Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, hand in hand.

"Abandon yourself all ye who enter here!"

This is what you do when you give yourself into the hands of psychotherapy. It reminds me of an abdication: you do it voluntarily but there are forces beyond your control that push you into that seat!

Of course, unless you are very unlucky, you don`t put yourself into the "hands", literally, of a psychotherapist! Rather you allow yourself to be formed and moulded by the imagination of your therapist. Yes, I chose that word carefully, so I`ll repeat it: IMAGINATION. The therapist you see doesn`t KNOW what your dreams mean, he doesn`t KNOW what things, even if there are exogenous causes, are making you depressed or anxious, he just decides these things himself based upon whatever training he has received and/or where his own personal psychological makeup leads him. In other words, you`ve got, it`s subjective.

Let me come out of the woodwork and disclose that in the past I have been the victim of a psychotherapist and have thought long and hard about what he did, why he did it and HOW he was able to do this. I have also taken great care not to colour my view solely on my own experiences; I have watched how the pattern is repeated on others.
Of course, I was a victim when I went to him, that helps! You can`t lay onto someone your ideas about them ..unless they are vulnerable in the first place. Of course not. This fits the classic victim model. After years of mental abuse, complete destruction of my self and my self-esteem, I reclaimed my real identity. It is with this experience ..and witnessing the abuse of others, that I have come to an understanding of the truth about psychotherapy.

Look, what does having someone in a weak, vulnerable, dependent state remind you of? Have you got it? Yes, it`s the parent-child relationship. A therapist is always the parent and you are the child. As such he directs and controls and creates you; he attributes your actions, or misattributes them as HE wishes. When he learns things about you, he makes decisions about why you are this way or what you do to cause others to treat you the way they do. But this is what he is meant to do isn`t it? He is sure to be correct isn`t he? Well, no, he is shaping you according to his needs, his ego, HIS psychology. What he decides may have little to do with you at all. And what is more, because you are his dependent child, you absorb and incorporate what he persuades you is really you.

But don`t therapists have supervision? Yes, they do, of course, but you have to bear this in mind: the therapist relays what he thinks is going on with you, to his supervisor. The supervisor gets it second hand, doctored, misattributed, twisted, so his views are based upon what he hears about you from your "parent". Then you have both of them on an ego trip together, upholding each other, giving each other`s position support. The supervisor will see things as changed by the therapist`s subjectivity and his psychological past, then he will change things according to his relationship with the therapist and his own psychological history.You have become something that is not you.Okay, so you follow me so far? The very practice of psychotherapy is a very power-centred adult activity in which most professionals, unconsciously, collude.

At its most abusive, a therapist will MAKE you, by one method or another, believe that you are what he thinks you are. He will even cause you to fit his view of you. He may even think that he is helping you, making you face your guilt, revealing your past, but actually, he is wanting to fit you into his psychological past. It`s an unconscious need he has. He might twist things, unknowingly, so that you fit the characteristics of his mother, but this time he is in the driving seat. Or you become his father, his father in a place where he can win. There are numerous permutations of the identity you might become in relation to him and there is no way, supervision or not, he will be aware of what he is doing.

The frightening thing about this is that no one in the system will be aware that his "professional" view is subjective, dressed up as it is with "professional" credibility and receiving as it does, gratis, the respect of colleagues.

Like psychiatry, psychotherapy it not at all interested in the real reasons why you are depressed. Isn`t it strange? Neither "professions" are remotely interested in research that might show depression or psychosis to be physical health conditions. They are interested in fitting your depression to a non-testable cause that, coincidentally, either requires psychotherapy or medication. Really the two professions are hand-in-hand, one mopping up the money that the other doesn`t, one controlling and abusing you in one way, the other in a different way. Whenever did you go to a psychiatrist or be referred to a psychotherapist, after a thorough medical? Did anyone find out if your hormones are balanced or that you have a gut dysbiosis that releases toxins into your bloodstream, before you were given medication or before you signed over enormous fees to your therapist? Or course not. The two professions would not do things that would deprive themselves of their livelihood or their credibility.It`s not just about money, either, it`s about their group needs. The belief that people`s brain chemistry is awry, or that their childhood makes them depressed, serves the theories that hold these groups together, creates a constant service of clients and makes sure that society has a hierarchical structure based upon the professional, in a parental role, and his underling, the patient or client.

We all know people who are apparently depressed because of events in their lives, who take up one or other of these self-suppressing "solutions". But have you noticed the flaw in the argument? Many people who have terrible childhoods, don`t end up depressed ! So WHAT really is the common-denominator, then? If it isn`t your brain chemistry, you`ll need psychotherapy? No, I don`t think so, do you? It might be that your gut is making you depressed.... and you can fix that all on your little own without a mental health label or handing over your precious self.

Please join me soooooooooooooooon. I want to talk about why the M.E. Association might not want research into antibiotic damage to the gut.

Very Best Wishes from me to you... Think for yourself, you`re worth it!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Why Improve Ourselves? 3

I was lucky enough to catch Rosa Monckton`s documentary "Tormented Lives" last night on BBC 2. I was really struck by Rosa`s compassion and her disposition to relate to people in an accepting and non-judgmental way and I really hope that this documentary`s powerful expression changes things for people.

Of course I have talked about why we need to bully others, both as individuals and as a society, in my blogs many times, covering the abuse of women, the elderly and children. We saw in the program how bullies, very much in their raw, animal state, victimise those who are obviously weak. I have explored previously why certain people, or groups, are picked on, by whom and for what motive. I am not going to go over that here because this blog takes a slightly different angle in regard to my previous blogs entitled "Why Improve Ourselves?".

Though I understand bullying and victimisation from both first-hand experience and careful observation of life around me, I am always shocked to see the affects of it. Of course, bullying in schools is no better for the attention it receives and with time -old opportunities to bully the sick and the elderly, nothing changes very much. Why would it? Unfortunately, there is societal need for it as well as the systems to enable it and protect the perpetrators. We are all complicit in this.. My blogs "Teachers who Bully" show how a closed system like a classroom, for example, is a training ground for what we see in our wider society in the adult world.

Anyway, back to this blog: it struck me during Rosa`s program that our society's ubiquitous tolerance for bullying begins with small behavioural lapses that seem so ordinary and innocuous. And we let them go. Behaviour in schools is appalling. Children in mainstream education aren`t taught how to behave in a polite respectful manner and where they slide are not pulled up for it. There is no one to care about such basics as saying "please" and "thank you", or holding a door open for someone.Still less for a child calling another child a hurtful name. Indeed, as I discussed way back, the bullied child is more likely to be treated as a misfit, a psychological problem, than the bullies, proving that as a society we in fact SUPPORT bullying.

So what`s this got to do with the behaviour of the bullies in Rosa`s program? Simple, the behaviour of Rosa`s victimisers has slid way beyond the omission of a "please" and "thank you".They have spent years in an environment that, frankly, allows them to vent their animal drives however they want to. Basically, it`s animal expression.

So you have to catch all aspects of behaviour early, in primary school. In my view the threshold cannot be drawn at bullying, it has to be a threshold that desires basics, as part of a process to de-animalise our behaviour from very small issues upwards. To do this you can`t just take out certain behaviours you don`t want, 5 or 10 or 15 years too late, you have to cultivate a nature that cleaves to higher values of respect and courtesy, and a desire for approbation.

What does "desire for approbation" mean? Well, it means you have to CREATE children who wish to please and wish to be helpful. But look, input has to match output, which it certainly does not in mainstream education. You just can`t get the sort of kids you want in society by telling them what to do: you have to example it! That means that classrooms should not reflect the animal nature of the outside world, survival of the fittest, children should never fall victim to group runtification(*see footnote) at school, none should be left behind educationally, none should be sent to the educational psychologist when they are bullied.... I could go on. The point in the obverse is that, of course, one, just ONE example of how society operates, the classroom, demonstrates to all the children in the school that THIS is how society works. Are we then so surprised that they go out and overtly copy what is being exampled from the day that they start mixing with other kids and adults outside the family?

I think that we should always try to improve ourselves, to escape our animal nature as much as we can and Rosa`s bullies show us that. If small things were important I think that all of us could enjoy better lives, but we really have to wake up to things that are almost invisible to our rightfulness-radar. What we don`t apprehend is just off the screen, I`m afraid, causally.The bullies in Rosa`s documentary have been taught by example.... and the animal behaviour they exhibit carries with it the fire of resentment born out of received disrespect and projected failure that keeps them fuelled up.

If we expand this logic we can see that all behaviors are important and significant and we see that any improvement is worth it in any area or with any issue. But, but, but, we must try to see that OUR societal framework engenders the bullying we disapprove of in others. Not just that some kids are disadvantaged -by the animal function of a classroom or by the social, financial or educational status of their parents, but that our whole system is riddled with our animal needs to compete and gain position over others. If we look at what really happens in schools, the survival of the fittest at work right in front of our eyes, we can see that Rosa`s bullies learned their behaviour from everything we show them: certainly from the way schools make a percentage of children fail, the use of psychiatric labels given to various misfits,etc.

Take a look around you...Then take a closer look.

Of course, raising ourselves above our animal state, our animal soul, is one of the main themes of one of the primary texts of chassidic Judaism, the Tanya, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. In my discussions I am going to come back to religion in this context a bit later on. Hope you will join me.

