Implicit Conditioning

Would We Have Drugged Up Einstein? How Anti-Authoritarianism Is Deemed a Mental Health Problem | Personal Health | AlterNet.

This is a great article by a professional in the field of psychology questioning how it seems anti-authoritarianism individuals are diagnosed and/or labeled (like children with ADHD and ODD) as people with mental health problems in order to maintain compliance.

It was a very insightful and interesting read, I highly suggest taking a look.

I also have to ask, do you think or have you see this pattern of implicit conditioning?


3 thoughts on “Implicit Conditioning

  1. (I posted this reply on Maria’s blog as well)

    So I have to say that I really don’t like the article. First let me preface with the fact that I’m not a clinical psychologist. I study social psychology, and I have not studied mental and behavioral disorders. That being said, I think this article is full of gross generalization and hyperbolic conspiratorial conjectures. But most importantly, while the author makes some prudent critiques towards the behaviors of psychologists/psychiatrist and their field of medicine, he then lazily and repeatedly commits the same behaviors he was critiquing.

    First, let me give a more accurate depiction of what Oppositional Deviant Disorder (ODD) is. And all of this is taken right from the American Psychiatric Associations website, and I’m quoting from the development of the DSM-V. Yes the definition includes “argues with adults” and “actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ request or rule.” However, that is only a few of the symptoms. Others include “blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors, deliberately annoys people, is angry and resentful, loses temper, and vindictiveness.” Also important is “For individuals 5 years or older, the behavior must occur at least once per week for at least six months,” and that these behaviors must be “displayed with one or more persons other than siblings.” Once we get a more accurate depiction of ODD, is does indeed seem like a very disruptive child with sever behavioral problems instead of a young, valiant pre-occupy protester being oppressed by corporate-medical hegemony, as the author would like to imply.

    But I will return to my earlier point, that he commits the same behaviors he accuses other in the field of committing. Inherent to the author’s argument is a critique, of which I think is prudent, towards the field of psychiatry. The foundation of his argument is that the field needs to wary of certain normative biases it may have, and how these normative biases might lead them to consider otherwise relatively regular, and in certain situation desirable, behaviors into ‘disorders.’ This Foucaultian critique: that we need to be aware of how our conceptions of mental illness can be mere reproduction of existing power structures and normative ideas of behavior, is certainly, and in my opinion always will be, an appropriate consideration.

    However, this critique is lost because the author’s only interest is that of promoting another set or normative beliefs on top of the ones he thinks are currently ruling. First, while the author rightly criticizes the idea of anti-authoritarian behavior being considered a disorder, he pulls an Adorno and almost goes as far as to say that authoritarian behavior is disorderly. He does the same thing to ‘authoritarians’ that he accuses ‘authoritarians’ of doing to ‘anti-authoritarians.’ He makes sweeping and denigrating generalization about the medical field that are not only absolutely unfounded, but pathetically partisan for someone positing a serious set of suggestions to professional medical field. Similarly, his argument isn’t that the medical community should refrain from allowing their diagnoses to be prescriptive of normative ideas of behavior; his argument is that the medical community should reflect HIS idea of what is normative behavior. He goes on to make wild claims of conspiracy that shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone. And on a side note: Being defiant towards turn-of-the-century Prussian education is not the same as being continually defiant towards your parents.

    It is no surprise to me that the author just wrote a book titled “Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite.” While anyone who knows me knows that I am generally sympathetic towards progressive politics, I am not sympathetic towards this author. An opportunity for prudent critique has been lost due to an intellectually lazy and ridiculously partisan endeavor, deserving of little attention in an otherwise important debate about the field of psychiatry.

    • (I replied to you on fb too, but just in case I thought I’d also reply here)
      I see what you are saying about how he’s expressing his argument. How you say something always influences its perception; but since we all, in a small or big way, tend to write or say something with an opinion in mind when I read anything …I overlook the opinion part and try to understand the idea that’s being brought forth. I am more interested with the subject discussed than its portrayal by the author and I find the points he makes seem to be a tendency. They are definitely generalized ideas, but it is an article and therefore can only be so long. I’m also sure that it’s an article to help promote his book, but besides this and all of the above, do you think there is a tendency to label anti-authoritarians with disorders (I realize this can’t be a yes or no answer, but that’s really what I would like to explore)?
      Thanks for your reply :). I look forward to exchanging other ideas when and if you have time. I am interested in many subjects, including what you are studying, and would love to hear what you have to say, what you’ve explored and just what you think.

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