So the big question..What therapy provides the best result ?. Hans Strupp (1921-2006) a German born psychologist and psychotherapist believes that various therapies all provide 3 basic benefits:
- hope for the demoralised,
- a new perspective on oneself and the world,
- an empathic trusting caring relationship.
However, remember the words of Aaron Beck, that depending on what cognitive problem exists, it requires a specific therapeutic approach, so all therapies are neither inferior or superior to each other. In this article we will summarise some typical cognitive therapy sessions and discuss social psychology
Hans Strupp’s Therapy Sessions –
A therapy session caught on camera, and possibly the patient was an actor, but here is a man that appears initially distraught, depressed and lonely, having just divorced from his wife of only 5 years and as result he had to sell the family home. He said he did not want the divorce, and in the third year of marriage he began to feel that he and his wife were drifting apart, and communication together was at a bare minimum. His wife decided to go for counselling to try and discover what was going wrong. After 4 months she suggested that her husband attend a separate counselling session as well. After 6 months she suggested a trial separation where she would leave the family home and live in an apartment. He complied with everything and suggested that they might start dating again and then a short time after she asked for a divorce. He explained that he never wanted to get married and he went from one short relationship to the other looking for the perfect woman for him, and then he found what he was looking for,the perfect mate for him whom he married, which as it turned out also blew up in his face.
Am I a victim? Empathy and Sympathy
At this point you have great empathy and sympathy for this person thinking that he has done everything he can to save the marriage and still the ‘door was slammed in his face’. Then as the therapy session progresses the ‘devil’ reveals himself. He was looking for the perfect woman because he had delusions of grandeur himself, as the therapist concluded it was a narcissistic disorder, and as it turned out he was failing in his previous relationships, personal and work because he had a lot of pent up anger inside of him and a great distrust for anybody he met. Unconsciously, he was always on the defensive, so after a short time in a relationship his role playing ( Mr nice guy) wore off, and his true personality began showing through the cracks. During the session he began making remarks calling his ex-wife a bitch, and she screwed up. Then it was revealed that he did not get along with a female work colleague calling her a bitch and only after working there for 2 months he got fired. Now the empathy and sympathy begin to change sides, thinking that everybody this guy has come into contact with were victims to his grandiose and nracissistic character. Then the ‘climate’ changes again when you find out that his chilhood was complete misery. Both his parents were alcoholics, he was an only child that received no love nor caring from either parent since he was cowering in his bedroom while they were fighting. Since he received very little nurturing he had trouble making friends, so as he said all he had was a teddy bear.
I am a victim, my parents made me what I am today.
To compensate for his lack of maternal love, devoid of a caring loving relationship from his parents he became suspicious of everyone around him, causing him to take a defensive stance that haunted him throughout his life, to the point where he is now, depressed, feeling worthless, feeling that nobody wants him and nobody cares and feeling lonely. The empathy and sympathy for this man begins to flood back, and now we know the origins of his personality, and clear evidence that if a child is not loved or cared for it can have a profound effect throughout their lives, and the broken emotions need to be painstakingly fixed later in life using some form of psychotherapeutic intervention.
Therapy in this case is Invaluable
As you can appreciate, that just by prescribing a psychotropic drug to this type of individual would probably drive him ‘over the edge’ and possibly suicide as opposed to a number of therapy sessions to ‘put his emotional wheels back on’, in an attempt to correct the lack of nurturing that he so desperately needed ( as in all children bar none) in his childhood. I don’t believe a person that has experienced this maternal indifference, would make a full recovery, but a personality adjustment to change his perception of himself and to assure him that he is somebody, and a somebody to love unconditionally, without him having to go on the defensive is essential. This is where therapy from a loving caring therapist who wants to make him whole again would be invaluable.
What is social psychology, and why is it relevant to our overall discussion on the destruction of society’s social fabric? I chose this title because what professional authorities that are supposed to provide the wellbeing of society, have charted a course that is veering off in the wrong direction. Instead of understanding our human-beingness (I like this term, but I bet many hate it) and analysing individual behaviour and applying psychological principles, whose foundations have been established over the last few decades, the professions have chosen just to throw medication at the problem. Many psychologists that I have mentioned Aaron Beck, John Watson, B F Skinner, Albert Ellis, David Halan, Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls, Hans Strupp and in recent times David Healey, Peter Breggin, Grace Jackson and many more have spent their entire careers putting together a psychological blueprint to help us understand emotion, feelings and behaviour.
