Late Night ThoughtsEvery day is a struggle. My mind is a battlefield. The anxiety takes over, and I feel it coming. It sounds strange but I can tell …What emotion do you feel when looking at this photo?
This morning I saw a tweet from none other than the shameful Texas Senator Ted Cruz in which, without facts or justification, he blamed President …Put The Blame Where It Belongs!
—- This post reminds me of an idea I had about 10 years ago.
It’s excessively hypothetical but I think very sensible and it’s route.
Here we go…
…it goes like this:
My idea is that excessive want is actually a mental disorder. I was thinking this way before I was even beginning to ponder about being a mental health counselor, so don’t think that I am Mr. Therapist over here thinking that selfishness needs to be corrected because I’m a counselor. 😄
My background and coming with this idea is that I married into a pretty wealthy family (now divorced). I am from basically middle-class upper middle-class upbringing in the suburbs. And when I met my ex-wife, she had basically rejected the attitudes of her upper class upbringing and went out on her own. So as I got to know her about how wealthy her family is, I just kind of put it in my pocket like an interesting tidbit of information. But as well, because I had never met anyone who was very wealthy, I had my ideas and biases about how these people were, and my ex-wife was not really like that.
She would tell me about her brother, family friends and friends friends etc. of pretty famous people. And, me, not being that impressed about famous people, again, just put it in my pocket as a piece of tidbit information.
When I finally met her brother, he was nothing like I thought wealthy people were, and it kind of destroyed my stereotype. He was just a regular guy, very nice guy, very thoughtful, considerate, caring, concerned for others. But he also had a very giant, nice house with all that modern technology stuff, very expensive cars and I knew how much money he made a year, and I knew from just hearing about his lifethat he could just basically do anything he wanted at any time he wanted. He could buy pretty much anything he wanted. And this could happen simply because he decided.
I reflected on his life compared to me and my wife’s life. Our life with perhaps again middle upper class-ish but I don’t think people would think that. Together we may be made 150 K. So, not rich, but not poor.
I reflected on our life. We were pretty happy. We had what we needed. We could basically do what we want with some planning. But we pretty much were content in our life.
And I thought about her brother. Just for the sake of this post here, I’m going to throw out a number that’s probably near what he made in a year. Which is, $6 million a year, not including family assets. Now, he wasn’t lazy at all. He worked 70-80 hour weeks. He was very devoted to his career and business, which involved serving people, caring for them. He had a chef that would make him lunches. He had a yoga teacher that would come to his house, and a some sort of martial arts trainer as well. And then every once in a while, maybe every couple months or some thing he would just disappear. He would go to Cabo for a week and party insanely with his friends from Cornel that he still had. Or maybe the Mediterranean.
The reflection that I had upon this situation, the discrepancy or disparity between how he lived and how I lived really struck me. Personally, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that I would never work 70 or 80 hour work weeks end on end. And I’m not really sure that I would really want to do all the things that he likes to do.
But what crossed my mind was, how much money does a person need to make to do whatever the hell they want to do whenever they want to do it? How much money does it take for a person to be able to buy whatever they want whenever they want it?
Somehow I feel that some motivated graduate student or PhD person could do a study of economics and determine roughly a pretty good estimate of how much person would need to make to fit into those categories.
My idea, my conclusion, my proposal, really just comes off of my feeling about the matter and knowing somethings about my brother-in-law. So, not science at all.
From my mind, here is this guy that makes five to $6 million a year and he pretty much does and can buy anything he wants to, at the drop of a hat.
And my mind goes to what about the people that make $100 million a year? What about billionaires. What are they doing? I mean this in the sense that what else could they possibly be buying or doing that makes them more happy then say myself or my brother-in-law? Are they more happy, more content because they have that excessive amount of assets?
So, hypothetically let us bring the question before us and think about it constructively and practically.
If my brother-in-law only makes maybe 6 million a year and do whatever he wants, let’s just figure some people need more shit in their lives than he does. So let’s just put some arbitrary number out there as the amount of money that a person could make and be able to have whatever sort of accessories in their life that they could possibly want.
Let’s just say for argument sake $500 million.
