From Psychiatric Name Calling to Plain, Humane English

Many mental health service providers well know that there are serious problems with the jargon that is used in their profession.  In a recent post titled “Psychiatric Name Calling: Is It Time To Put A Stop To It?” I outline some of the most glaring ones.  In a subsequent post titled “Psychiatric Name Calling: Is There An Alternative?” I describe a plan for professionals who have…

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William James’s Personal Bout with a “Mental Disorder”

William James, psychologist and philosopher, passed away over a century ago.  Nevertheless, his remarkable body of work remains as fresh as fruit plucked from its tree but moments ago. His views about his personal bout with a challenging experience developed over many years.  Today I think it will be instructive if we spent a little time reviewing what he learned. A Glimpse at James’s Early…

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Psychiatric Name Calling: Is There An Alternative?

The publishers of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) currently hold a monopoly for classifying the concerns that lead people to seek mental health services. Recently on this blog, in a series of articles, I have been pointing out numerous faults of the DSM.  To check out some examples of these, see my posts titled Name Calling by Psychiatrists: Is it Time…

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Are “Mental Illnesses” Really Potentially Helpful Tools?

If your behavior, thoughts, or feelings become a concern, for a fee, many psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers are eager to translate your experiences into a language of symptoms, diagnoses, psychopathology, and mental illness. In earlier posts I provided negative criticism about this type of name-calling from several different angles ((see here, here, here, here and here).  Today, we focus in on an additional problem…

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The Art and Abuse of Insults

Many of my posts leave some feeling like I insulted them.  In one post, for example, I took the position that when it comes to responding to criticism there are four levels of maturity.  Some people who respond to criticism in a way that matches the description of the immature levels let me know that they felt I had insulted them. In another post, I…

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Insults By Jews As Works Of Art

This summer I visited Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History.  Some of the floors were devoted to a single theme.  For example, there was a floor devoted to “Chasing Dreams,” which celebrated baseball and the many fans, players, and characters from minority groups who helped shape our American story.  And there was a floor devoted to Jews as immigrants coming to America. Each exhibit…

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To Listen, Or To Criticize?

In the above Sally Forth comic strip, we learn from Ted that Sally had a fight with her sister.  By the third panel, Ted begins to criticize Sally, saying she is coming off like a robot, and then he expresses his view that she had been kind of dismissive of her sister’s news about becoming engaged. In the last panel, I get the feeling that…

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Killing People Because They Criticized Your Muslim Faith: Is It A Sign of Immaturity?

Anyone who follows the news, even in the most cursory manner, has heard about last week’s horrific slaughter of a group of individuals who worked for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.  The magazine had published articles and cartoons that criticize those who believe that the proper response to people making fun of a group’s religious beliefs is to kill them.  Although the magazine writers…

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Treating ADHD: If Not Drugs, Then What?

Some children, when asked to attend to certain tasks, do so for shorter periods than most.  Some are also more energetic.  Such children are often said to have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Although many doctors recommend placing children believed to have ADHD on drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall, many parents refuse to go that route.  The evidence that the drugs do not lead to…

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Einstein and Stupidity

“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.”–Albert Einstein In the spring of 1914, Albert Einstein left his home in Switzerland to take a job at the University of Berlin in Germany’s capital.  He was then, 35. He took the job with much misgivings.  When he was a young boy living in Germany, Einstein…

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