Very Best Wishes from me to you.......

*Runtification: my word for the process in our society for creating runts.Runts in this context are failures and rejects,people pushed to the margins of our "civilised" western culture.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Murder of God: Is it Moral?

Hello! Hope you are doing great!

Okay, so let`s make a start on the next big subject.....

I saw recently that Humanists are titling a lecture, "The God Virus". This prompted me to think about whether it is right to try to destroy God simply because you yourself don`t believe in "him". (Okay, okay, we`ll come back to the philosophy later! I can hear you saying, how can you murder God anyway?")

When someone uses such emotive and pejorative language they are telling us that they mean to convince us of THEIR VIEW, that God is indeed the equivalent of a virus. Using the word "virus" cashes in on fears we already have about viruses. Combining it with "God" causes us to, they hope, associate the two things as one. It`s a psychological tactic that plays a trick on the mind. If used often enough, it is a tactic that implants into our thinking the notion of God as something bad.

Of course, there are many words and names and places that are inexorably linked to something bad. We cannot hear the name "Adolf" without thinking of concentration camps, or "Cambodia" without thinking of Pol Pot. We can all test this out for ourselves.... Based upon the knowledge that names associated with certain heinous crimes stick fast in the human mind, a mind that stores information (a glossary for the primal brain) to warn us of danger, we can see the value to humanists of demonising God on this way: if they get enough exposure they will surely infect us all with the idea that God is a virus and that we are all "carriers", spreading infection to those around us. It`s the same memetic technique that turned Germans against Jews! and it works. Memes kill. Big time. Bang up to date (whoops! perhaps I`ll delete the word bang!) we have seen how governments have successfully demonised Muslims! (Did you know that you were being infected with ideas to MAKE you fear Muslims? That you have been manipulated as a pawn in a wider group/animal drive?)

Of course, we don`t realise it, but we all get "infected" with ideas all the time. Memes are far better at perpetuating themselves than our DNA! The question is, though, whether a group concerned with intellectual freedom is right to endeavour to take away the freedom of others to believe in whatever or whomsoever they wish to believe... and, I suppose, whether this takes the form of mere "persuasion" or whether it is,or will become, more than this. (We`ll look at this in the future......)

But why do they want to do it? Well, believe of not, it is all to do with freeing everybody from the indoctrination that religion brings.They don`t want children to be brought up on any religious narrative because this prevents a child from seeing the "truth" about the world around us. The only truth is science. The one truth. Bit like "the one God" !!!!!

Look, let me come clean here: I am not batting for God or willing to do any God-bashing, this blog is about the rights and wrongs of trying to dictate what others may or not believe, not to uphold one side or the other. My blog title "The Murder of God: Is it Moral?" is a parrying gesture to show my readers that anyone can use emotive language to manipulate someone else`s ideas.

And isn`t this where Humanism is going wrong? Anyone could believe something.. and believe that others should believe the same thing ..and then set about a crusade to achieve it ! Why is this any different from the germ of totalitarianism? In my view, the humanist belief that religion is invalid because it does not check with the reality of science, is a similar position to that held by many a Christian through the ages who would kill to prevent anyone else from having another view-point. And isn`t this the exact same animal/group motivation that is displayed in the thrust of, "The God Virus". Isn`t it just exactly the same thing coming from the opposite camp!

I`ve not finished on this subject by a long way ! Please join me later!

Very Best Wishes from me to you!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Gift from the Dead 3

What is "eternal love" anyway? I think it`s all about sensitivity. Perhaps we can see that sensitivity IS eternal love, carrying as it does a fine atunement to the things around us, carrying a sensitivity from one generation to another, carrying caring to people and things alike. Of course, we acquire sensitivity as a learned behaviour. It`s more likely that sensitive parents will produce sensitive children, just as with any other attribute. This we pass on in turn to our children. A thoughtfulness, considerateness, a quality of empathy and respect we engender in others and they become the eternal chain.

What happens generally, though, in the cut and thrust of life, is that we select those people or things to care about most and ignore most of those folks around us who are needy: we shut them out if they aren`t directly part of lives. We compartmentalise those we care about and those we don`t. We tell ourselves that there is only so much we can cope with and we can`t include the old lady next door because we are already overloaded.

The reason why we make a hierarchy of people we care about and people we dismiss, is that we feel obliged to those with whom we have an emotional exchange, a connection. We ourselves benefit from the exchange, mutual support, a unity, a belonging, and for these reasons we do a deal of reciprocity.

It is much more difficult to jettison someone who levers our guilt, someone with whom we have some kind of bond, than it is to shut out someone who has no power to come back at us. With people who can pull on our guilt for things they need from us, we are hooked into them emotionally. I was saying way back in my blog "Socially Acceptable Forms of Abuse", that parents with diminished levels of guilt can treat their children however they want to because children have a lesser power to hold parents responsible for their actions.Okay, so kids can try to pull the guilt-strings, but they cannot by means of relationship restrain parents morally....they just have a bit more of a chance than dead people!

However, generally speaking, the more sensitivity, engendering guilt, a person has, the more they can be prevailed upon to act in a way that bends to the needs of others. It is a higher state indeed when someone is sensitive to the needs of others regardless of whether the other party has leverage or not. The more we are able to do things selflessly, the higher is our attainment. Attending to our loved ones who have passed away is a high and noble act because they have no recourse to us for our inadequacies in not looking after their burial place. Dead people have no fight-back. Because they haven`t, our attendance demands our highest sensitivity and awareness, more so than the old lady next door. We have to be super-sensitive and selfless when we decide to hear and fulfil a call to honour our deceased and this tunes us up to the highest awareness that impacts on our lives in other areas.

Dead people have no fight-back. It`s true. They are more defenceless than the elderly or the mentally ill, and that`s really saying something. I note how as status diminishes.... one`s ability to speak up for oneself, one`s social position..... the less rights we have.This tells us that our rights are subject to our ability as animals to compete with the other animals around us. The elderly find that they lose their rights as they become more infirm, the mentally ill lose theirs when they are considered insane. How much more so, then, if you cannot speak at all because you are dead! This sounds silly, I expect, but I actually make a profound point here: why should burial sites be abused and neglected just because there is no one with the rightfulness to stick up for something (or somebody) so defenceless.

So, anyway, what do we get from looking after our family graves? Well, we get the knock-on benefits that any positive action brings us. It doesn`t matter that this particular action is not directed at the living, it still has the same affect. We raise up the quality of our output into the world and enhance our ability to care about ourselves, our nearest and dearest and our living world. Does this sound a bit "preachy"?.......... Let me show you what happened in my case: I went to a graveyard, sparked my concern for these past, and some very very past, relatives and found several of our lost family. Because of my actions these people have been gifted love and family and belonging and in their turn have raised their own energy. I am sure that I am a much happier and fulfilled and positive person, a million fold, than before I began my quest. And this is what I mean, you always get back blessing by the bucket load when you output like this ! Why don`t you try it!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Gift From the Dead 2

Hello ! Nice to see you!

So, where was I? Went off on a rant for a while there! ..........Ah, yes, I was wanting to tell you about what happened when I was making enquiries at the first church about the whereabouts of my great grandfather`s grave.............. "Don`t you have relatives in the village?", she said. I said that we hadn`t had relatives there for donkeys years. But she told me the names of the people and I immediately knew who they were, long since thought to be dead!! I felt... and still do, very upset and like I'd had a miracle at the same time. We had found living people directly from these enquiries about dead people! "Back from the past!" I feel I want to say "never was a visit to a graveyard so propitious!" We have since found, spurred on by this one momentous find, another long-lost close relative and I find myself wondering whether it is not just a coincidence that this has happened.......Not quite on the divine intention level, but somehow intrinsic to caring, the ubiquitous reward for positive output.

Graveyards are thought of as places of closure, not places of openings, yet it was a simple desire to honour my deceased relatives that brought me rich fruits in my life. I have a philosophy that "output", positive output, of course, brings us good things. It`s not just a single action, it`s to do with quantity and consistency and quality. If you go on doing doing doing some of these things will produce good things for you. These good things don`t always come back directly, but somehow, maybe it`s just positive energy, the more output we propel the more potential we give ourselves. The quality of the output is important, I think, the more well-intentioned, happy, confident, the better "results". When we reap life`s bonuses the religiously ingrained amongst us might think "God made me lucky", but whatever you believe, certainly output opens the gates to good fortune.

It is a tragic paradox that when we are depressed we do not have the ability to output the energy that will make changes in our lives and give us the return energy we so much need. On a very cynical note, I am driven to say that it is strange that "God" gives less to folks who are depressed than he does to those who thrive.... I wonder why this could be? Animal hierachy? People who are "down" deserve less? At least, one would have to say that if you can`t muster yourself to emit a positive energy, you block off God`s nature to help you! Reminds me of the old body-blow, "God helps those who help themselves" !!!!!!! And yet, hmmmmmmm, if we thought of our image of God, not as the religious construction that he is, but as light and positivity, good-energy and higher emotions, the fact that we snooker ourselves when we are depressed makes a lot of sense.

Anyhow, so let`s get back on track.....So caring about those at rest in the earth is at the top end of quality output? Why? We don`t know if they know we are doing it, we don`t know if they are grateful or have pleasure in heaven from seeing us bring our love to them, so why would I equate visiting a graveyard with taking your neighbour a bowl of fruit or giving someone a lift to Sainsbury`s? Hmmmmmmm...., it`s a profoundly sticky question. Is it something to do with eternal love?

