Dr Matt's Archive of Answers
Come visit Dr Matt at Facebook!
Talk to Dr Matt!
When you buy Changing Your Stripes
Dear Dr Matt,
1) When you see a patient for the first time can you ever tell that they have OCD
2) What things do you do as a psychologist that help test to see if the patient has OCD?
3) Have you ever had a person have severe OCD to the point where they have so much
4) In your time of being a psychologist would you say that OCD is a common disorder?
5) How long would you say it takes a person to be able to control OCD after therapy?
If you climb a ladder that leans against the Wrong Wall, even though you may climb higher and higher, your eventual destination will always be Wrong. Answering your 5 questions, is to climb a ladder that leans against the Wrong Wall. Let me explain.
More than 500 years ago, a majority of people living at that time assumed that the earth was FLAT — of course, they were Wrong! In our day, there is a new Flat-Earth Assumption that a majority of people assume to be true: It's called the "medical model of mental illness."
The Medical Model of Mental Illness maintains that mental maladies happen like physical illness: That some sort of biological defect underlies the symptoms of mental illness — defects such as bad brain chemistry, bad genes, or some other aspect of bad body biology.
Here's the problem: The biological link is rarely empirically proven and in the vast majority of cases; Mental Illnesses are merely inferred by language — "You have OCD" as opposed to the more accurate description . . . "You DO OCD."
The word "ill" means = not in full health. Truth is, there are many moments in life that will fit the description of "ill = not in full health." Some of those moments will NOT be due to a biological bug or defect; nevertheless, You will feel "ill" in body or mind, or both.
Question: Are people in "full health" when they harbor emotions of hate or anger?
When you are being angry or harboring hate, in such moments you are not in "full health" — you are "ill." Yet there is no biological cause behind your dis-ordered emotions of anger or hate. Instead, you are Doing anger and Doing hate; you are Doing your Dis-ordered feelings and behaviors.
American psychiatrist William Glasser asserts that the word "angering" is a better description of really happening, when people choose to be "angry" — as opposed to the false idea that "anger" overwhelms people beyond their control. He is the developer of reality therapy and choice theory.
Glasser deviates from conventional psychiatrists by warning of potential detriments caused by traditional psychiatry; he discourages a focus upon classifying diagnostic patterns in which to plug a patient, concluding "this patient HAS this Mental Illness," thereafter prescribing psychotropic medications for treatment. Instead, Glasser encouraged a focus upon personal choice, personal responsibility, and personal transformation.
Different from the common goal of diagnosing a patient with a mental illness and prescribing medications, Glasser's goal was to help individuals see the choices they are making that lead to acting out due to moments of unhappiness or frustration — moments that are NOT caused by a brain or biological origin.
In 1960 Thomas Szasz, a Hungarian psychiatrist, published a book entitled "The Myth of Mental Illness." His book explained why so-called Mental Illness is NOT really an "illness" like physical Illness — which always has a biological cause. For example, when you HAVE the Flu, there IS an actual virus in your body that causes that illness.
In contrast, when you supposedly HAVE OCD, there is NO consistently proven, biological cause that makes a person HAVE OCD — neither are there biological tests to discover the supposed defect or bug behind OCD . This is one way in which the medical model of mental illness goes Wrong: there is no detectable, provable biological source that causes OCD, or ADD, or BiPolar Disorder — although many psychologists speak of such internal brain and body origins.
The reality of OCD is this: People really DO think obsessive thoughts over and over, and DO behave compulsively over and over; People DO OCD — they do not HAVE OCD. To say the words "I HAVE a Mental Disorder" is language we learned from the erroneous assumption of the Medical Model of Mental Illness.
If Mental Disorders really did have a biological cause, then the cure for these Mental Illnesses would be a pill, a potion, or surgery, to correct the biological cause. If Mental Disorders really did have a biological cause, then the cure for such Mental Illnesses would absolutely NOT be . . . TALK Therapy.
For example, if YOU HAVE the Flu . . . do you think I could TALK you out of your illness? Not a chance! And the same has to be true of so-called psychiatric disorders that people supposedly HAVE . . . instead of DO. If people really HAVE mental disorders, then Talking them out of their illness . . . IS impossible.
Here's the good news: Because people are Doing their Dis-ordered Behaviors . . . then they can UN-Do them, otherwise they are STUCK. Being Stuck means that your only solution must be a Pill, a Potion, or a Surgery (some physical intervention to fix the biological cause).
Don't get me wrong, I'm willing to accept a Biological Cause for any Dis-Order, when the Biological Cause is empirically proven to exist. BUT, what typically happens when therapists diagnose a Disorder with a Biological Causes? They may prescribe a drug that makes their patient dopey, and in the mean time, the "Mentally Ill" patient proceeds with . . . Talk Therapy! Why?
Again, what chance do I have of TALKING you out of . . . Malaria or the Black Plague?
So is OCD real? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is REAL at the level of what people DO and THINK and EXPERIENCE. But in terms of a provable biological bug or defect which causes OCD, . . . Evolutionary Psychology has created a myth and are selling the "King's New Clothes."
Thomas Szasz argued that mental illness is a social construct created by psychiatrists, and that the term "mental illness" can only be a metaphor — NOT a legitimate parallel to how physical illness happen, with real biological causes. Psychiatric Disorders simply do not meet that criteria!
What is really happening when your behaviors fit symptomatic descriptions for a Mental Disorder? According to Thomas Szasz, you are habitually DOING a set of behaviors that don't comply with norms — thus your behavior is Dis-Ordered from a normative pattern. This means, what psychiatrists label "mental illness" is in fact nothing more than You are Doing a Deviating from typical norms and mores.
