Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Comments by Karen Kilbane

Showing 15 of 15 comments.

  • Psychiatric and neurological researchers will keep getting more of the same until they stop looking at human behavior and human relationships and start looking at how humans interact with information in order to predict what to do next. The most vitally important factor in mental health is how reliably and successfully a human is able to interact with information.

    Humans are born to eat, drink, be cared for, and care for other humans. These are givens. The only aspect of humanity not biologically predetermined is how a human will interact with information in a constantly changing environment and make predictions about what will happen next and what to do next. Relationships have no more or less importance than eating, drinking, sleeping, mating, breathing, etc. The element of most importance a human brings to any of his or her human activities is how she assesses the information surrounding the activities in order to make optimal predictions for what to do next.

    Because mental health is determined by a healthy relationship to information, mental health is not being adequately preserved or maintained by drugs OR therapeutic relationships. Creating the perfect sort of relationship with a therapist is no more the answer to mental illness than drugs are. They have both been hit or miss, last resort treatments.

    Admitting drugs as well as therapeutic relationships are inadequate solutions to mental illness is step one. Admitting the study of human behavior is not going to give us the answers we need for understanding mental illness is step two.

    Behavior is simply a reflection of what and how the brain is predicting. Behavior has no agency in and of itself. People don’t make behavioral choices, they make predictions for what to do next. And everyone predicts in a way that makes sense to them for the memory capacity they have, processing speed, visual and auditory acuity, depth perception, eye-hand coordination, spatial and numerical skills, speed, agility, etc.

    Comparing human behaviors up to a norm does nothing to help us understand mental health or mental illness. These comparisons help us understand typical sequential human development, but that is all. Trying to make someone with atypical sequential development behave like someone who is typical is a CAUSE of mental illness, not a remedy for it. We have classrooms full of children subjected to behaviorism and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) who will soon be mental illness statistics because behaviorism is so globally damaging to a child’s cognitive and physical development. Therapeutic relationships that stress ABA are torturous.

    Comparing each individual’s predictions and predictive processes up to their OWN cognitive, sensory, and physical skill sets will give us information about how human’s with different sensory, cognitive, and physical capacities interact successfully or unsuccessfully with information. The most important aspect of humans to study is how they interact with information.

    Inhibition of how one is capable of understanding and managing information is what causes humans to react and/or adapt in ways that look to an outsider like mental illness. When you receive negative consequences for making predictions and decisions in the ways that make sense to you, you are put in the most debilitating double bind a human can be in. You must respond and adapt to survive this untenable situation.

    Mental illnesses are often biologically crucial survival responses and adaptations to having one’s interpretive and predictive mechanisms inhibited in any way. Understanding why a person who appears mentally ill is interacting with information the way he is, you will discover how he has been inhibited from optimally managing information in the ways that make the most sense to him.

    Trauma has been a scapegoat for causing mental illness when trauma is much easier to recover from than information management inhibition.

    Therapeutic relationships have been held up as the best option for mental illness recovery when therapists are often causing more problems than they are solving. Therapists also often give misinformation about how thoughts, emotions, and behaviors integrate.

    No professionals are yet talking about how each human brain must optimally interact with information in order to optimize his or her predictions and decisions in order to optimally maintain mental equilibrium. Humans don’t need therapists to rescue or empathize with them. They need biologically accurate information for how to understand and properly care for their personalized and highly customized brain mechanics.

    A person who has been severely inhibited in how they are allowed to manage information can certainly benefit from a therapist if that is his only option. If the inhibited person can be given biologically accurate information about how to restore his thought processes back to how they were intended to be exercised, it will help him even more.

    The above ideas are hypotheses born out of my own observations and research, therefore they are not yet scientific facts or theories but ideas still in the hypothesis stage.

  • Thank you so much for taking time to write your essay. It is extremely informative with a perspective few people have been able to articulate because they were broken by the systemic psychiatric message that some brains are flawed and a need life time meds and therapy to achieve even moderate normalcy. That you broke free from the ‘you are disordered’ directive is remarkable. I admire you for trying to help others inside the same situation.

