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Wessely's Book Recommendations

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by starryeyes, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    In The Fight Is On thread, Esther gave a link and her impressions about an article Simon Wessely wrote which helps one understand where Wessely's coming from a little better:

    http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/181/1/81

    I wrote about my impressions of it here for anyone who is interested.

    In the British Journal of Psychiatry Wessely wrote an article where he gives his book recommendations to fellow psychiatrists:

    And thus began Wessely's illustrious career in psychiatry. He admits he's a liar from the beginning, which is not too surprising, is it?

    Wessely clearly does not like or respect scientific research.

    One of the books Wessely recommends is: The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture, 1830-1980

    What does this mean, the doctor treated the men like women? How do they do that? :confused:

    There was only one review for this book at Amazon which is strange but that Reviewer did give it 5 stars.

    Another book Wessely recommends is: "Intellectual Impostors"
    The real title is: Intellectual Impostures
    -Did Wessely make a little Freudian slip there?

    Here's the first review at Amazon:

    Well that's right up Wesselys alley!

    This could just as easily say: What Wessely "fails to realize is that philosophy is indeed not science, and should not be read as such...even when it uses the ideas and words of science in new contexts for which they, the scientists, are wholly unfamiliar, and unqualified to judge."

    It's becoming pretty obvious that Wessely is no intellectual as this is one of his most highly recommended books to his fellow colleagues.

    It's just so funny that Wessely likes and recommends this book!

    This Reviewer could easily be writing about Wessely and his cohorts regarding ME. It's just fascinating that this is one of Wessely's favorite books.

    Keep in mind now, this is one of 11 books that Wessely likes and highly recommends to fellow psychiatrists.

    Maybe not, but somehow I'm pretty sure that Wessely enjoyed that part of the book too.

    Thank you for supplying us with this link, Esther. It provides insights into Wessely's mindset and serves to prove that our impressions of him are very accurate.
     
  2. flybro

    flybro Senior Member

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    Wessley also writes


    So he wanted to be a hero, not a coward, and certainly not a bully.

    Mmmmm I wonder how impressed he is with his self?

    I wonder if this would be a good time to execute an intention experiment, on the great man?

    Other Wessley aritlces or books

    Wessley mentions the DSM-III here in the The Palestine-Israel Journal he's talking about GulfWar and the VietWar.

    http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=55

    a book he co-authored http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/jour...h_politics_policy_and_law/v027/27.2hyams.html


    The possibility of terrorists employing chemical, biological, or nuclear/ radiological (CBN) materials has been a concern since 1995 when sarin gas was dispersed in a Tokyo subway. Contingency planning almost exclusively involved detection, containment, and emergency health care for mass casualties. However, it is clear that even small-scale CBN incidents—like the recent spread of anthrax spores through the mail—can cause widespread confusion, fear, and psychological stress that have lasting effects on the health of affected communities and on a nation's sense of well-being. More emphasis therefore needs to be placed on indirect effects and on the medical, social, economic, and legal consequences that follow months to years afterward. To respond effectively to CBN attacks, a comprehensive strategy needs to be developed that includes not only emergency response, but also long-term health care, risk communication, research, and economic assistance. Organizing an effective response challenges government institutions because the issues involved—eligibility for health care, the effects of low-level exposure to toxic agents, stress-related illnesses, unlicensed therapeutics, financial compensation—are complex and controversial.

    Incidentally the title pf the book is Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
     
  3. Robin

    Robin Guest

    The author, Elaine Showalter, wrote a book called Hystories. She grouped people with CFS and GWS in with people who believed they were abducted by aliens. All were deemed victims of media induced mass hysteria. Simon Wessely was cited quite a bit!

    That speaks volumes that it took him five years to hear a murmur.
     
  4. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Oh my, that's her? I remember that! Holy cow. I knew her name sounded familiar.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Hi there.

    I'm a bit busy with non-internet stuff at the mo, but seeing as I've already rad this, I thought I'd add some quick comments.

    I've not read the Sokal book (intellectual Impostures), but have read some of his writing on this topic, and I think they're quite good and funny - it's good to have terrible arguments taken apart. Some reviewers saw this book as an attempt to discredit all post-modernism by swotting some flies, but Wessely made it clear he did not, and that he valued some post-modernist critiques of modernist thought - I'd be really interested to read more about his thoughts here - he sometimes strikes me as someone who's read Foucault's writings on the potentially oppressive nature of psychiatry, but has taken exactly the opposite lessons from them that I have (not that I've read much).

    I don't really think it's fair to make a big thing of him lying in a university interview... I'm certainly not willing to hold myself to that level of honesty. Oh yeah - and he was saying (I think) that he's only written two books.

    The Female Malady stuff seems far more related to CFS. I vaguely remember reading about this literary professor's views on CFS a long time ago, but it's all a bit hazy. From what I remember, it was comically bad stuff. If she's got any pieces online, they could well be useful for illuminating Wessely's philisophical understanding of CFS. I think I remember the two of them being mentioned together elswhere too.

    Edit: I don't know this "Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America", but it again sounds as if it ties with what I think are some of the motivations behind his understanding of CFS.

