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Old 08-27-2006, 04:17 PM   #1
Dagobahn Eagle
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"Bloodcurdling Creatures of the World", Episodes 60: Psychiatrists

All right, so I'm not a therapist or anything (yet), but I do have a profound interest in psychology, depression and what it entails (suicide, isolation, coping methods, etc.), grief, and so on, mostly because I've been through much of it myself and most of my friends have some sort of mental problems (I go to a little special school for people who need to re-take subjects. You need to be receiving psychiatric help to attend the school, so - Yeah).

I've read numerous accounts by teenagers and people in their 20's who have lost loved ones. I've also experienced it third-hand, when a good friend of mine lost her mom nearly a year ago. If there's one thing that is repeated throughout the stories (and was also true when it happened to that friend of mine), it's that nearly no one knows how to approach you - or even if they should approach you (you should) - when you've lost a close relative or friend.

Psychiatry and everything involved is a taboo that's practically not part of school curriculum, and recipient of more mis-conceptions and prejudice than a homosexual Jewish refugee wearing a wedding dress and a pink ponytail. I've gone through the whole spectacle of depression, major depression, and bi-polar disorder myself, and learned just how skewed the public's perception of psychiatry really is. I also realized that if I knew what I today know about coping skills, psychiatry, mental hospitals, etc., I'd never sink as low as I did. The same way, when this friend of mine suddenly lost a parent, I had zero clue how to be there for her as I for some reason never learned about it in school.

Ignorance about these things is downright dangerous. It keeps people who need help from seeking it. It keeps people from learning how to cope with their problems, and keeps relatives and friends from learning how to relate to people who need help (i.e. if your friend calls and announces he's going to kill himself, what do you do? If you suspect a friend's developing anorexia, how do you help?).

We need to bring psychology out of the closet. It'd save lives, it'd ease the problems of so many people, and it'd kill most of the stupid mis-conceptions. We're completely open-minded in school about sex and warfare - let's be likewise about mental issues. It's not like it affects so many indirectly or directly (just like sex).


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Old 08-27-2006, 11:13 PM   #2
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What?? Psychiatrists are evil! Just ask Tom Cruise!
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:00 AM   #3
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I agree with you. I am fascinated with psychology, and it is truly a field people know little of. I think it's something that should be taught to teenagers in high school, since such a subject would be far more useful to them than algebra.

If you want to learn about this topic, you have to read about it on your own, without being pointed in that direction. Society overall could be improved if people understood the nature of their fellows better. I think it's quite sad that it's such an ingored topic. Many people are ignorant of it, and I would have been as well were it not for my curiosity of such matters.

@TK-8252, I think you will find that evil ones are in the minority.


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Old 08-28-2006, 12:41 AM   #4
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Whew, you talk about 2 very different things, actually--1. how to handle death and 2. misconceptions about psychiatry/psychology.

On #2--psych problems are often brain/brain chemistry problems (very simplistic there--there's lots of different factors). It's a health problem just as much as asthma is a lung problem and a heart attack is a heart problem. It's going to take awhile for people to learn that, however. We've learned a lot about medicine in the last 50-100 years, but have a long way to go. Our first antibiotic wasn't recognized until 1935, and we're just now starting to make decent strides in effective psych meds. It's going to take awhile for that field to catch up. Until then, mental health will probably still have a stigma.

#1 Handling death--there's such an emphasis on saving people that we tend to forget that death is an important part of life. It's not something we like to talk about because it makes us think about our mortality, too. Couple that with wanting to shield children from death--how many people here have actually seen someone die? When I was in college, a prof asked a class of about 40 of us how many of us had actually seen someone die, and only 2 of us had. This was a graduate class. Most people die in hospitals now rather than at home, and we don't take our children to the deathbed because we don't want them to see a loved one in that condition or experience the trauma. So we have to learn how to cope with something as major as death.

