Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby AlexanderS » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:00 pm

People here need to stop confusing psychologists and psychiatrists. Modern psychologists, at least in my country, are far far less dangerous than psychiatrists and they actually make an effort to understand people and the human mind. They might not always be very useful, but they don't throw dangerous drugs at you. Ive met quite a lot of people who have been quite gratefull to have gone through therapy with a skilled psychologist. I know quite a lot of psychology students and they mostly quite kind intelligent people.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby reddust » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:22 pm

AlexanderS wrote:People here need to stop confusing psychologists and psychiatrists. Modern psychologists, at least in my country, are far far less dangerous than psychiatrists and they actually make an effort to understand people and the human mind. They might not always be very useful, but they don't throw dangerous drugs at you. Ive met quite a lot of people who have been quite gratefull to have gone through therapy with a skilled psychologist. I know quite a lot of psychology students and they mostly quite kind intelligent people.


All the psychologist I worked with, around 4 through my time in this area worked with psychiatrists and handed out antidepressants like they were candy. So did my family medical doctor, he gave me bags full of drugs, lots of pain meds for free too, combine that with asthma inhalers and muscle relaxers I was a happy camper, sick but off in la-la land, who cares if I am depressed and sick. My medical doctor was informed about my therapy and didn't give me extra antidepressants at that time, later he did without any problems or questions why I was feeling depressed. My therapist was very kind until my insurance ran out of money, they all were kind and caring but their treatments don't work unless the client wants to get better. If they follow Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which is bogus :broke: the client is screwed unless they want to get better and take the reins themselves.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Jesse » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:26 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Again i really wish one of you could name of of those chronic conditions in the field of general medicine for which therapies exist with a high success rate. I am actually interested to know, since this is one of the things the argument seems to revolve around.

and the funny part is the most effective treatments in psychology are being borrowed and adapted from contemplative methodologies.


This is true, and personally I consider it a good thing. Doesn't that disprove your idea of the industry remaining static though..at least with the "softer" end of things, where these therapies are more likely to be used?


I'm not quite sure why the inability to treat some chronic disorders has to do with the discussion, I don't think it's any more acceptable for doctors to charge people outrageous prices for ineffective treatments for physical ailments, than it is for a psychologist to charge outrageous prices for their ineffective treatments.

I'm not quite sure how it works in other countries, but in the good ol' USA, psychiatry and psychology are almost indistinguishable, because treatment almost ALWAYS consists of seeing both professions. Most practices have both types of doctors, most will schedule you appointments with both, and they work together.

My idea isn't that the field will remain static and needs to be disposed of, or any such thing, my argument is that currently psychology is an ineffective field, which takes advantage of people.

TBH this discussion has probably devolved due to hostility concerning the topic -- so let's be clear what exactly we are arguing.

1. I am not arguing Psychologist's can prescribe medication.
2. I am not arguing the entire field should be scrapped, rather I believe it should be reformed, and believe they should be more honest about it's failings-- because not doing so ends up hurting lots of people.
3. It does seem most of the harm is caused by psychiatry, but even still psychologists use them for the basis for their treatments. for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic ... _Disorders

People here need to stop confusing psychologists and psychiatrists. Modern psychologists, at least in my country, are far far less dangerous than psychiatrists and they actually make an effort to understand people and the human mind. They might not always be very useful, but they don't throw dangerous drugs at you. Ive met quite a lot of people who have been quite gratefull to have gone through therapy with a skilled psychologist. I know quite a lot of psychology students and they mostly quite kind intelligent people.


Then your experiences are quite far removed from mine, and most people I know.
Also --
Ive met quite a lot of people who have been quite gratefull to have gone through therapy with a skilled psychologist.


They must have had quite a bit of money.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Jesse » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:29 pm

reddust wrote: My therapist was very kind until my insurance ran out of money.


That is essentially my experience as well.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:30 pm

I don't know where you are getting the money bit..most treatment for many things is billed at outlandish rates, and much of that is on the insurance industry.

If you are lucky enough to have good insurance, like anything else a good chunk of it is often covered.

Argue efficacy all you want, but I don't see the rates as any more obnoxious or insane than (for instance) the standard rate massage therapy was billed at when I did that for a living, again due to mostly to the insurance industry by my understanding - the inflated cost of much medical care can be squarely laid at their feet.

