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Mmpi Ii Test

(category: Psychology, Word count: 510)
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The MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), composed by Hathaway (a psychologist) and McKinley (a physician) is the outcome of decades of research into personality disorders. The revised version, the MMPI-II (also known as MMPI-2), was published in 1989 but was received cautiously. MMPI-II changed the scoring method and some of the normative data. It was, therefore, hard to compare it to its much hallowed (and oft validated) predecessor.

The MMPI-II is made of 567 binary (true or false) items (questions). Each item requires the subject to respond: "This is true (or false) as applied to me". There are no "correct" answers. The test booklet allows the diagnostician to provide a rough assessment of the patient (the "basic scales") based on the first 370 queries (though it is recommended to administer all of 567 of them).

Based on numerous studies, the items are arranged in scales. The responses are compared to answers provided by "control subjects". The scales allow the diagnostician to identify traits and mental health problems based on these comparisons. In other words, there are no answers that are "typical to paranoid or narcissistic or antisocial patients". There are only responses that deviate from an overall statistical pattern and conform to the reaction patterns of other patients with similar scores. The nature of the deviation determines the patient's traits and tendencies - but not his or her diagnosis!

The interpreted outcomes of the MMPI-II are phrased thus: "The test results place subject X in this group of patients who, statistically-speaking, reacted similarly. The test results also set subject X apart from these groups of people who, statistically-speaking, responded differently". The test results would never say: "Subject X suffers from (this or that) mental health problem".

There are three validity scales and ten clinical ones in the original MMPI-II, but other scholars derived hundreds of additional scales. For instance: to help in diagnosing personality disorders, most diagnosticians use either the MMPI-I with the Morey-Waugh-Blashfield scales in conjunction with the Wiggins content scales - or the MMPI-II updated to include the Colligan-Morey-Offord scales.

The validity scales indicate whether the patient responded truthfully and accurately or was trying to manipulate the test. They pick up patterns. Some patients want to appear normal (or abnormal) and consistently choose what they believe are the "correct" answers. This kind of behavior triggers the validity scales. These are so sensitive that they can indicate whether the subject lost his or her place on the answer sheet and was responding randomly! The validity scales also alert the diagnostician to problems in reading comprehension and other inconsistencies in response patterns.

The clinical scales are dimensional (though not multiphasic as the test's misleading name implies). They measure hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviation, masculinity-femininity, paranoia, psychasthenia, schizophrenia, hypomania, and social introversion. There are also scales for alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and personality disorders.

The interpretation of the MMPI-II is now fully computerized. The computer is fed with the patients' age, sex, educational level, and marital status and does the rest.

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Discover The Secrets Of Personality Type

(category: Psychology, Word count: 148)
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Have you ever wondered why your spouse, coworkers, or children seem to think so differently from you? You may not understand why they make the decisions they do, or why they place such importance on things that seem inconsequential to you. It is possible to understand the answers to all these questions. The secret lies in the theory of Myers-Briggs personality type.

In the 1960's a psychological theorist named Katharine Briggs had many of the same questions you do. She wondered why some of her family members had such logical, linear thinking processes, when she herself was more likely to take values and feelings into account when considering an issue. In her research with her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, she looked into this question and others, and discovered four central aspects of personality. Each one of us can be classified as either:

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Debunking Psychics

(category: Psychology, Word count: 484)
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Have you ever been curious about your future? Have you ever called a phone psychic to get some answers?

If you wonder how "psychics" work, read on. This article is for you.

Most "psychics" are plain scammers. They use cold reading to make calculated guess about the sitters. Cold reading is an interactive psychological technique which extracts information from a person through verbal and non verbal cues. More often than not, psychics utilize known psychology techniques that can apply to almost anyone. An example would be claiming the sitter is cursed and he or she could lift that curse for a fee, because most people visit a psychic when they are down and depressed, "being cursed" is a quick, convenient reason to blame. Paying the fee to lift the curse would be the quickest solution to their complicated life problems.

There seems to be several common factors in psychic readings. The psychic usually:

+Skillfully extracts information from non verbal cues such as breathing patterns, voice, dress, skin color, and body language.

+ Makes statements that seem to give information when they are actually out to fish for it. E.g. Prompts feedback from sitters by saying "I see a man in uniform, why would that be?"

+Feeds back to the subject what the latter wants to hear

+Makes general "Barnum statements" such as "You are worrisome on the outside but insecure on the inside."

The sitter of the reading is the key to a 'successful' reading. The sitter's willingness to connect vague 'clues' came up by the psychic will often decide how successful the reading is. Many sitters who try to contact their deceased loved ones are very motivated in the first place, and will take the psychic's message as a sign that he or she have made contact with the other side. That is why psychics subtly encourage cooperation before and during the reading. Once the psychic gains the trusts of the sitter, the latter usually actively supply information and clarifications.