So, what do you do to help a friend? Some of it depends on how well you know that person. Tell them you're there for them, and mean it. Go to the funeral. Tell them you're thinking of them. Ask them how you can help--get homework assignments? Help with a project? For most adults, it means helping with those household things that may be too overwhelming--cooking a meal, helping clean a bit, helping out with shopping or pets or whatever.
Send a card and put a little story about how you knew the person who died and what they meant to you. I received a lot of sympathy cards after my grandmother died, and the ones I remember most were the ones from her old friends who took the time to tell me about something fun they had done together, or how she had done something especially thoughtful with or for them. I loved hearing about all the wonderful things they'd done together. Sometimes all your friend wants is to know you're thinking/praying for them, or even just sitting with them and doing absolutely nothing.

What to do about the anorexic friend--talk to someone in the family or a school counselor if it's a child. Parents are sometimes the last to know about anorexia. If the friend is an adult, sometimes friends/family can intervene, but often it's up to that individual to make those changes. And if that friend decides they hate you because you intervened? Let them. They'll probably get over it, and if they don't, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you saved their lives so that they have the opportunity to be mad at you.

What to do about someone who calls you and says they're going to commit suicide--take it seriously. I'm mandated to act by law (and personal ethics)--I have to call 911 (emergency number in most of US). Someone suicidal needs immediate help, and the sooner they get to medical care, the better. Even if they beg you not to call, call for help anyway. Unless you see them yourself, you don't know what they've already done to themselves, and they may need emergency care right then. No cop, dispatcher, or paramedic is ever going to be mad at you if you call and it turns out to be nothing. They'd rather have a boring 'nothing happened' call or catch something early than to have someone wait to call and end up getting there too late. For those who are still in school, let someone like the school nurse and/or principal know right away. They generally have specific protocols already in place for dealing with something like this.

Personally, if a friend or family member called me and was suicidal, I'd stay on the phone to talk with them and find another phone or person to call 911 right away.

School--we need to teach people how to read, write, and do math. I don't think handling death issues should be a mandated part of the curriculum for 2 reasons. 1. I don't want some school board telling me or my kids how I should mourn, because every family is different and has different customs. 2. We need to concentrate on basic skills at school. I'd consider this as an elective or as part of a "Growth and Development" kind of class, otherwise, that's a family issue, not a school one.


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Old 08-28-2006, 03:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
School--we need to teach people how to read, write, and do math. {snip}
I agree with you completely, Jae. But if I may quote myself...

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Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
I am fascinated with psychology, and it is truly a field people know little of. I think it's something that should be taught to teenagers in high school
I few points, if I may...

1. I only said this should be done in high school. Elementary schools should teach math. You cant get by in life without basic arithmetic, but I think geometry is useless to most people. Psychology is too complex a subject for such young minds anyhow. Elemntary school is just that: elemntary.

2. Never once did I say all the classes you listed should be replaced... I only think math should. A far greater number of students will use psychology later on in their lives than geometry. I think it would be best to switch those two classes around, because in my high school pyschology was a completely optional elective, and math was not.

3. I never said schools should teach people how to mourn. And by the time kids are in high school, they've most likely dealt with grief already, or their parents (or some other mentor, friend, etc.) have explained it to them. That's too private a thing anyhow.

4. I think things such as analyzing stress (a more important thing in teen years), peer pressure, and other such things should be taught instead. A much larger percentage of teenagers could do with some lectures about those topics over math. It would also be useful for the increasingly high percentage of autistic children.


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Old 08-28-2006, 06:21 PM   #6
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Emperor D, I actually didn't see your post before I posted, so none of my reply was actually a response to your post. I was in reply mode to DE before your post hit, and it took me that long to reply because I wanted to word things carefully, and I had to stop and do something else in the middle of typing my response to DE. I went to bed after that because I was starting to fall asleep at the keyboard, too.

I can deal with kids not taking algebra or geometry, but they do need basic math skills. I was at Target (like a Wal-Mart if you don't have one by you) one time trying to buy about 5 items, all ten dollars or less. The cashier rang it up, and said 'that'll be 105 dollars'. I told her, "I don't believe that's correct." She responded with my least favorite answer, "That's what the cash register says." That's because she didn't have enough math skills to realize 5 x 10 equals 50, not 105. She gave me a dirty look when I said "Well, then someone programmed the cash register incorrectly, because 5 items at 10 dollars each can't be more than 50." She checked the tape, and sure enough, something had rung up as $55 instead of $5.50. Imagine that.

