Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby lobster » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:51 am

Very interesting thread guys.
For me Buddhism can be empowering across the whole range of mind and circumstance. The hope and experience is that practice works to improve our situation. Can a secular Buddhism offer a means of mental health and improvement? It can. Do some of the, for want of a better word, 'crazy' practices, often exasperate delusionary tendencies? What practical means of empowerment, personal change and effective self management is helpful?
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Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby catmoon » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:52 am

Thrasymachus wrote:Overall the medical profession does mostly net harm in anything outside of emergency care(IE. If I saw off my finger, they are excellent at sewing it back) and their purpose is to adjust people to capitalist growth and progress. You don't see doctors out there at the front line presenting medical protests against pollution from the new factory opening near a residential area, opposing new highways which will cause lung problems from all the increased particulate matter in the air, opposing the increasing work hours most people are undertaking which always takes a bodily and psychic toll, opposing nuclear plants, or doing anything in general to promote health in a preventative matter. Actually there are a few exceptions which I could name, but they are too few. What they do instead is damage control for the God of Growth on the tail end by dis-empowering people from taking steps to prevent health problems before they arise, emphasizing an approach laden with invasive testing, pharmacology and surgery.

Like I said before professionals get their power by dis-empowering others. At the other side of the argument medical professionals have utter contempt for those who did not undergo their same university certification and who do not enjoy their legal monopoly regulated by the judiciary and police apparatus. What I am saying against them is nothing compared to what they do in practice. It is clear to me what their social function is in this society and whose side they are not on.

That's a very fine rant, but there's really nothing more to it than that. I have had extended contact with numerous medical professionals not one of whom was trying to adjust me to capitalism, and I'm positive they would laugh themselves purple at such a ridiculous accusation.

You don't see them on the front line? Hah. The problem isn't that they are not there, you just can't see them because YOU are not there and they ARE. Consider the following:

Emergency is an organization that specializes in emergency treatment of landmine injuries.
Christian Blind Mission Int'l always has teams in the field curing blindness across the third world, including airborne surgical clinics

On the nuclear front, where you claim they are doing nothing, there is:

IPPNW: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, with a membership of tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, and other health workers, operating in 62 countries
Physicians for Global Survival had advocated a complete moratorium on uranium mining and has produced videos in cooperation with Soka Gakkai Int'l

Of course one hardly need mention Dr Helen Caldicott who almost single handedly created the medical-anti-nuclear movement and published books on the subjects including
Nuclear Madness (1979)
Missile Envy (1984)
If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth (1992 and 2009)
A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography (1996)

Simple fact is, the medical community is doing more to ease suffering, fight nuclear weapons, and shut down uranium mining than any religious organzation, more than any government, and more than just about any group you can think of. And they are doing all this for each and every one of us, mostly unpaid, and the are not even getting upset at the catcalls from the fringe loons.

I could go on and on like this. Every time you search on a new combination of words new medical NGOs pop up. I haven't even mentioned the Nobel Prizes that have been awarded to these organizations, or Doctors Without Borders, which is enormous or...... ach I give up.

A person simply cannot be more wrong than you are, cannot ignore more facts than you have, or unjustly condemn better people more harshly than you have.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby SittingSilent » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:49 pm

What most of this comes down to is that most of the postings here against mental health treatment in the form of psychology and psychiatry, etc. are simply opinions unsupported by empirical evidence. I would sincerely hope that those members of the forums who do utilize and/or would need to utilize mental health services would not stumble across this thread and experience the utter contempt of their fellow members for them and their care providers for their inability to cure themselves.

Oh, and most if not all life insurance policies in the US specifically exclude payment should the covered person commit suicide.
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Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby greentara » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:30 am

Catmoon, Does the Christian blind mission proselityse in third world countries? Just curious.
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Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby seeker242 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:17 pm

I have several friends who are practicing psychologists. They have helped plenty of people. I've seen many people cured of their mental illness. Their job is to help people. Helping people is an admirable job. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby catmoon » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:44 am

greentara wrote:Catmoon, Does the Christian blind mission proselityse in third world countries? Just curious.

