Monday, May 18, 2009

I don't know why I love Batman so much. But alas, here is one of my favorites - dissociation at its finest. "Dr. Crane isn't here right now."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paradoxical Intention

"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."

Even though I am regularly forced to watch all six episodes of the Star Wars movies, including recent Clone Wars episodes, I always find Master Yoda to be incredibly profound. I've been fortunate to have my own Jedi Masters, and consider myself to be a Jedi in training. In this clip, Anakin receives counsel from Master Yoda, and it's the last thing he wants to hear. He is fearful and does not want Padme to die. In our own greed, insecurity and fear, we become captives to the very thing we fear the most. Cognitive behavioral therapists refer to this as paradoxical intention, or asking the client to do or wish for the very thing they fear most.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Just Thought This Was Funny

Sexual Deviancy at it's Finest

The nerds of the anime world, living in the Akihabara province of Tokyo, Japan, are able to enjoy cross-dressing (transvestism, aka "crossdressing for the purpose of sexual arousal) maids who serve them cake and tea at local cafe's. There are even private rooms where your "maid" will rub your hands or legs, or other parts. These nerds spend so much time on the computer, they are reported to be unable to sustain normal relationships with other people. These reported repressed, schizotypical and socially impaired individuals also enjoy something called "ani mate" or a computer program which simulates an actual romantic relationship, conflicts and all. I'm trying to find a link for it, but have so far been unsuccessful. BTW, transvestism should not be confused with transexualism, or someone who identifies and wants to become someone of the opposite sex through reassignment surgery (thank you EPPP).

Yes, Tokyo as I'm discovering, is an interesting place. They also sport something called cat cafe's, where individuals can pay 8 to 12 dollars an hour to stroke a cat. Akihabara residents (yes, the same anime nerds) report that limited living spaces, long hours at work, and stressful jobs make the cat cafe a relaxing place to come during their lunch hour. It's good to know, however; that there are no private rooms in the cat cafe's.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Animal Odd Couple

This is one of the most touching displays of love and companionship.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Senseless Tragedy

Two days ago, a 48 year old man walked into the Crystal Cathedral, knelt down at the altar and shot himself in the head. Reports are now that he was homeless and mentally ill. Of course, both Orange County Adult Mental Health Services and Los Angeles County Mental Health Services both are refusing to release or acknowledge that he received mental health services, citing privacy issues. The real is very likely that he received numerous services, and that he contributed to the revolving door of mental health in the state of California. He likely never received the type or quality of assistance to give him a chance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"I Lobe You"

So, the other day I received a valentine from a super cute pre-school aged boy, and inside the valentine read, "I Lobe You." Mispelling? Did he mishear the teacher - well, he hasn't gotten to the letter "V" yet, so maybe he heard "B." Though most of our experience of love is centered in the pleasure center and the limbic system, along with the assistance from dopamine, seratonin and neuropeptides, I'd like to believe that some of my "lobes" are involved in the decision making process of love. I lobe you too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Medical Paternalism in House M.D.

Article by: Mark R Wicclair, Center for Bioethics and Health Law, University of Pittsburgh, 3708 Fifth Avenue, Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA;

Abstract: The popular television series House M.D. is drawn upon to provide a critical examination of medical paternalism and how it is presented in the show. Dr Gregory House, the character named in the title of the series, is a paradigm of a paternalistic physician. He believes that he knows what is best for his patients, and he repeatedly disregards their wishes in order to diagnose and treat their illnesses. This paper examines several examples of medical paternalism and the means used to portray it favourably in the series. It is argued that the positive depiction of medical paternalism in the fictional world of the series does not apply in the real world. The paper also considers why a show that features a paternalistic physician who so blatantly flouts mainstream medical ethics might appeal to health professionals and members of the general public.

Alas, I am unable to review this article for you, because I am poor and cannot afford to buy it. I think the implications for medical paternalism, as portrayed in the television show House, are particularly relevant for the issue of involuntary commitment, hospitalization and mandated treatment. At what point, do we as professionals, have the right to impose treatment, and deny basic civil liberties (even when it is in their very best interest for recovery)?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good Ol' Social Psychology

Funny Elevator Psychology
An old video from the TV show Candid Camera. They show us what happens if everyone on an elevator stands backwards. LOL!

Check out this really funny video about "elevator psychology."

Joker's Social Experiment

The cooperation (or altruism) of people has long been investigated before the days of Batman or the Joker, using non-zero sum games, or games in which the gains and losses do not sum to zero. In these games, if the players cooperate they minimize their losses and maximize their total gains. The findings indicate that even if it is in the players' interests to cooperate, most people compete anyway.

The best-known game of this kind is called Prisoner's Dilemma. Pairs of subjects role-play being suspects in a crime. They get interrogated separately by the district attorney and are given two alternatives - to confess or to remain silent. The game is worked out so that if both remain silent, there can be only minor charges lodged against them. If one confesses and the other remains silent, the confessor receives immunity from punishment and the other one gets the severe punishment. If both confess, they both get severe sentences. The best strategy is for both to be cooperative and not confess. The research shows, however, that players tend to confess in the hope of beating out the other. But since both confess, both lose. Maybe the Batman movies aren't so dark after all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Eyebrows and Other Fish

Another book to throw on the pile of "to be read" books. This one sounds a little more interesting than the others. Andrew Scully chronicles his life as a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic. For those of us in the mental health field, we can usually personally relate in some small way to most of our clients, or the humanity therein. However, for those individuals (remember, we don't call them patients anymore per the wellness and recovery model) with thought disorders, the closest a mental health provider can come to relating is to go on an acid trip, or smoke methamphetamine for a long-time. I wouldn't recommend either.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Psychology of Blogging

According to a recent article about what we are really doing when we blog, "[Usenet posts] are short, informal, sometimes controversial, and sometimes deeply personal, no matter what topic they approach. They can be characterized by their conversational tone and unlike a more formal essay or speech, a [Usenet post] is often an opening to a discussion, rather than a full-fledged argument already arrived at. " But as the author would suggest, there's nothing new about blogs - they are something old in new form.

What is the Dr.'s motivation? Let's explore: closet exhibitionist, desire to help a broader community, psychoeducation, fame, need for intimacy, pro bono work, ..or perhaps boredom is the biggest reason. Surely one can argue that there are more interesting things to blog about than psychology. But are there - doesn't psychology encapsulate everything other topic possible. What is your motivation for reading this blog?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Welcome to the Nut House

Patient's Rights vs. Treatment

Individuals have the inherent right to refuse mental health services and to continue living in an impaired, dysfunctional manner – but individuals do not have the right to create impairment and dysfunction in the weak and vulnerable, those unable to protect themselves. Click here for more information about ACT, AOT, and mandated outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill. The severely mentally ill are often not able to recognize the severity of their own symptoms, placing their safety and the safety of others at risk. Our current mental health and legal system cannot act in these individuals lives until someone has been hurt or or some crime has been committed. The revolving door of inadequate and inconsistent care in the state of California costs taxpayers, health care, and social services millions of dollars. Preventative care in the form of mandated outpatient treatment for specific individuals is one way to alleviate costs, resources, and protect mentally ill individuals and the community. Since the days of Dorothea Dix, mental health systems have struggled to balance compassionate care/patient's rights with treatment. One thing we can learn from Dorothea Dix is that social reform is needed to temper patient's rights with treatment that the most severely mentally ill deserve.