Honor their Memory
All their therapeutic teachings are non toxic and simply involve the power of face to face communication, and all of these fine individuals did not present this information only for all of it to be flushed down the toilet in favor of using poisonous drugs. To those who are deceased this is an insult to their memories, and if they knew that their wonderful gifts for us to use would simply be fine print in a history book, they could have just as easily sat on a beach somewhere enjoying the sun and sea. How can modern psychiatry and modern medicine be so ungrateful and dishonor their memories. If they are so devoted to their arsenal of drugs then maybe they should do the world a favor and take them themselves, since they believe they are so beneficial.
Social psychology ‘boiled down’ is the understanding of an individual’s behaviour and how it is influenced by the social environment where the particular behaviour occurs. Howard Melville (1819-1891) an American novelist (author of Moby Dick) wrote once:
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with Fellow men”
Social psychologists explore these fibers by scientifically studying how we think, influence and relate to one another. This duality of reason that other people’s behaviour is due to either the individual’s internal disposition ( personality, motives, attitude) or to their external circumstance ( social norms, peer pressure, random chance ) was proposed by Fritz Heider ( 1896-1988) an Austrian Gestalt psychologist. He called this Attribution Theory, from his published works ‘the psychology of Interpersonal Relations that also contained his Balance theory. Psychological balance theory can easily be understood by advertising products. If you view a product that is being promoted by a celebrity, and you like both product and celebrity than its a double reinforcement to achieve psychological balance. On the other hand if you already had a dislike for the product being endorsed by a the same celebrity, to achieve balance you might begin to dislike the celebrity. Another example is ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Applying the Attribution Theory
So how is this applied to life ?. If we open the case study again concerning Cathy that was featured in article 5:
….Growing up with her father and 2 brothers she was often the target of her brothers bullying. During her high school years she was hostile, angry and withdrawn…
When her teachers were faced with her behaviour, they must have questioned whether her hostility was attributed to her personality ( dispositional attribution ), or her external circumstances (situational attribution). As it transpired Cathy was a normal child, but she was stressed by the abuse from her bullying brothers which changed her personality, which spiralled out of control, and instead of receiving therapy to find the underlying problem the ignorant psychiatrist medicated her problem and destroyed her life as a consequence. In this case, underestimating situational influences is known as fundamental attribution error. This occurs quite frequently when psychologists are asked to give evidence in court cases where maladaptive behaviour has caused mortality, as in the case of Adam Lanza, when the Report of the Office of the Child Advocate concluded that Lanza had not received adequate mental health treatment, which, had he received, would have uncovered a dispositional attribution.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said:
“Well-meaning, helpful, good-natured attitudes of mind have not come to be honored on account of their usefulness, but because they are states of richer souls that are capable of bestowing and have their value in the feeling of the plenitude of life.”
Deep down we know what we believe in, and if our beliefs coincide with our behaviour, attitudes can inspire wonderful, meaningful action, like me I believe in true health through lifestyle and diet, and my beliefs and attitude reflect my passion to write about it, hoping it will change some people’s lives for the better. Strong in belief and steadfast in intention. However, as the German poet Goethe said “Thinking is easy, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world”, so there is a certain amount of hypocrisy, and questionable morality in attitude. Strong influences can change attitudes especially on fickle minds even by conditioning. Edgar Schein from MIT ( Center for International Studies ) published ‘Brainwashing’ in 1960 that discussed coercive persuasion for example during soviet times and even today in China, rehabilitation and reform techniques are used on non communist dissidents to the point that these individuals gradually adjust to communist thinking. When Stalin was alive he was very interested in Pavlov’s conditioning experiments. Marxist ideology believed that proper class consciousness could only be found in the urban proletariat, where peasant origins should lead to the antithesis of desired Communist attitude due to conservatism from the close ties of the peasants to the land. The influence of Eric Harris on Dylan Klebold was a classic case of coercive persuasion since Klebold was the more ‘malleable’ of the two, and very much open to persuasion, allowing a loving kind individual to be manipulated into killing.
The Stanford Prison Experiment
The combination of social attitude and the attribution theory was very well demonstrated by psychologist Philip Zimbardo’s experiment in 1973 called the ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ to establish the source of brutality reported toward prison guards in American prisons, be it from sadistic personalities of the guards ( dispositional attribution) or the prison environment ( situational attribution). In context, the guards may not have sadistic tendencies but become domineering and aggressive influenced by the inmates that generally have a disrespect for law and order and authority. Alternatively they may be stressed ( both inmates and guards ) due to the rigid power structure of the prison environment. Zimbardo converted the basement of Stanford University’s Psychology building into a mock-up prison environment and then recruited 24 male college students paying them $15/day. The final 24 were chosen from 70 applicants to ensure no student had any psychological problems, disability or a history of crime or substance abuse.