Although facial expressions and body languages could mean differently to people from different cultural backgrounds, many psychologists believe that certain facial and body expressions are universal to the mankind.

How to tell dominance: People who dominates have a tenancy to stand up with an erected body, speaks slowly and rarely, and look people in their eyes for an extended period of time. Because of the demonstrated link between testosterone and aggression, people with square jaws ( testosterone induced feature) are thought as more domineering and aggressive.

How to tell submissiveness: Submissive people touches themselves a lot when they are confronted with a difficult situation. This is because human have an inborn mechanism acquired very early on in life to link physical touching with comfort and safety.

Most important to keep in mind: Real, powerful psychics don't advertise on the back of a supermarket magazine and do readings for $1.99.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder Clinical Features

(category: Psychology, Word count: 593)
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Clinical Features of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Opinions vary as to whether the narcissistic traits evident in in infancy, childhood, and early adolescence are pathological. Anecdotal evidence suggests that childhood abuse and trauma inflicted by parents, authority figures, or even peers provoke "secondary narcissism" and, when unresolved, may lead to the full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) later in life.

This makes eminent sense as narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a "False Self" which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

From my book "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited":

"To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity. Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

There are many types of narcissists: the paranoid, the depressive, the phallic, and so on.

An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).

Some narcissists are covert, or inverted narcissists. As codependents, they derive their narcissistic supply from their relationships with classic narcissists.

Treatment and Prognosis

Talk therapy (mainly psychodynamic psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioural treatment modalities) is the common treatment for patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The therapy goals cluster around the need to modify the narcissist's antisocial, interpersonally exploitative, and dysfunctional behaviors. Such re-socialization (behavior modification) is often successful. Medication is prescribed to control and ameliorate attendant conditions such as mood disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorders.

The prognosis for an adult suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is poor, though his adaptation to life and to others can improve with treatment.

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The Fundamentals Of Psychological Theories

(category: Psychology, Word count: 3713)
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All theories - scientific or not - start with a problem. They aim to solve it by proving that what appears to be "problematic" is not. They re-state the conundrum, or introduce new data, new variables, a new classification, or new organizing principles. They incorporate the problem in a larger body of knowledge, or in a conjecture ("solution"). They explain why we thought we had an issue on our hands - and how it can be avoided, vitiated, or resolved.

Scientific theories invite constant criticism and revision. They yield new problems. They are proven erroneous and are replaced by new models which offer better explanations and a more profound sense of understanding - often by solving these new problems. From time to time, the successor theories constitute a break with everything known and done till then. These seismic convulsions are known as "paradigm shifts".

Contrary to widespread opinion - even among scientists - science is not only about "facts". It is not merely about quantifying, measuring, describing, classifying, and organizing "things" (entities). It is not even concerned with finding out the "truth". Science is about providing us with concepts, explanations, and predictions (collectively known as "theories") and thus endowing us with a sense of understanding of our world.

Scientific theories are allegorical or metaphoric. They revolve around symbols and theoretical constructs, concepts and substantive assumptions, axioms and hypotheses - most of which can never, even in principle, be computed, observed, quantified, measured, or correlated with the world "out there". By appealing to our imagination, scientific theories reveal what David Deutsch calls "the fabric of reality".

Like any other system of knowledge, science has its fanatics, heretics, and deviants.

Instrumentalists, for instance, insist that scientific theories should be concerned exclusively with predicting the outcomes of appropriately designed experiments. Their explanatory powers are of no consequence. Positivists ascribe meaning only to statements that deal with observables and observations.

Instrumentalists and positivists ignore the fact that predictions are derived from models, narratives, and organizing principles. In short: it is the theory's explanatory dimensions that determine which experiments are relevant and which are not. Forecasts - and experiments - that are not embedded in an understanding of the world (in an explanation) do not constitute science.

Granted, predictions and experiments are crucial to the growth of scientific knowledge and the winnowing out of erroneous or inadequate theories. But they are not the only mechanisms of natural selection. There are other criteria that help us decide whether to adopt and place confidence in a scientific theory or not. Is the theory aesthetic (parsimonious), logical, does it provide a reasonable explanation and, thus, does it further our understanding of the world?

David Deutsch in "The Fabric of Reality" (p. 11):

"... (I)t is hard to give a precise definition of 'explanation' or 'understanding'. Roughly speaking, they are about 'why' rather than 'what'; about the inner workings of things; about how things really are, not just how they appear to be; about what must be so, rather than what merely happens to be so; about laws of nature rather than rules of thumb. They are also about coherence, elegance, and simplicity, as opposed to arbitrariness and complexity ..."

Reductionists and emergentists ignore the existence of a hierarchy of scientific theories and meta-languages. They believe - and it is an article of faith, not of science - that complex phenomena (such as the human mind) can be reduced to simple ones (such as the physics and chemistry of the brain). Furthermore, to them the act of reduction is, in itself, an explanation and a form of pertinent understanding. Human thought, fantasy, imagination, and emotions are nothing but electric currents and spurts of chemicals in the brain, they say.

