Psychotherapy: Needs Reboot? or Just Boot?

first_imgThe word “reboot” assumes a prior boot.  You can’t reboot something that never booted up in the first place.  The American Psychological Association is calling for “rebooting psychotherapy.”  Is it even booted up?  The press release begins with an admission that questions whether psychotherapy ever got powered on. The damaging quote from the American Psychological Association is right in the first paragraph: Psychotherapy has come a long way since the days of Freudian psychoanalysis – today, rigorous scientific studies are providing evidence for the kinds of psychotherapies that effectively treat various psychiatric disorders. But Alan Kazdin, the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology at Yale University, believes that we must acknowledge a basic truth – all of our progress and development in evidence-based psychotherapy has failed to solve the rather serious problem of mental illness in the United States. If a reboot would simply get the solution software running again, all would be well.  But this statement calls it a “basic truth,” one that must be acknowledged, that “all of our progress” has failed to solve mental illness.  Was that not ostensibly its goal, its mission? To be sure, the remainder of the press release focuses on problems with getting the goods to the patients that need help, but nine months after Kazdin dropped his bombshell, he is challenging his colleagues “to rethink the current mental health system in order to make adequate treatment available and accessible to all who need it.”  This is followed by three bullet points on improving the delivery of psychotherapy.  But nowhere is there affirmation that the treatments actually cure anyone, even if “rigorous scientific studies are providing evidence for the kinds of psychotherapies that effectively treat various psychiatric disorders.”  It would seem that if the rigorous studies are such a good mousetrap, the world would beat a path to psychotherapy’s door.  Indeed, just before the bullet points, another damaging admission was made: “Now, in the latest issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, several eminent scientists have come forth in response to Kazdin and Blase’s article, highlighting important points that will need to be addressed before the mental health care system can be overhauled….” The last sentence is a distraction: “United States Department of Veterans Affairs has already developed and implemented new and innovative programs to address the mental health of its veterans.”  Innovative is nice, and addressing a problem is praiseworthy, but no evidence was provided the VA has any better a track record at solving mental illness. This makes psychotherapy sound like a government project gone wrong, a bridge to nowhere, a design plan that never produced a working prototype.  If serious points must be addressed before the mental health care system can be overhauled, the software isn’t up and running, and there is no way to reboot it. See also “Psychotherapy Struggles to Demonstrate Scientific Validity” from 11/13/2005 and three prior articles about psychotherapists struggling to define what mental illness is (2/17/2010, 2/28/2010, 4/21/2011).  Did the brain evolve?  See 11/09/2007 and 10/22/2010. Did you notice the oblique slam at Freud?  He was the king of the hill in his day; now he is a joke (4/27/2011).  Psychotherapy has undergone so many revolutions in its brief history it is unrecognizable.  Now they tell us that in 2011 it has still ”failed to solve the rather serious problem of mental illness in the United States.” But they want to improve the delivery of this failure!  The chaotic history of psychotherapy, from couch talk to mythical unconscious divination to electric shock to drugs to non-directive counseling to whatever is the fad today, is enough to warn the wary to keep away from the charlatan industry with its self-admitted failure to achieve its own goals. The human mind is too complex an entity to submit to the pseudoscience of psychology, and the mixed bag of psychotherapy.  A psychotherapist can never get into a patient’s mind, or understand all the complexities of causes and effects that produce outward symptoms.  The best that can be done is external observation: such-and-such a drug makes Joe less violent, an electric shock makes him forget his paranoid delusion, a horror movie makes Joe (but not Sam) sleepless, calm music relieves manic depression.  Some things might work in some patients as far as improving outward symptoms, but they can never prove that the psychotherapist has addressed the root cause. A lot of treatment reduces to common sense (2/21/2010), without the need for a shrink to tell you the obvious. What if sin is real? What if sin produces real guilt, not just feelings of guilt?  Giving the patient a drug or calm music will only put a band-aid on the surface.  By ignoring the spiritual and moral dimensions of human beings, secular psychotherapists are limiting themselves to partial toolkits at best.  What if the necessary therapy for the “mentally ill” patient is forgiveness of sin that gets at the root cause?  Pastors have numerous true accounts of transformed lives, criminals turned into saints, addicts into missionaries, wolves into lambs, when they faced their true guilt and kneeled at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Talk about empirical evidence! What if “mental illness” is an oxymoron?  There is physical illness, and everyone acknowledges that brain damage can lead to bizarre behavior.  These can be treated as physical illnesses, not “mental illness.”  In many Christian churches, there is a whole movement called Biblical counseling that, in contrast to psychotherapy, treats the root cause of behavioral problems (the ones lacking a physical cause) as sin.  Their patients often reach a profound sense of relief when they get straight talk about their sin problems, instead of the runaround about “mental illness” the shrinks offer with their pseudoscientific band-aid solutions. Psychotherapist, heal thyself.  Show the goods, or you don’t get a reboot.  You just get the boot.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Without a nation there is nothing to brand

