We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Psychiatric Reform

A panel based solution to proper mental evaluation

The transition period from current societal embrace of negative psychology to one of much needed positive psychology will be a turbulent one. In order for psychology and psychiatry to get good social reputations again (to make this transition quickly and smoothly) three key problems need to be tackled:

1) Serious and debilitating split between psychiatrists and psychological therapists (with corresponding lack of synergy between the two in creating holistic improvement of the individual). 

The split has occurred due to different breeds of humans that go into the fields of therapy and pill prescription. The amount of schooling (10+ years) and training that is required to become a full pledged psychiatrist is enormous. It takes a certain type of reptilian cold blooded patience and unemotional personality to become a doctor and then do additional cramming to be able to prescribe hard hitting narcotics to children as young as 5 (and sleep at night). The final result is that many psychiatrists are just neurologically not built for empathic understanding of their patients. It comes as no surprise then that after such herculean effort to make money, many become easily corrupted by big pharma. They get just a few minutes with their clients and could care less about what happens to them.

Therapists on the other hand are an emotional empathic bunch but just don't have the patience and attention to detail to go through over a decade long ultra boring journey to become professional pill pushers. They genuinely care about humans and are emotional sponges (that subconsciously get a feeling of power from endlessly listening to other people's troubles and feeling better about their own turbulent inner emotional world through comparison).

I exclude remaining psychoanalysts and specialists who specialize in ultra wealthy clientele. The dichotomy problem mentioned affects to vast majority of the patient demographic. People who are physiologically capable (have the right serotonin and dopamine production in their brain) of emotional understanding AND who have the ability to become excellent PhD psychiatrists are few in number. Therapists most likely are ENFJ/INFJ Myers-Briggs personalities and can get joy from helping troubled children whereas psychiatrists are probably INTJ/ISTJ leaning who can get a kick out of molecular chemistry.

2) Corporate and political domination of psychological research, consensus building, and norms.

This is likely a more difficult problem to take care of. As mentioned in my previous article, the members of American Psychiatric Association are thoroughly compromised. They are the ones who write the mental health bible [DSM] and descriptions of ailments thus creating industry standards and norms.

"Of the 170 panel members, 95 (56%) had 1 or more financial associations with companies in the pharmaceutical industry. In 6 of 18 panels, more than 80% of the panel members had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies".

The corruption among top medical professionals in APA is especially serious because within the scientific hierarchy, many youthful upstarts have to cite these bought off clowns in order to have their peer reviewed papers be taken seriously. In other words, there are a few hundred people with high enough "seniority" whose research has to be integrated and over half of them are partially if not fully in the pocket of international corporations. This creates the absurd situation analogous to agricultural scientists having to indirectly cite the thoughts of McDonalds board of directors when writing their research papers. Of course this analogy is extreme (and done for illustration) considering this top down rot is very indirect. But if done long enough and on a large enough scale, it becomes Soviet in its abuse of the field of psychiatry. At a certain point, when politically significant numbers of the herd are medicated and are part of the "clientele", ruling factions become involved by trying to use the APA the way they use other influential structures (mass media organs, department of education, etc). Thus we see an unholy monstrosity of a couple hundred cold blooded 60 year olds sandwiched between corporations and the government defining what ails school children.

And people wonder why psychology/psychiatry has such a bad reputation. In its current form, it is a very advanced form of Brave New World-esque social control. Soma now comes in many flavors. I wont go further into the profit driven pill pushing abuses as there have been many articles concerning this in recent years.

3) Severe fundamental and structural confusion in the field since many of the "disorders" are just intense physical characteristics of certain human breeds that are exacerbated by their socioeconomic environment.

This third problem will be naturally and gradually resolved by itself as more and more research gets connected from across the planet in the coming years. It will then be finally understood that psychology and psychiatry mostly treat symptoms of certain socioeconomic developments and their effects on the two legged animals. In the future what is done now will be seen as obscene as giving anti-depressants to a moody elephant forced to do tricks in a circus.

What's the solution?

Even in an enlightened welfare/human centric society of the future, psychology/psychiatry will remain important as there are genuine neurological ailments and environmentally acquired conditions. In addition, even individuals in a healthy socioeconomic system will want to reach new heights of development through positive psychology and not just "treat" themselves "back" to some notion of homeostatic normalcy. This would be analogous to wild and free elephants seeking augmentations to be even more empowered in the wild.

In the meantime, we need to focus on problems 1 and 2 mentioned above. The obvious solution to the first problem is to have a panel analyze an individual.

An example would be 2 therapists and 2 psychiatrists and perhaps 1 sociologist make a joint simultaneous assessment of the patient. This automatically greatly reduces the problem of false diagnosis when it comes to prescribing pills. Different assessments by individual practioners being made is a legendary problem in the field. The first session should be lengthy and the doctors in the room would be aided by the empathic understanding of the 2 therapists present.
The follow up sessions can then minimize the doctors' role and just leave the patient with 3 people to work on him or her. The sociologist would provide environmental explanatory framework.

The obvious benefits is that the 5 professionals would learn from each other and have a more holistic outlook in the future. The patient benefits from 1 democratically reached opinion that is the product of 5 brains. These brains will work harder as well since they'll want to demonstrate their will to power and expertise to their educated peers. This will boost confidence of the client and the people augmenting him. A human being's psyche is too important a thing to leave in the hands of one person. Problems of salary, time, and economics are but engineering problems that can be resolved with sufficient effort.

When it comes to the second problem mentioned, only muckraking and structural reform can resolve it. Different countries have different levels of corruption in their psychiatric bodies. Perhaps some term limits or age limits are needed to constantly bring new blood into psychiatric leadership. Those countries that are at the bleeding edge of progress should create joint bilateral education programs with other states. Eventually United Nations should deal with the issue of abuse and non-interference when it comes to mental health.

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1 comment:

  1. I just came across your site in my pursuit of information on Ponerology. (ENFP here) I'm working on a blog that I hope to build into a network of sorts. My first effort will be "", an aggregate of news, opinion and actions covering topics such as the Fed, the Police State, tyrannical bureaucrats, psychopathy, etc.

    I'm hoping that you would allow me to possibly re-print some of your articles (with your approval of the method, linking and so forth). It was a pleasure to spend the last couple hours at The Pragmatist.

    I'll be in touch.