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Finally some positive news on the gender front.  The Tavistock Centre in the UK is to be shut down because they are not adequately helping the children sent there. The BBC reports

“Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has been told to shut the clinic by spring after it was criticised in an independent review.

Instead, new regional centres will be set up to “ensure the holistic needs” of patients are fully met, the NHS said.

The trust said it supported plans for a new model due to a rise in referrals.

The changes will take place after an independent review, led by Dr Hilary Cass, said the Tavistock clinic needed to be transformed.

She said the current model of care was leaving young people “at considerable risk” of poor mental health and distress, and having one clinic was not “a safe or viable long-term option”.

Challenging Gender identity is career kryptonite for mental health care professionals.  Speaking out against it carries a high social cost as transgender activists and those on board with the anti-reality transgender ideology have made the the scientific debate and conversation around the issue nearly untouchable.  The similarities to religious dogma and how heretics were punished/excommunicated is apt in this situation.  It took an independent review and court cases to shine the light on dubious practices – gender affirmation therapy for instance – and bring them into question.

“There were rising referrals and a long waiting list but at the same time some former staff were raising concerns about the way it operated.

Then, former patient Keira Bell went to court saying she had not been challenged enough about her decision at 16 to take drugs that began her transition from female to male – a decision she later regretted.

Earlier this year, Dr Cass’s report said there was a lack of understanding about why the type of patients the clinic was seeing was changing, with more female to male patients and more autistic children. Dr Cass also highlighted inconclusive evidence to back some of the clinical decision making.”

Yeah, the gender-magic has run afoul of good evidence based medical practice –

In an interim report earlier this year, Dr Cass said:

  • The service was struggling to deal with spiralling waiting lists

  • It was not keeping “routine and consistent” data on its patients

  • Health staff felt under pressure to adopt an “unquestioning affirmative approach”

  • Once patients are identified as having gender-related distress, other healthcare issues they had, such as being neurodivergent, “can sometimes be overlooked”

Most of the current psychological treatment of gender disorders has been warped by transgender ideology and activists.  Gender dysphoria is the only body morphic disorder that has a affirmative care approach.

What does this look like?  Well consider Anorexia – the idea behind most treatments is to guide the patient back to a body image that comports with reality and to dispel the illusions and misconceptions of being “fat” while in fact being severely underweight and malnourished.  Affirmative therapy would agree with the anorexic’s self diagnosis and would look for ways for them to flourish in their quest to be thin…

Gender affirmation therapy starts with the preordained conclusion that the child or person in question perception of their gender and body are correct and work toward that goal.

Ludicrous.

“Dr David Bell – not related to Keira Bell – is a former consultant psychiatrist at the Tavistock NHS Foundation Trust, where he raised concerns. He said it was a “good thing” the service was closing down.

Proper funding was needed for mental health services for children and adolescents, he said.

He told the BBC: “Some children have got the double problem of living with the wrong treatment, and the original problems weren’t addressed – with complex problems like trauma, depression, large instances of autism.”

The tide is beginning to turn against this wave anti-science, transgender ideology, and not a moment too soon.

 

Change is hard. Always.

Reading a new book called the Coddling of the American Mind by Gregg Lukainoff and Jonathan Haidt.  Just started, but it has been very interesting so far as describes some of the less than ideal strategies we have have for making our way through society.  Some of the maladaptive strategies can be countered through consciously acknowledging the mental track being taken and making conscious effort to change said track.  Of course, it is easier to diagnose these problems in other people (because we are all-good amiright?), but being able to see and react to these tracks in yourself is the end goal (aka cognitive behaviour therapy, CBT).

  1.  Emotional Reasoning: Letting your feelings guide your interpretation of reality.  “I feel depressed; therefore my marriage is not working out.”

     2.  Catastrophizing:  Focusing on the worst possible outcome and seeing it as most likely. “It would be terrible if I failed.”

     3.  Overgeneralizing:  Perceiving a global pattern of negatives on the basis of a single incident. “This generally happens to me.  I seem to fail at a lot of things.”

     4.  Dichotomous Thinking: Viewing events or people in all-or-nothing terms. “I get rejected by everyone,” or “It was a complete waste of time.”

     5.  Mindreading: Assuming that you know what people think without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts: “He thinks I’m a loser.”

     6.  Labeling: Assigning global negative traits to yourself or others.  “I’m undesirable,” or “He’s a rotten person.”

     7.  Negative Filtering:  You focus almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom notice the positives.  “Look at all the people who don’t like me.”

     8.  Discounting Positives:  Claiming that the positive things you or others do are trivial, so that you can maintain a negative judgement.  “That’s what wives are supposed to do – so it doesn’t count when she’s nice to me,” or “Those successes were easy, so they don’t matter.”