first_imgNation branding challenges and successes faced by Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria and Kosovo, in the wake of political and social change in the region since 1989, were held up as lessons in nation branding.Professor Nadia Kaneva offered the analysis in a presentation titled “The branded national imagination and its limits: Insights from the post-socialist experience” given at a Brand South Africa Competitiveness Forum for South African academia. Held at the University of Pretoria, Tshwane, on 5 October 2016, the forum aimed at in-depth analysis of global and domestic issues influencing the reputation and competitiveness of the nation’s brand.“As communism was ending, the Romanian flag allowed for a discourse around the future of the Nation” says Dr. Nadia Kaneva @Brand_SA forum pic.twitter.com/31tJ98AQhF— Guido van Garderen (@GuidovGarderen) October 5, 2016Presenting at the event were key academics in the fields of business, humanities and political science, from a host of South African universities and tertiary institutions.The goal of the dialogue is to compile all presentations and contributions into a peer-reviewed journal, with a view to positioning South Africa as a thought leader in nation branding. Key to the success of that journal will be the keynote contribution from Kaneva.Bulgarian-born Kaneva is an associate professor in the University of Denver’s media, film and journalism faculty. She is a globally respected and widely published researcher who uses critical sociology and media studies to dissect the commercialisation of politics and culture in Eastern Europe through nation branding and reputation-building.Kaneva’s ultimate conclusion – that in order to be more effective, an imagined nation brand should align closer to and more realistically to the changes in the nation and its people – was honed through extensive research on radical changes in Romania after the fall of communism, post-conflict Kosovo during the 2000s and the relationship between Ukraine and Russia as recently as three years ago.The lessons learnt in the research can be just as easily applied to any nation brand, especially for emerging economies like South Africa, she says.In introducing Kaneva, University of Pretoria deputy dean of humanities Professor Maxi Schoeman highlighted the importance of getting an outsider view on building South Africa’s brand internationally, someone objective enough to weigh up the differences and similarities between the country and nations with similar histories.The science and application of nation branding was now very much part of mainstream academia and an essential tool for governance, Kaneva said at the start of her presentation. As a legitimate interdisciplinary field, the study of nation branding included elements of media and marketing ideas, anthropological study, business theory and sociology.Yet, Kaneva argued, developing and managing a national brand and reputation would always be a highly political and therefore delicate process, the success of which did not always lie in the area of savvy marketing or critical theory.This was evident in post-socialist Eastern Europe countries experiencing the swift changes of political and economic experiments, Kaneva said.Extensive global multichannel marketing campaigns by Romania and Kosovo highlighted each country’s promise in its people and economics in a vastly depoliticised way, focusing on things such as tourism and investment and replacing a more realistic national identity with something more market-oriented, in other words, what “the outside world wanted to see”.In 2009, two years after gaining independence, Kosovo’s first attempt at marketing the country to the outside world was in the form of a television commercial, The Young Europeans. While carrying a positive message of reconciliation and cultural tolerance as well as an eagerness to partake economically in the European Union, it told little about the country and its people to outsiders (investors, tourists) that would differentiate it from any other European nation.While initially successful, there was a negative reaction from citizens, who felt misrepresented by this imagined nation brand. As Kaneva says, a rejection of idealised, imagined branding is ultimately counter-productive to what a country brand really wants to achieve.Watch The Young Europeans:At the crux of the argument, Kaneva says, is honesty with the nation brand, creating an identity that can actually be recognised by the people it is supposed to be representing.Offering solutions to link the imagined nation brand closer to reality, Kaneva highlighted the following:Recognise that nation branding has a political element and embrace it, with all its shortcomings and diversities.Invest in programmes and policy that encourages and grows both citizen engagement and development in the nation and its brand: let people inform the national message.Look beyond the data of perception ratings to formulate effective nation brand evaluation and measurement: outside views, particularly those formulated with data, are important, but other research models are necessary to get the complete picture of a nation.Diminish the focus and use of transnational mass media nation brand advertising; look to niche marketing opportunities for creating a truer, most consistent national image and reputation.Concluding her presentation, Kaneva said that reconstructing and refreshing national identities, particularly for nations with a history of significant political and societal transformation, should always consider the transformations of the people it represented, adding that, “without a nation there will be nothing to brand”.Download full presentationSouthAfrica.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