Anyway, kids have to learn enough math to be able to manage their own finances, balance a checkbook, and recognize when stores have made mistakes, because it's almost always in the store's favor. Some kids haven't learned enough basic math skills in middle school to be able to do that--they need the reinforcement in H.S., which is also the time when a lot of them are learning to handle a checkbook, too.

And I took psych in H. S. too--thought it was very useful. I think everyone should take a course in human growth and development, too, especially for the child development info, since a lot of people are going to have children at some point in their lives. But at least in the US, we need to get kids to the point where they can read above a 6th grade level, write something that's semi-articulate, and do enough basic math to survive financially. We're not meeting those goals in some places, at least in the US, which I think is frightening. Teachers are having to spend too much time on stupid stuff that's mandated by states or feds that have no real bearing on what a child actually needs. My son's teachers have all made complaints about the amount of paperwork they've had to do that's completely unrelated to Real Life. But, that's an entirely different thread topic.

Anyway, yes, psych should be out of the closet, but I think it's going to take a little more time for people to come to grips with it as a medical problem, rather than a social/religious/willpower/whatever else problem. It's actually come out of the closet quite a bit--in the '70's, you just didn't talk about someone's mental illness, period. Not even a little bit of depression. You didn't even use medical terms, you used euphemisms. It was just 'Oh, Aunt Ruth's just a little odd' or 'Jody has the baby blues'. If someone was actually in a mental hospital, it was the kind of thing you whispered about to family members, and never talked about outside the family. Nowadays, people can talk about things like depression, at least, without fear of being looked down on. And films like "Rainman" and "A Beautiful Mind", which had some fantastic acting, btw, show the conditions for what they are--medical/physiology problems, not something to be frightened of. It's harder for conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar, and personality disorders, however, because some folks become so ill that their behavior is so far out of the norm. That unpredictability in behavior is really scary to those who've never had to deal with it in their own families or through a related occupation.


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Old 08-28-2006, 08:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I can deal with kids not taking algebra or geometry, but they do need basic math skills.
Naturally. That's what elemtary and middle schools are for. And by the time they're freshmen, they'll be using basic math all the time, whether they know it or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I was at Target (like a Wal-Mart if you don't have one by you) one time trying to buy about 5 items, {snip}


Please tell me she was only a kid... I thought I'd seen it all when a 14-year old didn't know what gravity was... And you'd think that even if she didn't have the mathematical skills she should have learned in 1st grade, that she would have the common sense to realize how outrageous a price like that was... I don't whether to laugh or to cry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
they need the reinforcement in H.S., which is also the time when a lot of them are learning to handle a checkbook, too.
That's a bit much. A middle school education in math would be sufficient, since by the time teens are in 7th or 8th grade, they're getting allowances, buying video games, going out to dinners and movies on their own, etc. If they're attending math classes in middle school while they're learning to balance their own finaces to a point, that should be sufficient by high school. By then they'll be managing money even more, and the situations they encounter in life should only reinforce what they know. If they're not able to keep track of their money when they're in high school, they could easily lose it (for example, if a teenager who knew as much about math as that one cashier bought the same items you did), and when that happens they'll just learn math the hard way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
And I took psych in H. S. too--thought it was very useful. I think everyone should take a course in human growth and development, too, especially for the child development info, since a lot of people are going to have children at some point in their lives.
I agree. The psychology class I took often had thought-provoking discussions, and was fun as well as educational. I was most unhapy with how it was a completely optional elective allowed only to the best students in the higher grades. A very small percentage of the school's population would take it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
But at least in the US, we need to get kids to the point where they can read above a 6th grade level, write something that's semi-articulate, and do enough basic math to survive financially.
We do indeed. That's why math classes in 9th grade and up should be optional. Reading and writing is an essential, as reading books will make you a much more worldly and well-rounded person. And writing walks hand in hand with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
We're not meeting those goals in some places, at least in the US, which I think is frightening. Teachers are having to spend too much time on stupid stuff that's mandated by states or feds that have no real bearing on what a child actually needs.
Definitely. In my opinion, the four essential classes in high school need to be changed from math, launguage arts, social studies and science into psychology, civics, launguage arts, and history. The topics I've just listed I consider an important thing for any somewhat intelligent person to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
My son's teachers have all made complaints about the amount of paperwork they've had to do that's completely unrelated to Real Life. But, that's an entirely different thread topic.
In this day and age, that's very unsurprising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
It's harder for conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar, and personality disorders, however, because some folks become so ill that their behavior is so far out of the norm. That unpredictability in behavior is really scary to those who've never had to deal with it in their own families or through a related occupation.
Yet more topics people are ignorant of. If people knew more about these disorders, they wouldn't be as large a problem. I got to see this in high school, when a fellow student had an extreme case of Asberger Syndrome, and people were truly clueless with what to with him. His behavior ended up with him making a lot of enemies and being ostracized without that intention. I was nonplussed with how nearly everyone who met him had no idea what was wrong with him. The only thing they heard from some teachers was "He has Asberger Sydrome", but no one knew what it was. I was even more nonplussed when I ended explaining what it was to countless people, something which wouldn't have been neccessary if they'd gotten a better education on the matter.


