Monday, May 25, 2009

This has been transcribed from something handed out to me in a Modern Condition class Freshman Year.  I found it while searching through old papers and copied it down before tossing the paper with the rest of them.  I don't necesarily agree out of hand with some of the views set down here, and don't intend to post it as a "lolol fuck all psychologists" piece, but it has an excellent bit of food for thought, and a healthy amount of skepticism for the egregious fashion in which trends in psychology get bastardized by individual (or many) nutcases.

Also, if the original Eric the Wise (Guy) that wrote this could stand up, that would be awesome.

A Brief History of Psychology


By: Eric the Wise (Guy)


In the 1920’s:


Psychologists testified that, based on research studies, persons of “Mediterranean” descent, including Italians, Greeks, and Jews, were inferior in intelligence and therefore should not be admitted to the U.S.  Resulting immigration restrictions resulted in thousands, if not tens of thousands, of persons dying in the Holocaust or otherwise.


In the 1930’s:


Psychologists testified that, based on research studies, persons from “criminal families,” like the Jukes and Kallikaks, would breed generations of criminals.  This resulted in thousands of women being forcibly sterilized.


In the 1940’s:


Psychologists testified that, based on research studies, babies should be fed only according to a rigid feeding schedule, or else they would grow up to be “spoiled.”


In the 1950’s:


Psychologists testified that, based on research studies, babies should be fed whenever they want, or else they would grow up with an “oral fixation.”


In the 1960’s:


Psychologists testified that, based on research studies, schizophrenia was caused by “schrizophrenogenic mothers” who were cold, indifferent, and worst of all did not stay home and care for their babies, but went to work outside the home (!)


They also testified that:


·         Ulcers are caused by “aggression turned inward” (not a bacillus called h-pylori).


·         Persons could be fixated at the “anal stage” and therefore exhibit the famous “anal personality” (no link has ever been shown between any childrearing practice or toilet training practice and stinginess or any other personality trait characteristic of “anal personality”).


·         Homosexuals have “unresolved Oedipus conflicts,” leading to their wanting to sleep with their father instead of their mothers to appease their fathers and convince them that they don’t want to have intercourse with mom after all.


(EO had the following amusing experience during his internship: He was assigned a transvestite to do individual counseling with.  His supervisor told him to go to the library and look up all he could on Transvestitism.  EO dutifully did so and there learned that Transvestitism is caused by castration anxiety.  You see, the transvestite fears his penis will be gone; to master this fear, he puts on a pair of women’s panties and then is relieved to find his penis is still there.  This relief is so rewarding that he does it again and again.  EO has been in awe of psychoanalytic explanations ever since.)


In the 1970’s:


A professor named Arthur Jensen testified before Congress, based on research studies, that Head Start was a waste of money.  “Research shows,” Professor Jensen asserted, that African-Americans are inferior in intelligence.  Therefore it is just a waste of money to educate them.  When a group of persons including EO tried to hand out pamphlets denouncing Professor Jensen as a racist at an APA conference, they were rewarded by coming within 30 seconds of being arrested, handcuffed, and shackled.  The modal response of fellow psychologists was that Professor Jensen was entitled to his opinion.  Many compared us to the Church’s having prosecuted Galileo.  Of course, this analogy suffered from the minor fact that Galileo was right, whereas Professor Jensen was quite purposefully distorting data to advance a racist agenda.  But as Bob Dylan said, “Don’t think twice, it’s all right.”


In the 1980’s:


Psychologists and other Mental Health Professionals discovered that there was a vast, intergenerational, nationwide cabal organized and run by Satanists who abused legions of children who grew up to be victims of “Satanic Ritual Abuse.”  Marvelous wisdom came out of this discovery including a book that advised that if you didn’t remember having been Satanically Ritually Abused, you probably were.  Many persons “recalled” such abuse while in therapy, which, of course, completely reinforced the belief of therapists that such abuse existed.  Unfortunately, not a trace of evidence of such a cabal or even one little old such cabal ever was found.  EO recalls a hugely attended meeting on the subject at an APA Conference wherein an FBI agent-presenter delivered with some embarrassment the news that, after ten years of investigation, he had not been able to find one intergenerational Satanic Ritual abusing group (four teenage heavy metal rock fans with tattoos don’t count).  The modal audience response was disbelief and muttered comments such as, “The FBI didn’t believe there was a Mafia either.”  Psychologists did not stop believing in such abuse until Plaintiff’s lawyers started making the cost-benefit of such beliefs lean way to the cost side.


