Wednesday, February 17, 2010

People Do Not Trust Psychologists

I have been a Professional Counselor for a long time. I have seen thousands of individuals and many more couples. I think that the reason so many people have sought me out for help is because I am a Christian who is speaking, teaching and meeting with people in settings other than the official office of a therapist. This leads them to decide whether they can trust me and my counsel before they ever see me "officially".

But a lot of people do not trust Psychologists, Counselors and Psychiatrists and I think I know why. The official manual of Professional Therapy is called, The DSM-4. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition.) This manual lays out the things that a committee of Psychiatrists think we should decide if a person is "Mentally Ill". There are a lot of problems with this manual.

1. Not every therapist thinks there is even such a thing as "mental illness".
2. Many of the diagnostic categories that were once considered mental illnesses have been removed for the manual because of political reasons that have nothing to do with research or psychology. (Homosexuality for example.)
3. Some of the categories are highly suspect by Professionals and lay persons alike.

In the new proposed DSM-5 revised manual, the committee has proposed a new category for children. The old category was "Bi-Polar Disorder" and the answer was strong medication. The new category is called, "Temper Dis-regulation" and the answer is still, strong medication.

Anyone even slightly familiar with kids know that many of them fail to "regulate" their anger/temper. But do we think that is a Mental Illness that requires a life long tag on their permanent record along with medication?

And, have the therapists doing this diagnosis ever interview the parents? They might, in fact, have some "Temper Dis-regulation" themselves and thus teach their children well.

Most traditional, non family centered Psychiatrists do NOT, in fact, diagnose the child and talk to the parents. In Psychiatric circles such meetings are considered to be "unethical".

I have founded several Peer and Professional Counseling Centers. In every one we always take the parents' ideas and experiences into account. By including such Mickey Mouse diagnostic categories in the new "Bible" of the field they are driving the public farther and farther away from trusting us.

One final thought. This trend for highly educated professionals to treat people with such theoretical surety and realistic ignorance signals a troubling trend in American life. Americans have always boasted of leaders whose ability to succeed was based largely on the fact that the leaders were common people who worked closely with the citizens. That is changing and many leaders today have almost no practical experience with the fields in which they work.

Heads of banks are egg heads with Masters and Doctorates and no personal experience in banking, loans or borrowers. No wonder the big banks failed. They are excellent in theory but ignorant of practice.

Read the book, The Puritan Gift for a full explanation of this trend.

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