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Last edited by Emperor Devon; 08-28-2006 at 11:17 PM. Reason: Confounded typos!
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:59 AM   #8
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Why didn't I get back to this thread sooner? Let's not get into that.

Quote:
Whew, you talk about 2 very different things, actually--1. how to handle death and 2. misconceptions about psychiatry/psychology.
I know. But they're still related, and they have in common that they have tonnes of mis-conception, stigma, and ignorance attached to them.

Quote:
School--we need to teach people how to read, write, and do math. I don't think handling death issues should be a mandated part of the curriculum for 2 reasons. 1. I don't want some school board telling me or my kids how I should mourn, because every family is different and has different customs.
I agree with that.

What they should learn, I suppose, is just that: That there is no "textbook way" to grieve and that you can't tell people how to grieve (if they want to be mad at someone who killed themselves, they have to be allowed to, even if it appears brutal to you. If you want to cope with your grief by throwing a party two months after your best buddy died, that's your choice. Do what helps you).

They also should learn how to be there for buddies who's lost someone (I hope you all are taking notes from Jae here).

If this was a Norwegian forum, I'd recommend a very good book which compilates articles by proffesionals (spelling? ) and teens who have lost loved ones. A very tough, emotional read, but also extremely educational.

Quote:
2. We need to concentrate on basic skills at school. I'd consider this as an elective or as part of a "Growth and Development" kind of class, otherwise, that's a family issue, not a school one.
If you ask me, grief-handling is a basic skill. After all, almost everyone will experience grief in life, at some point or another. As was said, it's more useful than geometry, which every student needs to learn. And it's certainly more useful than learning flower names in biology class in elementary school.

Quote:
3. I never said schools should teach people how to mourn. And by the time kids are in high school, they've most likely dealt with grief already, or their parents (or some other mentor, friend, etc.) have explained it to them. That's too private a thing anyhow.
No one explained it to me. When a class-mate of mine lost her mom last year (I had just turned 20), I still knew nothing about it. And trust me, having a friend who'd lost a parent and not having a clue as to how to help her is not fun.

The problem is that death is such a taboo. From the recounts I've read by grieving people, there are tonnes of parents and teachers who have no idea on how to act around grieving kids and adults. Maybe it's different in the States, but here in Norway it's just something that's not discussed.

And yes, of course it's a private thing. Just like health (which is being taught), physical education (which is a major part of your schooling), and sex (which, for some reason, is taught over and over. It's obviously very important to the State that I knock someone up, for I think I've learned how to make kids 6 times by now ).

As for it being in High School, I agree when it comes to psychology. But grief, death, and such needs to be taught early as children encounter it early. Not only 20-year olds lose their dads, you know.

Quote:
I agree. The psychology class I took often had thought-provoking discussions, and was fun as well as educational. I was most unhapy with how it was a completely optional elective allowed only to the best students in the higher grades. A very small percentage of the school's population would take it.
I agree 101%. It should be mandatory, and there should be some basic psychology in elementary school, too. Children and young teens encounter depression and anorexia and such, too.