Holists, on the other hand, refuse to consider the possibility that some higher-level phenomena can, indeed, be fully reduced to base components and primitive interactions. They ignore the fact that reductionism sometimes does provide explanations and understanding. The properties of water, for instance, do spring forth from its chemical and physical composition and from the interactions between its constituent atoms and subatomic particles.

Still, there is a general agreement that scientific theories must be abstract (independent of specific time or place), intersubjectively explicit (contain detailed descriptions of the subject matter in unambiguous terms), logically rigorous (make use of logical systems shared and accepted by the practitioners in the field), empirically relevant (correspond to results of empirical research), useful (in describing and/or explaining the world), and provide typologies and predictions.

A scientific theory should resort to primitive (atomic) terminology and all its complex (derived) terms and concepts should be defined in these indivisible terms. It should offer a map unequivocally and consistently connecting operational definitions to theoretical concepts.

Operational definitions that connect to the same theoretical concept should not contradict each other (be negatively correlated). They should yield agreement on measurement conducted independently by trained experimenters. But investigation of the theory of its implication can proceed even without quantification.

Theoretical concepts need not necessarily be measurable or quantifiable or observable. But a scientific theory should afford at least four levels of quantification of its operational and theoretical definitions of concepts: nominal (labeling), ordinal (ranking), interval and ratio.

As we said, scientific theories are not confined to quantified definitions or to a classificatory apparatus. To qualify as scientific they must contain statements about relationships (mostly causal) between concepts - empirically-supported laws and/or propositions (statements derived from axioms).

Philosophers like Carl Hempel and Ernest Nagel regard a theory as scientific if it is hypothetico-deductive. To them, scientific theories are sets of inter-related laws. We know that they are inter-related because a minimum number of axioms and hypotheses yield, in an inexorable deductive sequence, everything else known in the field the theory pertains to.

Explanation is about retrodiction - using the laws to show how things happened. Prediction is using the laws to show how things will happen. Understanding is explanation and prediction combined.

William Whewell augmented this somewhat simplistic point of view with his principle of "consilience of inductions". Often, he observed, inductive explanations of disparate phenomena are unexpectedly traced to one underlying cause. This is what scientific theorizing is about - finding the common source of the apparently separate.

This omnipotent view of the scientific endeavor competes with a more modest, semantic school of philosophy of science.

Many theories - especially ones with breadth, width, and profundity, such as Darwin's theory of evolution - are not deductively integrated and are very difficult to test (falsify) conclusively. Their predictions are either scant or ambiguous.

Scientific theories, goes the semantic view, are amalgams of models of reality. These are empirically meaningful only inasmuch as they are empirically (directly and therefore semantically) applicable to a limited area. A typical scientific theory is not constructed with explanatory and predictive aims in mind. Quite the opposite: the choice of models incorporated in it dictates its ultimate success in explaining the Universe and predicting the outcomes of experiments.

Are psychological theories scientific theories by any definition (prescriptive or descriptive)? Hardly.

First, we must distinguish between psychological theories and the way that some of them are applied (psychotherapy and psychological plots). Psychological plots are the narratives co-authored by the therapist and the patient during psychotherapy. These narratives are the outcomes of applying psychological theories and models to the patient's specific circumstances.

Psychological plots amount to storytelling - but they are still instances of the psychological theories used. The instances of theoretical concepts in concrete situations form part of every theory. Actually, the only way to test psychological theories - with their dearth of measurable entities and concepts - is by examining such instances (plots).

Storytelling has been with us since the days of campfire and besieging wild animals. It serves a number of important functions: amelioration of fears, communication of vital information (regarding survival tactics and the characteristics of animals, for instance), the satisfaction of a sense of order (predictability and justice), the development of the ability to hypothesize, predict and introduce new or additional theories and so on.

We are all endowed with a sense of wonder. The world around us in inexplicable, baffling in its diversity and myriad forms. We experience an urge to organize it, to "explain the wonder away", to order it so that we know what to expect next (predict). These are the essentials of survival. But while we have been successful at imposing our mind on the outside world - we have been much less successful when we tried to explain and comprehend our internal universe and our behavior.

Psychology is not an exact science, nor can it ever be. This is because its "raw material" (humans and their behavior as individuals and en masse) is not exact. It will never yield natural laws or universal constants (like in physics). Experimentation in the field is constrained by legal and ethical rules. Humans tend to be opinionated, develop resistance, and become self-conscious when observed.

The relationship between the structure and functioning of our (ephemeral) mind, the structure and modes of operation of our (physical) brain, and the structure and conduct of the outside world have been a matter for heated debate for millennia.