     9.  Blaming: Focusing on the other person as a source of your negative feelings; you refuse to take responsibility for changing yourself. “She’s to blame for the way I feel now,” or “My parents caused all of my problems.”

 

[…]  It’s easy to see how somebody who habitually things in such ways would develop schemas that revolve around maladaptive core beliefs, which interfere with realistic and adaptive interpretations of social situations.

-The Coddling of the American Mind. p.38

  It has been a good read so far, will keep you updated. :)

 

We are a social species, seeking qualified help from another person, professional or otherwise, is almost always a good plan.  Mary Lundorff says this about grief:

“People experiencing complicated grief often avoid people, situations or objects that remind them of the permanence of their loss, so some version of exposure is often used. Exposure might include retelling the story of the loss or identifying particularly disturbing memories that the person tends to avoid, and then gradually revisiting these memories within and between treatment sessions. The final stages of therapy are often future-focused, working towards resumption of life without the deceased. This element emphasises establishing and maintaining a healthy bond to the deceased, including an acceptance that life continues, and targeted help to reengage in meaningful relationships.

The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is only partially correct because, for severely inflamed wounds, time is not the solution. It is necessary to see a doctor and receive specialised treatment to aid the healing process. Bereaved individuals experiencing complications in their grief process often describe their situation as extremely numbing, overwhelming and debilitating. As shown in the case of Amy, one’s social network is a crucial factor. While an understanding and supportive network can act as a protective factor against prolonged grief disorder, withdrawal from friends and family can create social isolation and increase feelings of meaninglessness, contributing to the development of prolonged grief disorder. It is essential to know that professional help is available. If you read this and recognise the symptoms of prolonged grief disorder in someone you know – or perhaps in yourself – seek out professional support because time does not heal all grief.”

Heidi Maibom in her essay at Aeon Magazine explores some the psychological and philosophical insights into morality gained by observing the behaviour of psychopathic individuals.  I recommend going to Aeon and reading the entire article, its quite insightful.

 

“The psychopath’s response to people who suffer indicates that what we recognise as morality might be grounded not simply in positive, prosocial emotions but also in negative, stressful and self-oriented ones. This is not some cuddly version of empathy, but a primitive aversive reaction that seemingly has little to do with our caring greatly for the humanity of others.

Yet what exposes our common humanity more than the fact that I become personally distressed by what happens to you? What could better make me grasp the importance of your suffering? The personal part of empathic distress might be central to my grasping what is so bad about harming you. Thinking about doing so fills me with alarm. Arguably, it’s more important that I curb my desire to harm others for personal gain than it is for me to help a person in need. Social psychology research has focused on how we’re moved to help others, but that’s led us to ignore important aspects of ethics. Psychopathy puts personal distress back in the centre of our understanding of the psychological underpinnings of morality.

The last lesson we can learn concerns whether sentimentalists or rationalists are right when it comes to interpretations of the moral deficits of psychopaths. The evidence supports both positions. We don’t have to choose – in fact, it would be silly for us to do so. Rationalist thinkers who believe that psychopaths reason poorly have zoomed in on how they don’t fear punishment as we do. That has consequences down the line in their decision making since, without appropriate fear, one can’t learn to act appropriately. But on the side of the sentimentalists, fear and anxiety are emotional responses. Their absence impairs our ability to make good decisions, and facilitates psychopathic violence.

Fear, then, straddles the divide between emotion and reason. It plays the dual role of constraining our decisions via our understanding the significance of suffering for others, and through our being motivated to avoid certain actions and situations. But it’s not clear whether the significance of fear will be palatable to moral philosophers. A response of distress and anxiety in the face of another’s pain is sharp, unpleasant and personal. It stands in sharp contrast to the common understanding of moral concern as warm, expansive and essentially other-directed. Psychopaths force us to confront a paradox at the heart of ethics: the fact that I care about what happens to you is based on the fact I care about what happens to me.”

    We’ve all experienced the inner hardening, and turning away when faced with another human being in need.  Of course it isn’t indicative of us being a psychopath, but the ability to realize that ethical distance is trait we all share.  I realize the pain and suffering of people who are starving, but they are far away and I can turn away and ignore their suffering and get along with my life.

Seems kinda shitty once you think about it, and the fact that most people do it doesn’t lessen the gravity of this particular ethical failure.  Yet, the behaviour will persist, a dubious solution to the real life situations that run up against our moral understanding of the world.

