Thursday, 26 March 2009

Are psychologists really that stupid?

...Or do they just pretend to be??

Monday evening I came across an article, Aida Husejinovic, "Kognitiv remediation ved skizofreni" (Cognitive remediation for schizophrenia), Psykolog Nyt (the magazine of the Danish Psychological Association), no. 3, p. 20 - 27, where psychologist Aida Husejinovic writes:

"Even if Emil Kraepelin already a hundred years ago became aware of the fact, that cognitive dysfunctionalities are remarkable in patients with schizophrenia, this aspect was assumed to be a side effect of the medication for a long time. Yet, newer evidence points to that cognitive dysfunctionality is a core aspect of the illness, and characteristic for most of the patients." (Op.cit., p. 20)

And further down: "Dysfunctionalities in concentration and memory are regarded biological markers of schizophrenia, since they are detectable long before the onset of the illness, and can be observed in family members of patients with schizophrenia." (Op.cit., p. 20/21)

'There we have it,' I think, looking at this "argumentation" in favor of the biological model. 'The cart put before the horse.' Just as Mary Boyle for instance describes it in her article "The problem with diagnosis", The Psychologist, vol. 20, part 5, May 2007, p. 290 - 292. - An excellent article, by the way, that can only be recommended.

It is totally and completely beyond me how a psychologist can miss the point, that stress, stress, yeah, like in trauma, indeed has the capacity to reduce the stressed individual's cognitive abilities. Dysfunctional communication and abuse create stress. And thus cognitive dysfunctionalities in addition. Which is true for all involved individuals, also family members, who aren't labelled, but who nevertheless do practice dysfunctional behaviors. And it is especially true for individuals who are labelled with "schizophrenia", and who usually have been exposed to huge amounts of stress-creating dysfunctionality. Often throughout their entire childhood and adolescence.

I'd like to see to which extent Aida Husejinovic herself would be able to mobilize her cognitive abilities in a test-situation, where, during the very same testing, someone pointed a gun at her, threatening to shoot her at the first wrong answer she gave. For, this is approximarely the stress level you live with in a dysfunctional, abusive relationship.

In conflict with what Aida Husejinovic seems to regard an almost indisputable basis for her reflections about the cognitive abilities of "patients with schizophrenia", there is increasing evidence from newer research that points to so-called "schizophrenia" being a kind of post traumatic stress reaction. Not a biological brain disease. Cf. Paul Hammersley and John Read's meta study, for example. - But one looks in vain for this kind of references in the article. While, on the other hand, a whole lot of neuro- and biobiobiopsychiatric literature is listed. Of course.

Again I want to emphasize that, while Hammersley and Read - and similar studies - conclude that trauma "only" in about 70 per cent of the cases is demonstrable, they do not take other than physical/sexual abuse into account, thus leaving out verbal and purely psychological abuse, that can "hurt as much as sexual abuse". Furthermore, as they mention themselves, they were not in all investigated cases successful in establishing proof of abuse, because a number of psychiatrized individuals were never asked about their life story by staff. - According to the motto: "Don't ask a question, you know beforehand, you'll not like the answer to!"

Well, and if one wants it even more clearly, just compare the diagnostic criteria for "schizophrenia" with those for PTSD - and get surprised at the resemblance. The difference mainly being that individuals, who get labelled with "schizophrenia" often don't remember the experiences that were traumatizing to them, that they don't remember these experiences as traumatizing, and/or that the environment quite easily can deny the experiences. How convenient! For the abusers.

As Mary Boyle has it so to the point in her above mentioned article: "All scientists aim to identify patterns, or meaningful relationships, in whatever they study. But no aspiring science has ever been successful by asserting at the outset what kinds of patterns it will observe and retaining this belief in the face of decades of unsuccessful research. Yet this is exactly what has happened in psychiatric diagnosis."

Bias has never been the basis for anything but indifference. While indifference is the perfect protection for the abuser.

And apart from the fact that obviously also psychologists, and not just psychiatrists, are big time indifferent toward abuse - in order to protect the abuser-society we live in - they also - for the same reason - are indifferent toward neuroscience. It is no longer an assuption, but a well-proven fact, that neuroleptics cause brain shrinkage in the frontal lobes, the region of the brain where cognition is located. The region of the brain that makes us human beings. The chemical lobotomy. Exactly.