In this decade too the theory of “alters” came into prominence.  It seems that legions of persons have other selves they are not aware of (alters) that cause all kinds of mischief.  Why look at the mischief Eve was caused by all her other personalities (EO heard Eve give a lecture and afterwards elicited from her the concession that she always kind of knew when another personality “took over.”)  This fiction reached the courts and in one memorable case a man was convicted of statutory rape because, though the woman he slept with was of legal age to consent to sex, the “alter” she claimed to be at the time was not.  Had he only said that actually his alter, who was even younger than her alter, slept with her, not him.


In the 1990’s:


After saying for decades that they could not predict violence (especially in the aftermath of Tarasoff wherein psychologists – and psychiatrists – protested that they could not predict violence and therefore should definitely not be liable when one of their patients kills someone), psychologists discovered that they could predict violence after all.  The earlier belief was based on the absurd notion that because they often were wrong in predicting violence, they should not predict it at all (and where would the Weather Channel be following that philosophy?)  The later belief was based on the revelation that, despite often being wrong, they often were right.


Psychologists also discovered that despite decades of wisdom that said patients had to choose to get well and needed to be motivated for treatment, treatment could be effective when persons are locked up and essentially told that if they don’t participate and, ostensibly, benefit from said treatment, they never would be released.  While psychologists are “scientist-practitioners,” the fact that there is no credible evidence to the efficacy of such treatment “no se vale nada.”[1]


A new treatment called Eye Movement Desensitization  Response (EMDR) sweeps the nation by storm and therapists eagerly sign up for the founder’s (Dr. Shapiro’s) workshops on how to do it thus enriching her.  The theory is that by having the patient follow with his or her eyes a finger that moves horizontally in front of their face, they will integrate left and right brain and nullify trauma.  This might seem a little far-fetched and literally like hocus-pocus but Dr Shapiro insisted she had research that showed it was effective.  Of course, in psychology anything is effect that a) the therapist believes is effective and b) the patient also believes is effective.  When some wise guy found that moving the finger up and down was just as effective as from side to side, Dr. Shapiro did not miss a beat.  Well that just integrated the upper and lower brains, she said.  And so a new low even for psychology was reached.


In the 2000’s:


·         Dr. Brooke Shields and Dr. Tom Cruise argue in the media about post-partum depression.  Dr. Shields gets to write an erudite Op-Ed piece in the New York Times about it and persons everywhere courageously endorse her pro-psychiatry stand.


·         Biological reductionism wiped out psychodynamic thinking.  Gone are superegos, egos, and even ids.  Instead we have the brain as the fountain of all things human.  One psychologist even showed that when nuns pray, their occipital lobes “light up,” which shows that boy with a toy can be dangerous thing.


·         While psychologists embrace biological reductionism, they carefully avoid thinking about what the vast preponderance of humanity believes, namely that humans can exercise choice and free will, make moral judgments, and in general transcend their past and recreate themselves as something qualitatively different.


·         At the same time, psychologists eagerly refer people to programs like AA, which are spiritually based.  And as the same time, there is no evidence – apart from true biological diseases such as Bipolar Disorder – that any psychological or psychiatric intervention is more effective than a religious or spiritually based one including Voodoo.


·         Psychologists are panting for the ability to prescribe.  But there seems to be little talk about the influence of a mega, multibillion dollar drug industry that, e.g. made it okay to suppress research findings that Vioxx was harmful and which may have a slight interest in promoting drugs critical to their bottom lines such as Librium, Effexor, Paxil, and, yes, Adderall (23 million prescriptions were written in the U.S. last year for children in the U.S. between the ages of 3 and 18, about one-half are boys; since boys receive the great preponderance of these prescriptions, there may be 20 million prescriptions for 30 million boys.  Could it be that this condition is over-diagnosed?)

(Incidentally, try being the parent of a trouble-making little boy whose teachers “suggest” he should be evaluated for ADD/HD and then think about saying “no” to such a suggestion or saying “no” to a subsequent recommendation that the child receive medication.)  Inevitably, the list has now extended and now children need antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.  Funny, in Mexico, I doubt that there are two children on any of these meds, and, in general, they seem as or more well-adjusted and content as their U.S. counterparts.  Must be genetic.

[1]Lit. “isn’t worth nothing.”