I am continuing with this very soooooooooon. Hope to see you here!

Oh, and I`ll let you into a little secret ! After this blog the topic is
"Murder of God: is it moral?" Humanism wants God finished off. I want to talk about it. Will you help me out?

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A Gift from the Dead.

Hello ! I`m glad you`re here !

I am starting this blog not knowing where my thoughts will lead me. I have an idea to talk about graves and graveyards and to think about why we should honour our deceased loved ones. Let`s see where we get to................

A cousin of mine recently was doing some work on the family tree. This stirred up a lot of things and I ended up going to a churchyard to put flowers on the grave of my great grandfather and great grandmother. There was no headstone and so I tried to ascertain the exact location of the grave from the Church Warden. Sadly there were only incomplete records: those with headstones were recorded, those without were not.

I found this very upsetting, not least that a church would have such little respect or caring for our loved ones that they would not keep proper records, yet more upsetting still that graves would have status if those who were buried had position or money enough to afford a headstone.

I immediately thought about hierarchy in the church, G`d and clergy, landed gentry and peasants, all assuming their place within the social scheme of things.. and, of course, the most lowly having unmarked graves. I thought how significant it is that the church reflects social division and has supported it through the centuries, whatever its religious posture might be. Even whether one`s burial spot is recorded, boils down to hierarchy !

When I question whether this is typical of the Church of England throughout the country, I am told that it is.

I was minded to try to put flowers on the grave of my great greats as well....(It`s funny how our actions so readily expose the wrongs around us!) My grandmother talked of them such a lot and they had been long-since neglected. So I approached a second church to try to see a grave plan here as well !(Glutton for punishment!) My second attempt was worse, this time even devoid of kindness, for I encountered at this church an, how shall I put it?..... an indifference that was plain obstructive. Yes, they had many of my ancestors buried on this plot of land and they didn`t give a TOSS about them or me or the churches` responsibilities.Not a toss. We might have been talking about carcasses from an abattoir for all the value my enquiry had! (Please see my blog "Animals, Why Should we Care?" for more examination of how we compartmentalise our consciences.)

I find this quite extraordinary, don`t you? Perhaps you`ll even say, typical of the church, I don`t know. Vicars in the past lived with these people, baptised them, married them, and in the end buried them.. and dumped them in the ground without a care for the recording of their resting place. Do I hear a, "perhaps the records have been lost?" OK., let`s be kind, they forgot to write down where the poor people are buried or they accidentally lost all these records all over England.... and now they say "sorry", like the Pope and everybody else these days. Does this wash with you? Well, it doesn`t with me. There is just something revealing about a church that is comfortable with operating on the basis of hierarchy, isn`t there?

How could they EVER have lived with people and cared so little? Could it be that the church was something for THEM, yet pretended to be "for the people"? Personally, I have a very low opinion of the church for just this reason: it`s all about them.

But why isn`t this all over the headlines? I suppose when immediate family have departed this life no-one much cares anymore. No-one fights for them; they are too busy fighting for their own lives, families, jobs, money. What does it say about us, though, that we bury our dead with flowing tears and then cease to care so many years down the line? And what does it do to us as human beings to leave our loved ones behind in a churchyard where there is no-one to protect their resting place or their memory? I`d really like to think next time about what we gain by honouring our dead and why I think we should care with an energy we`d usually apply to our lives and the living.

This thrilling blog continues next time when I reveal, wow this is so much like Hollywood movies, I reveal what I gained from a graveyard... Tune in next time!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Psychiatry in Medical Damage.

Hello Everyone !

Hope you are feeling great !

I want to begin to talk about antibiotic damage in this blog. It`s a huge subject, but let`s make a start with the help of W.D.D.T.Y., What Doctors Don`t Tell You. And, please, if you HAVE to take an antibiotic, always take a probiotic at the same time, optimally at a time that is furthest away from when you take your antibiotic, during your course, and for a few weeks after you finish. www.wddty.com/

My mother has just had to take an antibiotic for a localised infection and on top of my concerns about her taking an antibiotic, let alone a broad spectrum antibiotic, I knew that her already having a candida overgrowth puts her at greater risk.

The medical profession wont test what sort of infection you have in order to treat it, they use a generalised hit or miss approach and usually a "broad spectrum" antibiotic.(A friend of mine was subjected to this mindless pot-shot-with-different-antibiotics strategy even in Harley Street !) The problem with broad spectrums is that they knock out your healthy gut flora at the same time. It is absolutely imperative, therefore, that you top up your gut flora to prevent your gut being taken over by bad flora when you come off the antibiotic. It is tragic indeed that doctors STILL do not tell patients to do this. One wonders just how many cases of M.E./ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would have been averted had doctors given this very simple advise. As we all know, so many cases of M.E. begin after taking an antibiotic... and with research desperately trying to steer everyone away from attributing antibiotic gut damage to the cause of a huge number of cases, we must try to spread the word in order to TRY to protect people.

I want, also, in this blog to take a preliminary look at the role of psychiatry in covering up medical damage. I was reminded of its role in such cases last week when my mother told me that my grandfather had been given an antibiotic in the late 1960s which caused hallucinations. I had been completely unaware of this episode in our lives as I had been a young child at the time. My grandfather was hospitalised in a psychiatric hospital for a few weeks and was given Phenobarbitone as a remedy. Interesting, so a psychiatric drug was used to clean up the mess! Well, what a big surprise !!

I think, though, that the close connexion between psychiatry and medical damage is more systemic than we imagine... Certainly, I think that the history of M.E. as a illness, carrying as it does attributions of "psychological causes", only confirms my belief that M.E. is largely an iatrogenic condition. Even today when there has been some presented "proof" that M.E. is a physical illness, psychiatry still has a foot in the door, indeed many "treatments" for ME are based upon the idea that this is a psychological illness. Many people with ME, especially women, are still abused by doctors who have a distinct and psychologically transparent need to hurt their patients by blaming THEM for being ill....(and, yes, women are still being given psychiatric labels in the 21st century for physical illness).

Now, using only very basic psychological understanding, we know that when someone in this kind of situation, here a doctor, tries to blame the victim it is because they know they are guilty (I have discussed in other blogs that this is not necessarily conscious, and indeed, why it is not). Guilt-shifting behaviour.......and pushing people into psychiatry is part of that..... TELLS us that doctors know that they have something to hide. It is in fact the very involvement of psychiatry that signals to us that something very dubious is afoot.Patients with illnesses where doctors don`t have guilt knocking at their conscience, will not generally be sent to a psychiatrist or be accused of being lazy!

Of course, conditions such as A.D.H.D. also have the classic hallmark of guilt-shifting. A physical illness that manifests after vaccination, that demonstrates clearly as a gut disorder, yet is an illness that is the province of psychiatry, tells us that guilt avoidance is at work on a very large scale.

It is strange indeed that despite research showing, too, that depression is widely a gut disorder, doctors are hell-bent upon treating it as a psychiatric condition. One doesn`t have to ask why this would be, actually, because it is clear that if other causes were acknowledged for so called "mental illness", psychiatry and all its drugs would lose billions. Incentive enough to perpetuate the myth of mental illness? I think so. It is in this way, where vested interest, guilt avoidance and financial concerns, can be seen to underlie the very diagnoses we take for granted. We assume that ALL diagnoses are underpinned with scientific research that is real and objective and altruistic, don`t we? I certainly did in my healthy and naive younger days.... But just this little dip into the subject shows us that scientific research is propelled by vested interest and that attributed causes of illness can be subjective. I have said many times that there is in research such a thing as "unwanted results", data that is unacceptable. Maybe you can`t believe that this could be true? Well, simply ask yourself if research that proved that allergies, from asthma to food intolerance, were caused by vaccinations, would this research be permitted?

The truth about antibiotics is slowly coming out, drip by drip, and not in the far distant future the whole truth will out.

If you have allergies, your kids have A.D.H.D. or A.S.D., if you have depression or any mental illness, please check this out, below:

community.wddty.com/blogs/adverse_reactions/ - Cached

Please also take a look at the group S.C.D.UK on Yahoo http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCDUK S.C.D. is a diet used to heal the gut. It has helped many, many people with M.E./F.M.S., depression, and specific gut illness such as Crohns.


Gut and Psychology Syndrome is THE primary resource. It explains the how, what, where and why the gut is behind many illnesses. Please do take a look:

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Teachers who Bully (4)

So why did the female teachers in my Primary School stand by and do nothing?

We can example this to try to understand why people in all sorts of situations allow bullying. I think the fact that in this case they were women probably bears testimony to the era, yet still today are women disempowered in relation to men even though women have claimed respect in the intervening decades. But, in a sense, as we have discussed often in this blog, it is not so much "who", a woman or whomsoever, finds themselves subordinate in any given situation, it is simply the imbalance of power. I suppose it does a disservice to victims if I say that victims allow themselves to be bullied, but really in stark reality it is weakness that gives a green light to bullies. This is why children are in this position by default with adults, as are the elderly. But of course the fact that one is a timorous individual or non-confrontational, should not legitimise bullying behaviour, yet bullies, by their nature, are not going to restrain themselves on account of the virtues of others around them. Certainly not ! Bullies are parasitic upon weakness.