So, let’s say that if a person feels in order to be happy and content in their life that they need to make over $500 million a year, as evidenced by that they indeed do make over 5 million a year, then they are mentally compromised, that they have some sort of mental disorder.
Because, that’s the standard we use for every other diagnosis of mental disorder. The evidence has usually nothing to do with what is actually going on in their head, but has everything to do with the assessors version of the persons behavior.
Now, we gotta think about the world. We gotta think about this situation that the post that I linked to above is talking about. We got to think of a social situation.
It seems to me one of the most obvious things is that some people just have way, way, way, too much money, way too much money than they could possibly ever spend even if they had 10 children who are in their 20s.
So I was thinking…
Mental disorders are a social convention. The very idea of mental illness and mental disorders is based around Ideals, ethics, norms, and if a person behaves outside of these conventions then they are deemed to have a mental illness or mental disorder. Indeed, one could go so far —I think Erich Fromm was the first person to talk about this, and Michel Foucault for sure — That these norms and forced upon people as a way to know themselves in the world creates subjects that soon police themselves. And it’s not too far a step to say that that is what mental disorders are, for the most part. They are the result of people policing themselves against these ideological standards, for how they are supposed to be, how they are supposed to think and what they are supposed to do.
If people don’t police themselves and their behavior is too excessive, then we stick them in a mental hospital and we say they have a mental illness.
(We don’t much anymore. Anymore we just let them wander around the streets in misery basically, or throw them in jail.)
Anyways… I have diverged from my proposal.
So, how about we just start thinking about these people with an excessive amount of money, in so much as they might feel that they need this excessive amount of money in order to be content and happy in their life, as having a mental illness. ￼
Something is wrong with these people. Let’s just say it. Not in the sense that they are bad or evil, but in the sense that they have a mental disorder, and we need to figure out what to do with them, because it’s screwing things up for the rest of us.
What do you think?
This essay is an exploration into the limits of materialist philosophy.
http://www.pbs.org/ride-the-tiger/home/ RIDE THE TIGER Genetics plays a pivotal role in diagnosing mental illnesses. Scientists now believe many …
and my Comment.
When it comes to mental illnesses, we are scared. I don’t think there’s anything more generally frightening than having a mental disorder. At least if you get cancer, or some sort of terminal illness, you know what the fear is: It’s that you’re going to die, actually cease body functioning dead.
When it comes to mental issues, the fear really is that we don’t know what the hell is going on. Not only the person who might have mental issues, but the empirical scientists who are studying it and trying to treat it, really have no clue what’s going on. Despite any of the arguments, this is a fact that can’t be denied — or, it can only be denied through repetitive assertion of progress pressed against hope.
I gotta say, whenever I hear things about how medicine or science might be progressing in the understanding of mental issues, I get kind of excited.
Even treatment options, some of them seem really exciting and helpful. when a treatment makes sense to me I get excited about learning it and helping someone with it, for sure.
Yet, there’s always the sour with the sweet in mental health. This is to say that however excited I might be about whatever new thing that someone is telling us about having to do with mental illness, knowledge of it, treatment of it, once I begin to explore what these people have to say, I inevitably realize that they’re 80% bewildered.
This kind of snake oil approach to mental health, where the placebo effect is functioning on such a grand scale, using statistics and headlines and basically driving good news off of the fear that just exists everywhere around mental health, really drives my philosophical work, but as well really, drives me to want to be there for people that are reaching out for help.
Part of what I feel makes me genuine and effective as a mental health practitioner, if I say so myself —
— as I am saying so myself, but colleagues and instructors and mentors have said things very similar so I’m not basing this off of my own ego — that is, not entirely!!! —
￼￼￼– is that I understand the need to believe, but I also try to filter out the bullshit. But not only this; I feel one of the significant things to helping people with mental issues is involved with the attempt to realize that there is no clear reconciliation between mere belief and bullshit, which is to say, there is no sorting it out except in the way that someone actually sorts it out. There is no “pure belief”, and then the truth that lay behind the “pure bullshit”, when we’re approaching it in a certain light.