Broadly speaking, there are two schools of thought:

One camp identify the substrate (brain) with its product (mind). Some of these scholars postulate the existence of a lattice of preconceived, born, categorical knowledge about the universe - the vessels into which we pour our experience and which mould it.

Others within this group regard the mind as a black box. While it is possible in principle to know its input and output, it is impossible, again in principle, to understand its internal functioning and management of information. To describe this input-output mechanism, Pavlov coined the word "conditioning", Watson adopted it and invented "behaviorism", Skinner came up with "reinforcement".

Epiphenomenologists (proponents of theories of emergent phenomena) regard the mind as the by-product of the complexity of the brain's "hardware" and "wiring". But all of them ignore the psychophysical question: what IS the mind and HOW is it linked to the brain?

The other camp assumes the airs of "scientific" and "positivist" thinking. It speculates that the mind (whether a physical entity, an epiphenomenon, a non-physical principle of organization, or the result of introspection) has a structure and a limited set of functions. It is argued that a "mind owner's manual" could be composed, replete with engineering and maintenance instructions. It proffers a dynamics of the psyche.

The most prominent of these "psychodynamists" was, of course, Freud. Though his disciples (Adler, Horney, the object-relations lot) diverged wildly from his initial theories, they all shared his belief in the need to "scientify" and objectify psychology.

Freud, a medical doctor by profession (neurologist) - preceded by another M.D., Josef Breuer - put forth a theory regarding the structure of the mind and its mechanics: (suppressed) energies and (reactive) forces. Flow charts were provided together with a method of analysis, a mathematical physics of the mind.

Many hold all psychodynamic theories to be a mirage. An essential part is missing, they observe: the ability to test the hypotheses, which derive from these "theories". Though very convincing and, surprisingly, possessed of great explanatory powers, being non-verifiable and non-falsifiable as they are - psychodynamic models of the mind cannot be deemed to possess the redeeming features of scientific theories.

Deciding between the two camps was and is a crucial matter. Consider the clash - however repressed - between psychiatry and psychology. The former regards "mental disorders" as euphemisms - it acknowledges only the reality of brain dysfunctions (such as biochemical or electric imbalances) and of hereditary factors. The latter (psychology) implicitly assumes that something exists (the "mind", the "psyche") which cannot be reduced to hardware or to wiring diagrams. Talk therapy is aimed at that something and supposedly interacts with it.

But perhaps the distinction is artificial. Perhaps the mind is simply the way we experience our brains. Endowed with the gift (or curse) of introspection, we experience a duality, a split, constantly being both observer and observed. Moreover, talk therapy involves TALKING - which is the transfer of energy from one brain to another through the air. This is a directed, specifically formed energy, intended to trigger certain circuits in the recipient brain. It should come as no surprise if it were to be discovered that talk therapy has clear physiological effects upon the brain of the patient (blood volume, electrical activity, discharge and absorption of hormones, etc.).

All this would be doubly true if the mind were, indeed, only an emergent phenomenon of the complex brain - two sides of the same coin.

Psychological theories of the mind are metaphors of the mind. They are fables and myths, narratives, stories, hypotheses, conjunctures. They play (exceedingly) important roles in the psychotherapeutic setting - but not in the laboratory. Their form is artistic, not rigorous, not testable, less structured than theories in the natural sciences. The language used is polyvalent, rich, effusive, ambiguous, evocative, and fuzzy - in short, metaphorical. These theories are suffused with value judgments, preferences, fears, post facto and ad hoc constructions. None of this has methodological, systematic, analytic and predictive merits.

Still, the theories in psychology are powerful instruments, admirable constructs, and they satisfy important needs to explain and understand ourselves, our interactions with others, and with our environment.

The attainment of peace of mind is a need, which was neglected by Maslow in his famous hierarchy. People sometimes sacrifice material wealth and welfare, resist temptations, forgo opportunities, and risk their lives - in order to secure it. There is, in other words, a preference of inner equilibrium over homeostasis. It is the fulfillment of this overwhelming need that psychological theories cater to. In this, they are no different to other collective narratives (myths, for instance).

Still, psychology is desperately trying to maintain contact with reality and to be thought of as a scientific discipline. It employs observation and measurement and organizes the results, often presenting them in the language of mathematics. In some quarters, these practices lends it an air of credibility and rigorousness. Others snidely regard the as an elaborate camouflage and a sham. Psychology, they insist, is a pseudo-science. It has the trappings of science but not its substance.

Worse still, while historical narratives are rigid and immutable, the application of psychological theories (in the form of psychotherapy) is "tailored" and "customized" to the circumstances of each and every patient (client). The user or consumer is incorporated in the resulting narrative as the main hero (or anti-hero). This flexible "production line" seems to be the result of an age of increasing individualism.

