Re: Psychotherapy

From: Chambers, Catherine (
Date: Fri Feb 24 1995 - 14:51:40 GMT

Dear everyone, especially Craig, Sean, Rich and Emma,

I think the question of whether the mind and the brain are different
entities is very interesting, with psychotherapy, it seems as if they
are, but with pharmacology, using drugs to treat 'mental illness',
maybe not. I imagine the mind as a function of the brain, along with
motor activity etc. Things may go wrong with both the neurological
aspects and the 'mental' aspects depending on which part of the brain
the deficits lie in.

Maybe the problem is that through science we are able to study the
physiological components of the brain, and treat brain disorders by
changing levels of appropraite neurotransmitters etc, eg in the
treatment of Parkinson's disease and dopamine levels. But with problems
of the mind, such as neuroticism, the way to treat them is less clear
cut because of our inability to understand the way the mind works
completely. This is of course what Freud was trying to do, (and others)
in his psychoanalysis. Although a lot of what Freud says I find hard to
believe, I'm not sure that saying his work is only valuable as
'literature' as opposed to being of psychological value is not a little
harsh - perhaps not, what do you think? I agree that by now the
theories about therapy would probably be more conclusive if they were
going to ever be proved, but maybe we still know too little about the
mind to develop an effective therapy. If psychotherapy is no good, what
are you going to offer all those people willing to pay so much for

I think that Craig, Darren and Laura's suggestion that thoughts may be
in the nature of waves or energy in some form is a good idea, but maybe
therapy through words / talking / reshaping behaviour could give people
the ability to change their behaviour and therefore thoughts. The
energy must after all be transformed through thought in the first
place, as we go through thought processes, so it doesn't seem
unreasonable to suggest that the power of the words / mind of someone
else would be enough to change the 'thought waves'. After all we've
learned how strong suggestion, and expectancy effects can be.

I agree with Emma, on the idea behind therapy, which is after all to
help people. If they feel better does it matter whether is acturally
works by removing unconscious conflict or because they believe it will?
Emma does make the point that if no-one is being harmed by it, then
it's ok, but what about the repressed memories debate, which suggests
that therapists are able to 'implant' memories into patients minds
which they believe so strongly to be true, they have led to allegations
of sexual abuse to be made against their families. Correct me if I'm
wrong, but in some cases it has been shown these memories have been
false. Freud said the distinction between whether a child has actually
been abused or believes they have was unimportant, which may be true in
the way the effect these 'memories' have on the child, but the
distinction is certainly important for the families. The imlications of
being accused of sexual abuse are of course huge.

In response to Rich, a stronger test may not be

''Planet Y is in the ascendent, therefore X will happen'', because
surely due to self fulfilling prophecy effects, X will happen because
the astrology reader believes they will, or will interpret something
that happens in this way. I agree with Sean, mumbo jumbo, and thanks
for introducing a bit of humour into this debate it needs it!!

Anyway I think I've said enough - you were right Steve, it does
become addictive!


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