    Psychiatry does the same exact thing they did to you to children on the so called autism spectrum.They say, Joey, you are flawed. Your brain has a disorder. You will need psychological, social, and occupational therapy your whole life. You will possibly need drugs. And you will never be as functional as your peers. But if you work hard your whole life to overcome your brain flaws, you CAN come CLOSE to normalcy. And, Joey, DO NOT perceive any of this as a stigma. You ARE NOT to be stigmatized by a psychiatric diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is up to you to have the RIGHT attitude about your disorder. Don’t let ‘other people’ make you feel bad about your disorder…[email protected]#$%&#$….

    I am writing a book about a new theory of personality that would replace the current non-theories of personality psychiatry claims but does not use as a guideline for its research or practices. Psychiatrists do not work with a basic understanding for how each individual brain coordinates with it’s own unique nervous, sensory and motor system in its own particular body. Each brain customizes how each person will sense, assess, and make predictions about their interactions with their environment because there is no other way it is able to function. Comparing one brain to another is, in a word, nuts.

    With a theoretical underpinning that is biological, there can be no such thing as a disordered brain. No matter how unusual a person’s thinking and behavior seems to an observer, each individual is always making sense of the world in a way that makes sense to him or her.

    Finally, is it OK to quote you? I do a lot of writing and would love to pull from your essay. It has been an honor to read it. Thank you.

  • The comment above by the two psychologists is one of the most elitist, condescending and scientifically inaccurate statements I have ever heard…”But considering that many of us rarely sit alone with our thoughts, it isn’t hard to see how this might lead to difficult thoughts and emotions rising to the surface for some people – which we may, or may not, be equipped to deal with.”

    How in the world can they speak for what is going on inside the brain’s of people other than themselves. This shows a fundamental lack of understanding of brains. I cannot think the thoughts of anybody else but me, so I cannot speak to the thoughts anyone else is having or not having.

    Our brains exist so we can constantly monitor our environment to figure out what to do next based upon the unique sensory, motor, and nervous system we have. We are each set up to constantly monitor and respond to our internal and external feeds of information. How we “sit with” the thoughts and behaviors is a totally personal and personalized dynamic. And what it means to “sit with one’s thoughts” could mean just about anything and is not a scientific phrase.

  • Sitting quietly for a bit every day might make a person calm.

    Is this not something a reasonable human being could figure out on their own without a psychological study or a thousand year old yogi telling them?

    Common sense is packaged to us as if it comes from some higher plane of wisdom whether it be the yogi swami or the credentialed psychologist.

    Thus far there has been no study with people asked to sit for 10 minutes a day with no instructions for what to think or not think about for 30 days straight and then asked if they feel calm. This needs to be done so we can tell if it is just the regular resting that helps people be calm as opposed to the mindfulless instructions, which incidentally can be delivered in thousands of different ways.

    The psychologists who are worried some people won’t be able to hande their own thoughts and emotions is what they need to tell us for us to keep them in business. Psychology is the field that brings us learned helplessness, a well studied concept. Yet they spend most of their time convincing us we cannot manage our own thoughts and feelings, and that trauma will undo us.

    We are biologically equipped to be really good at being human, and we are equpped to manage a constantly changing and potentally harsh environment, but this fact is obliterated from our ability to know because psychology, self-help, religion, and ram it down our throats that we are not.

    The whole ‘ancient wisdom is better than modern ideologies’ is making a whole lot of people peddling that message a whole lot of money. We are all quite equal to the task of being human regardless of the time period, socioeconomic group, gender, or geographical area we are born into. Religion, psychology, and self help are all groups of people who have figured out how to dominate human thought and behavior. These manipulative groups are responsible for most of our preventable human suffering.

    If we consider our biological requirements as mammals and go from there, we can shed the mind numbing ideologies keeping us down.

  • Thank you for the thoughtful reply, Alex. I appreciate what you said and how you said it.

    I am working on creating a new vocabulary for how to reference the brain and body while simultaneously trying to communicate with words that do not threaten or polarize. And it is not easy!

