More and more studies, while not disproving altogether Woody Allen’s theory that the brain is the second most important organ, continue to amass evidence to the contrary. In a paradoxical twist, new psychological theories suggest that what we think about a disorder may outweigh any ‘real’ effects of the disorder itself. In fact, what we now consider abnormal may soon be the new normal.
Modern diagnostics are so advanced that if there is even the latent possibility of a disorder, or the need or desire for one, it will be detected. This has raised new queries about the viability of science in the evaluation of mental illness; indeed, on its possible invention.
This re-visioning of therapy has prompted concerns over an alleged industry bias against the individual disposition. Critics charge that scientific credulity and impersonal assessment methods, along with the projected “symbol-complexes” of practitioners, make diagnosis “psychologically irresponsible if not negligent.”
Statistics show that a modern explosion in available treatment methods parallels “diagnostic over-reach”, leaving some to wonder if part of the problem might be a too-subjective classification system fitted to an ideal norm which is “ultimately unattainable, even as it depicts an average”. Within such contradictory confines, they argue, “the individual appears as a mere aggregate of eccentricities.”
Though the majority of consumer self-reports showed perceptions of progress after the suggested minimum of twelve sessions, those who underwent further treatment showed actual recovery rates similar to those with none at all. Many conditions deteriorated with extended treatment, prompting some to call for a revaluation of criteria.
Insiders confide that most consumers are presumed cured upon the declaration of bankruptcy and/or the reinstatement of driving privileges; though such later-stage variables as ‘high-school sweetheart syndrome’, ‘second-family delusional disorder’, and ‘transitional self-medication malaise’ were considered ‘pre-fixed norms’ and not included as ‘dispositional factors’.
Follow-up studies by legal firms representing insurance companies and maxed-out family members, however, found that ninety percent returned to therapy within a year. Recidivism rates compared with penitentiary internment, leading some experts to propose a “revolving door of therapy-addiction as a substitute for healthy narcissism.”
Crime rates, likewise, varied little between control groups — with one exception: those who underwent treatment before incarceration, when released, tended to commit more heinous crimes than those without therapy. In the system, even those in such informal programs as “Bibles Behind Bars”, “Inmates Need Mates, Too”, and “No Means No” were less violent than those who’d received formal therapy.
New theories are emerging which question the uncritical piling up of statistical data in support of industry interests. Along with Shamanism, Eye Rotation Therapy, and Dr. Wayne Dribble’s PBS snooze-fest, many are casting off the mantle of rational, scientific investigation for more holistic models of wishful thinking and the power of suggestion. One such intriguing model was conceived by Dr. Abnorm Drowze, the “irrational rationalist” of the Institute for Modern Solipsism:
“Psycho-physics begins with the subliminal dynamics of the human dialogue. ‘Psycho’: ‘crazy’ – and ‘physics’: Greek for ‘out there’, combine the science of energy economics with a paradoxical process of ego-inflation designed to free the authentic personality from the false narrative of standardized therapy.
“At the core of Psycho-physics is the concept of projection. Certain feelings and intuitions confirm it to be psychologically meaningful; however, it cannot be scientifically proven to actually exist. Its subjective nature makes it relative to the individual in all cases.
“Since it is recalcitrant to objective appraisal, it’s seldom employed as a tool by method psychologies. These only ensure that its negative effects continue to work unconsciously. The evaluation of one subjective mind by another assumes the nature of a value judgment. The eo ipso assumption that such phenomena apply to the consumer alone, for example, leads to quite arbitrary conclusions and is therefore scientifically untenable, not to say intellectually unethical. The very definition of projection cricumscribes a universal function irrespective of education, social standing, or professional estimation.
“Equability demands its application also to the practitioner’s evaluation of so-called objective test results. For instance: Damitol is prescribed to a depressed consumer to raise flavinoid levels on the assumption that a chemical imbalance is the root cause. This view sees the body as having turned against itself, when in fact it has turned against the mind. Psychologically, this means the mind has turned against itself and speaks by proxy for a neglected body-image which is largely unconscious. The assumption of physical causation is only one side of the mind-body connection and reflects a split consciousness in conflict with its animal behavior. Such instinctive processes betray our dual natures and, when misconstrued, appear ‘crazy’ to practitioner and consumer alike.
“Quite natural self-protective instincts compel the consumer to react adversely to such implied judgments. A ‘knot of projection’ ensues in which consumer and practitioner each unconsciously think the other is ‘crazy’. Which carries the greater value? Both are unhampered presuppositions. The assumption that one outweighs the other is yet another subjective value-judgment.
“The practitioner’s projections will in fact self-replicate in direct proportion to the authority-complex. The principle of negative sums clearly states that the practitioner’s assumptions will not only exceed the consumer’s but cancel them out entirely. The result is that the judgment ‘crazy’ is unilaterally projected onto the consumer, the body’s chemistry, the test results – even onto the treatment. This is not a good thing.
“The therapeutic process often bogs down under the weight of this unspoken dialogue. Progress devolves into a ‘conspiratorial illusion’ which, more often than not, results in a stagnant state of mutual compensation and projection and leaves little hope for resolution.”
This is the point where psychology ends and the spiritual journey begins.