Monday, December 27, 2021

Psychotherapeutic Humanities - The play, Equus, by Peter Shaffer

Equus is a Tony Award winning play by Peter Shaffer about a seventeen year old male, Peter Strang,  who blinds six horses with a metal spike and is committed to a mental hospital in which his psychiatrist, Dr. Martin Dysart, attempts to understand the motivation and meaning of Peter’s  behavior. This play is considered by some a classic and has been studied in various college courses.

The intended audience is adults with an interest in psychodynamics and the impact of  religiosity on behavior. 

The creative tension builds as the psychiatrist, in the course of his psychotherapeutic work, must work through the difficulties in his own life.

There might be many lessons derived from the story. The main one seems to be that repressive upbringing in the 50s led to repressed sexual energy which was acted out in destructive ways. This seems to be a lesson which in subsequent decades has been learned as patriarchal structures have been deconstructed as feminist values have manfiested more prevalently in society.

The story seems a bit outdated since the play was first produced in 1973. In the last fifty years the values and attitudes about sexual expression have radically changed. The main utility of studying the play at this time might be to increase the understanding of the management of sexual impulses in previous decades influenced by the cultural conditioning of the time.

The play is recommended to those interested in the dynamics of sexual repression in previous decades in western societies especially of England and the United States.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Best way to "read": paper book, eBook, audiobook?


What's the best way to "read" a book: paper book, e book, audiobook? 

Here's a great video which in about 10 minutes gives you the advantages and disadvantages of each format depending on your purpose for reading.

Click here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Let's make America well again. MAWA

There is a great deal of frustration, sadness, and fear in the United States over the rise of infection rates of the Omicron and other Covid variants. 

There are many factors which give rise to these increasingly high infection rates. One of those factors is individual choice over protective measures to limit infection. The further question might be what are the factors that influence these individual choices? A large factor is social norms and attitudes. Another is regulatory enforcement.

Social norms and attitudes have been politicized in the United States by those who seek the advantage of accumulated power by obtaining votes for their election to office. This creates a symbiotic tie between the representative elected and the people who want to be told what they want to hear, not the truth. This symbiotic relationship is well known in the field of mental health as the folie au deux. A folie au deux is a relationship based on a commonly held delusional belief. A folie au deux is considered to be a mental disorder requiring psychiatric treatment.

It is time to think outside the box. Anger and further polarization will get us nowhere. We mental health professionals  supposedly know how to manage neurotic and psychotic symptoms as they manifest in individuals and groups.

I learned several decades ago, early in my psychiatric social work career in two state hospitals, that you not only cannot argue a delusional patient out of their delusion, but that it only exacerbates the delusional symptoms and is counter productive. What is helpful is to reframe the topic in a larger frame of reference. There are many possibilities for a reframe such as an "opportunity to help one's family and neighbors."

How about a meme like "Good neighbors get vaccinated so they don't pass the virus along."? and "Let's make America well again." MAWA.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Watch what happens in red counties and states with the Omicron variant.


“It is possible to ignore reality, but it is not possible to ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”  (Attributed to Ayn Rand)

Editor's note: One of the definitions of mental health is being in touch with reality.

I was a polio vaccination pioneer.

I will turn 76 on my birthday on 12/25. I was born in 1945. I was a polio pioneer when I got my vaccination at age 9. Several of my playmates got polio. I remember my mother being afraid that I and my younger siblings would get it too. We were very grateful for the polio vaccination.

Fast forward to the 2,000s when I was in Rotary International whose main community project was to provide the polio vaccine world wide to eradicate polio from the planet just as we, humans, have done with Small Pox.

Back in the 50s almost all children got measles, chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough and other diseases which nowdays are rarely heard of because of vaccinations.

When you consider the degree of pain, suffering, and death that vaccinations have prevented, it is a major human accomplishment in the improvement of personal and public health. The anti vaxers don't seem to understand how good we, as humans, have got it.


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Egocentric thinking of a two year old manifested in adults


Good news - High school cheerleaders for the arts.

What a great idea to have cheerleaders for the arts. Students formed a group of cheerleaders for the arts at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah.

Supposing this became a thing, and there were cheerleaders for the arts at every high school where there were cheerleaders for sports?

Check it out by clicking here.