I'm not saying you should teach a first-grader about self-mutilation and eating disorders, but there are a few things in psychology that applies to them. Such as grief.

Quote:
And films like "Rainman" and "A Beautiful Mind", which had some fantastic acting, btw, show the conditions for what they are--medical/physiology problems, not something to be frightened of.
Hunt down a Norwegian film called Elling. I heartfully recommend both it and its two sequels (Love me Tomorrow and Mother's Elling). They're warm, they're funny, and they're thought-provoking and charming. Ambjørnsen (author of the books the movies are based on) is a genius.

Quote:
Please tell me she was only a kid...
She probably just wasn't very focused. I hope.

Quote:
My son's teachers have all made complaints about the amount of paperwork they've had to do that's completely unrelated to Real Life.
Most of what you learn in school is useless to you, it seems to me. It's not like I'll become an engineer specializing in maths, physics, and biology. I'll only use some of the things I learn.

Which is why it'd be nice if schools spent more time educating (note that I say "educating", as in teaching facts and giving air-time to both sides) on child-raising, marriage, divorce, and so on.

Quote:
What?? Psychiatrists are evil! Just ask Tom Cruise!
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Old 09-02-2006, 02:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
No one explained it to me. When a class-mate of mine lost her mom last year (I had just turned 20), I still knew nothing about it. And trust me, having a friend who'd lost a parent and not having a clue as to how to help her is not fun.
I only said kids have most likely learned by then. But even if you haven't, it's not really the school's place to explain it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
As for it being in High School, I agree when it comes to psychology. But grief, death, and such needs to be taught early as children encounter it early. Not only 20-year olds lose their dads, you know.
At such a young age, most kids depend on and talk with their parents more. Schools shouldn't have a role in death at such a young age, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
I agree 101%. It should be mandatory, and there should be some basic psychology in elementary school, too. Children and young teens encounter depression and anorexia and such, too.
It would be best to have it as an optional elective at that age, in my opinion. In elementary schools you're still learning the basics of math and sicence, which you should know whether you're going to be an engineer or facuum cleaner repairman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
Which is why it'd be nice if schools spent more time educating (note that I say "educating", as in teaching facts and giving air-time to both sides) on child-raising, marriage, divorce, and so on.
That sounds like it's getting a bit too... personal. Learning about being a citizen and human nature is one thing, but I think those topics are a bit much.


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Old 09-02-2006, 11:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
At such a young age, most kids depend on and talk with their parents more. Schools shouldn't have a role in death at such a young age, in my opinion.
I agree at the younger ages. Some kids are just not emotionally ready to handle that topic. I've seen some 10 year olds who were as mature intellectually and socially as a 14 year old. I've also seen some 10 year olds acting like toddlers. We also have after-life issues to share and discuss since we're religious. It would be difficult to address death and have to come up with an answer to 'what happens after we die?' without offending some religious/agnostic/atheist types.

@DE--in the States, at least, if someone has a death experience or some other psychologically traumatizing event, the school counselor/psychologist handles this issue on a case by case basis with the parents and child instead of the teacher, particularly at the elementary school level. So it's addressed here, just not on a global scale. It's become the norm now that when a student dies, the school offers counseling to any other student who wants it.

If a friend has someone close die, and you're not sure how to help your friend....tell them just that. It's OK to say 'you know, you're my friend. I know you're hurting. But I don't know how to help you. What do you need? What can I do to help?' They'll usually tell you what they need. Sometimes they need to be alone. The wake/funeral can involve seeing hundreds of people, and that can be overwhelming. Sometimes people just want to be alone for a bit after the funeral to process things, and sometimes they're just 'peopled out' for a while and need time alone to regroup.

@Emperor D--the idiot Target girl was in her late teens/early 20's. Old enough that she should have known that 10x5 does not equal 105.


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Old 09-05-2006, 01:37 PM   #11
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Wink My name is DE and I approve this message [<- yes, I'm bored].

