize their moral responsibility diminishes their human status and converts them into grist for the statist psychiatric mill.