The Prisoner/Guard set-up
Each volunteer was randomly assigned the role of prisoner or guard. The 11 guards worked together in threes and worked in 3 * 8 hour shifts. The prisoners were three to a room, and there was one solitary confinement room for the misbehaved. Each volunteer ‘prisoner’ was arrested at their home, taken to the police precinct, fingerprinted, photographed, booked and then shipped off to Stanford for ‘incarceration’. Once they arrived, their possessions were confiscated, and they were showered and given prison clothing. Each prisoner was assigned an ID number. All guards wore sunglasses to prevent prisoner to guard eye contact, each carried a police truncheon and a whistle, and all wore identical khaki uniforms and were instructed to do whatever was necessary to maintain law and order without physical violence.
The Experiment Begins
Zimbardo kept an eye on the situation as the Prison Warden. Almost at once after the experiment started, Guards began harassing prisoners by awakening them with the sound of loud whistles at 2:30 am. Reality set-in rapidly where some prisoners would ‘rat on’ and take sides against their fellow inmates to the guards. Guards would taunt the prisoners with insults and petty orders and generally attempted a form of dehumanization. Guards would impose push-ups to the prisoners as a form of punishment while guards would step on their backs or have fellow prisoners sit on their backs while doing the push-up routines. On the morning of the second day all hell broke loose and the prisoners began to rebel by ripping off the ID numbers sewn on their clothes and barricaded themselves in their cells pushing the beds against the cell doors. Guards brought in reinforcements to try to quell the riot, by using fire extinguishers to force the prisoners away from the cell doors, and then gained entry, stripping each prisoner naked, and removing their beds out of the cells. The rebellion ringleaders were then locked in solitary confinement and the rest were harassed and intimidated.
Prisoner No 8612 Leaves the Experiment
In order to break the solidarity of the prisoners, the guards made one cell a ‘privilege cell’ where the inmates that were just dragged into the rebellion, were given special privileges and their clothes and beds were returned and they allowed them washing privileges and gave them food which they ate in front of the rest of the inmates that lost their privilege to eat. Since the guards had put down the rebellion, and the fact that the guards were dependent on their captors, the latter abused their power and became more derisive toward their ‘charges’ showing total contempt, while the prisoners became more submissive. This power abuse/submission arrangement grew worse until Prisoner no 8612, less than 36 hours into the experiment, started crying and displaying emotional disturbance and disorganized thinking and rage, but the guards insisted that he could not leave or quit, but Zimbardo realized that prisoner 8612 had to leave the experiment.
The next day the guards organised a visit from parents and friends, after sprucing up the cells and washing the prisoners. After the visit, the guards became aware of a mass escape plan which made the guards harass the prisoners even more forcing some prisoners to wash the toilets with their bare hands. Zimbardo organised a visit from a priest to assess the reality of the experiment and to interview each prisoner individually. During these interviews Prisoner No 819 started to cry hysterically, at which point he was told to rest and given food and to see a doctor. Because the guards encouraged the other prisoners to begin chanting ‘Prisoner 819 is a bad prisoner, prisoner 819 heard the chanting, feeling humiliated he refused to leave the experiment.
Termination of the Experiment
Zimbardo had planned for the experiment to run for 2 weeks but the abuse the prisoners were receiving resulted in psychological breakdowns in several prisoners so it was necessary to call a halt to the experiment. The result of the experiment concluded that the guards who had no sadistic tendencies before the experiment became absorbed in their role and succumbed to a situational attribution as opposed to a dispositional attribution. A movie was made in 2015 recreating this experiment called ‘The Stanford prison experiment’. For the prisoners that had been broken into submission were party to a process referred to as ‘deindividuation’ when the ‘prisoners’ became so immersed as submissives they began losing their sense of identity and personal responsibility.
One can appreciate how important social psychology is and how powerful a force it is, especially what was portrayed in the The Stanford prison experiment, in terms of conformity and obedience as examples of social influence. Zimbardo went on to write a book entitled ‘The lucifer effect’ which outlines how personality characteristics play a role in how violent or submissive actions are manifested, and that humans cannot be defined as good or evil because they possess the ability to act as both, given a particular situation as shown by the guards in the prison experiment.
The Abu Ghraib prison Human Rights Violations
Furthermore, during the Iraq war in March 2003, the US Army and the CIA committed a series of human rights violations against detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This abuse became public knowledge via CBS news in April 2004. The US administration’s Joint chief General Myers claimed it was caused by a few rogue soldiers. Zimbardo argued that these atrocious crimes were perpetrated because of the situation (situational attribution) the guards and interrogators were placed in the middle of, fuelled by the Bush Administration policies, saying that good people can be seduced, induced and initiated into behaving in evil ways.
