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Friday, February 23, 2007

Psychological Reflections, Part 1

In Conflict

Back when my baby (now 4) was born, I had some serious bouts with gall stones. It was very painful...worse than labor because it came back. Anything, anything to avoid surgery, I took a draught of sarsaparilla as a homeopathic remedy. And it worked. Unfortunately, the best source of sarsaparilla I could find was a liquid extract that's combined with burdock. The flavor is a nasty bit of bitterness. Nasty to the point of postponing dosages until the pain of the gall stone attack is severe. Nasty, nasty.

The psychology course I just took was much like that sarsaparilla/burdock concotion. Good for me, yes, but nasty going down. First things first, I earned my A. I was doiling for a while there (meaning I was hovering around a low A-, which is dangerous territory), but I hunkered down and brought it up to a low A. Yay me. No, really, I'm enthused.

*sigh*

Perhaps it's just the timing. At home, we were having struggles on a different psychological front. The boys' autism therapy is an intensive in-home behavioral therapy, with a psychologist as the lead. To say the least, we do not see eye to eye...on so many things. One of those things is Ben. Ben, my baby, is not yet in therapy. Thus, he roams about the house playing as he pleases...as kids do. For some, this is a problem. Ben likes to play with therapy toys, he likes to scribble with pens that are left in his reach, and *gasp* he likes to climb on furniture and counters. So, our own therapists call CPS.

Each time, the accusation is unsubstantiated. But...I'm on first-name-basis with the CPS social worker. Good: I can go to her when we need bureaucratic help; she's on "our" side, meaning that she's aware of our struggles, our efforts, and is rootin' for our success because we're NOT neglectful or abusive. Bad: We're being accused of criminal neglect by therapists who are working with our boys in our own home. This started full-swing when the lead psychologist was changed to the current individual. Coincidence? Hmm. And...the last straw was when one of these therapists (against regulations?) called the cops. Nobody is quite sure why. The cops weren't even sure. But they came, they saw, they noted, and they left. The cops were fine, and we've got nothing to hide, but that's going too far.

Now, I just want to take a break and point out that I don't have a problem with either CPS or the cops. They both have an unfortunately necessary job. However, aside from the invasiveness of it all -- which again, we've got nothing to hide so it doesn't bother me -- there's the citizenry aspects. These people are paid by my property taxes. They do have a job to do. That job is to help those children (and for the cops, everyone) who needs it. If they're coming here, how many other unnecessary tasks are they doing? They both have limited resources, how much of those resources are being wasted because someone's either vindictive or covering their butt? This worries me a great deal. Did some little child not get the help he or she needed, because CPS had to come to my house? Did some family lack help, because the cops were over here? I see this waste of resources as a problem.

*sigh*

So, I admit my mind wasn't happy-go-lucky on the side of psychology during this course. I've had more bad run-ins with psychologists than I've had good. Now, the good ones have been outstandingly wonderful, but still... I admit there's the possibility that I wasn't as open-minded as I should have been. However, I would also say, in my defense, that I try to look at each area of interest through a critically thinking mind. This means, I try to remain open to the possibility, but I also reserve my right to skepticism. This is all well and good when applied to psuedopsychology, but apply it to the real thing... It's strange that some people seem to see critical thinking as a challenge to their authority, especially when a (small) portion of their class is about the ideal of using critical thinking. Then again, that my teacher felt I challenged her authority was my perception; I grant it may not have been accurate.

Anywho...we didn't get off on the right foot. And my asking questions (in class) and getting, "That is beyond the scope of this class" in return didn't help. Damn, those words annoy me. The response on the tip of my tongue, which my respect for authority refuses to let loose, is, "So? Answer the question anyway." Besides, I mentioned neurodiversity and, with some few exceptions, that builds a barrier between psychologists and myself.

Despite this wrong-footed-ness, I did learn quite a bit. My previous psychology class was all Freudian and limited and gross, and most of my personal experience and knowledge of psychology pertains to "abnormal" psychology. (Just a side-note: Considering the statistics of how prevalent "abnormal" psychology is, can it really be that "ab"normal? Hmm.) So, there was definitely room for the gaining of knowledge, which I usually enjoy.

One of the things I learned about psychology is that the level of agreement I thought there was on the validity of certain psychological claims (perceived due to my own limited experience) was much over-stated. Freudian psychology, behavioral psychology, and medicinal psychology are NOT perceived as 100% on the dot right even by other psychologists. Color me shocked! (Perhaps a grayish shade of purple with some orangey tones?)

To quote Psychology Wiki:

In terms of modern science, we have also passed through many different perspectives in the brief history of Psychology. Psychoanalysis, Behaviourism, Humanism, Cognitive Psychology and now Biopsychology and Imaging paradigms have often replaced one another as the dominant viewpoint. Whilst they often compliment one another, it cannot be denied that there is sometimes considerable conflict between the opposing viewpoints, and they certainly compete, in terms of funding if not in terms of content.


Genuine surprise. The front that behavioral, biopsychological, and psychoanalytical psychologists put up seems so...united, insurmountable, and damned-sure. By rejecting that surety (and thus aspects of those disciplines), I do not have to reject psychology altogether. Whodathunkit?

Amongst the theories, possibilities, and differences, I found myself a psychological life-boat. And tomorrow, I'll tell you what it is...

*this is Stephanie, not Mark*
:-P to Blogger

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