Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: 20 questions for Fred, Adam, Erin, Noa, Tom, Siri

Posted by Morose on December 13, 1999, at 14:24:19

In reply to Re: 20 questions for Fred, Adam, Erin, Noa, Tom, Siri, posted by Tom on December 12, 1999, at 21:23:06


Thank you for your response.

A couple of commentators viewed my questions as being condescending and argumentative, and I apologize for that. I had meant for them to illustrate the oddness of the notion of a psychodynamic unconscious and of the psychiatrist/patient relationship. I also realize that viewing psychotherapy as an intellectual adventure can seem very glib to someone in acute pain. At the risk of flogging a dead duck, I will recap the issues that interest me.

1. I believe the very notion of a psychodynamic unconscious mind is what the French pointy-heads call a construct, invented by Sigmund Freud about 100 years ago, which construct has pervaded culture to such an extent that it is nearly universally taken for granted. A psychodynamic unconscious is necessary to most talk therapy, but is unnecessary to neurobiology, behavioral genetics, evolutionary psychology, psychopharmacology and as I understand it, types of cognitive therapy. I suggest that if one had never been taught the concept of a psychodynamic unconscious, there would be nothing either in oneís experience or in science absent Freud to suggest the existence of one. I believe a psychodynamic unconscious simply does not exist, and we would do well to dispense with the concept. Furthermore, the world I am conscious of is so thoroughly scary that resort to a frightened unconscious is superfluous. On a personal level, my childhood was utterly unremarkable and, to me, unrelated to my adult mental problems; even so, the psychiatrists I consulted pressed psychotherapy on all their patients (not just me), moreover, as a condition to a prescription for drugs that completely eliminated my mental problems without psychotherapy (I realize I am lucky that my ailments are alleviated solely by medicine). I believe those psychiatrists have an economic interest in the existence of a psychodynamic unconscious.

2. A shared belief in the existence of the unconscious mind dictates a very peculiar relationship between a psychiatrist and patient. Only the fortune-teller can see into the crystal ball, and only the shrink can see into the patientís unconscious. In any ordinary adult discourse, one brings to the party sovereignty over oneís intellect, good-faith skepticism, a consideration of alternatives, a willingness to explain oneself when asked and an expectation that others do likewise, good manners, common sense, and a reciprocal exchange ideas and confidences. None of those qualities necessarily pertain to a psychiatrist/patient discourse. For example, roughly half the responses to my postings here are words to the effect that I am a trivial, bad-mannered asshole, and thatís okay! Thatís the way people communicate; but I wonder, would those so quick to call bullshit on me be just as quick to call bullshit on their shrinks. I hope so.





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