I don't think so. They do operate on a formalized set of Christian principles and those principles do mention Jesus, but I see no mention of proselytization on their site. So if it's going on, it's incidental and unofficial, as far as I can make out. I mean really, last year they helped out 36 million people one way or another, most of them desperately poor and/or disabled. You don't need to proselytize if you do stuff like that!
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Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby Thrasymachus » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:48 am

That is funny that of all the people who would write: "opinions unsupported by empirical evidence" for the detractors of the mental health criminals, it would be SittingSilent. I noticed another post of yours where you stated you went to a mental hospital and received electro-shock treatment. Since you purport to love empirical evidence:
Dr. Peter Breggin wrote:Electroshock: scientific, ethical, and political issues(PDF)

Abstract. Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) is increasingly used in North America and there are attempts to promote its further use world-wide. However, most controlled studies of efficacy in depression indicate that the treatment is no better than placebo with no positive effect on the rate of suicide. ECT is closed-head electrical injury, typically producing a delirium with global mental dysfunction (an acute organic brain syndrome). Significant irreversible effects from ECT are demonstrated by many studies, including: (1) Inventories of autobio-graphic and current events memories before and after ECT; (2) Retrospective subjective observations on memory; (3) Autopsy studies of animals and some of humans. ECT causes severe and irreversible brain neuropathology, including cell death. It can wipe out vast amounts of retrograde memory while producing permanent cognitive dysfunction.
Contemporary ECT is more dangerous since the current doses are larger than those employed in earlier clinical and research studies. Elderly women, an especially vulnerable group, are becoming the most common target of ECT. Because of the lopsided risk/benefit ratio, because it is fundamentally traumatic in nature, because so many of the patients are vulnerable and unable to protect themselves, and because advocates of ECT fail to provide informed consent to patients – ECT should be banned.


10.2. The personal cost to survivors
It is impossible to find words that are sufficient to communicate the tragic personal cost to many of the patients who undergo ECT. In my own experience, spanning more than thirty years, I have encountered dozens of individuals whose lives have been wrecked by the effects of ECT on their mental function (described, for example, in [32,39,45]). Many have been left with such devastating retrograde amnesia that they can no longer function as professional persons or homemakers. Years of professional training and other key aspects of their lives have been obliterated. Even portions of their past that they can remember may seem remote and alien as if they are watching a movie rather than recalling their own lives. Often they have been impaired in their ongoing ability to focus or pay attention, to concentrate, to make sense out of complex situations, to remember names and places, to learn anything new, to find their way around, and to read and think effectively. Frequently they have become irritable and easily frustrated, emotionally unstable, and shallow in their ability to feel. Often they feel depressed and even suicidal over the loss of their mental function. In short, they have shown all the typical signs of closed-head injury, including frontal and temporal lobe dysfunction. Often their families have been irreparably damaged by their inability to function as wage earners, husbands or wives, mothers or fathers. A treatment that can cause such devastation, while producing such limited and questionable results, has no place in the practice of medicine.

So you defend people who give you and other medical victims, brain damage, which is what people outside of hermetic medical journals call closed head injuries. It is known from research that this is what that treatment does, yet they still do it. Most people go into professional jobs to get a large salary, psychiatrists make a $170,000+ median wage in my country, and perceived social prestige. It has little to do with the social myth of helping anybody and as Jeff Schmidt showed in his book, to get a Phd, even if you are idealistic at the outset, if you remain so, you will flunk out. What takes instead is a despicable level of obedience to the established order and a pathological willingness to sacrifice oneself and others to the system. There is no shortage of people that will mess up others for that kind of money and the social power to dictate to others from privileged authority backed by the courts, and police if need be. I myself have been in a youth mental hospital, totally against my will.
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Re: Buddhism, Psychiatry, and Psychology

Postby Sara H » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:58 pm

I think Catmoon is defending doctors who help blind people.

I think that's quite a bit different than endorsing the behavior of people who practice Junk science, and quackery like ECT and Electro Shock Therapy.

Most people have benefited from antibiotics, and many lives have been saved and people helped by the advances in surgery.
I think this topic is straying into discussion of the western medical field in general, which, if I may point out is outside the general scope of this topic?

It also destracts from valid points being made about the actual harm that psychology and psychiatry does. Which does not necessarily apply to western medicine as a whole.

Perhaps we could steer this back to the subject of the OP, which is Buddhism, Psychiatry and Psychology?

I realize that this topic steered into western medicine by way of Psychiatry, but perhaps we could limit conversations of western medicine as to how they apply to psychiatry, rather than to western Medicine in general?

Just a thought.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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