PS, none of my psychologists were hip to ship you off to someone who could prescribe meds as anything but triage, maybe I was lucky. Then again, I was also unable to do things like basic math for my job without the help of Adderall for a number of years..ultimately i'm glad I got off it, but I can't say the meds were entirely a waste of time - both times i've taken them in my life they served as needed triage, and when I was ready to go off, no objection whatsoever.

The only people I have a different experience with regarding prescriptions meds are general practice MD's.

I feel for you guys experiences, I did ultimately decide medications were no panacea, but I don't think they useless either, though I think the industry is pretty gross. My therapists were also awesome people, one of whom i've kept in contact with a bit. I didn't see any of the kind of behavior you guys are talking about, mostly what I saw was people doing their best to help their patients in the midst of the usual hassles and dysfunction of the medical system in general.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Jesse » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:33 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I don't know where you are getting the money bit..most treatment for many things is billed at outlandish rates, and much of that is on the insurance industry.

If you are lucky enough to have good insurance, like anything else a good chunk of it is often covered.

Argue efficacy all you want, but I don't see the rates as any more obnoxious or insane than (for instance) the standard rate massage therapy was billed at when I did that for a living, again due to mostly to the insurance industry by my understanding.



The standard rate is about 300-500$ for the initial appointment, diagnosis etc, than around 80-150$ an hour afterwards. I find that obnoxious.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:39 pm

Jesse wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:I don't know where you are getting the money bit..most treatment for many things is billed at outlandish rates, and much of that is on the insurance industry.

If you are lucky enough to have good insurance, like anything else a good chunk of it is often covered.

Argue efficacy all you want, but I don't see the rates as any more obnoxious or insane than (for instance) the standard rate massage therapy was billed at when I did that for a living, again due to mostly to the insurance industry by my understanding.



The standard rate is about 300-500$ for the initial appointment, diagnosis etc, than around 80-150$ an hour afterwards. I find that obnoxious.


The standard billable rate for massge therapy was something like $130 and hour IIRC. I have no idea why you find that rate weird, other than your problems with efficacy, it does not differ much from the inflated rates found for any kind of medical care - including even the Chiropractic offices I worked in. Again that seems (very obviously) linked to the insurance companies, and how they've operated historically.. and not individual providers.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Nemo » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:48 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:As an example, maybe one of you can name a chronic (rather than acute) physical condition that you feel stands out as a model of success in medicine where the majority of cases end in 'cure" or at least the kind of non-retrogressive help that you think psychology, psychotherapy etc. should result in.

Insulin dependent diabetes. Androgen deficiency. Growth hormone deficiency. Hip and knee replacement surgery. Some fertility treatments. Cataract surgery. Thyroid cancer management with surgery and L-Thyroxine supplementation.

Are these the conditions you mean? Or more something like antibiotics or vaccines?
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:38 am

Hah, i'd hoped you wouldn't answer..I knew diabetes would be #1, my mom is type 1.


It's seems like better comparison to mental health treatment is something like chronic pain management, where figuring out what "good" results are is akin to figuring out "good" outcomes in mental health. It seems like traditional medicine is about as successful at chronic (as opposed to acute, where it's fantastic) pain management as the mental health industry is with people's minds.

No coincidence there..but I do think that it may show there are areas of conventional medicine suffering from the exact standstill you are saying exists in mental health.

Also until the recent surgeries, anecdotally I have not been impressed by people's experiences with hip and knee surgeries, personally..but maybe it was the line of work I was in.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:53 am

I am a licensed psychotherapist. While I am disheartened and in disagreement with most therapeutic approaches, I try to take a little from here and there so I have skillfull means to deal with a wide variety of patients. I specialize in trauma and find the most effective techniques are training people to breathe correctly, diet, sleep, but most importantly offering a present and compassionate awareness.

I don't make much money at all, but I consider the work I am able to do as an honor.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:59 am

Sherab Rigdrol wrote:I am a licensed psychotherapist. While I am disheartened and in disagreement with most therapeutic approaches, I try to take a little from here and there so I have skillfull means to deal with a wide variety of patients. I specialize in trauma and find the most effective techniques are training people to breathe correctly, diet, sleep, but most importantly offering a present and compassionate awareness.

