did a poor man ever find the time to be mad?" --from Man of
evil acts can easily result from good thoughts,
and obsession easily transmutes into evil.
& psychiatrists have always tended toward the study & treatment of
pathology, with the ironic result that little attention is given to defining
good mental health practices.
the revolution, however, leaders exhorted the masses, as individuals and in
small groups, to practice "good thought habits." The idea was
that a happy man will become a productive worker, a good citizen and a
enriching benefit to everyone around him. However pragmatic in
practice, Bergonian psych practice pushes towards an ideal. Even in
public schools the students are urged to follow a simple list of good
practices. In Bergonian custom, these become expressed in a string
attention to your own thoughts and feelings. Examine yourself.
Pray to God
at least once in the morning and once in
the evening. Pray faithfully. "Words are
strong," the priests have always said, "Bind yourself to the Gods with strong ropes of prayer."
with a little pride. Do not humiliate yourself with loud
displays. It is unseemly to profess your self-pity.
Do not harm others. Have compassion for others. ("Others" includes all
animals, because animals are kindred creatures, also created and loved by God).
Allowing moral imperatives to restrict your own impulsiveness and greed
ultimately ameliorates the impulsiveness and greed.
as a moral imperative, strive to be fair in your dealings with other
Mediate upon the beautiful. Value
beauty. The Gods
touch us through
the world's beauty. "In beauty the Gods dance," said the
Prophet Ierecina. Take time to do so;
noticing and delighting in the beautiful gets one outside one's
reflects the proactive view that "getting good requires doing
good," that a person can improve his lot, including his own mental
health, by consciously avoiding any harm or disturbance to anyone else's
mental health. This describes the individual's part-- taken
together, the community consists of people working consciously to improve
life in the community. Quite obviously, when the community improves,
the lives, and hence the mental health of the community's members also
attitude continues the ancient warrior's concern with focus, and the Miradi
concern with focus, meditation and consciousness. It parallels what the Buddhists call
"mindfulness." It also picks up the practical sense of "taking
care," taking very great conscious care about one's actions, like
careful stepping across the ice, so as to avoid mistakes and harm to others.
bold actions of greedy and willful men inevitably unleash chains of cause and effect
resulting in harm to the natural order and to its creatures-- animal and
human. Smart people want to avoid this. Instead, doing
good creates a beneficent effect, largely a calming and nourishing effect on others,
so that people improved and prospered. This reduplicating effect of one's actions-- evil
resulting from evil and good resulting from good-- projects the contents of
our hearts and minds into the lives of others. Likewise, we are inspired to good or evil
from the other people in our lives.
OF THE MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONS
In the US there is
a weird, dysfunctional divide between "psychiatry," which is a
branch of medicine, and "psychology," a separate profession, which
is in turn weirdly allied with "counselors" and "social
workers," all of whom do the same things, but each of which has its own
degree program and bullshit. Psychiatrists once had couches in their offices and
provided psychotherapy, but today's psychiatrists see patients in
five-minute "med checks" and endorse prescriptions that most of
the time a psychologist or some other subordinate practitioner decide
In the US the vast
majority of psychologists are masters level only, and the small proportion
of Ph.D. psychologists dominate the profession and often employ the masters
level commoners to do the grunt work. In Bergonia all psychologists go
through three years of solid study (plus some practicum)-- the length of law
school in the US-- followed by a year of internship.
In Bergonia there
are very few 'psychiatrists," e.g. physicians engaged in mental health
practice. Those that do exist are neo-Freudian couch therapists.
Generally the single occupation responsible for
medication and therapy is called psychologists.
In Bergonia the
practice of psychology was always less a province of the medical profession.
Instead the "psychologists" --practitioners who developed separate
from the medical profession-- became the stronger. The Bergonian
Freudians were looked down upon by European Freudians because so few of them
were physicians, and so it became easier for the Bergonian theorists to go
their own way.
Early on Bergonian
psychology became a rigorous profession on its own, ostensibly committed to scientific
method in experimentation and validation, linked to medical science, but
also open to the intuitive truths of religion, philosophy and art.