And I’m speaking to those who would be offended by me talking about the truth of the situation being that the scientists in this video, indeed the video makers, are trying to give us a certain amount of hope. The short video is really kind of saying like, hey, this terrible mental disorder has some sort of foundation in genes, and we’re working out to sort out just how that might be the case so people in the future, future generations may not have to deal with it.
However, what they’re really saying is that they don’t know what the hell is going on.
I know that mental health relies heavily on a person’s belief, not only about themselves, but about the world, and about whether or not someone might be able to help them.
The reason why these scientists will not be able to find a gene that has to do with bipolar, or really any sort of mental disorder, is because of the history of mental disorders, which is to say, the way that “scientist/psychiatrist” came up with the idea that there must be something similar to mental disease as there is physical disease.
If I break a bone in my body we can point to the bone and we can say, there it is, and this is how we fix it.
Mental health, and mental disorder, is more like a person sitting in a room coughing. What is the cause of their coughing? ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼ is it the smoke in the room? Is it the vapors coming off of the oil freshly painted walls with no windows? Is it the cilia in the lining of the lungs? Is it that they just took a bong hit and they’ve never smoked weed in their life? Is it because they smoke too much weed throughout their life? Did a fly just fly down their throat?
Now, this is a loose analogy, but it goes to the point of the difference between a physical disease and a mental health disease: ￼
There is nothing that is bipolar that we can truly find. It’s just a name that we give to a bunch of people that say certain things about their experience.
If you had 100 people called bipolar from whatever objective kind of disorder name that we wanna give them, and you go to talk to each of these hundred people about what is happening with them, you’ll find that there’s 100 different types of bipolar, and at one end, the person’s description will look nothing like the person at the other end￼. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
In mental issues, the thing that drives them together to cause scientists to look for a gene behind the mental illness is utterly one of faith. And not in the bad way you are thinking, by the way.
As we go down this route, because for sure science will continue going down this route, what will happen is you’ll have a whole group, perhaps a whole generation of people, that are calling themselves bipolar, that is are understood as bipolar, or any other mental issue, all going towards this science of curing the problem, and what will happen is a lifetime of just as much problem as they had before. It might be a different set of problem, it might appear a little bit differently than 20 years ago or whatever, but it’ll just be another set of problems.
The perfect example is what happens to people with the more acute mental disorders who take the antipsychotic medicines for their schizophrenia or their bipolar or whatever. After a time their body starts to react in certain ways. In general, they call this problem tardive dyskinesia. In fact, it is so prevailing now that we have advertisements on the TV on cable on the Internet marketing more medication to help people with their tardive dyskinesia that they’ve gotten from taking medicines for their “bipolar”.
In an ironic twist, it is actually the scientists who are the naysayers. They are saying “no” there is a thing an actual disease of the human body called xyz mental illness. ￼￼ Their faith, leads them to solve one problem, and then another problem opens up. But of course, it may be easier to deal with the second problem, but one has to wonder just what does bipolar, or any name of mental disease, is, if it just leads one down a long chain of more problems. ￼
I think some of the problem that maybe some of my readers might have is that I sound like I’m naysaying all the science and all the stuff that goes into helping people with these mental issues. I am not.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼What I’m saying is that I’m a realist. The fact of the matter is that no matter what initial mental illness may present itself, it is just something that the person is gonna have to deal with in whatever way that they’re dealing with it, or whatever way they don’t deal with it. There is not gonna be any magic pill for the people who suffer. There may be a magic pill that gets them 70% of the way, but anyone who suffers from mental issues will tell you that medicines never cure the disease. They only help with getting the person to a place where they’re able to decide that they need to deal with it themselves. And that is good ! Like I said: I am not a hater.
But what does that say about the genetic basis of mental disorder? ￼
Drugs and Reality
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing drugs. I think the question is personal. And I think the question is just, for our modern day, what drugs do I take.
I’m not being sarcastic or ironic, I’m not being pessimistic or cynical. In my blog I try to deal with things as they actually are￼￼￼￼.
Just as in my practice I try to deal with people as they actually are.
And often, the way things actually are do not match up with the way people actually are.