Maybe it is about time for psychology to consider its position in our civilization's war against (human) nature, and state clearly if it is on his clientele's or the abusers' side? Maybe it is about time for psychology to face and recognize the own inner abuser, who speaks so loud and clearly from Aida Husejinovic's article? As is well known, acceptance is the basis for transformation.

"Us and them", yes. But as Derrick Jensen suggests, it isn't us, the critics, who want a "us and them"-situation. It is psychiatry - and obviously psychology with it - that makes individuals in crisis their enemies.
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And yes, my own cognitive abilities almost equalled to zero during the approximately six weeks the acute crisis lasted. Because I was far too occupied with what was going on deep inside myself to have the least energy to care for - compared - trivialities such as spelling, arithmetic, or any other everyday insignificance. On the other hand, my cognitive abilities have never been more functioning than today. Because I was given the chance to become aware and conscious, and come to terms with the abuse, I've experienced. Because this meant, that I eventually could relax. And because I wasn't chemically lobotomized.
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I sent Aida Husejinovic a link to the Danish version of this post. She's read it. Several times. She has not replied to me. I contemplate to send the link to the magazine's editors, too.

10 comments:

Ana said...

Marian,
Some psychologists. I'm appalled by what psychology has become.
You are right. The majority of them have joined the biological model, some of them wants to have license to prescribe.
It has nothing to do with real psychology.
Good therapists don't have this approach.
It's really sad.
Ana

Gianna said...

good for you for sending this to the psychologist...

you've probably seen me say that I think all "mental illness" schizophrenia or otherwise has it's roots in trauma..

it's all about PTSD...but like you said most people don't remember the trauma...or assume whatever the trauma was or is is normal and healthy...lots of adults who got the s**t beat out of them believe it was good discipline for example---and go on to do it to their children...

Gianna said...

I should add, though, much trauma is extremely hard to detect and simply interpersonal family dysfunction common to virtually ALL families is also trauma...we live in a sick world.

Marian said...

Ana: I can tell you, here in Denmark it's the majority, who are nothing but a sort of pill pushers. They are not (yet) allowed to prescribe, but even the "better" ones try to push that crap on you, often first thing, asking you to go and see your GP or a shrink and get a prescription.

And most of them seem to think "therapy" means the same as training people to remember and take their "meds".

Marian said...

Gianna: I've just started doing this, recently. I was rather hesitant before. But the journalist I had a discussion with the other day, actually thanked me for letting him know about my piece. Because it gave him the chance to comment on it.

That most people indeed don't recognize the trauma they've experienced as trauma, is in fact a huge problem. I didn't, me neither. I was completely baffled at the reaction of my therapist after I'd only told (written down that is) a few, short anecdotes from my past. I'd thought, she'd tell me it was all just normal. - And "normal" it actually is, all too often... - Somehow, I'd expected a reaction like: "Pull yourself together, stop whining, let go of it, and get on with your life!" I've learned since, that a lot of therapists actually do react in that way.

Marian said...

BTW: As I wrote on my Danish blog, in reply to someone, who is studying psychology... , I really don't get why on earth you'd have to study for years and years, just to become a rat-trainer. On the other hand, maybe it needs all those years of studying to make the students forget all about common sense, empathy, and respect.

Gianna said...

that's got a lot to do with it Marian...you know they've researched med students pre and post internship and residency...the long grueling hours and inhumane expectations turn them all into monsters...

it's a bit different with psychologists but not altogether I think.

Abysmal Musings said...

Very powerful and cogent piece. Thanks Marian. D

Mary Maddock said...

Marian, I love the way you always see the 'wood for the trees' and never relent on speaking the truth as you see it.

We are traumatized and much more traumatized by most people who have a audacity to call themselves 'mental health professionals'!

Thanks for sharing your word of wisdom with many of us who have been abused and traumatized. You are a bright light in the darkness of ignorance and deceit.

Marian said...

Mary: Thanks for your kind words! Yes, we're traumatized, and trying to tell us that we not only have a brain disease, but that, additionally, we're born plain stupid, is nothing but one more discriminating assault on us. No matter how much science is distorted to sell us these lies as the ultimate objective truth.

BTW: I just found out tonight, that Ron Unger has a post about the cognitive-abilities-issue on his revived blog, too: http://recoveryfromschizophrenia.org/2009/03/the-role-of-loss-of-significance-in-schizophrenia/. Synchronicity?? :D

Missed you on MFI-radio tonight!