So, let`s go back to our two female teachers who egregiously let a sadist victimise two children of about 7 or 8 years old. ..... Well, to begin with, one of them was the man`s wife, so let`s take a look at her: as his wife she would have needs to try to maintain a good relationship with her husband. Her vested interest in her marriage would certainly take primacy over the protection of two children. How could she rail against him publicly? Undoubtedly his wrath would be vented upon her, either at that point, or in private. It may have caused a marriage breakup or at least strife for many days. Personally I would think, his wife being a mild little person, that she would be living her life with this man as someone she had to comply with,his being the Headmaster compounded this.
And of the other woman? Well, she had children in the school as well as having a good job near to home. I would imagine that to make a stand upon a matter such as this would have lead to her dismissal, personal upset and inconvenience. Given this, I would say that her intervention would be "impossible".

So these two individuals, in passive complicity with this bully, had more at stake personally than would rouse them to defend two small, terrified children. Doesn`t this perfectly explain how it is that we all can have such fears that we can become accomplices to the bullies around us? The pay-back is just too serious for us, so we let things go whilst knowing that what we see is immoral. I have certainly done this myself, though I`ll let myself off the hook in regard to not protesting at injustices in my school days !
"Good people stand by and do nothing." Well, of course this is not always the case, but it is often of personal risk to help a victim, and good people tend to have less courage because they are much less "in the animal" than the people they are up against. Often, good people have a more dominant sensitive side, are not so confrontational or aggressive, and find animal competitiveness unsavory.

What do we do then, when we know that we have turned a blind eye to something like this? I don`t know how these two women tried to square it with their consciences because I have never talked to them about it.(Suffice it to say that this incident, cited, was one of a catalogue of abuses...) I can only shrewdly surmise that the compartmental conscience would kick in with excuses such as "we were powerless to stop it", or maybe blaming the children,"if they had been honest and had confessed, this would not have happened", or a classic guilt avoidance would be to tell yourself that it wasn`t really as bad as you thought at the time ! Any or all of these things would enable these two teachers to continue their lives without conscience, the crime paling in their minds with every year that passed.

Of course, when people do make a stand, with any moral imperative, there has to be real courage. I am lucky (wow! what a thing to say!) that my father was a serious and sadistic bully and my mother a meek and well mannered person. Lucky?????? Am I mad, you might be thinking!!! No I am not mad, I can reassure you, it`s just that given that all of my childhood is unchangeable, I feel so privileged that I can analyse the crime scene (my home) of my father`s bullying, knowing all the background affecting the game-play. Just as I can understand as a witness the animal behaviours in my Primary School.

I`m coming back to this. Please chip in if you feel inclined !!! Let me know if you know of instances of bullying and where you have assessed the vested interest of people to not help the victim..."Protect those more powerful than you for your own sake" is the animal game.

Please see back to my other blogs titled: "Classrooms: Survival of the Fittest. "

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Teachers who Bully (3)

In contrast to, me my sister was a whiz at maths. Not sure why, but she seemed to "get" all the little bits that defeated my sense of logic ! Maybe she just picked up little subtleties that escaped me or maybe she just accepted the rules as presented and didn't question them, I don`t know.
There were several children from middle class homes who were in the top half dozen in all subjects in this class a few years below me. All through my sister`s primary education things went well, usually with her vying for top spot in the class against the odds determined by favouritism.
Then something very strange happened: the Headmaster marked her way down for maths in her last report. When she arrived in secondary school she was in a C.S.E. set. Not only was this deeply upsetting to her to be down-graded and split from her friends, it was also a serious injustice because her maths was always more than excellent. Of course, no one questioned or challenged teachers in those days so nothing was done. My sister had to go through Secondary School in this set and received a CSE in maths. Since she wanted to be an architect or a surveyor this caused massive problems later on.

This example is a classic in the annals of animal behaviour. My sister was deliberately disadvantaged by a man who clearly did not like us and who, as a bully, was able to hurt children in any way he wanted to off the bat of his paranoia. Of course other children were very badly disadvantaged by his displeasure at them too; me included ! The reason for exploring this though, is to demonstrate just how the jockeying of our animal drives plays out in a group environment like a Primary School.
Whether a child wins or loses in school has little to do with their intelligence. When I arrived in Secondary School, a refugee from teacher bullying, a child made to fail, I would obviously fail in an even tougher animal environment. There would be no one to pick up the pieces, no one to restore my pride, self-esteem or love of learning. I absolutely loved history, music, reading, nature studies, well everything, actually, at the start of my learning, and left Primary School stupid and utterly defeated. The greater tragedy is that this is the sob story for a huge percentage of young children.

But I promised to talk in this blog about why, in the face of my biggest scoff at class teaching and its population of non-specialist teachers, I am a supporter of Home Education. Surely, you might be thinking, the same problem would apply? Parents are non-specialists in many, if not most, of the subjects required in home learning.. so why should I accept this at home if I don`t accept it in schools?

I think the simple explanation is that in a classroom a teacher cannot attend to detail, even if they wanted to. "Rote" is the hammer of necessity. At home, even if a parent is not the most understanding of maths, he/she can search-out why a child does not understand and learn more himself to enable greater understanding. The learning together process is the enabler. Further, a parent does not want his child to fail. This seems obvious doesn`t it, so why state it? Well, as we have said in this blog, a class teacher has inbuilt animal motivations,usually not conscious, let`s be a bit kinder and say that they show "expressions of their own psychological makeup" which impacts in different ways upon the children they teach.(For example,the willingness of teachers to see children with so called A.D.H.D.as needing medication is a conformity to the larger animal pack`s need to label and "runtify"*,as I call it, children who are a problem to the healthy and successful larger social picture.Teachers accommodate and support doctors' needs to push these children onto medication because they instinctively want to support the medical profession. Please see my later blog, "Psychiatry in Medical Damage".) They disable and disadvantage some, teachers-pet-ify and feed success to others. If your child, in a classroom environment, is the child the class teacher does not like or maybe your child doesn`t "get it" in the way I didn`t, he/she may be seriously disabled by the teacher. Parents who home educate their children are wanting to make learning enjoyable and to furnish all its joys and success. In a class situation it is not possible to give this to every child, both because of the numbers of children involved and group dynamics.

Please join me again later.

Some of my readers may have had experiences like these and I hope you will tell me about them......If you have been educationally damaged, please always remember that the class system is a master of imposed failure! Just because you have been made to fail does not mean that you are unintelligent. It is very hard to escape being made to be stupid, I know. That kind of imprinting is hard to shift. Maybe some of you have reached a point where you know that you are intelligent after all, maybe some have not realised this yet, but I think that knowing how classrooms function and why will help us to support ourselves.

* Runtify: this is my pejorative term for "natural selection".

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Teachers Who Bully (2)

So, my Primary School Headmaster was a big bully. This took many forms on different levels. He overtly bullied lower class children, sometimes he was bullying concerning their education too, as he was with me.

I`ll outline what happened to me personally to enable some thought on this.. Well, I did not "get" sums at all. I tried very hard to arrive at the answers he wanted, yet failed even when I thought I had cracked how to do it. Failing led to ridicule, name calling and his vicious temper. I remember one day being kept behind after school because I could not understand fractions; he went on and on about cutting various slices of cake. I was too frightened to listen. I felt ashamed and humiliated and very disturbed by the implication of guilt levelled at me by being detained.
But there is not just a random, temperamental need to bully in a person like this: a child like me unwittingly probed his deepest feelings of inadequacy and loss of control. Of course, someone who is not a specialist maths teacher will fatally flounder when they attempt to teach even primary school children in a class environment:they don`t understand the subject. I triggered the vulnerability of his mathematical stupidity and he saw me, little frightened me, as a threat. Indeed, he attributed my inabilities as defiance, a personal affront to him ! The compartmental conscience kicked in and he therefore "saw" me as the guilty party and himself as the "abused".

A classic example was in class one day when I was giving the wrong answers to some basic sums to do with adding up apples, oranges, bananas,etc., pictures of which were up on the board... With mounting anger he was trying to force me to add up some apples and oranges. I sat there terrified and befuddled. How can you add up apples and oranges ? I thought. He was foaming again, "Answer meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee", he yelled. "Surely you can add up three oranges and two apples. What is the answer?" Thumping heart. Terrified. He wants the wrong answer, I thought. I can`t give the wrong answer because it`s wrong, so I`ll give the right answer. "Fruit juice", I said. Rage, white foam on his lips, shouting. I sat rigid. Somehow the ridiculous man didn`t know that he had asked me to define these items as "fruit" before I could add them up !!! Of course, as an adult, I knew this problem to be one of the "class paradox", but as a child I just knew that I could not do the sum.... Well, there were numerous examples of his having learned maths rote, with no understanding whatsoever......

He would teach something as an unbreakable rule, like adding together and subtracting zero: 4 + 9 - 0 = 13. He would then be incredulous at a child`s stupidity when they did what they were told them to do in another situation: the unbreakable rule !!!!!! Thus, doing my best to do what he told me to do,as exampled in 4+9-0=13, I was certain that 0 x 4 = 0 and 4 x 0 = 4. If you have zero and you times it by four,I thought, you still have zero, because you had nothing in the first place, and if you have four apples and times them by zero, you still have four apples! It is THAT obvious he must be mad to tell me otherwise ! If you say that 4 x 0 = 0, what happened to the four apples you had ? Anyhow, so you get the idea :)

I was frightened of maths forever because of him and switched off. Mind you, he made these absolute assertions in other areas, too ! One classic was, "there`s no such word as can`t " !!! Now, this was something I knew to be untrue ! I had seen "can`t" in lots of books and I now knew this man was stupid and a liar!

