Re: Who controls explanations of unwanted behaviors.

Greg Bail (
Thu, 19 Feb 1998 21:28:17 -0700

>PCP People:
> I picked up on this thread late. I was just wondering how we would
>classify ego-syntonic problems as unwanted behaviors. The antisocial
>personality disordered individual, for example, may not exhibit ANY
>subjectively unwanted behaviors, yet his or her behaviors are probably
>unwanted by most other people. By the same token, psychotic delusions are
>probably not unwanted, nor is the worry associated with generalized anxiety
>disorder or the mania of cyclothymia. These symptoms are nevertheless
>considered abnormal if one uses maladaptivity as a criterion. Whadday'all
>Chad Hagans

Gee, Chad.
I think the gist of the thread is that the classification is the problem.
Any system based on statistically constructed syndromes rather than
cognitively contructed narratives will necesssarily miss the essence of how
the client construes not feeling well. The abstract construct of =B3abnorma=
maladaptivity=B2 may have little meaning in the ethos of a florid delusional
narrative. Then the issue of who defines client behaviors as unwanted, and
the waters are muddier indeed. Isn=B9t the sum total, then, equal to as man=
narratives as all involved players in clients=B9 care can imaginatively
construct? For the truly psychotic or antisocial, aren=B9t the facts that
anchor the situation irrelevant...?

Sorry for the digression, but I might take issue with the claim that
someone with generalized anxiety, persecutory delusions, or any number of
socially stigmatizing personality traits does not really suffer as a
result. Even if not, his causing others to suffer might be the presenting
problem for treatment.

Make sense? Greg

Greg Bail, 2nd yr. MSW Student, UC Berkeley,
It seems common sense is not all that common....