True, the "language units" (large chunks of denotates and connotates) used in psychology and psychotherapy are one and the same, regardless of the identity of the patient and his therapist. In psychoanalysis, the analyst is likely to always employ the tripartite structure (Id, Ego, Superego). But these are merely the language elements and need not be confused with the idiosyncratic plots that are weaved in every encounter. Each client, each person, and his own, unique, irreplicable, plot.

To qualify as a "psychological" (both meaningful and instrumental) plot, the narrative, offered to the patient by the therapist, must be:

All-inclusive (anamnetic) - It must encompass, integrate and incorporate all the facts known about the protagonist.

Coherent - It must be chronological, structured and causal.

Consistent - Self-consistent (its subplots cannot contradict one another or go against the grain of the main plot) and consistent with the observed phenomena (both those related to the protagonist and those pertaining to the rest of the universe).

Logically compatible - It must not violate the laws of logic both internally (the plot must abide by some internally imposed logic) and externally (the Aristotelian logic which is applicable to the observable world).

Insightful (diagnostic) - It must inspire in the client a sense of awe and astonishment which is the result of seeing something familiar in a new light or the result of seeing a pattern emerging out of a big body of data. The insights must constitute the inevitable conclusion of the logic, the language, and of the unfolding of the plot.

Aesthetic - The plot must be both plausible and "right", beautiful, not cumbersome, not awkward, not discontinuous, smooth, parsimonious, simple, and so on.

Parsimonious - The plot must employ the minimum numbers of assumptions and entities in order to satisfy all the above conditions.

Explanatory - The plot must explain the behavior of other characters in the plot, the hero's decisions and behavior, why events developed the way they did.

Predictive (prognostic) - The plot must possess the ability to predict future events, the future behavior of the hero and of other meaningful figures and the inner emotional and cognitive dynamics.

Therapeutic - With the power to induce change, encourage functionality, make the patient happier and more content with himself (ego-syntony), with others, and with his circumstances.

Imposing - The plot must be regarded by the client as the preferable organizing principle of his life's events and a torch to guide him in the dark (vade mecum).

Elastic - The plot must possess the intrinsic abilities to self organize, reorganize, give room to emerging order, accommodate new data comfortably, and react flexibly to attacks from within and from without.

In all these respects, a psychological plot is a theory in disguise. Scientific theories satisfy most of the above conditions as well. But this apparent identity is flawed. The important elements of testability, verifiability, refutability, falsifiability, and repeatability - are all largely missing from psychological theories and plots. No experiment could be designed to test the statements within the plot, to establish their truth-value and, thus, to convert them to theorems or hypotheses in a theory.

There are four reasons to account for this inability to test and prove (or falsify) psychological theories:

Ethical - Experiments would have to be conducted, involving the patient and others. To achieve the necessary result, the subjects will have to be ignorant of the reasons for the experiments and their aims. Sometimes even the very performance of an experiment will have to remain a secret (double blind experiments). Some experiments may involve unpleasant or even traumatic experiences. This is ethically unacceptable.

The Psychological Uncertainty Principle - The initial state of a human subject in an experiment is usually fully established. But both treatment and experimentation influence the subject and render this knowledge irrelevant. The very processes of measurement and observation influence the human subject and transform him or her - as do life's circumstances and vicissitudes.

Uniqueness - Psychological experiments are, therefore, bound to be unique, unrepeatable, cannot be replicated elsewhere and at other times even when they are conducted with the SAME subjects. This is because the subjects are never the same due to the aforementioned psychological uncertainty principle. Repeating the experiments with other subjects adversely affects the scientific value of the results.

The undergeneration of testable hypotheses - Psychology does not generate a sufficient number of hypotheses, which can be subjected to scientific testing. This has to do with the fabulous (=storytelling) nature of psychology. In a way, psychology has affinity with some private languages. It is a form of art and, as such, is self-sufficient and self-contained. If structural, internal constraints are met - a statement is deemed true even if it does not satisfy external scientific requirements.

So, what are psychological theories and plots good for? They are the instruments used in the procedures which induce peace of mind (even happiness) in the client. This is done with the help of a few embedded mechanisms:

The Organizing Principle - Psychological plots offer the client an organizing principle, a sense of order, meaningfulness, and justice, an inexorable drive toward well defined (though, perhaps, hidden) goals, the feeling of being part of a whole. They strive to answer the "why's" and "how's" of life. They are dialogic. The client asks: "why am I (suffering from a syndrome) and how (can I successfully tackle it)". Then, the plot is spun: "you are like this not because the world is whimsically cruel but because your parents mistreated you when you were very young, or because a person important to you died, or was taken away from you when you were still impressionable, or because you were sexually abused and so on". The client is becalmed by the very fact that there is an explanation to that which until now monstrously taunted and haunted him, that he is not the plaything of vicious Gods, that there is a culprit (focusing his diffuse anger). His belief in the existence of order and justice and their administration by some supreme, transcendental principle is restored. This sense of "law and order" is further enhanced when the plot yields predictions which come true (either because they are self-fulfilling or because some real, underlying "law" has been discovered).

