Monday, November 06, 2006
Paranoid Patty's Awareness Expansion Exercises
For Psychology Students
By Patricia Lefave, Labeled, D.D.(P)
Perhaps psychology students could print this off as a handout, have everyone in their peer group answer the test questions and then use the answers collected to practice expanding your collective consciousness with a new goal. That goal might be to stop the automated knee jerk responses to stimulus currently being taught by traditional sources.
I have designed this test, inspired by the work of one of the world's great philosophers, Jerry Seinfeld. I think of it as the Psychology About Nothing. The questions are intended to be every day psychological exercises about every day events which have no special or unusual interest to anyone. (Unless you take a closer look)
It is my opinion that if you REALLY want to understand what is currently being defined as "mental illness" , meaning a biological/chemical condition, neatly contained within an individual, you are going to have to learn to see the social and/or personal dynamic which create and sustain such conditions. That means you are going to have to stop objectifying "cases" and start seeing and hearing people who are just like yourselves. You can do that by learning to better hear through the person's ears, see through his or her eyes and changing your position to be "with" us. Then look back at yourselves as if seeing a reflection in the mirror of the other person?s experience of you. That is what many are currently avoiding and denying.
Locally, some have called me "simplistic." (not to my face of course) I do see this as basically simple but there is nothing neither simplistic nor easy about this.
If you do this it may cause those who currently perceive themselves as "the sane ones" to become able to feel the "dis-ease" which you are used to unloading on your "subjects." Human beings try to avoid feeling "bad", more so now I think, than ever before, now that we have all these "good" drugs to suppress unwanted emotions and treat them like diseases. Like with any disease, we must often feel bad before we can feel good again. It is nature's way of cleansing the body just as feeling sad, angry, resentful frightened etc. is nature's way of cleansing the soul or mind.
If you get a shot of the dis-ease yourself you may be able to produce the anti-body that prevents it from ever returning again to sicken you.
So, given that, let's take a different look at an old problem.
Scene A: A nurse at an emergency department decides as soon as a patient walks in that she is not really sick, She bases this judgment partly on rumors, partly the labeling process and something else. The patient's temperature is taken and reads normal. The patient herself seems surprised by that but more so by the intake nurse's next comment. She suggests the patient should go home now, "If you want to." The patient declines insisting that she feels very ill and can barely move, including strange chest pains and difficulty breathing. So after eight full hours of waiting in which she felt she was being ignored so that she would leave, the patient is finally seen by a doctor who discovers she has pneumonia.
1. What reaction should the nurse who suggested the patient go home have to this news which would be appropriate if the nurse is a well integrated and responsible person?
2. How do you think the patient felt and what would be an appropriate response to that experience; with the nurse, and with the hospital emergency room?
Scene B: A man is standing and waiting for a bus about eight blocks from downtown. A student comments to another on the man's reasons for waiting for the bus saying, "Why would anyone who lives so close to downtown take the bus instead of walking"?
(Note how the man has already been reduced in the student's mind to the level of object of assessment.)
Think of six possible answers to the student's question to his friend. (Unless of course, you read minds and already know the correct answer)
Scene C: A woman takes the bus to the Mall and is back out in time to catch the same bus, and driver going back. The bus driver does not understand the woman's trip and so discusses how weird the woman is for going back on the same bus so quickly.
Why is the bus driver getting emotionally involved in the woman's trip?
Should he be entitled to know the reasons for it?
Does he know he is audible on the radio he is using to poll the other drivers on the woman's mysterious behavior?
Name five possible reasons the woman could be on the bus after only a half hour stay at the mall.
To complete this particular exercise, collect all of your answers in one neat package and offer them to a bus driver on a mall run.
Scene D: A psychiatrist talks about the "Borderline Personality Disorder" and his feelings of distaste for such people who are defined as often quite clever, and very manipulative.
What psychological acrobatics does the psychiatrist have to use in order to separate his own "hidden" agenda of domination, manipulative ploys and head games from those of the people he describes and dislikes, and whom he labels for the same traits?
Scene E: A man who hangs around the town square all day telling stories about a person defined as a psychiatric patient also seems oblivious to her presence while he mocks and acts out.
What psychological tricks is he using on himself which allow him to feel "hidden" and what is his motivation for behaving the way he is?
(Hint: His behavior is typically observed by a small audience)
A woman cleans a bathtub for another by using a commercial cleanser.
Think of two reasons why that is the right thing to do.
Think of two things why that is the wrong thing to do.
Discuss the means of resolution for the opposing results.
Scene G: A woman who is being gossiped about by a large group of people on a daily basis walks through a downtown mall every day. The people who work there ask each other why she does that. And then they share the answers they fantasize with all the other mall employees.
Why do the people doing the gossiping deny they are gossiping, why do they fantasize the woman's reasons for being there, and why don't they notice they are treating a person like an object of assessment and/or entertainment?
How do they manage to continue the same behavior, even though they already know the woman knows what they do, which they still deny they do even while they continue to do it?
A girl working for a health care agency daily visits a client who is at risk , for the purpose of providing an observing spot check in order to monitor the client's ongoing condition. The visit is short and as the patient remains well, the time may be used for a small variety of purposes, with no set rule, once the primary purpose of the visit has been attended to. One of the possible uses for example, is to go out for a brief walk.
The spot checker asks the client, weather permitting, if he would like to go, even coaxing a bit, and is, as often as not, turned down by the man who says he needs to rest. That is not really a problem as long as the primary reason for the visit is maintained.
The man then "secretly" complains to others that he and his spot checker are just sitting and talking and not getting in their walk. The people he complains to then suggest to him that his spot checker is "trying to get away with'' something by not going for a walk." The client responds, "you've got that right!"
Name four possible reasons and motivations for the client's duplicitous behavior.
Explain the possible benefits to the others to whom the client is complaining who are involving themselves covertly in the client's version of reality.
How much of society's relating in this way do you think may be born out of unresolved relationship problems between aggressor and victims; the powerful and the powerless?
I: Essay Questions:
Discuss the similarities between Stockholm Syndrome, abused children, domestic violence and psychiatric labeling and reductionism.
Is it possible to say that group pressure, manipulations and concrete power are either good, or bad, as an abstraction, without creating a "them and us" mentality by doing so?
Are such tactics ever "good"? If you answer either yes or no to this question, explain and defend your position.
Explain the premise of reasoning upon which your answer is based.
What would the statement, "it is about communication" mean to you?
If I "think" I understand something that psychiatrists don't, do you believe that I am:
a. Grandiose and seeking fame?
c. Don't know
d. Refuse to respond to the question.
When all these exercises are completed, bring all of your answers together to one room, for a meeting of minds, where you will sit in a circle of equals and, one question at a time, give each person the opportunity to read his or her answers to the whole group without any interruption, argument or comment, until the whole group has completed the process.
Once complete, discuss the results and the reasons for them, aimed at identifying a common denominator. Notice the connection despite the differences in details. Offer Prof. Apollo the results as a new idea for consideration.