Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

I think I mentioned last time that things get a little strange once the creativity starts flowing. Well, hopefully I can finish on a slightly more normal note.


A Note To My Therapist

A dream perhaps and yet more real,

than I have known before.

How can I know the truth of it,

what’s dream and what is more.


In dreams I often tell myself,

“You’re dreaming never fear.”

But what if I am wrong and this,

is false, the dream is here.


What if rules and common sense,

are only in my head.

And all the chaos I call dreams,

is really real instead.


There’s no answer that I can find,

no way to truly know.

So I’ll just choose the one I like,

and that’s where I will go.


So if you come and I have gone,

it’s true I’ve only woke.

It’s you who’s trapped within a dream,

the punchline to my joke.


Cheers, Winston


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We’re All In This Together
(Except For Those Who Aren’t)

Dreaming the days go drifting by,
A bit of truth in each.
Some grasp the dream and take from it,
The lesson it would teach.

So many more are lost to it,
Content to blindly sleep.
They push the dream of truth aside,
Let life it’s secrets keep.

“What good” they ask “can come from this?”
No good they say just pain.
Refusing truth they cannot see,
In ignorance remain.

Dreaming the days go drifting by,
All life about it s tasks.
And now and then some sleepers stir,
And see beyond their masks.

They’ve seen some truth, some tiny part,
Cannot remain unchanged.
But those awake, to those asleep,
Must surely seem deranged.

The choice is “Treatment” drugs and pain,
Or just go back to sleep.
And in their dreams they glimpse the truth,
And in their slumber weep.

Cheers, Winston

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There is a program on A&E called “Beyond Scared Straight”. The premise is as simple as it is ridiculous. Troubled teens are forced to spend a night in an adult prison where it is the job of staff and inmates to abuse and terrify them. This is intended to deter them from their current lifestyle and steer them onto the “straight and narrow”. As part of this “process”, they are hand-cuffed, locked in cells with actual inmates, threatened and verbally abused.

All of this is based on “tough love”. This of course is a misnomer. There is nothing about this which is loving. It is a purely punitive act based not on love, but on fear. The larger issue has to with results. More to the point, the stunning lack of them. “In fact, a Cochrane review — the gold standard for evidence-based medicine — concluded that kids sent to Scared Straight were 68-71% more likely to commit crimes than those randomized to receive no intervention at all.” That quote comes from a recent Time article on the subject.

The truth is, there has not been a single clinical trial that indicated any positive results from any of the tough love style treatments for anything. None. Ever. Never.

Now I’m going out on a limb here and assuming the executives at A&E and the staff behind “Beyond Scared Straight” are not collectively stupid as oak posts. I know it’s a stretch, but I’m going to run with it. Based on that I’m guessing that someone looked at the results of Scared Straight and similar “tough love” programs and saw the massive failure rate. Why then did they go ahead and promote something so clearly delusional, damaging, degrading and downright stupid?

The word you’re looking for is Profit. That’s the motivator for anything that shows up on advertising funded TV. Not that I have anything against A&E making a profit. That is after all what they’re in business for. What I object to is teenagers being abused and exploited just to drive those profits. If there was any indication that such brutality has any beneficial effect it might be slightly justifiable. The opposite is true. This program of abuse, humiliation and cruelty has no measurable benefit and as such is nothing but reprehensible.

The other part of this equation is the fan base. Those who tune in week after week to watch these “terrible” people get a taste of what they can expect if they don’t get their acts together. They don’t know it doesn’t work. They don’t care. All they want is to watch brutal, Old Testament, frontier justice at work. They’re tired of the liberal wimps mollycoddling young offenders. They believe these kids need just this kind of wake up call. Unfortunately, they’re wrong. What these kids need isn’t more abuse, it’s less. They need years of counseling, therapy, training and all that boring, non-telegenic stuff.

Of course, there’s nothing in that to build a sensationalist TV show off of. Then again that’s probably not a bad thing. Not unless you’re the sort of person who enjoys watching psychological torture for fun & profit.

Cheers, Winston

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I’m not a “Mayan Doomsday” believer. I just think there are some limits to how far a joke can go before the Universe hits “RESET”. If the following story isn’t a sign of the end times, it really should be.

According to this article on oregonlive.com two boys aged 11 and 7 attempted to carjack a woman in the parking lot of a local church. Police responded to a call from a woman saying that her son had seen a gun in possesion of another young boy. When Police arrived, the boys bolted, but were caught beside the church. Despite being told by police to keep his hands out of his pockets, the older boy attempted to reach the gun but was prevented by the officers. Police recovered a loaded and cocked pistol from the older boy.

Because the boys are too young for jevenile detention, they were released to the custody of their parents. That’s obviously the best thing because it’s worked well so far. I’m not saying they’re bad parents. I don’t know them, or their parenting abilities. What I do know is that whatever they’re doing so far isn’t working. But hey, let’s drop them back there anyway. As soon as he was dropped off at home, the 11 year old ran off, but was quickly caught and returned to his parents. Good luck with that.

Why you may wonder would a couple of boys that young try their hands at carjacking? Personally, I think that part of the answer lies in the total lack of anything like a consequence. They can’t be detained. They can’t be charged. They’re basically walking, talking teflon. Nothing they do is going to stick to them. So let’s ship them home and wait for the story about a “random” shooting in Portland.

