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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Mar > Mar 3

Re: 'Abductees Need To See A Psychiatrist'

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 14:52:54 -0600
Archived: Thu, 03 Mar 2011 06:25:48 -0500
Subject: Re: 'Abductees Need To See A Psychiatrist'


>From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 11:46:36 -0000
>Subject: Re: 'Abductees Need To See A Psychiatrist'

>>From: Eleanor White <ewraven1.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2011 16:48:01 -0500
>>Subject: Re: 'Abductees Need To See A Psychiatrist'

<snip>

>>So to hear a chorus of noted UFO/paranormal commentators, after
>>giving lip service to possible genuinely paranormal explanations
>>for abductee experiences, chime in emphatically in conclusion
>>with unanimous see-a-psychiatrist advice, was a bit much.

>Don't want to get into an argument - but am bewildered when
>perfectly normal folk are recommended to 'seek counseling' or
>suchlike (after some trauma or other) - and particularly when
<referred to the non-science of psychiatry which, from the
>statistics, is largely populated by incompetent posers and/or
>power-seeking egomaniacs: i.e potential (and actual) abusers.

Without judging the quality of mental-health care as a general
proposition (surely one size does not fit all), I turn to the
fundamental issue, which is the reception of unconventional
experiences.

At one time extraordinary experiences, variously interpreted or
explained, were accepted as things that, whatever their ultimate
meaning, could at least _happen_ to a normal individual. When
with the coming of the Enlightenment elites decided otherwise,
the experiences were medicalized, largely because Serious
Thinkers couldn't find another cubbyhole hole to cram them into.
Not, of course, that there isn't genuine mental illness, but as
is clear by now, it does not work as a broad explanation for all
non-consensus experiential claims.

In our time, a body of empirical work establishes that even the
most fantastic experiential claims cannot automatically be
correlated with psychological disorder. Obviously, word of these
studies has not always filtered down to the average working
mental-health professional. To a scoffing public, of course,
anybody who speaks of having non-consensus experience is, to use
the non-clinical term, nuts. (It is also true, no doubt, that -
just as you can be mentally ill and lots of other things at the
same time - you can have psychiatric problems along with "real"
non-consensus perceptions. Human beings are not simple.)

There is progress, though. We're learning, for example, that
even the classic you-must-be-crazy experience - of hearing
voices in one's head - is not ipso facto evidence of mental
pathology. Those interested in the specifics of this seemingly
remarkable finding ought to read Daniel B. Smith's Muses,
Madmen, and Prophets: Rethinking the History, Science, and
Meaning of Auditory Hallucination (Penguin, 2007). For the
broader issues, there's Cardena et al., eds. Varieties of
Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence
(American Psychological Association, 2000). The chapter on
abductions argues that no single theory, prominently including
mental disorder, explains that experience.

In short, if you believe you've encountered otherworldly forces,
you need not necessarily rush to a shrink's office. But then
that's something that shouldn't be news to anybody on this List.


Jerry Clark



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