    I think it is not easy because our brains are wired to assess information from the point of view of rightness, certainty, and dominance of any situation we are in. My brain wants to be right and dominant and it goes into a state of anxiety, literally, if it thinks it is not right or if is being challenged. The biological imperative of our brain to assess information from the point of view of rightness, therefore we all want to convince others to adopt our ideas.

    Instead of seeing this dynamic as negative or calling it ego or narcissism, however, I simply accept it as the biology of my brain. As such, I also have to accept it about other brains. If we all accept that each one of us is biologically tasked to be dominant in our interactions with our environment, we would communicate differently. For one, we wouldn’t have to pretend we don’t want to be dominant. We wouldn’t have to pretend to be a compilation of the meek and selfless but self loving qualities psychology has passive aggressively told us we are suppose to be.

    If we could accept that everyone is ‘always right,’ and everyone must achieve dominance in his or her own interactions with her environment, then I actually think we wouldn’t be so threatened by one another. We would no longer have anything to hide.

    My ideas about developing concrete language about the brain and body come from my years as a teacher, particularly with students with special needs. They often take me at face value and are literal thinkers. If I told them to open their hearts, it could actually frighten them.

    I find many learners who are literal thinkers are very direct in how they express themselves. They don’t say one thing and mean another. It is very refreshing and clear to communicate this way. They don’t guage how to respond to a situation based upon how they are allowed to or how they think I want them to because they often cannot think through so many steps. They respond in the ways that make sense to them, which is what we should all be doing.

    But we are taught how we ‘should’ respond so we stop connecting our own emotional cues with our responses. And lots of us become mentally ill because of it. We are heads walking around disconnected from our bodies. This is why I think discussing how our assessments and our emotions are linked neurologically is more beneficial than using metaphorical language, even if it is comforting to do so.

    If we all shared a mutually agreed upon and uniform language with which to understand and reference our brains and bodies with words that were purely descriptive instead of prescriptive or dripping with negative or even positive connotations, I think we could create a language that does not threaten or confuse children or adults. And we could strip our current psychological vocabulary of its passive aggressive and negative tendencies.

    I do appreciate your non polarizing communication style and I also think your ideas have merit. We are both right!

  • These are lovely words and although I might sound condescending I am not trying to be. The term open-hearted is confusing because it is a metaphor and it is abstract. When we are dealing with our human brains and bodies, I believe we should be as literal and precise as possible with terms we use to describe and prescribe anything relating to the human brain and body. This is not sterile, but humane and kind. Because confusion and uncertainty to the brain is what pain is to the skin. The brain is becomes quite threatened and anxious by confusion. Why add to a person’s mental misery by using vague and unclear metaphorical language?

    A healing presence is also a lovely term and a poetic thought, but I believe the vocabulary words we use to discuss how we each sense, assess, conclude, decide, and respond, should have a direct correlation in reality to the thing being disucssed. The word healing power is often used in reference to what the authority, wise person, or therapists is in possession of and needs to compassionately ‘give’ to the person less mentally fortunate than he or she is.

    Healing is a term of patronization. I say this respectfully as nobody wants to be patronizing. But our language makes us be. We must examine the language and the phrases we inherited because so much of our language initiated during times of great power divisions.

    Even when someone is at their lowest physically or mentally, they need to believe they are strong and capable of being resilient enough to get to the place where they can sense, assess, conclude, decide and respond with confidence in their ability to do so. If they believe they need to ‘heal’ from something, they believe they are broken somehow.

    And finally, therapists and doctors should use literal language because metaphorical language opens people up for abuse. It is a kind of language that does not have to be accountable because it doesn’t represent a concrete idea, but a vague, general idea. Precise, specific language forces us to be accountable to it.

    Ideas to ponder if interested. anyway ..I have these ideas because I believe we need to start from scratch for how we discuss our brains and bodies. We need a new vocabulary. The terms and vocabulary we are using now are keeping us stuck with 1 in 5 people being at some point mentally ill according to many statitistcs.

  • Everything a human child experiences shapes how they think about themselves and the world around them, so this study, like most psychological studies, is stating the obvious.