The Electric Shock Experiments
This point of view appears to be confirmed by Stanley Milgram (1933-1984) an American social psychologist who conducted an experiment on obedience in the 1960’s. Milgram was influenced by the events that took place in the death camps during WWII, making him curious to how human beings could be driven to commit mass murder on other human beings. The study involved a team of 2 individuals a ‘teacher’ and a ‘learner’. The latter was strapped to a chair which was connected to an electrical supply, while the teacher sat in front of an electric shock generator equipped with various voltage switches. The teacher tested the learner on a list of word pairs and any wrong answer given, the learner received a slight shock of 15 volts and as the test progressed any further wrong answers, the voltage increased in stages. When 150 volts was applied the learner pleaded with the teacher to stop the experiment, and upon hearing this the teacher began to reduce the voltage, but the experiment coordinator insisted that the experiment must continue and reach its conclusion. The teacher complied until the learner received 330 volts, after which learner fell silent after continued shrieks of pain from the multiple electric shocks. Still the coordinator insisted continuance applying a final 450 voltage.
The Electric Shock Experiments- Conclusions
After the experiment, the teacher, who, understandably, was visibly shaken that he had harmed the learner, was surprised that he was unharmed, and it was at this point that both participants were informed that the experiment was a hoax and there were no electric shocks applied, and the learner was simply play acting. When Milgram conducted these experiments with men aged 20-50, 63% complied with the coordinators wishes and that the actual experiment was a test of willingness on the part of the teacher to comply with commands to inflict punishment. These experiments further concluded that the power of legitimate, close at hand authorities was dramatically apparent in compliance with orders, as is what happened in the holocaust, and if you have seen the Nuremberg trials of high ranking Nazis some said in their defence “I was only following orders”. It makes you wonder and possibly understand why so many people are obedient toward their physicians and totally compliant when the Physician prescribes the HPV vaccine and you waiver a little and they say..” YOU DON’T WANT TO GET OVARIAN CANCER DO YOU ???”.
[Prisoner Irwin addresses inmates at the mess hall]
Eugene Irwin: We can no longer wear the uniform of a soldier. We forfeited that right and that includes me. I disobeyed an executive order, I violated my duty as a commanding officer. And eight men paid a catastrophic price. It’s a mistake not easy to live with. So here I am just like you, a convicted criminal. Only difference between you and me is, I know I’m guilty. So we’re packed away here as prisoners. And one thing is certain, our captors have the power. They can humiliate us, they can beat us, they can lock us away in a dark hole for days on end, but there’s one thing they cannot do. They cannot take away from us, who we are. And we are soldiers! And it is the one thing, the ONE thing that gives us a chance in here. And that nobody can take away!
Prisoner: Yeah that’s right.
Irwin: The Uniform Code of Military Justice. Grounds for Removal of a Stockade or Disciplinary Barracks Commander: One. Dereliction of duty.
Inmates: That’s right. Yeah.
Irwin: Two. Criminal malfeasance. Three. Noncompliance with procedural rules.
Irwin: Four. Making false official statements. Five. Conduct unbecoming to an officer and gentleman.
Irwin: Six. Cruelty and maltreatment of persons under his command, Seven. Command failure resulting in loss of control of facility. Gentlemen, I propose that we seize control of this facility.
Quote from the 2001 Movie The Last Castle
Check out the Previous Articles in this series:
- Fritz Heider, Balance theory, Stanley Miligram, Philip Zimbardo Wikipedia
- Psychology Book 1995 David G Myers
- Brainwashing Book 1960 Edgar Schein
- Stanford Prison experiment Saul Mcleod 2017 Simplypsychology
- Movie Quotes The Last Castle 2001 Wikiquotes
About The Author: Eric Malouin
In terms of my heritage I am not a thoroughbred, I am half English from England and half French Canadian from Quebec. Having spent the last 10 years in Medical research I thought that it was time to share my passion for true health to anybody interested in maintaining health without using conventional medicine. Once in the distant past I lived off conventional grocery shelves until you visit the man in the white coat and then a light shines through the darkness that you had not realized you were in… I was in..the twilight zone….I cured my own problems using natural methods, although they were not a big deal since I have always exercised..jogging every morning and tennis 12 hours/week, swimming but I was eating a lot of devil food that was causing my body to become unbalanced..an easy fix..reprogrammed my taste buds and gave the food back to the devil…lol
I hope you enjoy the articles……
Contact the Author: firstname.lastname@example.org