This both illustrates how a teacher can damage someones learning potential with bullying, but also shows just how non-specialist teachers do incalculable damage to children in Primary School. Fact: unless you understand a subject fully, which this man patently did not, you cannot teach it to children except to the level of your own ignorance. It is a myth that children, being at such a low level of learning, don`t need specialist teachers. The contrary is true: if you don`t get teaching right at this early age, you can destroy a child's learning potential in this subject forever.

In later years I saw just how true this is. In my direct experience as a specialist recorder teacher, I saw how the teaching of this instrument in class by teachers who are no more than dabblers, damaged the potential of so many children to play the instrument,advance as musicians, and to fulfil themselves. Why? Because incorrect articulation, breathing, hand positions were taught on a huge scale. And what is worse, this was thought to be OK, simply because they were little children and it didn't matter. I remember taking over at a Prep School and receiving more than 30 boys to teach individually. All had been disastrously taught and the mess had to be undone.....somehow!

Well, it is as true for maths as it is for recorders.

In general terms, though, damaging kids learning, setting them up to fail, making sure they go into the bottom set.... This is how groups reward the kids they want to be winners and make fail the others. It is not a mistake. It is all part of societies animal structure and is carried out as part of our natural instincts. My Primary Head liked parents who were "well to do", who flattered him, people more like him, he hated those who were lower class, whose children didn`t wear a uniform or were problematic.(He wanted the children he LIKED to do well.) So how did he make sure certain kids failed? Well, it`s simple, you are unkind to them, you shout, make them wrong, all the things you can to make them fail at their learning. Little of this is conscious, of course, we work on basic instincts, group animal motivations, and these behaviours we learn when we are children and grow up largely unaware of our motives. People of more awareness and sensitivity will be less likely to behave like this, many, though, are functioning, sadly, at a much lower level.

So there is actively making kids fail with bullying and less directly with disapproval and criticism and not SHOWING them how things are done.

So, why am I so passionate about Home Education if I so much disdain dilettantism in teaching?

Please join me shortly.....

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Teachers who Bully.

My Primary School Headmaster was a bully. He mostly bullied children of parents he didn`t like or children from poor families, considered at the time to be "lower class".

Well, this is nothing unusual. It has always happened in schools and still happens today. In those days it was considered to be acceptable to use corporal punishment and "bullying" wasn`t a focus for human rights like it is today. Still, even in those days, there were really sadistic bullies in powerful positions who could virtually do what they liked in their schools with no fear of parents or police.(How things have changed! It used also to be the case that a call to the police for domestic violence would meet with a "it`s of no concern to us"! response !!! )

Where was Robert Donat?

Well, I jest, but the movie "The Winslow Boy " made a huge impression upon me when I was a child. I was a sensitive child, deeply aware of injustice and deeply concerned for other children. Films like this gave me a sense of external justice, outside of myself, and demonstrated "right" in a way that helped me appraise any situation I was witness to. I have always carried this following example of my Headmaster`s cruelty and injustice with me, not just by the power of its cinematic imprint: it really shaped me as a person who would speak up for victims all of my life. The scene has never left me. It`s not just that I was powerless to stop it, but that I watched the interrogation of two children who were terrified, right up to the singularly sadistic conclusion of this bullies callous and demented vengeance and I will never forget that the women teachers stood by and did nothing... ( I hope to come back to why women, or anyone with lesser power, cannot raise their courage or awareness to intervene in this kind of situation.)

What am I talking about?

I was a child in a Church of England Primary School. The Headmaster was subject to rages against lower class children. One day he was at the front of the class with twins, furious, foaming at the mouth, accusing them of stealing a Mars Bar from the village shop. The shop keeper had seen one of them do it, but he did not know which one because they were twins. The Head went on and on at them, assailing them verbally, relentlessly, they would not say if they had taken it or which one of them did it. We all watched in horror. As their refusal to speak made him more angry, the stakes became higher and higher. They had disgraced the school. How dare they pull down the reputation of his school? He was foaming. I knew the signs: he had reached the same state of insanity when I couldn`t understand how to do fractions. Tension increased. I felt so sorry for the children.But I could not stop it. Two women teachers were turning a blind eye. Even if I could have done something, I would have been too scared to try. I wanted to.

He then delivered the mind-numbing ultimatum: "confess which one of you did it or I will cane you both." Silence. Their little faces blank with fear. They said nothing.

He ordered them into his office behind the classroom and caned them. We all heard it. I never forgot. And to me, it says everything about power and powerlessness. Everything about injustice. Everything about human nature and the ways of the world.

Where was Robert Donat?

I am coming back to this blog very soon to discuss the damage teachers..and especially bullying teachers... can do to children. If you would like to chip in with some comments, please do.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Why Improve Ourselves (3) ?

Hi Everyone! Nice to see you!

What do you get if you are in a fidelitous relationship? Well, assuming that both parties don`t stray, the gains are trust and security and closeness along with knowledge of rightful conduct. We feel good about ourselves when we know that we are loved exclusively and when we know that we can trust that this has permanence. But fidelity alone doesn`t make for a good relationship. There isn`t much gain if the relationship is abusive or without mutuality in the first place, though loving someone whom you also know to be loyal to you is a tremendous bonus.

Now, are these conclusions just moralising in disguise? I don`t think so. The point is to find out what we get from a position that could be seen as moral and right. However, let`s look at what happens when we don`t behave in this way at all, when one or both people in a relationship have intimate liaisons with others unbeknown to each other.

Well, it`s a thrill for many to cheat and to try not to be caught. Most cheats have a great time hiding their behaviour and things only begin to unravel when they get caught. I see this behaviour as founded in the way a child begins to hide from their parent, seeking an identity of their own: the spouse or partner becomes the parent, in fact, and the straying adult seeks an affair as a sign of independence against the parent they still carry with them in their adult world.

The main thing to realise is that once a person has had an affair, the pre-affair level of trust cannot be reclaimed. Cannot. Anything following is just a patch-up. Both parties suffer, one knows that they will not henceforth be trusted and the other feels pain at having been lied to and betrayed. To both the blemish is unrecoverable. There is a stain forever. The guilty party who has had the affair, feels guilt, of course, and venom from their partner, and the guilt they suffer compounds the problem, making it MORE likely that they will have another affair as they need to escape guilt and recriminations. I am tempted to say that the offending party needs to "start with a clean sheet" elsewhere!!! Well, let`s say that they need someone who views them in a positive light, which approval they now cannot get from their partner. With their partner enraged at them, they need someone with whom to seek solace and good regard! Indeed, the reaction of their partner can be cited as the cause of their straying behaviour.

So a whole cycle of guilt and anger and revenge and embitterment is set up by one indiscretion. Promises of faithfulness now ensue... and the stakes are very high indeed. "If you do it again, I`ll leave you!" Mistrust is a corrupting enemy, causing loss of respect for the other person and loss of self-respect too. No one gains from feeling that they have to spy on their partner... and how do you love someone whom you disrespect enough to spy on them? Indeed the erring partner now becomes a child, to be watched, controlled and maligned and the other becomes the parent, with the moral high ground. We can see that a relationship can hardly be conducted in terms of parent-child and this, of course, is the central problem when breaches of trust occur.The parent role here destroys adult love because a parent-child relationship is one devoid of sexual love,being rooted in a nurturing inequality.. (It`s funny how we snap back into our relationship model, our parents, at every juncture!!!) And it is the quality of our parent's relationship with each other, and thence with us, that dictates our spousal behaviour. What a surprise !

The difficulty with the fidelity issue is when one person in a partnership is "able to be" faithful and one is not. In open relationships too, satiety does not ultimately bring the gains that liberty might be seen to offer. Jealousy still pulls people apart, it eats away at consensual adultery and certainly does not earn the peace and security ostensibly bound up in "lets both be guilty". It really is just an attempt to make acceptable polygamous behaviour and, essentially, circumvent any guilt that might otherwise be felt. Hmmmmmmm..... Guilt avoidance yet again !

Back soon....

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Why Improve Ourselves? (2)

Let`s just look at the way "proper behaviour" reigns in religious communities...I find this a helpful examination because a closed social system magnifies and intensifies what happens in our looser, less cohesive social groups. Extremes of "rightfulness" versus concealment of "wrongfulness".

I have lived in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community and took a lot of time and thought, then and since, to consider how the group functioned, why leaders had the power they had, why women were segregated (in terms of group function) and the ins-and-outs of basing one`s life on such moral tenets. I don`t intend to make this blog a debate about Jewish belief or such issues as "literal Torah", or anything like that(!), I want to use this to example what can happen, for good or ill, when we aspire to behave well according to a set of rules. (I may come back to specific Jewish issues at a later date !!!!)

Ok., so if you impose a mode of "correct behaviour" on people there will inevitably be a large number of people who will rebel. I suppose one might term this as "an inability to maintain standards ", but, whatever the euphemism, no society is going to take everybody along with group demands, not wholly. So what happens in a religious community to the people who can`t or wont adhere to imposed standards of conduct?