    Offering a child of poverty an opportunity he would not otherwise have is helpful. Telling him that his environment is shaping his world view is not adding value to the world. It is, again, stating the obvious. The money spent on this study could have been better spent as a donation to a school in a poverty stricken neighborhood.

  • Why do psychologists and psychiatrists throw the terms empathy and emotion around to mean anything and everything but nothing at the same time? And why do psychiatrists think they have the right to define how other humans should emotionally respond and cognitively interpret life’s mundane and important events? Our human emotions are our own personal cueing system, fed by our own personal brains, and used to help us make optimal decisions based upon how we are each able to sense, think, and decide.

    How my personal emotions that come from my own personal brain cue me is highly personal, as personal as are the cues are that I receive about my genitalia or stomach or skin. It is indecent for a psychiatrist or anyone else to comment upon how other people should interpret their own emotions or any of their biological responses.

    Furthermore, empathy is not a personality state that floats inside the brains and bodies of some people and not in others. The word empathy is currently one of the most controlling and sinister words in the English language. Whoever has the power to define empathy and to decide who has it and who doesn’t is the most powerful person in the room, in the organization, the community, etc. Every person born a mammal will care for their family and tribe when and how they can. Nobody needs to tell anybody else what empathy is or how to best exercise it. To care for and about one’s family and tribe is in us becaue we are mammals, even in the worst of us. None of our biological capacities in is us because a priest or a psychiatrist has identified and taught it to us.

    Nobody, not even our own mothers, and least of all a psychiatrist needs to teach us what love or compassion is or how to express it. We can certainly pick up cues from our mothers for how they express and respond to love. But if we are born a human, we will love. If we have a cold mother, we don’t need to learn how to love from someone else. To imply otherwise is inhumane.

    Human responses like love, kindness, and compassion do not occur because a psychologist has identified them and taught people the right ways of recognizing or achieving them. They occur because we mammals are born with biological cueing systems and cognitive capacities that call up these kinds of responses.

    Psychiatrists and psychologists do not need to prescribe how human beings need to respond or behave. People must have equal rights to sense, assess, conclude, decide, and respond in the ways that make sense to their sensory, motor, and nervous systems. When mammals can exist with the freedom to manifest their biological responses in the ways that make sense to them, they are calm, less aggressive and/or withdrawn and they do not need to rely upon the adaptations we call mental illness.When mammals are required to sense, assess, conclude, decide, and respond in ways that make sense to a psychiatrist or any other authority, they must adadpt in order to do so, and these adaptations are what we have labeled mental illness.

  • While seeking reform, there is one place nobody has yet looked, and it is right under our noses. The foundational concepts of psychology and psychiatry, the concepts upon which these two edifices are built, are not scientifically verified or verifiable. Apologists in these fields will explain why the same way religious apologists explain things.

    Both psychiatry and psychology are a house of cards and can be dismantled if we look far enough under the hood for the logical and scientific inaccuracies, false assumptions, and contradictions. Read a single intro to psychology textbook. Each foundational concept and theory has a handful or more definitions that begin with this sentence. We don’t really know what this is, but here is our best guess. Then the hald dozen or more theories are presented, pot luck style.

    There really is no theoretical foundation underneath psychology or psychiatry to even prove to be wrong. They exist upon vague concepts that cannot be pinned down in order to be either proven or disproven.

    There is no way to reform these fields because they operate with false assumptons which is like putting new tires on a car with an engine that is shot. New tires will not help.

    It is not the sexiest way to dismantle these two fundamentalist belief systems, but it can work. If we strart from scratch with evidenced based definitions and theories that describe human behavior rather than prescribe it, we could create the badly needed reforms.

  • Your quote that people could live together and, “…the power dynamics and hierarchies of patient and provider, diagnosis and labels, were left out the door” is what needs to be standard practice in order to replicate peer-run respite houses. To replicate them, we need a mutually agreed upon definition for a person. It sounds wild, but I think we need to define what a person actually is in order to define equal rights, equal opportunity, power, lack of power, respect, or anything to do with people.