This profession has included talk therapy, psychometrics and testing, and
the prescription of certain classes of drugs.
The profession of
psychiatry thus withered in the face of the growth of psychology, and became
compressed into the school of neurology.
One may become a
practicing psychologist if he (a) completes a four-year college degree, and
then a two year professional course of study, (b) completes a two year
supervised apprenticeship, (c) passes some damned examination. The courses of
study, both the four-year course and the professional course, includes:
method & proof
& organizational psych.
INFLUENCE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Neither Freud nor
his disciples and progeny seemed to have been much aware of the work of
anthropologists, nor have behaviorist psychologists. But many
Bergonian psychologists, as early as the 1920s, became intrigued by some of
the insights produced by anthropologists, and have developed a great
interest in cross-cultural psychology.
primer to types of
The major insight
was how much human thought and emotion is preordained by cultural norms, how
each culture has its own unique attributes, and how the heterogeneity of
cultures tend to demonstrate the absence of absolute values. Thus,
Bergonian psychologists were very reluctant to accept all the Freudian
assumptions about instincts and subconscious drives. Instead they
found that a lot of what Freudians & Neo-Freudians assumed were
immutable aspects of human nature, and imbedded in the Id, were in fact
dictated by the culture.
HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE GO NUTS IN BERGONIA
In everyday practice, most people in
distress usually go to their family physician at the neighborhood or
town clinic, or in his private practice. The majority of psychotropic drugs are prescribed by family physicians in the neighborhood
clinics, since they provide the majority of primary care. It
has been said that family physicians are the psychiatrists in
People usually approach their
physician when they are in real, painful distress-- panic attacks,
acute anxiety, a depressive episode, the so-called "nervous
breakdown" -- and they deserve immediate relief. It is
common sense that clinical therapy can proceed more easily when the
patient's immediate distress is alleviated, at least a little.
So first the meds.
However, once the family physician
prescribes the psychotropic, he will often refer the patient to a
psychologist who will monitor the medication and devise a
comprehensive treatment plan. The psychologist can then change
or add medications, providing that he notifies the referring
physician. Likewise the referring physician must make it a
point to keep the psychologist notified of medical treatment.
The pharmaceutical revolution has
transformed mental health practice around the globe, but Bergonians
practitioners staunchly believe that talk therapy-- engaging the
client consciously in his own cure-- is crucial to any lasting
improvement. So they practice the strategy of "meds plus
talk." This strategy requires the National Health Funds
to indulge talk therapy more than any managed care plans does in the
The neighborhood or town clinic is
often the site of mental health practitioners, or of therapeutic
groups such as AA and NA.
MIRADI WORLDVIEW; THE BACKDROP FOR ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT PSYCHOLOGY
is afflicted with a defect of ego, and thus is permeated
with false pride and selfishness. Humankind resists the
reality of the body and the physical universe, including the fact of
death. Thus there is suffering, delusion, false heroism, and
fear. This blinds humankind to the divine that underlies and
animates all the physical universe. The process of spiritual
& psychological "purification" disarms suffering,
dispels delusion, and opens the doors to eternal life. An
unpurified spirit gets too attached to the body, becomes weak and
vulnerable, and suffers the body's death. A purified spirit
becomes strong and capable of surviving physical death and moving on
to the afterlife.
In the last thirty years, cognitive therapy has become the
dominant therapeutic tool.
Cognitive psychologists stress the
content and habits of thought, including the particulars of inappropriate
assumptions that real world facts refute.
The therapist's job is to pierce the false
rationalizations that buttress the maladaption, e.g. the "rational
cognitive therapies" of of Americans like Aaron Beck and Albert
Ellis. Even though Albert Ellis was more of a therapist than a theorist, his interpretation of cognitive theory has gained a great deal of notability over the past twenty plus years.
On the surface, his model is quite simple and often described as the A-B-C process.
Ellis believes that everyday we experience "Activating Events" (A)
that prompt us to ponder, interpret, or otherwise think about what is occurring. Our interpretation of these events result in specific Beliefs (B) about the event, the world and our role in the event. Once we develop this belief, we experience Emotional Consequences (E) based solely on our belief.