Here's the advantage of the "Dis-Order as something You are Doing" Reality: Because You are Doing your Dis-Ordered Behaviors . . . then You can possess power to Un-Do those same behaviors. Further the process of Un-Doing can be helped through Talk Therapy.
My doctorate is in Social Psychology, which is a scientific discipline and not a "clinical" discipline per se. That said, all issues that deal with human relations are better informed by my field, than by Psychology. Why so? Because the science of Psychology is individualistic; it approaches Man as a Meat Machine driven by biological and brain determinates. Most psychologists seek to explain outside behavior by internal causes. You might say such psychologists are obsessed with this unfruitful focus.
Main-stream Psychologists study your Bad Brain chemistry and your Bad Biology to find explanations for your Bad Behavior. I call this kind of Psychology: It's-Not-Your-Fault Psychology. A huge problem with this approach is that it gives people a convenient excuse for their Bad Behavior — when people really ought to own Response-Ability for their actions.
When we buy into the Flat-Earth Assumption of the Medical Model of Mental Illness, the logic follows that there should be no prisons — for all Dis-Ordered Behavior has an underlying biological cause. Hence, everyone should be on Prozac or some other Pill to cure the Mental Disorder that caused them to behave badly. Get it?
Those who buy into the "medical model" hook, line, and sinker will even argue that the 9/11 tragedy was perpetrated by the "mentally ill." The logic goes like this: The Terrorists weren't EVIL . . . they were just ILL . . . Mentally Ill! These Tower-Ramming Extremists HAD OCTD — Obsessive Compulsive Terrorist Disorder. They need medication . . . not incarceration.
In contrast, I argue that the 9/11 Terrorists were EVIL! They were Response-Able for choosing their violent actions, and thus must be Accountable for those actions.
It's-Not-Your-Fault Psychology is an entrenched institution that is selling the Myth of Mental Illness with its associated excuses. Society is being sold . . . the "King's New Clothes." Again, if You are not Response-Able for what comes out of you, exactly HOW can you solve a Problem that YOU did not create? Can you say STUCK? Remember, if YOU didn't create it, then a pill, or potion, or surgery is your only answer — and certainly NOT Talk Therapy!
The medical model of mental illness is a paradigm spawned by assumptions of evolution. There is abundant empirical evidence that you and I did NOT evolve from Dolphins, Monkeys, or Alligators; nor did we evolve from some slime that crawled out of the ocean, and then miraculously grew arms and legs and eyes. It takes a greater Faith to believe in that Fairy Tale — much MORE Faith than it takes to believe in a Creator.
If human being are Creations of a Creator how Dis-ordered Behaviors are CAUSED and CURED is entirely DIFFERENT from what main-stream psychology is selling.
The Mental Disorder Paradigm tends to undercut what the Creator has put in place: Human Beings were created that they might be morally Response-Able for their thoughts, words, and deeds. But the pervasive acceptance of the Medical Model of Mental Illness have given birth to the illegitimate child I've named: It's-Not-Your-Fault Psychology.
Here are the answers to your five 5 questions:
1) When you see a patient for the first time can you ever tell that they have OCD just by their actions?
*** People DO OCD, as opposed to HAVE OCD, when people DO obsessive thinking over and over, and DO compulsive acts over and over . . . then you KNOW, they are DOING IT.
*** Yes, severe patterns of DOING compulsively over and over and THINKING obsessively over and over: What is it like? It's similar to the quirky kind of life that you and I live. Everyone's a little crazy! Haven't you noticed yet?
*** Again, my training is in Social Psychology. Even so, I have eyes and can observe consistent behavior patterns of our world. Yes, OCD-Doings are very common. Almost everyone DOES OCD to some extent. But again, Psychiatric illness/disorder is assumed to happen like physical sickness, yet there is no consistent measurable biological cause. Still, the set of behavioral tendencies and symptoms to describe various "Dis-Orders" in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) are valid descriptions of what people DO in consistent patterns, over and over.
The Question of "control" is the wrong question. It assumes that "control" is what ought to be done. First, Because OCD is a behavior pattern YOU are Doing, . . . OCD is NOT an "it" that needs to be controlled — even though such is an implication of a "way of talking" about Disorders generally.
Because YOU are DOING OCD, then . . . the better question is this: What ARE human beings that they can control themselves? If human beings are Creations of a Creator . . . does the Creator offer any help? If there is NO Creator, then there is no Accountability or Justice for the insane actions of 9/11 terrorists. And If there is NO Creator, then billions of people on this earth must look for salvation in a Pill, a Potion, or a Surgery!
You decide: Are You an Evolutionary Meat Machine subject to biologically caused Mental Illness? OR are You a Creation of a Creator who is ready and willing to extent His Help to those who ask in Faith?
Human Beings are NOT born of Big Bang and are NOT the grandchildren of Monkeys, Dolphins, or Ocean Slime — that then, miraculously grew arms, legs, and eyes. I'm NOT selling It's-Not-Your-Fault Psychology; so instead of "diagnosis" . . . I describe, and instead of "treatment" . . . I teach. And what do I teach? I teach True Principles that put people in touch with Heaven's Help and Healing.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
* * * * * * *
For this is the Journey that men make:
Dr. Matt offers telephone counseling that will fix your problems fast!
The Greatest Prize
The book, "Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
"Mastering a challenging situation
"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
If these principles resonate and ring true,
Changing Your Stripes is a