The Integrative Principle - The client is offered, through the plot, access to the innermost, hitherto inaccessible, recesses of his mind. He feels that he is being reintegrated, that "things fall into place". In psychodynamic terms, the energy is released to do productive and positive work, rather than to induce distorted and destructive forces.

The Purgatory Principle - In most cases, the client feels sinful, debased, inhuman, decrepit, corrupting, guilty, punishable, hateful, alienated, strange, mocked and so on. The plot offers him absolution. The client's suffering expurgates, cleanses, absolves, and atones for his sins and handicaps. A feeling of hard won achievement accompanies a successful plot. The client sheds layers of functional, adaptive stratagems rendered dysfunctional and maladaptive. This is inordinately painful. The client feels dangerously naked, precariously exposed. He then assimilates the plot offered to him, thus enjoying the benefits emanating from the previous two principles and only then does he develop new mechanisms of coping. Therapy is a mental crucifixion and resurrection and atonement for the patient's sins. It is a religious experience. Psychological theories and plots are in the role of the scriptures from which solace and consolation can be always gleaned.

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How Hypnosis Can Help You

(category: Psychology, Word count: 486)
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Hypnosis has long been recognised as an effective means of treatment for a number of psychological conditions. Hypnotherapy can help you to create more confidence for yourself and improve feelings of self worth. You can also learn to overcome problems like the fear of public speaking; phobias like being terrified of traveling on the tube; and become more at ease with yourself by building your confidence and self-esteem.

Typical examples of area where hypnotherapy can help include:

Overcome the fear of public speaking

Do you freeze before or during meetings or presentations? Suffering from dry mouth, blushing or sweating? Are you lost for words, desperate to escape? Are you terrified of interviews? Is public speaking anxiety your number one fear? With hypnotherapy you can overcome this anxiety, speak with confidence and feel more comfortable with other people. Come and see how hypnotherapy works with an experienced and confident speaker - visit my home page and call or email me today.

Low self esteem and depression

Are you depressed or feeling low in self-worth? This is an increasingly serious problem: find out how hypnotherapy can help you create and build up feelings of self worth and self belief. Overcome the hurts of the past and move on towards a more positive and hopeful future. You can move into a better future. Please visit my home page and email me for more information.

Panic attacks

Do you ever feel as if you are losing control of yourself in everyday situations? Have you ever been in the grip of frightening physical symptoms, like intense sweating, palpations, nausea, fainting? Hypnotherapy can calm your nerves and get to the root of the problem - reducing or even releasing this terrifying anxiety. Visit my home page for my contact details and ask me how hypnotherapy can help you.

Build confidence

Do you want to lift low self-esteem and improve relationships or career prospects? Is lack of self-worth getting you down or holding you back? Find out by calling or emailing me from the home page how hypnotherapy can help you create a more positive YOU.

Fears, phobias & flashbacks

Hypnotherapy can be most effective in releasing phobias -amongst the ones I am often asked to treat is the fear of traveling on the tube in London. It can also deal with the effects of trauma, including flashbacks. Modern techniques can substantially reduce or even remove the symptoms in 2/3 sessions. If you are in the grip of any irrational fear then please contact me now. Visit my home page for contact details.

Post traumatic stress

Have you have been the victim of a traumatic and frightening event? Then you could be suffering the disabling effects of post traumatic stress. Nowadays there are techniques which have been seen to effectively and safely release the symptoms.

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Persuasion Techniques

(category: Psychology, Word count: 595)
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Some of the best persuasion techniques have been developed from NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) methods. For example, if you hear a person saying, "I see," a few times, they are probably processing information visually, according to NLP. To influence them then, you would use phrases like, "You can see how..." or you would actually show them things. A more auditory person would be influenced by, "I hear what you're saying," and "Listen."

Notice if they use visual, aural, or kinesthetic words. If you want to convince your spouse to go to the Bahamas, it makes a difference which words you use. "We'll be feeling that sun on our backs," is not the same as "We'll see sunny beaches," or We'll listen to the waves at night." You may use all of these, but one of the three types of words will be more influential for most people.

More Persuasion Techniques

1. Use a person's name. You have undoubtedly heard salesmen use and abuse this technique. Maybe a statement like "Look Steve, you can see the benefits of this..." just turns you off. Using a person's name IS a powerful persuasion technique, but there is more subtlety and art to persuasion than just following simple rules.

People do love to hear their own name, but you have to be careful how you use it. First of all, use it how they want to hear it. Ask how they prefer to be addressed. A Mike may not like "Michael," and a Joseph may be irritated by you calling him "Joe."

Second, use it at the right time. Unless you are great at reading people and know it is okay, don't say "Hi Betty!" the moment she walks into your office. Wait until there is a bit of rapport, and sometimes even ask permission ("Is it okay if I call you Betty?").