    I believe the definition of a person is what a person does, not what he or she is. People only have the biological capacity to actively engage in one dynamic. A person senses and assesses internal and external information, forms conclusions about that information, then makes predictive decisions for what to do next in ways that make unique sense to his unique sensory, motor, and nervous system structures and functions.

    A person must have access to the full array of his cognitive and behavioral options or his brain goes into anxiety. Behavior modification is to the brain what an eye patch is the the eye. It restricts and inhibits, and can make people go into crazed fits of frustration.

    Similarly, telling a person he is personality disordered renders that person into the state of being a non person. It says, you cannot do what a ‘real’ person does to do to be a person. You exist as a sub-person until the time you can sense, conclude, and decide like ‘real’ people. If we use the process for how people reach decisions as the benchmark for how to understand them instead of the results, we could build a whole new system for understanding human thought and behavior.

    So equal rights means everyone has equal validity to sense, conclude, and decide in ways that make sense to him or her without being ridiculed or marginalized or forced to do so in ways that make sense to an authority. An authority can have power to organize an environment. An authority cannot have power over how another person senses, concludes, and makes decisions for what to do next. An authority cannot have the power to comment upon or change how those under him engage in their unique and biological ‘sense, conclude, and decide dynamic.’

    People can recover from trauma. They cannot recover from having their sensing, concluding, and predictive decision making capacities confused or controlled by people who have the power to do so.

    To reliably replicate optimal conditions and minimize systemic abuse in education, psychology, and community programs, I urge that we adopt a concrete definition of a person.

    Second Story is a great name for a great program. I would love to see all of our great ideas replicated reliably.

  • Interesting comments. Your comments speak to my own ideas about why behavior modification is so confusing and damaging to children. Each child is making sense of information in his or her environment in ways that make sense to their uniquely calibrated sensory, motor, and nervous systems. To intervene in how they evaluate, decide, and respond to the world around them so it makes more sense to a standard of behavior is what I believe to be one of the main causes of mental illness. The book you referenced sounds interesting as well.

  • The conclusions that nature and nurture are tied seem common sense regardless of the validity of any study denying or confirming this conclusion.

    Furthermore, is it this study that confirms nature and nurture are tied or is this a fact that can be deduced by observing human behaviors in different contexts?

    Even though this new study seems accurate, like all psychological studies, it relies upon many assumptions that have never been teased out for their accuracy or scientific validity. For example, what concretely and verifiably comprises ‘psychological’ characteristics, or traits?Psychological characteristics are a mysteriously undefined, vague, and not at all uniformly understood set of ‘things’ for lack of a better word because there are no tangible words that clearly define what a psychological characteristic actually is. Most psychological definitions are tautological. A ‘psychological’ trait is caused by a person’s psychology.

    Do alleged psychological characterisitcs reside inside the brain and make the brain think certain thoughts? Do psychological characteristics reside smack dab inside the genes and do these genes cause people to think and behave as they do? Or do psychological characteristics swim around in the cells and inform bodies how to behave? Or is it all three? Or more likely, is it none of the above?

    I don’t think there is any such animal as a psychological characteristic. Our brain stores memories. Our brain assesses and organizes information in order to form cogntiive conclusions about internal and external streams of information it continuously receives. When the brain receives information to organize it gives itself lots of feedback in order to cue the relevant parts of the brain that have the proper mechanisms to deal with it. Once the brain has ciruclated a stream of information to all the relevant areas in itself, it forms a predictive decision for what to do next.

    The brain is very specific in how it takes in, orders, concludes, and then formulates predictive decisions for what to do next. The brain is an organ that manages information. It is not an organ stuffed with psychological characteristics.

    A person’s sensory, motor, and nervous systems will determine how he is able to make sense of information and then manage the outcomes of that information, not his so called psychological characteristics. A person is a decision in a moment, not a result of his or her psychological characteristics.

    My point being, this study sounds logical as do many psychological studies, but to untangle itself from all the contraversy and contradictions, psychiatry has to start from scratch. It’s foundational assumptions are just that, assumptions. The assumptions have to be cleared away so a scientifically accurate theory of the brain can inform it’s obervations, research, and interpretations.