Quote:
@DE--in the States, at least, if someone has a death experience or some other psychologically traumatizing event, the school counselor/psychologist handles this issue on a case by case basis with the parents and child instead of the teacher, particularly at the elementary school level. So it's addressed here, just not on a global scale. It's become the norm now that when a student dies, the school offers counseling to any other student who wants it.
Of course. It works that way in Norway, too. But I still think it should be taught in class.

Quote:
It would be difficult to address death and have to come up with an answer to 'what happens after we die?' without offending some religious/agnostic/atheist types.
Tell the children that scientists believe you decompose and feed the worms, and that religions have various other ideas.

Quote:
It would be best to have it as an optional elective at that atge, in my opinion. In elementary schools you're still learning the basics of math and sicence, which you should know whether you're going to be an engineer or facuum cleaner repairman.
You're also learning lots of stuff you don't need, such as the names of flowers and trees, and how to make little drawings of your pets.

Quote:
That sounds like it's getting a bit too... personal. Learning about being a citizen and human nature is one thing, but I think those topics are a bit much.
Even if they stick to only facts, like saying that "in a democratic family, things work like this, and these are the pros and these are the cons?".

And my analogy on Sexual Education (and for that matter Home Economics and Cooking) being private and still curriculum still stands. It's one of the world's most private things (although the multitude of porn out there could easily make it seem otherwise), and yet schools insist on teaching it to you. Why? Because otherwise you'd have tonnes of weird questions that you'd have no one to ask. It's just something we need to know the facts of, and then it's just as well to learn it at school, from professionals with textbooks, drawings, etc., than at home from some shy parent full of mis-conceptions.

It's a bit of an evil circle, I think. You say talk to the parents, but how much do the parents necessarily know? Lots of adults, even teachers, apparently have no idea about how to approach grief-stricken kids. According to an article I read by a therapist who leads therapy groups for grieving teens (we call them something that'd translate to "grief groups"), one of the recurring things among youths is how little patience adults have with grieving kids. You've got adults who stop saying hello to you on the streets, teachers who expect you to be fine and working as normal again after only two weeks, what have you.

It's no use talking to your parents on sex, raising kids, or a friend having lost her dad if you get answers like "yes, condoms are useless", "Heck no, spankings never hurt anyone!", or "just leave your friend be, he'll come to you if he needs help".

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Old 09-05-2006, 02:04 PM   #12
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@Emperor D--the idiot Target girl was in her late teens/early 20's. Old enough that she should have known that 10x5 does not equal 105.
I feel terribly depressed.

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Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
You're also learning lots of stuff you don't need, such as the names of flowers and trees, and how to make little drawings of your pets.
You're right, those skills aren't entirely needed, though a lot of kids have fun drawing their pets and going on hikes outdoors while asking about the things they see. Elementary schools need to provide the kids with some fun.

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Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
Even if they stick to only facts, like saying that "in a democratic family, things work like this, and these are the pros and these are the cons?".
A difficult topic to decide upon. On one hand, it seems kind of ridiculous to teach children what the ideal family is, but on the other hand, there are the idiots who are incapable of starting happy families.


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Old 10-18-2006, 09:15 PM   #13
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Damn, I thought from the title you were saying that pstchiatrists were bloodcurdling creatures. I thought maybe I missed the episodes on lawyers and accountants....
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Old 10-18-2006, 10:41 PM   #14
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Aha!

I have returned to the Senate once more, in time to say that I am one of those horrible "haters" that all psychology majors despise, one who has a dislike of much that is accepted as psychological dogma.

First, let me clarify my terminology. I quite like psychology in many of its myriad forms. For instance, I suppose that in essence I approve of the effect that research has had on classification of mental disorders. I like having a name for one type of depression versus another type of depression, the ability to distinguish verbally one type of body dysmorphia from another type. Terminology is useful for the purpose of efficient communication.

However, terminology is just that. It is a series of arbitrarily decided upon terms, to describe things which- by and large- we cannot affect. I am reminded of Solaris by Stanislaw Lem. It is all very well to name the things we cannot affect and do not truly understand, but these names remain a mere convenience, without true substance.