I don't make much money at all, but I consider the work I am able to do as an honor.



I'm planning on going into Chemical Dependency work, I am expecting to be disheartened somewhat by the landscape, but I also agree that having the opportunity to even work with people in that way is, like you say, an honor.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:35 am

Bodhicitta..

When you take out attachment to success/failure, the work just becomes helping others as all bodhisattvas should.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Lindama » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:49 am

Sherab Rigdrol wrote:I am a licensed psychotherapist. While I am disheartened and in disagreement with most therapeutic approaches, I try to take a little from here and there so I have skillfull means to deal with a wide variety of patients. I specialize in trauma and find the most effective techniques are training people to breathe correctly, diet, sleep, but most importantly offering a present and compassionate awareness.

I don't make much money at all, but I consider the work I am able to do as an honor.


:namaste: It is so needed.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:04 am

Sherab Rigdrol wrote:I am a licensed psychotherapist. While I am disheartened and in disagreement with most therapeutic approaches, I try to take a little from here and there so I have skillfull means to deal with a wide variety of patients. I specialize in trauma and find the most effective techniques are training people to breathe correctly, diet, sleep, but most importantly offering a present and compassionate awareness.

I don't make much money at all, but I consider the work I am able to do as an honor.

I intended to make no more contributions to this thread, but just wanted to add that Clinical Psychologists this side of the pond are certainly not in it for the money. They work in the main for the British National Health Service and are paid a decent but modest basic salary. All interventions and assessments are free at the point of delivery.
They have their own Buddhist Society incidentally.
I am paid a fixed salary as a General Practitioner. I trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in my own time because I could see its effectiveness with a range of conditions. I do this in addition to my normal job and I receive no extra payment for it.
Just lots of job satisfaction.
I realise that for anyone living in a country without a universal health care care scheme it must be very difficult to appreciate the huge difference it makes to the whole client/patient/doctor dynamic.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby wisdom » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:41 am

I think if someone wants to change, they will. So maybe this just means that at any given time only a third of people who are seeking help for a problem actually wants to fix the problem. At the same time I think that maybe many therapists and psychologists, astrologers and whoever else is just not skilled at teaching lessons and helping people to see whats happening in their mind. So of the third who are successful, some of them are sure to be placebo effect and some are legitimate fixes.

At the same time its all placebo due to dependent origination. Whatever works, works. Thats just the pragmatic nature of things. If it takes someone doing crazy things with your scalp or whatever other crazy therapy technique they think of to make you think you are cured and so actually cause a cure for some malady to occur, thats no different than having some structured and well thought out life plan that is then executed and leads to the same result. In fact it might be more expedient due to how odd and extreme some of the therapies have been throughout time.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Nemo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:24 am

Simon does make a good point. I am angry and ready to throw out the entire profession. Seen a few close friends trust the medical system and come out destroyed individuals. Half of my medical training involved preventing injuries by winning the fire fight so I can be quite ruthless when a friend has been wronged. I will attempt to be a bit more lucid about what I have seen and why I think the profession is plagued by amorality and pseudoscience. I am not saying that it is useless. Only that it is so flawed an uninformed individual could easily be harmed.

The most emotionally charged issue for me is dealing with people with mild TBI's that result in neuroendocrine disorders.(many thousands of soldiers since the war began) An mTBI with NED has many symptoms in common with depression and PTSD. I have seen a number of cases put into psychiatric care. If they receive SSRI's their condition worsens greatly. The condition is easily treated with almost 100% recovery by supplemental hormones. It can be diagnosed by simple blood tests that have been around for decades. But if no one looks for an organic cause the self licking ice cream of treatment begins. Psychologists have very little formal medical training and often do not even know about medical conditions that have overlapping symptoms. Once they make a diagnosis it is very hard to get proper treatment. Combine this with the difficult experience of readjusting to civilized society after being paid to kill enemies of the state and it can be a real mess. JAMA is slowly waking up to the issue. JAMA Psychiatry(Jan 15) just statistically correlated mTBI's to suicides and assaults and early death.