Maybe that’s the true problem.
If you’re anything like me, when someone close to you does something that feels hurtful, there’s a strong urge (sometimes a very strong urge) to …
I have been a counselor now for some short sliver of time approaching a year. I am a counselor, but I also say I am a therapist, I also qualify as a clinician, but as well a psychotherapist.
The name I use to reference what I do or what my clients might be involved with depends on what falls out of my mouth, really. I’m comfortable with most of the names.
I am a counselor in as much as literally I am counseling people, I am moving them through their conceptual space as it is encountered with problems or issues that they’re having trouble with. I’m not really an advisor, even though people like to think that counseling has something to do with advising people. I’d say that a very very small percentage of my activity is actually overtly advising people about what they should do, but there are moments.
Wading in a little deeper, The Internet has that the definition of therapy as concerning that which is “intended to relieve or heal a disorder”.
I would say that at least half of my clients are coming to me as a counselor with a certain mind upon that there is something wrong with them, and many of them will specifically reference some sort of disorder, asking me about what disorder they have, or otherwise telling me what disorder they have and why they’re coming to treatment for it. ￼
It is as I get into the “treatment” part of therapy, I began to get a little bit concerned for the client because, anymore, people seem to automatically reference any particular condition that they feel is wrong as having something to do with a “mental disorder”, a “chemical imbalance”. I can’t help but wondering if the reason that they think this way is because, in a way, they’ve been sold a bill of goods.
For sure, I am offering them therapy in as much as they feel that there’s something wrong with them. The issue that I’m pointing out is, as a counselor, in trying to help them is that I don’t believe that anything is wrong with them: I believe that they feel there is something wrong with them. It is a fundamental discrepancy, which could be attributed to a kind of education as opposed to the layman, that gets me into the theoretical waters of what we’re dealing with for mental health. As a counselor, I come across the problem of the problem itself.
The Problem of the Problem
Most people would like to think that the mind is located in the brain and so if there’s a problem it must be somewhat similar to a physical problem. For example, if I break my leg, we “diagnose“ exactly what the problem is, for example a bone broken in a particular fashion, come up with a solution to the problem, that is, we have to set the bone back together in a certain way, maybe put some screws in there, maybe wrap it up for a little while, give them some anti-inflammatories, maybe some pain medication, and a good dose of time, and they’ll be good to go.
The mind is not this way. It does not operate this way, but more importantly, it doesn’t have a structure similar to the physical body. Oddly enough, no one can really figure out what the correlation is between a disorder, Nuro chemistry, and the psych meds that they’re taking. It’s just kind of a wild guess, as anyone who’s taking psych meds will admit. The process they go through is often excruciatingly difficult, because no one really knows whether the med that that Psychiatrist is giving you is actually going to work until like four weeks, six weeks, maybe even months later. And then after suffering for another few months realizing that the meds aren’t the one that are working, then having the Psychiatrist. needing to prescribe you some other sort of medication.
Yet, there are many counselors which have no problem with doing psychotherapy and administering to the psychological problems that people have, and really do not think very much into whether or not something is actually wrong with the person. Indeed many people believe that something is actually wrong with the person that is coming in for a mental health counseling. And indeed they do help people.
This is the point of contention everywhere. On one hand, there is a sector of society that believes there are such thing as mental illnesses, and we find them everywhere, and people that go to therapy must have some sort of mental disorder. Indeed, in America, if we are taking insurance we are obligated to give that person a diagnosis. Yet on the other hand when we delve into what the diagnoses or the disorder is actually indicating, we find a mess. Not a mess in the person, but a mess in what the hell we’re talking about.
The Psychological Mess
This is why psychology and psychologists do not really want to look too closely at the epistemology that they support. For the simple reason that once we wade into that quicksand, we find that the very ideas and supposed diagnoses and illnesses that they’re pointing out really have no substance: They’re merely indicating an arena of debate. They aren’t really talking about the person in front of me, they’re talking about a body of theory by which psychology supports itself as a scientific career, really.
