Tag Archives: psychiatry

Sessions

“I don’t know what to do, Doc.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m stuck. Let me go back to the beginning.”

“That would be helpful.”

“Remember me telling you about Stacy?”

“The young woman in the abusive marriage that you’ve fallen in love with.”

“Right. Well, she’s recently told me that she’s not going to look for a way out right now.”

“Did she say why?”

“She says she’s not strong enough to leave. She has small kids, remember.”

“I’m not following. Wouldn’t that give her more cause to leave, not less?”

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you, Doc. She thinks if she were to check into a shelter, all she’d be able to do is sit on the bed and cry. She says she wouldn’t be able to take care of her babies.”

“Alright. She seems to have made her decision. There’s not more you can do.”

“I’m afraid that’s not the issue.”

“What is the issue, then?”

“You know I told you she always says she wants to make sure no one gets hurt?”

“I do. You said that Stacy doesn’t want to leave her abuser because she doesn’t want to take a chance on her being wrong about the abuse, and she doesn’t want to hurt you because she loves you.”

“Right. Well, last night, I pointed out the corner she’s painted herself into…”

“Go on.”

“Doc, I told her she’s going to have to choose sooner, or later, how is more important to her: The guy that she’s terrified of, or the guy that she says makes her happier than she’s ever been.”

“…”

“And then, I said, ‘I’m not sure I want to wait much longer.'”

“Oh, no. You gave her an ultimatum.”

“Yeah.”

“Take one of these tissues, and wipe your eyes.”

“Thanks. What do I do, Doc?”

“What do you think you should do?”

“I don’t know. That’s why I’m here.”

“Well, the way I see it, you have only one option.”

“Just one? What is it?”

“You love her, right?”

“Of course I do. She’s the most important person in the world to me.”

“Then decide if you really meant your words, or if they were a misguided attempt to spur Stacy to action.”

“And if I did mean them, Doc?”

“Then you have to walk away.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re not making things easier for this poor woman. You’re making them worse.”

“But she says I’m not.”

“Tell me something: If this young woman is in an abusive relationship with a controlling man-”

Boy. A man wouldn’t abuse a woman.”

“Boy, then. If she’s in a controlling relationship, then do you really think that giving her an ultimatum is helpful?”

“No.”

“Lift your head, and take some time to think things over. Choose which path you’re going to do down. Remember, if you really love Stacy, you’ll choose the path that makes things easier on her.”

“Alright, Doc. Thanks.”

“Same time next week?”

“…Yeah…sure.”

“Good. See you next Tuesday at 3.”

“Right. Goodbye.”

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Mental Illness (Otherwise Known As BS)

Modern natural science relies on laws uninfluenced by human desire or motivation. We use the same physical laws to explain why planes fly & crash, the same chemical laws to explain the therapeutic & toxic effects of drugs, and the same biological laws to explain how healthy cells maintain the integrity of the organism & how the cells can become cancerous and kill the host. We don’t have one set of medical theories to explain normal bodily functions and another to explain abnormal ones.

Except where that relates to psychiatry, that is. We have one set of principles to explain the functioning of a mentally healthy person and another to explain that of the unhealthy, or Mentally ill person. We attribute acceptable “rational” behaviors to reasons, but unacceptable “irrational” ones to causes. The mentally healthy person is viewed as an active agent; he chooses such as to marry his childhood sweetheart. In contrast, the “mentally ill” person is viewed as a passive body: As a patient, he is the victim of injurious biological, chemical, or physical processes acting upon his body, eg., diseases (of his brain), for example, of an “irresistable” urge to kill.

According to psychiatric theory, certain actions by certain people ought to be attributed to causes rather than reasons. When and why do we seek a causal explanation for personal conduct? When we consider an actor’s behavior unreasonable and don’t want to blame him for it. We look for excuses masquerading as explanation instead of simply an explanation that neither exonerated or incriminates.

Holding a person responsible for his act is not the same as blaming or praising him for it – it only means that we regard him as an actor, or moral agent.

The “mental patient” who attributes his misdeeds to “voices” – that is to an agent, other than himself, whose authority is irresistable – is not the victim of an irresistable impulse; he is an agent, a victimizer rationalizing his action by attributing it to an irresistable authority.

It is not by accident that, in all the of psychiatric literature, the is not a single account of a schizophrenic to be especially kind to his wife.

– adapted From Mental Illness: Psychiatry’s Phologiston by Thomas Szasz