Take steps to help women in crisis: NGO to Goa govt.

first_imgPANAJI: Taking a cue from the recent case in which a woman was found confined to a room by her family for years, Bailancho Saad, a women’s collective which played a role in her rescue, has demanded measures such as expediting the formation of a one-stop crisis centre for women and child victims of violence and abuse.The case of Sunita Verlekar, who was locked in a room with the stench of urine, without clothes or electricity, and infested with mosquitoes, has brought to the fore the violation of human rights of women, said Sabina Martins of Bailancho Saad at a press conference on Sunday. Ms. Martins said Ms. Verlekar, who studied up to Class XII (commerce), was married, but was sent back to her maternal home. Family members said she was confined because her mental condition was not stable. A medical examination found her psychologically and physically stable to be admitted to the State-run shelter home of Provedoria, Public Assistance Department. She received ₹2,000 per month from the Dayanand Social Security Scheme in her bank account, which was being withdrawn. This aspect is under investigation, Ms. Martins said. Bailancho Saad has said the government should periodically check the living conditions of people who are termed mentally unstable. Ms. Martins said there should be a mechanism to check if the money from welfare schemes reaches beneficiaries. Ms. Martins also urged the government to expedite setting up the one-stop crisis centre and the State Resource Centre for Women, funds for both of which have been provided by the Central government.last_img read more

Samwad Yatra begins on peaceful note

first_imgPro-reservation Maratha outfits on Friday launched the ‘Samwad Yatra’ in a bid to keep up the pressure on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Leaders of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is spearheading the stir, decided to go ahead with the yatra despite Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s assurance that the process of granting quota to the Maratha community would be completed by December 1. The leaders of the stir have demanded that the State government grant Marathas a quota under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, and not as separate ‘Maratha community’ which they fear will not pass muster in court.At the same time, MKM leaders assured that the Maratha community had no intention of snatching any benefits currently being availed by the other backward classes.“We want the Fadnavis government to include us in the OBC category and not push for our reservation as ‘Maratha community’ members. This can be achieved by expanding Maharashtra’s reservation limit which currently stands at 52%,” said Shantaram Kunjir, a Morcha coordinator from Pune heading the ‘Samwad Yatra’.Raghunath Chitre-Patil, another convener, said in 2014, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government had approved a 16% Maratha quota which could not endure as it was reservation “on lines of a caste/community” and not along economic lines.“The Congress-NCP government announced a quota for the Maratha community just as the elections were round the corner. What was more damaging was that by not arguing for our inclusion within the OBC, the government could not put up a convincing argument in court on the backwardness of a majority of the Marathas,” Mr. Chitre-Patil said. Vinod Patil, a pro-quota activist who filed the petition in Bombay High Court, urged for extending the State’s reservation limit to ensure fairness and preserve inter-caste harmony. “The OBC category constitutes 32% of the total reservation. We are demanding a quota under the ‘OBC’ category, but not at the cost of eating into reservation of the other economically and socially backward communities. So the government must expand the reservation limit by including the Marathas under a separate OBC category. Say for instance, if the backwards classes under the OBC category are collectively labeled ‘A’, then the Marathas may be labeled as ‘A1’ under the same category,” opined Mr. Patil.The yatra commenced with a formal ceremony at the SSPMS ground in Pune, with hundreds of protestors demanding that the current government fulfil all demands of the Maratha community including fee waiver for Maratha students and death sentence to the perpetrators of the heinous 2016 Kopardi rape-murder — the trigger for the Maratha quota movement. The yatra moved to Saswad, 30 km from Pune, to join other pro-quota protestors who completed 100 days of agitation on Friday.Unlike the jarring bursts of violence and arson that marked the State-wide shutdown on August 9, the first phase of the new stir commenced on a peaceful note. The agitators however, reasserted their intention of converging on the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai on November 26 if the State government failed to break the reservation impasse.The Kopardi incident in 2016 had spurred a wave of nearly 60 ‘Muk Morchas’(silent rallies) for two years across the state, while buttressing the community’s claim for Maratha reservation and a curb on the misuse of the Atrocity Act.On Thursday, speaking at a function in Ahmednagar, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had reiterated his promise of resolving the Maratha quota issue within the next fortnight while urging the Maratha community to get ready for celebrations on December 1 instead of gearing up to launch fresh agitations against the State government.last_img read more