2. Use motivating words. Say "think about," they'll do that. It is not a call to action. Use words like "today," and "now," and "do this." Many subliminal experts will tell you that even using "by now," repetitively, as in "By now you can see that this car is luxurious," is subconsciously taken as "buy now."

Remember to use THEIR words. If they use the word "efficient" often, then it's an important word to them. Start using it: "You can see how efficient this RV is in it's use of space." Pay attention and pick out any words they use often. Persuasion is easier when you speak the same "language."

3. Be a chameleon. Change your language to more closely match theirs. Slow or accelerate your speech to match theirs. Sit in the same position that they sit in. Use the same facial expressions. Laugh when they laugh.

This technique is called "mirroring and matching," and, when done well, you can establish rapport quickly and easily with most people. Most people will never notice you're doing this, but don't be too obvious. The person will just feel like you're like they are, that you can "relate" to them. A bond will begin to develop between you, and you can test this bond by "leading."

This means that once you have established the bond, you can change your body posture, to see if they unconsciously do the same. If so, they are ready to follow. You continue to mirror and match, but you also start to lead them right to the bottom line on the contract, or to whatever action you want them to take. This is one of the more powerful persuasion techniques.

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Is Psychology A Science

(category: Psychology, Word count: 3750)
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All theories - scientific or not - start with a problem. They aim to solve it by proving that what appears to be "problematic" is not. They re-state the conundrum, or introduce new data, new variables, a new classification, or new organizing principles. They incorporate the problem in a larger body of knowledge, or in a conjecture ("solution"). They explain why we thought we had an issue on our hands - and how it can be avoided, vitiated, or resolved.

Scientific theories invite constant criticism and revision. They yield new problems. They are proven erroneous and are replaced by new models which offer better explanations and a more profound sense of understanding - often by solving these new problems. From time to time, the successor theories constitute a break with everything known and done till then. These seismic convulsions are known as "paradigm shifts".

Contrary to widespread opinion - even among scientists - science is not only about "facts". It is not merely about quantifying, measuring, describing, classifying, and organizing "things" (entities). It is not even concerned with finding out the "truth". Science is about providing us with concepts, explanations, and predictions (collectively known as "theories") and thus endowing us with a sense of understanding of our world.

Scientific theories are allegorical or metaphoric. They revolve around symbols and theoretical constructs, concepts and substantive assumptions, axioms and hypotheses - most of which can never, even in principle, be computed, observed, quantified, measured, or correlated with the world "out there". By appealing to our imagination, scientific theories reveal what David Deutsch calls "the fabric of reality".

Like any other system of knowledge, science has its fanatics, heretics, and deviants.

Instrumentalists, for instance, insist that scientific theories should be concerned exclusively with predicting the outcomes of appropriately designed experiments. Their explanatory powers are of no consequence. Positivists ascribe meaning only to statements that deal with observables and observations.

Instrumentalists and positivists ignore the fact that predictions are derived from models, narratives, and organizing principles. In short: it is the theory's explanatory dimensions that determine which experiments are relevant and which are not. Forecasts - and experiments - that are not embedded in an understanding of the world (in an explanation) do not constitute science.

Granted, predictions and experiments are crucial to the growth of scientific knowledge and the winnowing out of erroneous or inadequate theories. But they are not the only mechanisms of natural selection. There are other criteria that help us decide whether to adopt and place confidence in a scientific theory or not. Is the theory aesthetic (parsimonious), logical, does it provide a reasonable explanation and, thus, does it further our understanding of the world?

David Deutsch in "The Fabric of Reality" (p. 11):

"... (I)t is hard to give a precise definition of 'explanation' or 'understanding'. Roughly speaking, they are about 'why' rather than 'what'; about the inner workings of things; about how things really are, not just how they appear to be; about what must be so, rather than what merely happens to be so; about laws of nature rather than rules of thumb. They are also about coherence, elegance, and simplicity, as opposed to arbitrariness and complexity ..."

Reductionists and emergentists ignore the existence of a hierarchy of scientific theories and meta-languages. They believe - and it is an article of faith, not of science - that complex phenomena (such as the human mind) can be reduced to simple ones (such as the physics and chemistry of the brain). Furthermore, to them the act of reduction is, in itself, an explanation and a form of pertinent understanding. Human thought, fantasy, imagination, and emotions are nothing but electric currents and spurts of chemicals in the brain, they say.

Holists, on the other hand, refuse to consider the possibility that some higher-level phenomena can, indeed, be fully reduced to base components and primitive interactions. They ignore the fact that reductionism sometimes does provide explanations and understanding. The properties of water, for instance, do spring forth from its chemical and physical composition and from the interactions between its constituent atoms and subatomic particles.