The basic premise underlying cognitive theory is
that the way we think about ourselves and others, i.e. beliefs, determines our
emotional and behavioral response to specific events. Treatment per this
method would have the therapist pushing the patient to prove-- hence
disproving-- the false beliefs.
Many Cognitivists have applied cognitive theory to treatment, most notably Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis. Beck developed several assessment techniques such as the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) which are both very popular quick assessments of an individual's functioning.
Beck, Ellis & others believe that "cognitions" always precede behavior and emotion, and therefore changing our thoughts will lead to a change in the other two.
Research has provided a good deal of support for this idea, especially concerning depressive disorders, anxiety related disorders, anger, and
interpersonal difficulties. Some research even suggests that cognitive treatment, especially when combined with
some behavioral techniques such as relaxation (often called cognitive-behavioral treatment) provides better and more long-lasting results than medication in the treatment of depression.
Strengths of Cognitive Theory
As discussed, research has provided a lot of knowledge abut how people think and perceive and has consequently provided a lot of support for cognitive theory. Second, perhaps because of these positive findings, cognitive theory has gained in popularity both in the professional and pop psychology arenas.
Weaknesses of Cognitive Theory
Like all theories, the cognitive perspective is not free from criticism. First, behaviorists see this theory as weak due to the abstract nature of thoughts and the difficulty in defining them. What may be seen as self-critical by one researcher may look like a rational remark by another. Second, there is no agreed upon definition or application of the theory. It is seen as fairly new and while it receives a great deal of research, the underlying theory of personality development is weak at best. So while it may have very positive outcomes in treatment, it does not provide a solid understanding of development. For the neo-Freudian, this might mean that cognitive therapy is only a temporary approach and does not address the real reason behind a personality issue.
AND THERAPEUTIC STYLES
personality are taught in Bergonian psych schools, but most applied
therapeutics depend very little on such theories, unlike Freudian
psychoanalysis. Instead there is more of an idea of whatever
produces results is good, regardless of any theoretical
justifications for how it worked.
the origin of pathologies can be very drastic, certainly very
lengthy, and not always very productive. It makes more sense
to help the patient to adapt to and deal with his present
situation. It is admitted that much neurosis actually forms as
a form of adaptation and healing, much as scar tissue or rerouting
of nerves result from physical healing. The question that must
be explicitly addressed with each case is how to reconnect the
patient with his present world.
Another approach arose out of the Bergonian tendency to stress the importance of group
personalities and cultures. This approach gained popularity after the Revolution.
If an individual can have skewed
perspectives and values, so can groups, even entire societies. It is
a rather basic Bergonian idea that society is in many ways a
meta-version of the individual, reflective in the explicit
Shufrantei doctrine that groups and institutions commit large, even
colossal sin that overarch and compel the sinful acts of
individuals. This was a way of analyzing culture, and it predicted
that an indivudla
informs the forms and symptoms of mental ilness.
Thus, in the Shufrantei view, the
sovereign is responsible in part for the sin of his people, just as
in a democratic society the people are responsible for the sins of
their rulers. Societies, no less than individuals, have
personality, maladaptive beliefs and behavior, thus personality
disorders. Societies definitely have moods and mood changes as do
Developmental psychology and psychodynamic theory explain the etiology for adult personality and emotionally disorders. History and socialist theory explains etiology for the "mental disorders" of the entire society.
Some societies are compulsive, some ridden with anxiety, some
dysthymic, some manic, and some paranoid. Capitalist culture arises out of a twisted (or "neurotic") set of values, taking on features analogous to what present-day psychology calls a "personality disorder." The capitalist neurosis is one of greedy acquisitiveness, a form of compulsiveness.
Freudianism has always implied that personality is basically the result of
pathology ("our personalities are molded by our sufferings."), so
it stands to reason that there are prevailing group or class
personalities. Someone like conservative sociologist Jane Jacobs can
describe "guardian" and "trader" personalities, but she
fails to realize that she is merely describing two factions of the upper
class. Psychologists like Erich Fromm and sociologists like Gunner
Mydal have described prevailing personalities in lower class groups like
Mexican peasants and African-American slum-dwellers.