Well, it depends on how great the pressure is to comply and the consequent extent to which a person might conceal their behaviour, but generally the higher the perceived level of "moral crime", the more concealment. It may well be....and I am not foisting definitives on you here !!!........ it may well be that for those who do not conform to expected moral standards, the extent to which they then have to conceal their aberrations increases their guilt load and thereby their tendency to widen their moral divergence from the group as a whole. Whatever is the case, what we see in religious communities is often a concentration of bad behaviour beneath the facade of "rightfulness". As I have mentioned before, the one actually is symbiotic to the other, "wrongfulness", apparent in some, enabling the majority to thrive and prosper(see * below).

So how does a religious community hang together? Well, groups have to have leaders in order to sustain ideologies and there have to be others who follow the prescription from those leaders. The leaders have to have power to make everybody conform otherwise the whole thing would fall apart. In a religious group the core power comes usually from a religious text, just as in the mainstream world it comes from a book of law or such. Leaders will use a "text from G`d" to demand correct behaviour and make people guilty if they don`t adhere to it. In such groups everybody has their place and most people, in an unconscious way usually, maintain the structure`s hierarchy. If people don`t keep their place in the hierarchy the power of the leaders would be undermined and the group would be under threat.
Women have their place too and to allow them greater freedoms would upset the belief system that rabbis need to hold the group together and maintain their grip on power. To this end is also the group's need to raise up the image of rabbis to the point of saintliness and sustain them with an ever-fueled ego-feed. I`ll call it pedestalisation ! Joking aside, the pedestalisation of leaders in these communities is absolutely critical to their survival because the more power (and the saintlier the better !) the rabbis have, the stronger will be their hold on people to prevent defection. Essentially, one has to observe that there is at least a very fine line between the pursuit of a lifestyle for the sake of G`d or the Torah and the use of Torah to support the power of rabbis.

And as usual the folks on the bottom order, those who don`t conform with the group, find that they are disadvantaged (what a big surprise!), somehow marginalised.Like anywhere else in society, the lower order folks lose out, but they play their part in larger group survival by virtue of their inferiority: that`s their contribution. How else do the top dogs reinforce their position than by demonstrating that nonconformity doesn`t pay?

So holding people together as a group is self-serving, but what does it do for individuals? Well, you get the feel-good-factor if you comply, security that you are part of something and that you fit in, and bonuses we all get from being in a clique of any sort. The more "good " you are, the greater are the rewards, both in terms of personal well-being and prospects within the hierarchy. Sounds familiar?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Why Improve Ourselves?

Hello Everyone !!!

I hope you are feeling great!

This is just an intro to my next blog.. I expect that there will be many on this subject because it covers a lot of issues.

Let me say at the outset that I have no intention of moralising at you !!!! I just want to try to think about what it means to improve oneself, what does it does for us or our societies, and "why should we bother?"

I want to take a look at marriage,for example, whether one should get married and what it might do for us, and lots of questions about moral behaviour across the board, from relationships and personal behaviour right through to the way we eat, our use of bad language, manners and anti-social behaviour.

So here goes:

Why get married? Why resist using bad language? Why dress decently when going out of the house? Why are manners worth anything at all, and why worry about personal conduct ?

These are wide ranging issues, yet they are all related. I think, though I am going to try to explore this a bit, that even seemingly trivial things count for us or against us, that we should strive to raise our personal standards, not least for ourselves, but, of course, because the better everyone behaves, the better our society is for everybody.

There are a whole range of behaviours, though, some deemed important by the majority, some not: on the plus end of the scale, having impeccable manners and exemplary personal conduct, following an exacting code of ethics, doesn`t mean that a person will be whiter than white in all areas !!! Assuming a code of behaviour such as its most extreme form in religious communities, is often a recipe for concealing the expression of our real selves. So, what I`m saying is that the wish to raise one`s own personal standards, better comes from within, exampled, yes, and ingested, certainly, but not something we have to do solely to comply with our social group. In other words, adding together a few social niceties, eliminating a bit of bad language, isn`t something that scores points towards "becoming a good person", it`s a complex thing that changes according to perspective or whichever society we live in. For example, someone who commits adultery may give time and money to a charity or work all their life in service to their employer, or whatever the case may be, ....and it might be worth considering in this blog whether "good" and "bad" balance against each other. We can`t write people off because they slide in one area, neither raise them up because of behaviour in another.

Please see my next blog.........

Saturday, 12 June 2010

What on Earth has Happened to The Samaritans (4)?

The rigidity of the Samaritan relationship to a caller leads one to question,why? I want to look at this in this blog, along with my usual examination of group psychology.

OK., so we can see that Samaritan volunteers need some sort of training and that inevitably training will carry definite prescriptions. The problem is that for many years Sams have been taught to be strict with callers according to a one-track formula. Whilst the minority of Sams with a more person-centred approach apply training loosely and intelligently, the majority of Sams do not.

Unfortunately, for most people, training is something that has to be adhered to precisely, not wisely. This applies to us all in all walks of life. We are brought up in an educational system that requires conformity to succeed, a system that does not reward individuality or initiative. We are therefore frightened to break rules.

The Samaritan structure, like any group organism, coheres around the acceptance of a particular method, in other words, a belief system. All groups function around mind-sets that everyone is expected to conform to, those who do not will find their place in the group under threat, not least because their non-conformity represents a threat to the group itself. This is true of the Samaritans as of any other group. Here, a belief that callers must be directed and controlled in a parent-child style, that all callers want and need silence, or whatever the notion we care to example, leads to a cold, clinical, robotic mode of relation where, paradoxically, a caller is expected to talk about their feelings in an environment that is bereft of human warmth !!

But as we see in other situations where rigid control is upheld, the more control there is, the more control is needed. What I mean is, if we take the example of unwanted child behaviour and set the threshold too high, we end up having a constant battle to maintain our stance. We become more anxious about our self-made rules than we do about the child we seek to control ! Broadly, we feel more and more threatened the more we lose control over the person we are trying to control and this leads us to employ greater and greater measures to hold our position. This is what commonly happens between a Samaritan and his or her caller. The primary focus is not helping the caller, but rather applying training with a rule book that inhibits both the Samaritan and the caller.

With the Samaritan`s level of expectation upon a caller set so high, he puts himself in a position of a parent who must maintain discipline at all costs.Let me reiterate that: At all costs. And this is what happens, inevitably: a caller, unwittingly, has to measure up to a whole list of criteria (which are to do with the needs of the Samaritan), and like a child confronted with zero tolerance, is treading on a mine field.The Sam, like an insecure parent, uses all manner of discipline to prevent chat and, frankly, get their own way, with the ultimate penalty of absolute power, ending the call. (A reminder that we are talking about a genuine, non-offensive caller here.)

It`s all about what THEY want.
Let`s look at what the typical Samaritan wants from a caller: firstly, the Samaritan expects that the caller has to be happy with silence,then comes the need for the Samaritan to have a call from a "genuine caller" who exhibits a level of distress that the Sam can relate to. We then have the Sam needing to not be caught chatting (whatever that means!) and to ensure the fulfilment of this overwhelming rule the Sam decides that they must not make comments as the caller relays his plight. The result is, of course, a caller who is expected to talk about their feelings, yet no emotional support is forthcoming from the other end of the phone. In effect, the stricture of training has stripped the call of anything that would be called human, caring and supportive. I think that the Samaritan`s need not to chat....and to deliver silence for the caller to fill, causes them to be detached, non-involved with the call, and this created distance bleeds the call of humanity. In fact, a Samaritan in this functional mode has little or no manifest caring for the caller simply because they do not engage with them. With no two-way contact the Sam`s posture is perfunctory and compassionless.

We have to emphasise here that individual Sams are not to blame, they are merely doing what they are told do. They believe what they are told to believe. Where they are told that callers want silence in which to talk, they think that this is universally true. In order to become a Samaritan one has to believe what one is told and use it upon callers. Training also teaches the fear that NOT to follow the instructed method will be detrimental to callers and so there is a fear/guilt devise that makes Sams conform.

There has to be a better way.
So what would be a better model for helping callers? Well, I think for starters, the ethos would have to change, revert back to the humanity of Chad Varah. The Nanny State-ism would have to go, to be replaced by respect for the caller and HIS needs. I think that, too, the caller would have to be treated with a presumption of genuineness, along with adopting a truly non-judgmental stance that does not discriminate between callers upon grounds of the subjective measure of distress. I think that with a refocus on the callers needs a more humanistic approach would follow, where a Sam would engage in a human way with the caller.

But in all of this we must not forget our Samaritan`s wishes to help people.. We must not forget that Sams themselves are victim to a training regime that not only disrespects callers, but disrespects them, too. So I think that to train Sams to be responsive to the needs of callers, to be adaptable, to have confidence in their OWN ability to relate to people would empower THEM to do what it is that they volunteer to do, for it is not just that callers are under the thumb of an all powerful rule book, Samaritans are too. Both Samaritans and callers are treading on egg shells.

I hope to come back in a bit to round this up. It`ll be a shorter blog (!)
that looks at the benefits of a more humanistic approach..... Hope to see you soon !