Expansion of Maharashtra Cabinet on the cards

first_imgAs the State government gets ready for the last session of the current Assembly, the news of a possible Cabinet expansion is making the rounds again. The monsoon session begins on June 17. While details of a meeting between senior BJP leader and Revenue and Relief Minister Chandrakant Patil with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday were not made public, sources said it was to discuss the possibility of expansion.State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, in an interaction with mediapersons, said, “Yes, there is a possibility of Cabinet expansion. The ultimate right to decide rests with Chief Minister. More ministers would mean better governance. Therefore, there is a possibility that cabinet expansion may take place,” he said.Political circles are also discussing the possibility of former Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil joining BJP and getting a cabinet berth. However neither BJP sources nor Mr. Vikhe-Patil’s aides have confirmed this yet.last_img read more

Rash of new clubs in Kolkata takes over from traditional ones with style and panache

first_imgLIVING IT UP: The pool-side barArchana Agarwal’s children work as hard as her. Since the HR manager at Tata Tea in Kolkata keeps busy, she has enrolled her children in a school-cum-creche. Guilty, Agarwal decided to join a club, hoping her children could catch up on some outdoor activities.She tried,LIVING IT UP: The pool-side barArchana Agarwal’s children work as hard as her. Since the HR manager at Tata Tea in Kolkata keeps busy, she has enrolled her children in a school-cum-creche. Guilty, Agarwal decided to join a club, hoping her children could catch up on some outdoor activities.She tried three of the city’s best places, but didn’t make it. While two clubs told her they were too full, the third informed that her membership might take a decade. “I can’t wait that long,” she says. “My children will grow up by then.”Entrepreneur Ravi Arora had a different experience though he is in the same boat. When he wanted to join one of the better known clubs in Kolkata, a member of its managing committee promised to push his application for a generous fee.”I was asked for Rs 1 lakh even though the membership fee is a little over Rs 50,000,” says a disgusted Arora. Like Agarwal and Arora, there are at least 10,000 people who have been waiting long to get into one or the other of Kolkata’s 10 best clubs, a recent IMRB study reveals. Some of them have been on the list for over a decade. The good news is that a rash of new clubs are cashing in on this lopsided demand-and-supply situation and are fast weaning away the wannabes. While Agarwal is now a member of Ibiza, a new country club 25 km from the city, Arora is part of The Circle, which opened in 1999.A month into operations, Ibiza has notched up 300 takers, each paying Rs 60,000. The Space Circle, which has not even opened yet and has a steeper membership fee of Rs 1.1 lakh, already has four times that number on its rolls.advertisementThere’s also the highway-skirting Lake land Country Club, besides some others in the pipeline: Princeton, another venture by the group which owns Ibiza, and Country Roads, a farmhouse complex with a club, which will be operational by the year 2003.The billiards room at IbizaThe well-heeled Kolkatan, for whom clubbing is a colonial hangover, couldn’t have asked for more. With fewer watering holes than other metros, the club is an essential hangout in Kolkata for taking the family out for a Sunday lunch, entertaining prospective clients or getting sporty on the weekend. “Wherever the British set foot, the first thing they did was to set up a club,” writes novelist Budhadev Guha.The penchant for clubbing is so strong that membership of one or more of the city’s prestigious clubs has come to dictate one’s social standing. Most of Kolkata’s turn-of-the-century clubs had been the preserve of the Brown Sahib till the 1960s.Now everyone wants to be a part of that charmed circle, forcing the clubs to tighten membership norms. While Bengal Club targets only the top company executives, Calcutta Club bars women and under-30s as members.The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club and South Club prefer entrants with a sports background. Others cite legal reasons. According to air commodore (retd) K.B. Menon, managing member of the Tollygunge Club, the club’s charter forbids more than 1,500 permanent members. “And rightly so,” he adds. “A club is an extension of my home. I would like only the people I could bring home to be around me at the club.”That leaves a huge chunk of young people – teens, yuppies, middle-level executives – with virtually nowhere to go. “The new clubs recognise this and are cashing in on it,” says A.K. Dutt, former president of several of the city’s traditional clubs.The facilities they offer reflect this. Space Circle is investing big money in a 7,000-sq ft indoor cricket ground, rollerblading and ice- skating rinks and a two-storey practice rock for mountaineering buffs. The Circle already has never-before perks like an art gallery and a huge children’s room equipped with nannies. Glossing over TraditionThe Calcutta ClubOld HauntsAdvantages: A home away from home, the colonial clubs have an old-world charm about them.Drawbacks: Hemmed in by financial and space constraints, they offer few facilities and fewer memberships.New EntrantsAdvantages: With never-before features like indoor cricket grounds, ice-skating rinks and jacuzzis they are raking in new members.Drawbacks: Located in the suburbs, they rank low as status symbols.At Ibiza, members get to try their hand at sports like angling, boating and pool. They could use a kilometre-long, specially designed jogging track that has a cushion of sand and hollow bricks, or a mini driving and putting range.While traditional clubs would balk at the idea of a full-time disco on their premises (most are content with a special “nite” or two), the new clubs can’t imagine life without a dancing floor. Some of this is admittedly gimmicky – like the submerged pool-side bar and open-air jacuzzi at Ibiza – but members are lapping it up.While a ceiling on members seems fair, change makers feel the traditional clubs need to do some soul searching.”If the older clubs don’t move with the times, they will lose out to the new ones,” says Dutt. The picture already looks grim.advertisementMany of the better-known clubs are hamstrung by shortage of space and finances. Most of these clubs are housed in heritage buildings in the city and cannot expand or change at will.Nor do they have the funds to do so, even though members pay a monthly subscription ranging between Rs 300 and Rs 450. The Saturday Club, for instance, has an annual turnover of Rs 3.5 crore. But till April, it was spending Rs 1.75 crore on staff salaries every year. When officials suggested a cutback, a violent union forced the club to shut down for three months. Similarly, the Calcutta Club, which gets about Rs 1.5 crore from its 4,000 members every year, has to spend almost Rs 2 crore on staff salaries annually.Recently, when some members proposed a three-tier underground parking system to generate money, the idea was shot down: it would be against the philosophy of the club to go “commercial.Children’s Hall at The CircleThe new clubs have no such qualms. “Money’s not the important thing,” says Sushil Mohta of Ibiza. “I offer my members a club and four-star hotel rolled into one.” In other words, he runs it like a business.But does it matter? Deb Kumar Bose, who recently signed up at a new country club, believes the “old-world charm of the traditional clubs” doesn’t sell anymore. “I don’t care for it,” he says.”My children will care even less.” That’s a warning call to some of the older clubs, says a committee member of Tollygunge Club. “They have to shape up if they have to fend off competition,” he says. “If a club is a home away from home, no one wants an outmoded dwelling.”Least of all the wait listed.last_img read more