This sort of ethical dilemma is illustrated in the series Breaking Bad.  I’m almost done (two episodes left) watching Breaking Bad, and the moral path Walter White chooses to walk seems to illustrate the how muddy ‘good ethical behaviour’ gets once it hits the real word.

To be clear, a moral injury is not a psychiatric diagnosis. Rather, it’s an existential disintegration of how the world should or is expected to work—a compromise of the conscience when one is butted against an action (or inaction) that violates an internalized moral code. It’s different from post-traumatic stress disorder, the symptoms of which occur as a result of traumatic events. When a soldier at a checkpoint shoots at a car that doesn’t stop and kills innocents, or when Walter White allows Jesse’s troublesome addict girlfriend to die of an overdose to win him back as a partner, longstanding moral beliefs are disrupted, and an injury on the conscience occurs.”

What quality makes people bounce back from a moral injury, or turn further toward questionable moral choices?  We’d all like to think we belong to the class of upstanding, moral citizens – but how long does that last once the unkind vicissitudes of life go into overdrive?

 

 

 

I do love readinng Aeon Magazine. This essay by Bence Nanay questions how much control we have over our desires in society.  It is a fascinating question as I think the commonly held belief we all have is that we, as individuals, are ever-present and mostly unchanging over time as we interact with society.  It isn’t really the case as we are far from the immutable social islands that we think we are and more like a slowly flowing stream that is in a gradual state of constant change.

Unfortunately advertisers have latched onto this very human tendency and try to exploit our quasi-fluid state of desiring things by shaping advertising messages to foment desires with us, to get us to buy their particular product.  Quite insidious, really.  But then again, most of capitalism is.

 

“But what would be the screening mechanism for direct desire infection? Beliefs form a coherent network, but desires don’t. We can, and very often do, have conflicting desires. Just because a desire I acquired by means of desire infection contradicts some other desire of mine, I will not normally reject it. Contradictions between beliefs are easier to spot than contradictions between desires.

Cigarette or beverage commercials are very efficient ways of infecting you with desires. They are not trying to communicate a message. If they did, they would probably choose a more efficient message than Real men smoke a certain brand of cigarette. Such commercials are trying to trigger desires in you, bypassing your screening mechanism, which is probably against smoking and consuming sugary beverages. And they do so very efficiently: even though you think that a certain brand of sugary beverage is very unhealthy and bad for you, if the commercial is well-done, it will nonetheless trigger a desire in you.

Is there no screening mechanism against direct desire infection then? Here is one option: we want lots of things, but we want to only want very few things. Wanting to want something is what makes it stand out from the crowd. So this second-order desire (of not just wanting but wanting to want) could be thought of as the screening mechanism for direct desire infection. We screen out desires we do not want to have. And there are desires we do want to have – these are the ones that pass the screening and get to be endorsed.

This would give us a nice parallel with the screening mechanism for beliefs based on testimony. The problem is that it is unlikely to work. Second-order desires are also desires. So given that we can acquire first-order desires by direct desire infection, there is no obvious reason why second-order desires could not be acquired by direct desire infection. But then what would protect us from the infection of our second-order desires? Maybe third-order desires? If we need second-order desires to decide which of our first-order desires are infected, we would then also need third-order desires to decide which of our second-order desires are infected. And so on. As a screening mechanism against infected desires, this won’t work.

The contrast I made between the screening mechanism of beliefs and that of desires is not supposed to be absolute. Our screening of false beliefs often fails. And, as some techniques in psychiatry show, some ‘unwanted’ desires often do get screened out, for example, by making the conflict between them blatantly obvious. But while there is a default mechanism for the screening of beliefs, there is no comparable default screening mechanism for desires. And this has serious potential implications for how we think of the self.

Our desires change. The question is, what changes them? We acquire many of our desires by means of desire infection, and there is no real screening of these desires. But this means that many of our desires are, in some sense, inherited from the people around us.

A radical consequence of this argument concerns the way we should think about the self in light of these considerations. A widespread way of thinking about the self, going at least as far back as the 18th century and David Hume, is that it consists of the set of all our desires (besides some other mental states). But if this is so, then who we are (or the self) is a result, to a large extent, of random desire infection.

We know that we systematically ignore the possibility that our future self could be different from our present self. This is called the ‘end of history illusion’: we have a tendency to consider our self a finished product, but it is blatantly not. And this ‘end of history illusion’ makes it even more likely that we will try to give post-hoc rationalisations for any desires we might acquire by means of direct desire infection.

So the self changes. The question is, how much of this change is under our control? Some of it is: we have pretty good control over what new beliefs we acquire. And we might even have control over really wild, crazy desires. But we have no full control. Direct desire infection can have a real effect on who we are and whom we become – it is a phenomenon we should take very seriously.

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