Best advice: remember the Sams operate on the basis that YOU are there for THEM. In other words, you are there to comply with what the Sams want from you.
If you need to phone many times over a period of time, don`t phone the same part of the country and don`t use the same name each time you call. If you phone many times information may be gathered about you (from the calls) because the Sams decide that they want to restrict your access, for whatever reason they see fit. This info is passed around branches.N.B.You may be in genuine distress over a period of time, but this is irrelevant to the Sam's decision. They decide what is best for you, whether you agree or not... and there is nothing you can do about it.

N.B. If you complain about one Samaritan at one branch, there is a high chance that other Sams at that branch or in that area will be unkind to you and may bully you.(Information will have been gathered about you so that they all will be able to identify you when you call.) This is typical of group behaviour so it`s no surprise!
Further,if you are badly treated by more than one Sam (this is very common so don`t think that it`s you personally!)and feel you should make another complaint, please remember that several complaints will likely get you labled as a "complainer". If this happens, it demonstrates the groups need to shift their guilt onto YOU. It is, as we have discussed many times, a typical strategy to protect themselves by making you look like the problem.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Animals, Why Should We Care?

So, back to the killing and eating animals topic.......

I was just talking about the similarities between the way we abuse our fellow humans and the way we abuse animals. I concluded that there is little or no difference between the two. I also said that we don`t get away with our assumed right to kill and eat animals because on some level we know we are doing wrong.

I can hear some of you protesting that you certainly don`t feel any guilt whatsoever !!!!! Hmmmmmmm....So what do I mean then, if people are eating meat and feeling quite comfortable with doing it?

I think that the issue is not whether any one person feels guilt or not, consciously or not, I think the point is that the guilt is buried deep inside us and that all of us carry the guilt of us all, for us all. In the same way that we all carry some guilt for the holocaust, for example, where of course we are none of us directly responsible, but because somewhere within us we know that we have all held prejudices, grudges, hatereds for people, we know that our darker impulses are part of the Nazi murder of Jews. This similitude is embedded deep within our psyche, we have all felt these feelings, maybe acted upon them, certainly we`ve watched others get bullied and done nothing. Of course, we don`t all take these urges to hurt to ultimate animal conclusions, but we often have difficulty resisting our need to hurt others.

We have discussed in other blogs how groups ask us to support them at the expense of outsiders, and often against our better judgment. They ask us to be accomplices and absolve us as reward for our loyalty. Where there is a group, such as the extreme example of the Nazis, evil is compartmentalised, and all member's defuse guilt for each other by convincing each other that their behaviour is acceptable. Where most Nazi soldiers were not guilty of murdering Jews, they were all complicit as part of the Nazi machine. Underlings may not have choices in regard to whom they hurt, but they are all part of the guilt nonetheless. A group is an organism, it supplies all needs for itself within itself and little people who don`t want to be caught up in evil when required to, invariably do so to at least some extent.

In the same way that the entire German nation was complicit, actively or passively, in the murder of Jews, all groups are capable of doing harm to others with a diminished conscience because of the dissipation of guilt within the whole. We talked about the Catholic church a while back and that even priests who are innocent of involvement in child-abuse are complicit as part of the group that has child-abuse within it. They too carry guilt for their guilty colleagues; it plays a part in their behaviour, their relationship to church goers and ultimately in religious practice and religious doctrine (I want to come back to this point in a future blog). Though we tend to separate(need to)the guilty from the not-guilty, the two are linked symbiotically as part of the same body.

Where we see in our societies higher moral values, spiritual pursuits, sensitive attunement to the more "feminine side", we see represented our capacity to turn away from the more animalistic drives that inhabit our human selves. Personally, I would tend to define a schism between our higher nature... let`s be controversial and call it our divine soul(!)... and our existential/animal selves, our animal soul. I use these terms not because I adhere to any religious values at all, but simply because this distinction has always helped me to understand the force of one of our drives against the other. The concept has also enabled me to see the game play of the divine soul versus the animal soul; how we are the servants of one, on one level, and how we have higher needs on the other. I have seen, too, how our intelligence as a species can quest us towards fulfilment in our "divine" aspect, yet also how our intelligence can be hijacked by our animal soul in order to furnish its needs.

So, given that our cruelty towards animals and people are part of the same instinct, I think that, just as our social groups carry collective guilt for all these deeds, so they do for eating animals, animal cruelty and experimentation. It is precisely that our guilt is carried and diffused by the group that we are able to abuse animals. As a higher impulse, the more sensitive amongst us will see injustice, cruelty and unfairness manifoldly in our societies and will attempt to move the rest of us to behave according to higher values, but often we don`t like to hear about our guilt and we run from it. In the end though, I am certain, inhumanity towards our fellow humans cannot cease until we stop hurting, and yes, eating, animals. The reason for this painful conclusion is that our ability to compartmentalise our guilt, hide it from ourselves as individuals, and the large-scale version of this where we dilute it by hiding it in our larger social groups, means that there is always some guilt or other creating a guilt -avoidance action. In other words, one thing enables the other.

I will be back onto this topic very sooooon........

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

What on Earth has Happened to The Samaritans (3)?

We have just discussed the fact that most Samaritans are judgmental and I want to examine this in a little more detail..

Judgment is rife.

Just to bring us up to speed on what has been said so far, let`s just recap:
The prohibition of "chatting" is the chief player in Samaritan engagement. Sams are preoccupied with what they have been told in training about chatting and are focused in an obsessive need to eradicate it.They expend all their effort in vigilance for "chat" rather than attending to the needs of the caller. We have seen how callers are judged upon the subjective application of this diktat and how callers are, frankly, terminated if they get it wrong. We have seen, too, how Sams are inhibited from making helpful,supportive remarks because of a training rigour that chains them to not chatting and making silent space for the caller.

But we also arrived in the territory of callers being judged for their level of distress and the sympathy-value of their particular issues. Scary stuff. I am as disturbed as it is possible to be by a service that operates upon judgments, let alone value-judgments, but it is fairly common for a caller to be failing to create the right impression, according to the strictly high expectations of the Samaritan, and for the status of the callers issues to be used by the Sam to terminate the call.

There may be someone more desperate than you..

Judgment is used to eject the caller who has not shown that their issues are big enough or distressing enough to merit time. The caller may have said a few things that are deemed to be "chatting" or simply not filled the space the Sam expects the caller to fill with distress. As we have seen, the definition of "chat" will vary wildly from one Sam to another so the caller is always on tender-hooks wondering if the Sam will be totalitarian or humanistic. The caller also does not know whether their particular problems will be acceptable or not, in other words, will measure up or not. Callers are told in no uncertain terms that M.E. is not sufficient reason to call or that a family member who had a terminal illness and is now better, is reason to end the call. It is callous and arbitrary.

Of course, a very simplistic "check list" is being used to assess a caller and judge them, but, rather like the end result of ticking boxes in the NHS, it hurts too many people because the criteria simply don`t encompass real people. We can all see that a person "who seems not to be in distress" may be in more distress than one exhibiting it upfront ! One caller's crunch-point-event may be seemingly trivial compared to those with different levels of endurance or better stress management. Sams, though, judge people according to simplistic models and, basically, a person without obvious distress cues, will often find themselves judged "not worthy of time".

There are several ways that a Sam can get rid of a caller judged to be a "chatter" or not in sufficient distress, etc. One particularly harmful method is to introduce into the call the situation of a hypothetical caller who is in greater distress that the present caller ! This is directly stated, of course, no delicacy here! There is elicited here the classic guilt shift as well (!), "there is someone more desperate than you trying to get through and if you don`t vacate the line, you are guilty of preventing help for someone else." Needless to say that the negative effect upon the caller is huge.

Please do join me soon.......

Saturday, 22 May 2010

What On Earth Has Happened to The Samaritans (2) ?

To continue where I left off, let me give another example of the end result of a rigorous training that is all about Samaritan needs, on their terms....

It is a Crime to Chat.

Sams are told in training that chatting is not an acceptable use of time, nor does it help callers. This, just as the literal application of silence, leaves our Samaritan who genuinely wishes to help people, caught in a bind.

In reality, the interpretation of the work "chat" is not only arbitrary, when it comes down to it, but leads to an indiscriminate judging of people based upon a particular Sams interpretation of what constitutes "chat". A subjective, ruthless enforcement of the "no chat" rule leaves genuine callers upset, insulted and bewildered.Sams themselves are invariably so frightened that anything they say is "chat" that they are unable to engage with the caller AT ALL.

The Samaritan requirement for the caller to talk about their feelings has also become a servant of the Samaritan need to command and control "chatting". A huge number of Samaritans demand feelings which are to exclude the context around which those feelings exist, so that anything that is not soley and literally about feelings, will likely be penalised.

Because the Sam is told that chatting is not allowed, the opportunity for a caller to talk about their feelings has become, widely, a command to do so, based upon at its most extreme, the need to eliminate chatting. Many Samaritans want feelings from callers with no context at all (let alone any human interaction between Sam and caller). The experience for many callers, therefore, is that the events in their lives that give rise to any feeling of worry or distress, will be disallowed. This would mean that talk of family, events in the day, life circumstances, etc., all significant to the callers distress, will all be excluded by many Samaritans as "chat". A digression into the prohibited territory of,say,explaining family events in the day that led to whatever feelings prompted the caller to phone, may result in the Sam's parental-role-authority raising its reproving fist to threaten, "unless you talk about your feelings, I will end the call." Yet, if the caller rings again.... and gets another Samaritan who is not authoritarian (these are too few), he may find that "chatting" about context such as family, is thought not to be "chat" at all ! The fact is that a caller does not know whether the Samaritan they get can be trusted to be non-judgmental, whether they will judge that anything that is not purely "feelings" will be judged as chat, or where, indeed, the judgment will fall.