New OPM Website Launched

first_imgThe media, students, researchers, the general public, and other stakeholders can now visit the Office of the Prime Minister’s new, interactive web portal, which was launched on Wednesday, February 27.The new-look website, www.opm.gov.jm, which was designed by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), is also maintained by the agency.Making the announcement and introducing the various features of the website, at a Jamaica House media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, pointed out that the website is recognised as a key communication tool for the Government.The main features of the website are: timely news releases emerging from the OPM; profiles of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers; policies and programmes of the Government, such as the economic reform programme, the growth agenda, the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), and others. The website also provides a history of Jamaica House, and a virtual tour.“It’s a work in progress…we are going to do some more photo shoots, so that persons can see the inner workings and offices of Jamaica House,” Minister Falconer told journalists.It also features links to social media, such as Facebook, and links to other Government websites; live streaming of the weekly Jamaica House press briefing, and sittings of Parliament; and an improved and more easily navigated photo gallery. One interesting feature of the gallery is a ‘Photo of the Day’.“In addition, we have multi-media presentations…in the past the OPM website did not have any kind of video. One feature that we are working on, which we hope will facilitate the media (is to) update the website in real time,” the Minister said.She pointed out that in the near future, members of the press will be able to download videos and audio clips from the website, as this will enable easier access to material which they would otherwise have to source directly from the JIS.last_img read more

20K shortfall threatens heavily used Iqaluit Food Bank

first_imgKent Driscoll APTN National News Nunavut faces the highest grocery costs in the country. So, it probably comes as no surprise that plenty of people in the territory simply can’t afford to eat.Now, that problem is growing into a crisis.70 percent of Inuit families in Nunavut are food insecure, which is eight times higher than the national rate.A $20,000 shortfall in the capitol’s food bank could mean a hungry spring for some Iqaluit families in 2017.kdriscoll@aptn.calast_img