Logic and psychology

Logic and psychology

Opinion

Psychology says it is a science. It has obtained scientific status over the years, and now is recognised as such legally and socially, to be a profession that has earned the right to be considered a science. The following is an opinion. 

 

If psychology is a science, as it says it is, it must, it seems to me, be able to explain what is mental illness logically. To a client.

 

So, if a client says, for example: 'Why are these things happenning, and it seems to me that they are a conspiracy' the psychologist has to be able to explain in detail to the client, how the client's thinking is wrong.

 

If the psychologist says something like: 'your brain is disordered', I would argue that is not good enough. The psychologist has to be able to specifically say how the brain is disordered.

 

What is wrong with the client's thinking, in detail?

 

I suspect a lot of psychology hides behind the medical excuse and throws it into this territory if things get too difficult. This is not then, I argue, psychology.

 

Psychology is about correcting errors in thinking. If it cannot do this, I would argue it might as well ask for its status as a 'science' (which the profession applied for many years ago, and obtained) to be removed.

 

Medicine is not psychology. Saying: 'you have delusions' for example, is not good enough. The psychologist must in detail explain how and why it is a delusion. If they cannot do it?

 

It could be argued, if they can't, that they can't apply thinking correction because they themselves cannot think logically enough, to be able to correct the client's thinking. This is not particularly scientific. I would argue further, it is not even 'psychology'.

 

Psychology is not witchcraft. It is not magical. It must be able to explain its assessments on grounds of scientific logic, detail by detail. It must be able to be questionned and challenged on this logic. It is not 'waving crystals' in the form of magical 'diagnoses' at the client, that the psychologist cannot explain themselves. They have to be able to intellectually explain what they say, in detail, to a client, surely.

 

So, in an example (theoretical):

 

The client says: 'I think I am being stalked and lots of people are conspiring against me'. The psychologist might say: 'you have delusions.'

 

That is not good enough. How is it a delusion? Exactly. In detail. What is wrong with the client's thinking?

 

The client says: 'people are following me' and so the psychologist could say:

'How?'

 

The client is asked to explain in detail, how. Are they people on foot, people in cars, people in trains, buses, in shops in cafes.. how?

 

Then the client must explain and maybe they say: 'it is gang stalking'.

 

Psychologist: 'How?'

 

'When I do things' the client says, 'the people loudly rev their engines and drive up and down my street.'

 

'So the connnection is what?' asks the psychologist.

 

Client might say: 'to my thinking'.

 

So the psychologist might then say: 'Yes, you are attributing it falsely.'

 

Client might then be expected to understand and accept this but it has not been explained logically. 

 

The client asks: How am I attributing it falsely?

 

Psychologist: 'You are delusional - you have delusional psychosis.'

 

That is not good enough as an answer. That is a cop out. The psychologist must explain it.

 

'How?' says the client: 'What is it about it, that is a delusion?'

 

The psychologist must then explain

Maybe, as one possible explanation, the psychologist says: 'When you hear a vehicle you connect it to your own personal situation and it is not connected. You are making a false attribution.'

 

Client says: 'But this happens every time I do a certain thing. Evey day or most days.'

 

Psychologist: ' It is your thinking.'

 

Again, this is not good enough. What is the psychologist saying? The psychologist must explain:

Psychologist: 'It is your thinking and you make the same error every time. You must change it.'

 

Client: 'So you say I must change my understanding of co-incidence?'

 

This seems a fair assessment. The client here is using logic, and it does seem a logical inference from what the psychologist is saying.

 

'You are saying it is co-incidence that these things happen?'

 

Psychologist: 'Yes.'

 

Client: 'So if they happenned to you, as they happen to me, you would regard it as co- incidence?'

 

Psychologist has to be able to honestly answer yes.

If they can't honestly answer yes, they are not being ethical.

 

'So', says the client: 'every time I get a coat and put it on, a car outside three streets away revs it's engine, most days, most times. You are saying that I am misattributing it to myself. That you would not be suspicious if it happenned to you.'

That is what you are saying? asks the client.

 

Psychologist: 'You have delusional psychosis'.

 

That is not acceptable.
At this point the psychologist must not hide behind this sort of thing and throw labels at the client. They must explain it or they cannot call themself a scientist.

 

So the psychologist must say: 'Yes. If I went to get a coat, and when I did, a car three streets away revved its engine, every time or on most days that I did it, I would not regard it as suspicious.'

The psychologist might then add:

'I would ignore it as co-incidence.'

 

But they must conclude, to be logical, based on their previous assertions, with something like this statement: ' You are not interpreting reality accurately therefore, in thinking it is not co-incidence. That is what I mean when I say it is 'delusional'.

That is: they must put themselves, and their logic, on the line (or whatever logic they choose in this situation).

 

Maybe, in this example, the psychologist continues:

'Also it is delusional because no one could know you get the coat.'

 

Client: 'Maybe my house is bugged.'

 

Psychologist: 'Do you think it is?'

 

Client: 'No'

 

Psychologist could say: 'Have you had it checked for bugs?'

 

client: 'Yes.'

 

Psychologist: 'Then what is the explanation? People can't read your thoughts. No one knows when you go to get your coat.'

 

Client: 'I know.'

 

Psychologist: 'So it is delusional psychosis. You have a delusion. You are suffering a delusion.'

 

But, again, is this science? The client is presenting a logical problem and the psychologist must be able to explain how it is logically incorrect in order for it to be considered 'psychology'.

This is what psychology is all about. Otherwise it would be medicine. Just to throw a label and some drugs at a person really does not indicate any advanced ability to understand the mind on the part of the psychologist who after all, is presenting him or herself to the world as a scientist.

 

The client might say then, if they are a person who has spent a bit of time thinking about things:

'So when you use the term : 'delusional psychosis' what are you really saying? That I 'have' a delusional state?

 

Psychologist might say: Yes, probably you have a tendency to misinterpret reality.

 

Client: So I am likely to interpret it this way all the time because my state of mind is delusional?

 

Psychologist: Yes

 

Client: so you are saying I make mistakes in logic every time or often and that this is the cause and basis of my delusional psychosis? Or that I make mistakes because I have delusional psychosis? Which?

You are saying this is the reason for my believing I am being harassed or gang stalked or conspired against - or whatever I say? That it is a state of mind?

 

Psychologist: 'Yes, you have delusional psychosis. You interpret reality inaccurately. You need to change your way of looking and interpreting the world.'

 

Again here, the psychologist is taking the easy way out. How, in detail, on each instance, is the client wrong? The psychologist would have to be able to logically answer each of the clients other problems which are said to be delusional as well, on the basis of logic. 

 

Client: Yes, it is possible that I see what you mean. But I am only talking about the coat here. I don't think to say it is delusional psychosis really is fair based on what I've told you.

 

Psychologist: Okay....

 

Client: So in talking about the coat: is my thinking wrong?

 

Psychologist: ' Yes. Your thinking is not logical and I have shown you in detail how I would interpret the same situation. Can you accept this logic? '

 

What is the client's answer? 

 

Is the client convinced? Has the psychologist told the truth as far as application of logic is concerned? (Maybe they use a different argument- for example: that the client only notices hearing the car when getting the coat, but the car is revving at other times too - another standard explanation for the same situation: selective perception)

Is the psychologist able to apply in detail logic to the client's situation, or not? If they do, are they willing to back it up themselves? Would other people agree with their logic, or whatever logic they use? Has the psychologist earned the right to call him or herself a scientist? 

 

Psychology is about the mind, and logic.  It has to be. 

 

Or, it's not psychology. 

 

written by Katrina Wood

July, 2017.

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