Re: Grids & schizophrenics

Esteban Laso (
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 22:00:01 -0500


I will try to summarize my ideas on this thread. Recently, Jim wrote:

> wrote:
> [among other things]
>"When explained biochemically, a client is often
> Certainly, when everything from rape to failing to meet one's goals is
>explained by reference to biochemical conditions, one should be relieved to
>an expert validate the claim that learning and self definition are guided
>biochemistry [or anatomy].
> I wonder, however, if this kind of validation usefully contributes to
>building of a useful theory!!!!

The "it's not your fault" effect seems to be an unavoidable offspring of the
(traditional) medical model -with implications like the moral and legal
paradoxes that Szasz highlights. The power issue is covertly present -the
"right" a doctor has to decide the future of his patient _without consulting
him_. Since "people with enlarged ventricles" are "cognitively impaired", we
have to "take care" of them the way _we_ think is the best. These tricky
ideas slip in under our medical systems.

George Boeree wrote:
2. Although each person has his or her own construction of reality, isn't
there one reality which they are construing? That is to say, aren't some
construction systems simply closer to reality than others, and others
farther away? I realize it isn't always easy to tell -- all of our
constructions being less than complete -- but schizophrenia, generally,
more than just a vexation or deviance!

What is "reality"? Or should we say, who's got the right to define what is
real and what is not? "Reality" becomes a matter of proximity to our own
constructions systems -which, in turn, are on this side of the cultural
"crazy/normal" construct. Kelly pointed out the "schizoid" thinking of some
subcultures -and how that social contexts can handle "psychotic" construers
without casting them out. In our widely extended Western culture, obsessed
with "normality", this "schizoid" thinking is supressed and feared. We, as
psychotherapists, are the culturally approved path to regain "normality" and
good "mental health".

Now, to the "diagnosis" of what "schizophrenia" really is. Tim Connor wrote:
1) It seems to me that the core of "schizophrenia" is not the content of
their constructions, but their inability to do what most of us do
routinely--to check our constructions against social consensus and modify
them accordingly (or not modify them, but to effectively construe others'
constructions of our constructions, and temper our social behavior
accordingly). In other words, an impairment of sociality and commonality.

I don't really know... As Jung used to say, even the schizophrenic sets his
delusions over something. Maybe some of them are extremely keen in detecting
covert motives and denied feelings! On the other hand, who is inable to
negotiate his constructions? The "schizo", or us? We, the "therapists",
usually don't really listen to them -they are not "real", they are
"bizarre", and so on. Who has impaired sociality?
And, like always, when we deny the "vexenigmatic" constructions we are
following the culturally approved ways -and using our social power to label
him and getting him back to "reality".

Finally, the "biological/psychological" choice. I hope, like some of our
colleagues, that we can go beyond this choice in the future. In the
meantime, we should go into more detail in our diagnostic systems. There is
cerebral damage, yes; there is "vexenigmatic" behavior, yes; but, is every
"vexenigmatic" behavior due to a "cerebral damage"? I don't think so -I
strongly doubt it! The choice is useful -depending on how you use it; on how
you choose to anticipate your psychological processes. Considering the
issues briefly exposed, what is your choice?
But maybe things are simpler than this all...

Esteban Laso
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