I also like any and all research into the active psychology of behaviours, be they criminal or violent (my personal favourites, as such researches can sometimes be applied to the discipline of self defence), or merely the behaviour of shoppers in a supermarket. I find the limited proven knowledge of how to PREDICT the general trend of behaviours produced by the psychologists of the world to be quite useful in everyday life.

However most of the research that is practically useful is practically arrived at. It results from large studies of behavior, and only predicts future trends through sheer observation of past behaviours. This seems to me to be totally unconnected (scientifically speaking) with the more airy-fairy pseudo-philosophical ideas espoused when psychologists try to ascribe arbitrary REASONS for actions, or spontaneous causes for random behaviour.

But I really have no time for many of the direct practical application of the principles of psychology. Efficacy is negligible. I chuckle heartily at efforts to facilitate the reform of criminals of various shades, I guffaw with gusto at grief counseling (more on this later), I grimly shake my head at both the historical and contemporary evils committed in the name of psychopharmacology and psychosurgery, and I sniff in a superior fashion when I hear of cognitive "therapy" for various nebulous complexes.

ONWARDS!

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Originally posted by Dagobahn Eagle:

What they should learn, I suppose, is just that: That there is no "textbook way" to grieve and that you can't tell people how to grieve (if they want to be mad at someone who killed themselves, they have to be allowed to, even if it appears brutal to you. If you want to cope with your grief by throwing a party two months after your best buddy died, that's your choice. Do what helps you).

They also should learn how to be there for buddies who's lost someone (I hope you all are taking notes from Jae here).
This is a problem for me. Since there is no textbook way to grieve, then there is no predictable process that one "should" go through when grieving. In fact, if what you say is true then an absence of grief when confronted with a loss is as "natural" as a plethora of grief-related symptoms. (wailing, gnashing of teeth etcetera.)

If this is so, then your statement that:

Quote:
Originally posted by Dagobahn Eagle:

If you ask me, grief-handling is a basic skill. After all, almost everyone will experience grief in life, at some point or another. As was said, it's more useful than geometry, which every student needs to learn. And it's certainly more useful than learning flower names in biology class in elementary school.
Is patently false. You declare on one hand that grief is unpredictable in both its duration and the forms it takes, and on the other hand you declare that "handling" it is in some way a learnable skill. Well the two are mutually exclusive. One can learn to "handle" a CD player. One can learn to "handle" a car. One cannot learn to "handle" grief. It's totally random in its severity, its effects and its sheer nature, and even a single individual can have totally different patterns of grieving on seperate occasions of loss.

So there is no magical way to "counter" grief, no specific way to "work through it", and no way of measuring how "well" someone deals with grief. Because every person's grief is different.

Therefore grief counseling as an industry and other by-rote snake-oils are ineffectual at best. Sure, if you need someone to talk to and you absolutely cannot find anyone you know to discuss things with, a counsellor is the only remaining option. But the idea that counselling should be encouraged is tantamount to saying that it's desirable, when it is not necessarily so.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dagobahn Eagle:

You're also learning lots of stuff you don't need, such as the names of flowers and trees, and how to make little drawings of your pets.
You don't really "need" ANY knowledge in life beyond a method of acquiring food and then shovelling food into your gob.

But the names of flowers and trees are a great help in many worthy fields of study, bushcraft being one of them. And art is no more "unneccesary" a field of study than chemistry, practically speaking. One is as likely to make a living out of illustration as one is to make a living out of being a lab assistant. And one is about as likely to gain psychological respite from sketching as one is to gain psychological respite from chatting to a counsellor.

And frankly, what are you going to teach these little tykes about psychology? What knowledge are you going to impart to them that will be at all useful to them in dealing with grief or loss or suicidal friends or some member of the opposite sex turning their offer of a date down? There is no "by rote response". Listening might work, or it might not. Encouraging a depressed person to talk to you might work, or it might not. Going through the "five stages of grief" might be your panacea, or it might not. There is nothing concrete to give these children, and if you cannot give them anything concrete, there is nothing worth giving.

You could, I suppose, try to teach them to have more empathy. Except that one is either inclined towards empathy or not.


[FW] Spider AL
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Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
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