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Psychological Treatments That Cause Harm

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Esther12, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    I agree it could all go a bit off-topic.

    I much prefer focusing on specifics.

    My initial input was actually an attempt to stop arguing/bring people together who were arguing psychotherapy could or could not work, to say that both people could be right.

    I think what was happening was at least one person was talking about psychotherapy/CBT in terms of ME/CFS and somebody else was talking about it in general. (That's my recollection anyway)
  2. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    Having had CBT for compulsive hand-washing in OCD, I can report there is a way of "measuring" progress.
    I was given a little click-counter device to monitor the number of times I washed my hands.

    It complicated things quite considerably, because touching it meant contamination, so I had to wash my hands again.
    I resorted to clicking it in advance, but that often meant making it dirty enough for it to need washed...

    But it did produce numbers which could be drawn on a graph which showed progress.... ;)

    And I could fiddle/bias the numbers to make myself look good for my lovely kind therapist and get praise from her.

    After all, she was the expert, she knew what she was doing. My nightmare confusion about the reality of my home life was all just my imagination and all my fault.
  3. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    That is incredible. My condolence to meet such a doctor.
  4. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    Btw: I do not understand how psychochologists or psychiatrists could help us, when they do not know anything about our illness and mostly they do not believe it even exists. So they inevitably must cause harm in the same way like if we went to a baker asking him to repair our car and he would try to do it.
    Denying reality is one of the worst things and they all do it all the time!
    peggy-sue likes this.
  5. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    Lala said;
    "Denying reality is one of the worst things and they all do it all the time!"

    I'd add fabricating reality as the worst.
    To accuse every single one of us, in blanket terms, of not wanting the "social stigma" of mental illness as a primary motivator in perpetuating the disease, is simply unconscionable.
  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I'm curious in the extent to which medical staff are complicit in this sort of thing, and the extent to which they end up believing they are much more helpful than they really are. I've seen studies showing that medical staff tend to exaggerate their own usefulness to their patients, but it's not an area I know much about, or know if there's been much work into.
    taniaaust1, Valentijn and peggy-sue like this.
  7. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I was so relieved that she was being kind to me about my "silly problems", she got the vile-ex involved with it too - so that "my progress" was something he could "praise" me for.

    Given he operated on the principle of; "You are fat, stupid and ugly and nobody but me would ever bother to look at you, you had better be grateful and worship me and do what you are told."
    He was also enjoying the praise he got for being an "understanding husband" and because he'd got himself in yet another position of controlling me.
    I was desperate to "get things right" again. The booze she "prescribed" was the most welcome relief from the tensions created.
    taniaaust1 and Esther12 like this.
  8. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    Nothing has changed since the Middle Ages, it still lasts. During that time doctors believed tuberculosis was caused by fumes from sludge and by unclean thoughts. Now they believe the same except for fumes in cases of lyme, CFS and many other ilnesses. Moreover they believe they can be helpful with providing such ridiculous methods like peggy-sue described. Our descendants will be laughing at this unbelievable stupidity in the same way we laugh at Middle Ages techniques now.
    Cheshire and alex3619 like this.
  9. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    The idea of psychosomatic illness predates modern science and is rooted in religion. Apply renaissance thought to the medieval view that illness is God's punishment for sinning and one gets illness being viewed as consequence of our own wrong thoughts and behavior, and that's pretty much the modern form of this superstition.
    peggy-sue, Snowdrop, Cheshire and 3 others like this.
  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Really sorry to hear about your difficulties peggy-sue. Sounds like you had a lot of difficult things to deal with at the same time.

    I think that this sort of dynamic is really common and widespread though, and medical staff's failure to recognise it causes a lot of trouble:

  11. vamah

    vamah Senior Member

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    I strongly agree. I didn't care about social stigma because I didn't tell anyone. I accepted I was just crazy until someone pointed out to me that I might be looking in the wrong direction. Then I got nothing but new psych diagnoses from doctors. If you ask me there is much more stigma attached to saying "chronic fatigue" than OCD or depression.
    peggy-sue, taniaaust1 and Valentijn like this.
  12. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    Thank-you for putting this so well, Esther;
    "I think that this sort of dynamic is really common and widespread though, and medical staff's failure to recognise it causes a lot of trouble:"

    That's why I've gone into so much detail about this particular incident. It was all a very long time ago, I've been sober for 22 years, I have a lovely partner of 25 years, I'm well over it.

    But I was completely tied up in knots of confusion and people-pleasing and gratitude and fear and anxiety and despair.

    I imagine my situation might not have been too different to that of many others.


    ETA;
    Vamah - it's the fact that they are accusing every single one of us of being prejudiced against all people with mental illness that gets me.
    Esther12 likes this.
  13. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    All down to you expressing your own experiences. Ta.
    peggy-sue likes this.
  14. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    Team-work, Esther. :love:
    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. :angel:
  15. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    Is it all right if I post links to mine and another blog discussion about harmful therapy that I think might be relevant?
    Roy S and Esther12 like this.
  16. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Sure. Do whatever you think is best. If it's not that related to the discussion it could be better to start a new thread, but it doesn't really matter. Sounds pretty relevant to this thread.
  17. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    Lala and Roy S like this.
  18. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Ta disequilibrium1. I've only read the top one so far (and some of the many, many comments).

    Even though you're writing about a different area to the one I'm familiar with, it seems that there is a lot of overlap in the area's we're concerned with: therapists not being suitably sceptical of their own beliefs and cognitions, and 'paternalism'.

    I've got other things to say, but I thikn that to do so clearly would require more time than I have right now! - Thanks.
  19. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    Exactly Esther. Both blogs are an exploration both of the paternalism, the absolutism and the pseudo-science, which is why I was moved to share them. Some of the contributions are from articulate academicians on the thread discussing proof, research biases etc.

    I'll be truthful. I don't have CFS and jumped into this thread because I thought the blogs might add to your discussion. However I have a chronic disorder-- probably mitochondrial-- and in constant struggle with fatigue, muscle discomfort, etc. (I'm reading of a paper asserting CFS has a mitochondrial basis, so I could be a cousin.)

    I have a flat appearance and manner which was angrily criticized by one of the therapists as indicative my psychological unfitness.

    Just recently a therapist jumped into my blog. Learning of my disorder, he announced he would use it to demonstrate his miraculous techniques. I imagine like many of you, I've sought treatments for a couple of decades. I've found my own balance being trying yet-another-treatment and the serenity of acceptance. So I firmly told the guy I wasn't interested or available to be his demonstration subject. It's my choice whether I go through yet another cycle of hope, assignments and (likely) disappointment.

    Just throwing this out in hopes it's some way supportive and contributes to the topic.
    peggy-sue, Roy S and aimossy like this.
  20. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I think that therapy can be helpful for some people, and that everyone has different preferences in life - some people may want 'paternalism'. I think that explicit and informed consent is really important, and that therapists have a responsibility to restrict the claims they make to those which are supported by clear and compelling evidence. (There are also probably times when people's mental health problems can be so severe that there needs to a be a legal system in place that could strip them of their right to decide for themselves how to live their life).

    Your actually in the 'other research' section, so there are quite a lot of papers/discussions here related to problems with psychological research and practice that are not CFS specific. If there are any particular papers or topics that you want to raise, then you could start a new thread, and one does not need to have CFS to post!

    Sorry to hear about your health problems and other troubles. Best of luck with it all.
    peggy-sue likes this.

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