Friday, August 17, 2018

Comments by NormLC

Showing 6 of 6 comments.

  • It was precisely due to the inefficacy and excesses of psychotherapy in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s that led to the rise of psychopharmacology as the primary means of treating “mental illness”. From its very beginnings, psychotherapy cost too much, took too long, and was led by narcissistic gurus.

    Psychotherapists have yet to construct a unified and stable theory of what “therapy” actually is and how it actually works. Psychotherapists since Freud mistakenly claim that talking about the past and “mourning” it would cure symptoms of “mental illness”. This is not true in many cases. Nor is long-term psychotherapy affordable to most people.

    Dr. Berezin is guilty of the same biological pseudoscience that he accuses psychiatrists of when he speaks of “repairing” the “damage”. Our brains are learning machines, not brickwork. The process of change is NOT called “mourning”. It is called learning. We learn by having good teachers and good experiences. Sometimes these teachers are called “psychotherapists”. And even with a good teacher, memories are never “healed”–memories are integrated. Much of a “skilled” psychotherapist’s approach and success should actually be credited to building a long-term, trusting human relationship.

  • I agree that there is no underlying biological cause to mental illness. So it is odd that the author chose to use the phrases “psychiatric conditions” and “psychiatric patients” in an article that refutes psychiatry’s fundamental claims to mental illness. There can be no actual “psychiatric conditions” or “psychiatric patients,” only conditions and patients whom psychiatrists wrongly claim to be treating.

  • Homosexuality, unlike psychosis, is not learned, nor is it an adaptation. The author is naive to assume that “the capacity for psychosis must confer some evolutionary advantage and fitness for the species as a whole.” Rather, consciousness as a whole confers a net evolutionary advantage despite the fact that our minds sometimes creates delusions, confabulations, and adaptations having no particular survival benefit.

    Young minds are necessarily association machines that provide us with the ability to learn and imagine as well as to become psychotic. Similarly, our big brains meant that some mothers died in childbirth, but overall, a large net benefit accrued to our species from having a big brain.

  • Imaginary causes and cures are claimed by psychotherapists just as they are by psychiatrists.

    It is ironic that Dr. Berezin uses the term “heal” to describe what happens in psychotherapy. The use of this very physical term, e.g. “Mourning the pain of this inner play heals our symptoms and our suffering,” is not supported with objective evidence.

    Human minds don’t “heal”. They learn. There is no evidence that “mourning” is necessary or even a guarantee for “healing”. Mourning is just the “cure” that psychotherapists are selling. A more objective explanation is that we learn, in various ways, to change our thinking.

  • Having been through 17 years of psychotherapy 2 or 3 times a week, it is not at all clear to me that “Psychotherapy is a specialized form of human engagement that repairs the damage to one’s character”. Like today’s drug-pushers, Dr. Berezin offers explanations that aren’t backed with scientific evidence and long-term outcomes.

    What is more likely is that the potential for “repair and healing” by “mourning”, etc. with a psychotherapist is fairly limited. The reasons for this lie not in the skills of a particular psychotherapist, but with the neuroscience itself that we are just beginning to understand. We may find that the brain changes in response to trauma in ways that simply cannot be undone.

  • A good overview of the psychiatric delusion about delusions. However, religious belief would be a better and far more common example than the Napoleon example.