    The more I read about Wessely, the more I think of him as a fairly normal academic who just happens to be working in a field where he has too much power over people, and where it's such a backwater for research that there's a real dearth of opposing views. It's a bit of an indictment of academia really, but it only seems a problem when you're directly affected by it. If he was writing equally weak papers about economics (and many people are), I wouldn't have a problem with him. I'm really interested in how his views on fatigue in cancer/MS/etc patients are treated (will GET and CBT be introduced here?), as there he's going to have to be a part of a more legitimate intellectual process. With CFS, it's all a bit of a joke.
     
  6. xanadu

    xanadu

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    And he still can't hear the shouting.

    Showalter is big buddies with Wessely, and he helped her write Hystories. As she cannot even pretend to medical knowledge, he coached her for her promotional appearances.
     
  7. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Wessely continues: "It was not clear where the diastolic murmurs of psychiatry lay, but the relevant skills seemed to include talking to patients, an expertise which I arrogantly thought I possessed until I tried it."

    So... by his own admission he's not even qualified to be a psychiatrist. :eek:
     
  8. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    lmao!! :tear:
     
  9. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    the victim role

    Maybe the following quote, from the sixth book on his list, will offer some further insight into Wessely's world view. Maybe not.

    Note that "we in psychiatry" should have empathy for victims, but also that anyone who "assumes the victim role" needs to be careful not to have "an identity defined solely by adversity."

    I can't help but think that his view from above looking down on the "plight of victims" who he ought to have empathy for has obscured his vision. He says it is "we in psychiatry" who ought to favour victims. And then he says all us "victims" (and substitute those of us with CFS here) should not think we deserve any "elevation of status," or "automatic moral authority or insight" due to our having become victims. We need to earn it.

    It always seems to me that Wessely's writings contain important bits of truths that then become utterly distorted I can agree that of course "victims" should not be identified only by what has been done to them, but then have to ask, Who is putting us into that particular box? And by pointing out the box we have been put in, does that then confirm that this is all we have become?

    Obviously, by not living in the same world we inhabit, his view looking down at us from above is missing the whole, beautiful, amazing, resilient lives that we do lead. When he talks about "victims," and who will "favour" us if not all of those like him "in psychiatry," he does us great harm. We don't need his condescending, patronizing favour, we are looking for real answers to make real change in our lives. This is not a philosophic, existential, post-modern linguistic exercise. We are asking for medical help for a medical need. It's time for Wessely to start being a doctor and stop theorizing about a world he knows so very little about.
     
  10. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Here! Here! :wheelchair:
     
  11. flybro

    flybro Senior Member

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    gracenote

    totally agree with teejkay

    Here here.
     
  12. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    This next song is dedicated to all our friends with ME in the UK:

    ♫♪ "We don't need no C - B - T...
    We don't need no G - E - T... No dark sarcasm from the shrinks... Hey! Wessely! Leave MEers alone!"
    ♫♪


    [​IMG]
     
  13. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for the reminder about Showalter. I remember when that book came out. At one point the book was a "monthly selection" from either Barnes & Noble or Borders - can't remember which - fog - fog. I can remember that all of the members of my support group boycotted the offending book store for several months. I am sure they didn't notice, but it made us feel slightly less helpless.

    Take care,

    Maxine
     
  14. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Last night I was watching a tv program called "In Treatment" and the psychiatrist who's the main character said that one of the rules of psychiatry is that "the customer is always wrong". Inotherwords, their patients have the wrong viewpoints about things otherwise they wouldn't need to be seeing a psychiatrist.

    I'm not saying I agree. This just helped me understand how the psychiatrists think. If your problem is truly mental I think they might be able to help you but we are physically ill and they think we are just thinking that we are physically ill because "the customer is always wrong".
     
  15. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

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    Esther wrote

    He isn't a normal academic and it isn't a joke. He is a government adviser and also to NATO. This man has immense influence, overt in the UK and covert in the US. He says what government wants to hear and his authority influences others who believe that authority counts as integrity.

    You could see that in the reports of the Imperial College study. I don't mean the newspapers but scientists could not believe that he was underhand. It is easier for everyone to believe that we are a group of hysterical conspiracy seekers.

    The people of Camelford had their water contaminated with aluminium. SW's investigation PROVED that all the villager's ill health was caused by a hysterical worry that they had been damaged. Big business and government were off the hook. Now, of course, people are dying and autopsies are showing aluminium damage but the silence from SW is deafening.

    His hand in GWS has been mention elsewhere.

    We underestimate him at our peril.


    Mithriel
     
  16. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    I found it so bitter to be so betrayed by another feminist.
     
  17. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    This kind of superiority complex is unfortunately all too common among many in the "elite" medical world. Not JUST psychiatrists are guilty of it. As we all know, many doctors have the same exact attitude. I grew up with a father who was a pathologist, and even he complained about many of the oversized doctor egos, that he encountered during his decades working at his lab in the hospital.

    I can't agree that believing that the patient is "always WRONG" would help ANYONE. Even someone with a genuine mental health issue needs to be heard and taken seriously. Having spent significant time on both the receiving and giving end in the therapeutic counseling session, I know how important a role EMPATHETIC LISTENING plays in these situations. AND... how really rare it is to find someone who is WILLING and ABLE to do it! If you already "know" in advance that someone is WRONG, before they even open their mouths to speak, then you will be a really really lousy shrink.
     
  18. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
     
  19. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Touche! :victory::victory::victory:
     

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