Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If We Are To Soar Like Eagles - Part 2

We Need Both A Left And A Right Wing

In Part 1 of this two part mini review of "Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm" by Rogers H. Wright and Nicholas A. Cummings, I dealt with some of their thoughts on political correctness and how it has influenced the work particularly in areas like homosexuality. The review itself was sent to me, and I have just discovered that it originated here.

In Part 2, I will touch on a couple of other areas they looked at victimology and homophobia.

One writer to the book, Ofer Zur Ph.D. from Sonoma Ca. wrote on victimology, in what can be called a politically incorrect treatise on the psychology of victimhood. Rather than focusing on blaming, his focus is on healing. Fancy that!
Understanding types, origins, and mode of operations of victims will allow therapists and non-therapists alike to recognize, prevent, and intervene in violent systems, enabling all participants to live better lives. For this to occur, victims must be helped to overcome their feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. They must not focus on blame, and they must avoid self-righteousness. Victims have to believe that they have a say in what happens to them and learn to overcome their victim patterns. The healing process should empower them to become conscious contributors to the unfolding of their lives, which can become dignified and meaningful (p. 62).
Our Canadian HRCs tempt people to remain victims. It is one of the reasons that I despise them so much. Most people who come to HRCs really need a good therapist to help them get on with their lives. They might have been really wronged or artificially wronged by one of the new human rights that pop up from time to time, but the HRCs offer a pity party with a pay check at the end. Pretty tempting.

The section titled "Homophobia: Conceptual, Definitional and Value Issues"written by William T. O'Donohue and Christine E. Caselles is interesting to say the least. The authors there write about the history of the reclassification of homosexuality, and then how the tide turned away from the causes and treatment, where appropriate, of homosexuality to the negative attitudes held towards it by others. This resulted way back in 1972 with psychologist (and gay activist) George Weinberg using the term homophobia to suggest that those who held negative attitudes toward homosexuality should not be considered mentally healthy.

I find it refreshing that liberal scientist would come to the following conclusions:

"certain value, moral, aesthetic, and political questions and positions in a free society should not be closed and suppressed by mental-health professionals and behavioral science research. The moral status of homosexuality is one of them" (p. 79).

Noting that there are readily available arguments for the moral impermissibility of homosexual acts, and that they are not obviously unsound, they cite the vast number of religions whose view is based on revelation from God, and invoke the Szaszian point that it is not the purview of mental health professionals and behavioral scientists to judge as abnormal or irrational a belief in God, or specific beliefs regarding what God has revealed. They note that these are "properly open issues that citizens of a free society should debate and decide upon, free of the interference of the mental health profession's attempt to make either ethical position a mental health issue".

But, in the end they largely conclude that their own work at closing of society to differing ideas is not beneficial to society. Bottom line, the internal politics of the APA has negatively influenced proper debate and conclusions on the issues surrounding homosexuality. Really, one could not ask for more at this time, than to make political correctness politically incorrect.

It must be noted that this is not a position taken by the APA itself, but by respected members of it gathered together to comment in this book. That they themselves are liberals and therefor not likely to come to these conclusions easily though makes it all the more impressive.

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