You may think, like me, that the two examples given so far, point to a service that is overly concerned with what IT wants rather than care for the caller. You`d be right. Of course, what is deeply alarming is that the bullying of callers at the behest of Sam training can have devastating consequences to vulnerable people. To be impugned with such judgments as being deemed non-genuine, or that one`s issues are in fact "chat" and, to boot, being told that the Samaritans is not the organisation for you if you want a less disciplined, less sterile approach, is deeply wounding.

But the judgments don`t stop here. Many Sams operate an assessment protocol whose purpose is to weed out those deemed unworthy of time. The Sam mantra has been that they are non-judmental, yet judgment is firmly rooted in a policy to judge which callers need time. I suppose the less loaded way of putting this would be to say that Sams are looking for folks who most need time, but, of course, you can see the problem....

Problem: how exactly do you judge who isn`t in distress sufficient enough to need time? Sams here, too, make up their own minds. They play God with callers, deselecting those who seem to have more trivial problems, according to a subjective view, and selecting ones who trigger the right signals for "acute", "needy", "distressed", and so on. Samaritans differ so much that one Sam will tell a caller that M.E. is not sufficient reason to call and another will see this as having great sympathy-value !! The subjective opt-out for a Sam who finds that they have no sympathy for serious illness, or anxiety about children, for example, will use one of the Sam phrases, "not here to chat", etc., to end the call. Absolute power. The caller has no chance.

I talked a little about why this happens in my last blog... Of course, we see a disparity of power wherever there are people in need and certainly "givers" have undue power over them. Paradoxically, the very anonymity of the Samaritan service contributes to Samaritans being able to be judgmental and cruel to many callers and for there to be little chance of recourse. Calls go to anywhere in the country and it is difficult for a caller to identify the Sam Centre where a Sam has been abusive. Of course,as one would expect,Samaritans who bully callers can lie about their location, making it more difficult for them to be caught and,sadly,even if complaints identify the offending Samaritan, other members at that branch, or in that locality, may well take it out on the person who has complained if they call again.

In summary, wherever people are abused there has to be opportunity to dispense bullying behaviour without being caught. Sams have this opportunity. Not all would take advantage, but it is to be noted here that all forms of abuse need a victim and a suitable situation to enable abuse. At this point we must observe that Samaritans are not overseen by anyone else ...with more tolerant, humanistic values. They are self-policed. There is no external challenge to their new system, its humanity, its efficacy or its rightfulness. With the clear inability of the organisation to be introspective it is necessary, I feel, for outside intervention.

I want to come back in a bit and talk about the psychology of this a little more. See you soon, I hope !!

What On Earth Has Happened to The Samaritans?

Hello Everyone!!

I hope you are very well !!!

For those expecting my continued blog about eating animals, apologies. I will come back to this soon.

It is with great heaviness that I come to this blog. It is not easy to know that which is uncomfortable to know ....

So, due to the sensitivity of this matter, I want to start with a statement of support for those who volunteer to be a Samaritan and to affirm their good intentions. It also has to be said that many Samaritans don`t use the regime-technique of which I am about to speak and are truly person-centred, compassionate and non-judgmental. However, this blog is about the very serious and deeply saddening issue of how most Samaritans treat people and that their manner of relation towards callers represents a desperately radical schism between the founding ethos of the Samaritans movement and present day practice.(I am talking about Samaritans in the U.K.)

It is out of respect for Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans, and a deep caring for all folks in distress who call them, that this blog is written.

The first thing to mention is that the Samaritans work upon a parent-child basis. It is this that is the fundamental problem....as we shall see............in the way a Samaritan will relate to a caller. To digress slightly, we have seen in government in recent times the phenomenon of Nanny State. A State that invades and interferes and controls everything we do. This is the State being our parent, disrespecting us as individuals and thinking that it knows best in its assumption of the parental role over us, its citizens. This is, of course, a social trend and the Sams are following a tendency to assume the role of parent that we see in many areas of our lives.

The parent-child role that all Sams are trained to employ is thought to be in the best interest of the caller (they know best). There is no malintention to control, disrespect, or aim to limit the potential of the call or to behave in an inhumane manner. Of course not. However, the one-track-mind-set of Sam training..... to do what is best for the caller upon a Samaritan-formulated agenda, results in an exacting, judgmental, controlling and punitive regime that is just about as far from what most people suppose the Sams to be about as to be almost impossible to believe.

We will be examining in these blogs the Sams fundamental disrespect for callers, their bullying of people in genuine need, and a Samaritan`s "comply with what we want or I`ll hang up", mentality.

The Wall of Silence.

Let me illustrate the manifestations of a parent-child ethos by giving some examples: Sams are told in their training that callers want and need silence.(This silence is thought of in terms of "giving the caller space to think".) The parent knows best what is good for them! Our well-intentioned volunteers therefore believe this not only to be true across the board, but MUST be dealt out to EVERY caller without any leeway. For a caller with some trepidation at making a call, a wall of silence is extremely disturbing, but the Sam will not adapt to the particular needs of the caller because they are trying to do exactly what they have been told to do in their training !!! This means that a caller who is inhibited by a policy of silence will not get a service at all from the Sams unless they bury their inhibitions and COMPLY with what the Samaritan thinks is best for them. You will see just how abusive this is when you consider that this one blanket practice discriminates against a caller (who may be in an equal state of distress to a caller who wants silence) who finds a wall of silence difficult to deal with.

But this is still more problematic because the Samaritan, having been drilled in good practice, believes that unless they stick to the way they have been told to "make space for the caller to think" they are doing something WRONG and certainly the caller is wrong not to be happy with it!

Sams are not told to adapt and put the caller first, they are told to stick to their training ! Tragically, if a caller asks for a more relaxed approach, that might be more conducive, the Samaritan will refuse upon a string of formulaic retorts.(We are, of course, talking about a genuine caller here.) Examples would be, "we don`t give advice", "we are hear to listen","we are not here to chat", etc., all rudely directed at a caller who does not want advice or, God forbid, want to chat. All pretty shameful avoidance tactics to shift the onus onto the caller and away from their own inadequacy.

Why do they do this? The answer is that a person wishing to help others goes into training and believes that the training is absolutely to be adhered to no matter what happens, and that this is THE way that they will be able to best help people. When they are presented with a caller who doesn`t fit their mold, they feel threatened. They then defend themselves by making the caller guilty, rather than blaming their own rigid formula. As is typical with groups, the group comes first, does no wrong and must be protected. The outsider, in this case the caller....and a caller who does not quite fit what the group demands....must be made guilty. With this position of self allied to group defence, the Samaritan then decides that a caller who wants something a little more person-centred is not a genuine caller. This is the point at which the Samaritan will bully the caller.Bullying is common place and knows no bounds.(I will give examples of this bullying later, probably in my second blog on this subject.)

You could be ostracised.

Let`s look at group psychology:
Groups exclude people who don`t fit in, who don't follow the thinking that the group expects. A caller who feels uncomfortable with a regime of silence, even if it is meant to be for his own good, will now come under the fist of a parent (Samaritan) who wants his wishes obeyed. At this point the Sam will make an ultimatum that either the caller fits in with what is on offer, or they will put the phone down. This sounds horrendous doesn`t it, though it is common practice for Sams to bully callers and to be abusive and cruel.This attitude reminds me of the confrontation between a parent and child when the child does not want to eat the food that is on offer, yet says they are hungry ! The parent will say, "If you don`t eat it, you aren`t hungry!" Well, in the same way, a caller who prefers a relaxed style from a Sam will be deemed "not really in distress" if they refuse what is on offer ! (Of course, this caller may feel timorous to call again, but several calls later will find a Samaritan who does not use a wall of silence, nor a harsh approach and the call will go very well.)

A genuine caller, who does not use bad language, is not offensive in any way and who is not a time-waster, can be excluded from a branch or a group of branches simply because they are branded by one or more Samaritans "non-genuine" on the basis of something like not feeling comfortable with silence. It`s that simple. A caller who needs a more humanistic approach can be ostracised from a branch purely because they don`t fit what ONE Samaritan demands.
We have discussed many times how groups demonise outsiders to secure or "make right" their own position and this is not only a classic example, but to be expected of group behaviour.Groups will unite in demonising a particular caller, human nature yet again, and this can happen in a branch where one Sam dislikes a caller and gains support from others to shut them out.
Of course, a practice that subjectively demonises and excludes certain non-offensive, genuine callers, using gathered information to identify people, will inevitably lead to over-invasive scrutiny of some callers thought to BE an individual who has been excluded, and to the slap in the face of mistaken identity. It is on these such occasions that an ordinary, distressed caller alarmingly discovers the full thrust of Samaritan behaviour and a painful glimpse into how others are treated.

In my next blog we will go on to explore such examples, and I hope, to come to an understanding of why Sams are able to bully and abuse completely genuine callers, in a one to one encounter that is unwitnessed and unpoliced.