These kids shouldn’t be roaming around loose. They should be in a mental health facility pending a full psych evaluation and some extensive and ongoing rehabilitation. I know it’s officially terrible to talk about committing such young children to that type of facility, but they obviously represent a clear and present danger to the community around them. I”d sooner lock up a couple of alleged innocents rather than wait for them to start killing people.

We live in a world where young children will give carjacking a try and then when they do, we just cut them loose and send them home. This is only partly about gun control (there is still some question as to where they got the gun), it is more about self control and what we aren’t teaching our young people. We aren’t teaching them to respect others, or themselves. We aren’t teaching them to work for what they want. It’s a culture of “I want what I want and I want it now and I don’t care what it costs as long as I’m not paying for it.”

By letting these boys walk away from an attempted carjacking, we’re just reinforcing the idea that they can take what they want without paying for it. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that’s an idea we should be encouraging.

I don’t know how far we can go with this before the universe voids our reality check. That’s why the world may end on the 21st.

Cheers, Winston

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Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and a member of the “Fox News Medical A Team”. Despite that rather embarrassing affliction, he still feels qualified to offer the following advice to people. “Instead of getting a divorce, try a consorce.” Even though there’s no such word as consorce.

If the word did exist, the “good” doctor assures us it would mean something like this…. Don’t get a messy, expensive, painful divorce. It will be nasty for you and terrible for your children. What you need is a (made up word).

The consorce works like this. The couple agrees to continue living together as friends as friends and partners in child-rearing. They are to accept that the “romantic” phase of their relationship has ended and they should see this as an opportunity to strengthen their “platonic” relationship.

The following is a direct quote from Dr Reallystrangelove’s Guide To Consorce… “Why not just stay in the same house, continue to work together financially for the good of the family, and, perhaps sleep in the same room (without sexual contact expected by either individual)? original authors parentheses.

He also believes this is all in the best interests of any children involved. They have both parents in their lives full time and a greater likelihood of financial stability in the home. Ummm… Yeah… That’s what’s important… Financial stability and the business partners who make it possible.

So my first thought was that Doc KAblow is “nuttier than a squirrel turd”. (I don’t remember where I encountered that phrase, but I love the way it sounds). Then I started thinking maybe he has made it through his professional career without encountering anybody who isn’t BFFs with their spouse. After a few seconds of profound doubt, I called bull**it and chose option three.

Keith (can I call you Keith) has an agenda (the sanctity of marriage) to push and an ideology to promote. Clearly we can’t let something as arbitrary as reality get in the way. I’ve had the opportunity to observe the decline and dissolution of several marriages over the years and feel quite confident when I say I’ve never seen a single one where consorce would have been an option.

It’s pretty clear from his article here that Dr Ablow regards sex as the only real difference between marriage and consorce. Contrary to Dr. Squirrel-turd, sex is generally only a contributing factor, rather than a primary cause. The withholding of affection and decline in intimacy is more often a reflection of issues in other parts of the relationship. Where these deeper issues exist, the removal of the “romantic” component of the relationship isn’t going to resolve them.

That brings me to what is in my opinion his most egregiously stupid idea. Doctor Dumb claims that this is somehow in the best interest of the children. Sure, having both parents on hand is great. Financial stability is great. Growing up in an environment where love is sacrificed on the altar of expediency and commercial betterment… That’s not so great.

What are these hypothetical children learning about the foundation of a strong and meaningful marriage. Forget love, it’s all about financial stability, a nice house, the illusion is more important than the substance. What an utterly terrible thing to teach children! Love is the foundation of marriage not convenience. More to the point, love is the essential ingredient in a family regardless of marital status. That is by far the most important lesson we can model for our children, not some loveless partnership for the sake of a nice home.

That’s why Dr. Ablow needs his head examined.

Cheers, Winston

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For a long time now, people have been saying that psychology isn’t an actual science. This is based on the standard “scientific method”. This method requires repeatable results from repeatable processes. Seems like a good way to do things, and it is. When it works.

Psychology is one of the places it doesn’t work. Does that mean it’s not a science? Of course not, and I can tell you why. There’s another science that suffers from the same issues. What you may wonder would that be? Meteorology. What you may wonder do they have in common? It goes like this.

How about working with such large data sets that repeatable processes become impossible? How about dynamic systems where huge percentages of the relevant variables change constantly? The scientific method is predicated on the ability to control the variables in an experimental setting. That level of control is not viable in either meteorology or psychology. So how do you establish scientific validity for a field that doesn’t play by the rules?

Well, it’s not easy. First off, you need to change the criteria for “scientific” studies. Instead of requiring control, acknowledge that control is an illusion. There’s no reasonable way to duplicate any one person’s experiences, so an expectation of reproducible results is ludicrous. This is a more localized version of the problems meteorologists have predicting weather. Too many variables. Too little processing power.

Global weather systems and the human psyche are phenomenally complex systems. Expecting them to fit neatly in to labs makes no sense at all. The fact is, both systems are based as much on observation, as if/then logic. By wasting less time questioning it’s validity, we free up resources to push forward the study of psychology.

All sciences took time to achieve legitimacy. Few have as much raw data to work with. None are as dynamic as the human mind. Not even the weather, and I think it’s pretty obvious they still have some glitches to work out there.

So yes, psychology is a science. Not only that, it’s probably one of the most complex sciences there is. That’s why it’s not all neat and tidy and sorted out. That doesn’t mean it never will be.

Cheers, Winston

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