Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Comments by Gerard

Showing 16 of 16 comments.

  • It is not surprising that if you have psychologists being trained with the medical model as backdrop, then your product will be someone who believes that they use “evidence based treatments” (usually CBT) for particular conditions (MDD, agoraphobia, GAD, etc.). Just like doctors they don’t treat people, but their “illness” and thus there is no need to consider context, how a person’s life has unfolded given his/her circumstances or what might have caused or contributed to their distress – all you have to focus on is symptom reduction and that is also the only feedback you need to elicit from them. When they “relapse” after 3 to 6 months (which is usually the case), you can blame them for not using the skills that you have taught them or that they were not overly “psychologically minded” to start off with in the first place. To these psychologists technique is everything and the relationship a mere practical coincidence. I see this particularly here in Australia and remain hopeful that one day the profession as a whole will look back and recognise that, first and foremost, people in distress need connectedness with others and that there needs to be a far greater emphasis in psychologists’ training on selecting people who have natural facilitation skills, empathy, kindness and respect as opposed to the current trend of selecting the most academically successful ones and turning them into psycho-technicians (I can’t think of another way of describing them)

  • Childhood adversity may increase risk of suicide? Looking at the situation of Indigenous Australian children the rate of substantiated abuse (that is, a statutory protection authority believed that abuse or neglect had occurred) is 4.3 times higher compared to non-indigenous children and one needs to assume this is a gross underrepresentation of the problem as about 90% of sexual abuse alone goes unreported in these communities. Indigenous youth suicide was 80% of the total Australian suicide in 2010 and in the Kimberley region (northern part of Western Australia) there is on average one Indigenous youth suicide attempt every week

  • “Treatment Resistant Depression” as a justification for brain shocks shows how “innovative” psychiatry can be by inventing a condition to explain away why their miracle drugs have not worked and thereby continuing to locate the problem “in” the person. As such the social factors contributing and maintaining the distress can conveniently be put in the “too hard to deal with basket”. I guess complexity has always scared psychiatrists a little bit

  • “mental disorder has something profound to teach us about the nature of being human. And it does this not by reflecting brain abnormalities, but by consisting of extreme, bizarre, usually dysfunctional and sometimes unfathomable manifestations of human agency.”

    I would have said: “all human behaviour has something profound to teach us about the nature of being human and that we should avoid value judgments and the use of loaded words like extreme, bizarre, dysfunctional, disordered, etc. as these are sure to cloud and limit our understanding of others and of how they make sense of their lives.”

  • My apologies for the fence sitting comment as I have misunderstood your use of the word medication. A lot of people reading the blog would understand medication as those drugs (marketed by pharmaceutical companies and prescribed by doctors) that interrupt a disease process or correct some physiological abnormality. If I understand you correctly this time round you use it in the broader sense as anything that someone can derive benefit from whether this is psychiatric drugs, alcohol, crystal meth or chocolate. In that case I would suggest you use the term “remedy” just to avoid confusion with actual medication.

    I think that we have made huge progress just because we have questioned and critisised the disease model and many professionals are no longer trapped in that narrative. To me the best example is the Division of Clinical Psychology (BPS) who has publicly stated the problems and limitations of the disease model – I live in hope that the Australian Psychological Society would one day wake up to that too

  • Good Day Tim, entertaining article, but you lost me on the medication part of psychotropic medication. We all know about the problematic side of these drugs, but please explain how people are “medicated” when using it, that is, treated for a disease? Also, if you are not anti-medication, please let us know for which diseases and disorders should medication be taken then and what are the benefits you are referring to? I don’t believe you can be a fence sitter like you are on this issue

  • Just wondering if any research has been done on whether particular individuals find “anti-depressants” more useful than others. For example, dependent, slightly naive and gullible types who would not readily question authority and easily slip into the passive-recipient patient role or people whose self-esteem and moods are more externally regulated (and one can reasonably assume that such issues stem from some form of abuse). If so, then doctors have under the guise of “help” taken advantage of really vulnerable people and ensured that their “mood problems” are perpetuated and thus also a steady income stream

    I applaude MIA and its efforts to better educate and inform

  • Your story reminds me of my own experience as a clinical psychology intern at a psychiatric hospital some 25 years ago. What struck me then was how self-perpetuating and self-serving psychiatric “care” was and that in my 12 months stint saw many people return after their discharge. There was no actual involvement with the patients or preparation for life outside the hospital walls. When I encouraged a female patient to refuse the “medication” she was injected with on a regular basis as it had such severe side-effects, I was called irresponsible. And when a young man who had received more than 60 electric shocks to the brain before the age of 18, asked me whether he was a schizophrenic during an intake interview and I said to him no, you are (his name) and that it was just a label that psychiatrists use to substitute any real connection with him, I was chased out of a ward round like a rabid dog. This was fortunately towards the end of the internship and they were happy to see me go.

    For a few years after that I questioned my own position which was shaky to say the least following the experiences at the hospital. Then I read Toxic Psychiatry by Peter Breggin. He eloquently stated what I intuitively knew and since then have in my own small way with my clients made sure that the psychiatric doctrine does not get promoted in any shape or form. I am also encouraged by the contributors and readers of MIA