For those who are suffering from mental issues, it may seem or sound a little disconcerting to hear about a clinician who is questioning what everyone seems to know so well as a convention. However, I feel that due to the situation that actually arises for mental health, it is better for most clients if they understand what they are actually dealing with, as opposed to believing in fantasies that are promoted by institutions.
Yeah: this is to say that it depends upon how much one believes in what they’re being told as to whether or not any particular approach to mental health will be effective, but this belief has nothing to do with what you’re deciding to believe or what you consciously believe. It has more to do with how you are oriented upon things.
There is a gray area in mental health, and it’s not the Brain; it is an ambiguity routinely solved by resorting to this thing called a psyche. I am not sure that this institutional resort is actually serving the people we are trying to help.
Everywhere, whether you are an actual clinician or practitioner of mental health, or whether you are just somebody living their life, everywhere people reference the psyche and the ego. And most of the time, no matter what they’re doing, most people reference these words and have no idea what they’re talking about. They like to think they’re talking about some thing like a rock, or a planet, or even a molecule. ￼
Similarly, people like to think that the psyche and the ego are things that actually have something to do with the brain. It’s really hear that we noticed the power of ideological promotion; it really is no different than someone who feels that they have a soul or a spirit that’s going to be saved by Jesus Christ and Christianity, or receive a universe for proper living say in Mormonism, or go to Nirvana if they’ve lived the proper life, maybe in Buddhism. In fact, I’d say that it is because we can point to these religions and identify them to those terms, that we neatly move the purported “science“ out of the realm of religion to say that it is accounting for something else that is not religious, something more foundational. But here, with these terms that move through the religions so easily, the psyche and the ego, what we are dealing with is more kind of like a ‘religion of religions’.
But that gets deep in today Philosophy. then I’m not gonna deal with here.
Here I’m more interested in the difference between psychology and mental health counseling.
In particular, I am not really sure that in helping someone therapeutically I am doing anything about their psyche. This really has to do with the history of the concept and how it developed over the past 300 years. We like to think – and indeed we do “enjoy“ thinking in this particular way – That there is this thing called a psyche that we are actually discovering how it works, and when we take psych meds or when we do various intoxicants even, we are doing something to our psyche and our ego.
But without getting too far down the rabbit hole, the real simple version of questioning hast to do with the fact that the psyche in psychology arises in a particular way to suggest that its structural components are broken. And it has particular structural components that are supposed to relate in a healthy way.
I’m not really sure that this is the case, by the simple fact that I don’t think this way and actually people that I’ve been counseling do often actually get better. I’ve applied no psychological concepts as to an analysis of the structure of the Psych in my sessions, at least for most of them, and in fact people actually get better. They get better with me using probably very little psychology at all, at least in the way that psychology understands itself.
This is to say that I am treating their mental health. And I’m using strategies and intervention that has to do with the help for how they’re engaging with life. I’m not really sure if the psyche has anything to do with this. I mean, it does in as much as there is this thing called a psyche that people like to talk about and I have various ideas about, but I’m not really sure there is an actual thing called a psyche that exists in the brain, nor that the brain manifest in such a way as though there’s a structure. Neither am I really sure that medicine is addressing this psychological structure, even though medicine can be effective to help people.
One little side thing about psych meds: if you have a mental issue, psych meds are more than likely only gonna get you a stable place from which to work on your mental health. It is the opinion of an overwhelmingly large number of mental health counselors, as well as our clients, that know this to be true.
OK, I’m done with my dog walking…
And I never even got to the aspect of being a clinician!
“Creating, interpreting and listening to music has always been a human need… When we create music, when we listen, when we dance, we are shaping our …
This article by James Barnes and Saga Briggs appears on the Mind Foundation website. It begins: “Talking about changing one’s relationships is a …
The Counseling and Family Therapy Review.
And, below is an example of a “philosophy of…” counseling philosophy. This kind of approach to counseling philosophy is real but inadequate, that is, merely sufficient to subjective material but not to counseling itself.
Hence the need to counsel philosophy itself. So when we propose a philosophy of counseling (below) we actually know what exactly we are doing, truly.
For sure, the philosophy’s of doing counseling a real and useful, though, and interesting to boot…