One of my main problems with the field of psychiatry is the lack of diagnostic tests. For centuries they have been claiming causes for mental illness. The last pediatrics textbook to claim masturbation caused mental illness was 1936. The current mania for serotonin and MRI's coloured in after the fact has not led to a single diagnostic test for mental illness. If you can't produce a test in over 60 years you cannot still claim to understand the cause. You are likely making the same mistakes the field has always made and refusing to face the truth. Most of the modern psychiatric drugs were not tested against placebo in double blind trials. To the best of my knowledge since double blind was made the standard not a single new drug has been introduced.

In the longer view the field has been plagued by bizarre popular delusions since it's inception. I do not think these delusions are simple scientific mistakes. The real motivations are mixed and often justify the need for control over others by political factions and family members while enhancing the professional prestige of the practitioner. Drapetomania was the mental illness that caused slaves to run away. Homosexuality, masturbation, etc.

In the 20th century it has proven itself to be amoral and very prone to abuse. i.e., The psychiatrists currently torturing prisoners in Guantanamo and writing textbooks on how to break down the psyche. The MKUltra experiments in Quebec. The political psychiatry in China, USSR and Cuba and to some extent even here. Germany psychiatrists in the 1940's sterilizing 300,000 and killing another 100,000. With this track record the profession does not deserve to have control over the human mind. Without a major ethical framework being added to the field it could easily be more of a danger to society than a benefit.

There are great healers in every medical profession. Are there enough good practitioners to make up for the mediocre and unethical ones?(Real question, I have no idea.)
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:31 am

Most of the best Psychiatrists ( at least the ones over here ) are acutely aware of the fact that their profession is in its infancy and comparable to medieval surgery Nemo.
Some of the older ones have sunk into indifference as a kind of defense mechanism..but many of them are trying really hard to advance their practice beyond the dispensation of pills.
In the UK, ECT is increasingly rare. Lobotomies are outlawed and have not been done for the best part of a century.
Clinical psychology is even younger.
Clinical Psychologists did not stand around and do nothing while lobotomies were performed as Jess suggested, because as a profession they did not exist then. There are increasingly sophisiticated interventions coming on line...One of the few positive things to come out of war is an increase born of necessity in treatment options.
Ironically for example the lessons learned by surgeons in the treatment of gun shot wounds in Northern Ireland have been exported all over the world.
The same is happening with the treatment of PTS. but it is slow, much too slow, and hampered considerably in countries with Universal Health Care...that is a fact.
There are real efforts being made to respond to the soldiers returning from Helmand
It is not enough. The suicide rate is still appalling, but truly, solutions are being sought.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:35 am

That should of course read "WITHOUT universal healthcare..." :oops:

I have examined myself for signs of a Freudian Slip, but is was just a typo.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Nemo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:16 pm

I downloaded some of the textbooks and manuals for treating PTS and OSI. I got the impression that vets were thought of as dangerous sociopaths that needed to be medicated to protect the public. The subtext in some was public safety to trumps patient health. This feels very political and medically unethical. I would not reccomend the OSI clinic personally as they may not have your best interest as their primary motivation. Practitioners don't understand that civilization is a thin veneer and once removed ones world view cannot return to that shared illusion. Vets lack socially imposed restraints and rely on personal moral restraint. If you combine that with a moral injury from an unjust war treatment cannot follow a standard regimen.

The standard sleep hygiene , diet and exercise are very helpful. Rejecting social isolation and self medicating are also very important. I have heard some praise for CBT among vets. My understanding is that CBT believes thoughts lead emotions. My meditation experience teaches me that emotions also lead thoughts. Does CBT have room for both? I am wondering if shamatha would be superior. If properly taught it has few cues and little placebo effect while giving direct experience of how ones mind works. Buddhism can also cure ones moral injuries. It is also pay what you want. It seems superior on almost all levels.
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Re: Is Psychotherapy Better Than Astrology?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:47 pm

CBT as I was taught does not assume that thoughts and emotions are separable, but that it is important to teach awareness of both as they arise in the present.
Often emotions which are free floating are crystalised into cognitions . Conversely thoughts carry an emotional load. Often its about bringing the attention back to repetitive thoughts and emotions and creating space around them so they they can be seen as skillful or unskillful. The client then has a choice rather than running on automatic.
Of course that is a gross simplification.
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