Still, there is a general agreement that scientific theories must be abstract (independent of specific time or place), intersubjectively explicit (contain detailed descriptions of the subject matter in unambiguous terms), logically rigorous (make use of logical systems shared and accepted by the practitioners in the field), empirically relevant (correspond to results of empirical research), useful (in describing and/or explaining the world), and provide typologies and predictions.

A scientific theory should resort to primitive (atomic) terminology and all its complex (derived) terms and concepts should be defined in these indivisible terms. It should offer a map unequivocally and consistently connecting operational definitions to theoretical concepts.

Operational definitions that connect to the same theoretical concept should not contradict each other (be negatively correlated). They should yield agreement on measurement conducted independently by trained experimenters. But investigation of the theory of its implication can proceed even without quantification.

Theoretical concepts need not necessarily be measurable or quantifiable or observable. But a scientific theory should afford at least four levels of quantification of its operational and theoretical definitions of concepts: nominal (labeling), ordinal (ranking), interval and ratio.

As we said, scientific theories are not confined to quantified definitions or to a classificatory apparatus. To qualify as scientific they must contain statements about relationships (mostly causal) between concepts - empirically-supported laws and/or propositions (statements derived from axioms).

Philosophers like Carl Hempel and Ernest Nagel regard a theory as scientific if it is hypothetico-deductive. To them, scientific theories are sets of inter-related laws. We know that they are inter-related because a minimum number of axioms and hypotheses yield, in an inexorable deductive sequence, everything else known in the field the theory pertains to.

Explanation is about retrodiction - using the laws to show how things happened. Prediction is using the laws to show how things will happen. Understanding is explanation and prediction combined.

William Whewell augmented this somewhat simplistic point of view with his principle of "consilience of inductions". Often, he observed, inductive explanations of disparate phenomena are unexpectedly traced to one underlying cause. This is what scientific theorizing is about - finding the common source of the apparently separate.

This omnipotent view of the scientific endeavor competes with a more modest, semantic school of philosophy of science.

Many theories - especially ones with breadth, width, and profundity, such as Darwin's theory of evolution - are not deductively integrated and are very difficult to test (falsify) conclusively. Their predictions are either scant or ambiguous.

Scientific theories, goes the semantic view, are amalgams of models of reality. These are empirically meaningful only inasmuch as they are empirically (directly and therefore semantically) applicable to a limited area. A typical scientific theory is not constructed with explanatory and predictive aims in mind. Quite the opposite: the choice of models incorporated in it dictates its ultimate success in explaining the Universe and predicting the outcomes of experiments.

Are psychological theories scientific theories by any definition (prescriptive or descriptive)? Hardly.

First, we must distinguish between psychological theories and the way that some of them are applied (psychotherapy and psychological plots). Psychological plots are the narratives co-authored by the therapist and the patient during psychotherapy. These narratives are the outcomes of applying psychological theories and models to the patient's specific circumstances.

Psychological plots amount to storytelling - but they are still instances of the psychological theories used. The instances of theoretical concepts in concrete situations form part of every theory. Actually, the only way to test psychological theories - with their dearth of measurable entities and concepts - is by examining such instances (plots).

Storytelling has been with us since the days of campfire and besieging wild animals. It serves a number of important functions: amelioration of fears, communication of vital information (regarding survival tactics and the characteristics of animals, for instance), the satisfaction of a sense of order (predictability and justice), the development of the ability to hypothesize, predict and introduce new or additional theories and so on.

We are all endowed with a sense of wonder. The world around us in inexplicable, baffling in its diversity and myriad forms. We experience an urge to organize it, to "explain the wonder away", to order it so that we know what to expect next (predict). These are the essentials of survival. But while we have been successful at imposing our mind on the outside world - we have been much less successful when we tried to explain and comprehend our internal universe and our behavior.

Psychology is not an exact science, nor can it ever be. This is because its "raw material" (humans and their behavior as individuals and en masse) is not exact. It will never yield natural laws or universal constants (like in physics). Experimentation in the field is constrained by legal and ethical rules. Humans tend to be opinionated, develop resistance, and become self-conscious when observed.

The relationship between the structure and functioning of our (ephemeral) mind, the structure and modes of operation of our (physical) brain, and the structure and conduct of the outside world have been a matter for heated debate for millennia.

Broadly speaking, there are two schools of thought:

One camp identify the substrate (brain) with its product (mind). Some of these scholars postulate the existence of a lattice of preconceived, born, categorical knowledge about the universe - the vessels into which we pour our experience and which mould it.

Others within this group regard the mind as a black box. While it is possible in principle to know its input and output, it is impossible, again in principle, to understand its internal functioning and management of information. To describe this input-output mechanism, Pavlov coined the word "conditioning", Watson adopted it and invented "behaviorism", Skinner came up with "reinforcement".

Epiphenomenologists (proponents of theories of emergent phenomena) regard the mind as the by-product of the complexity of the brain's "hardware" and "wiring". But all of them ignore the psychophysical question: what IS the mind and HOW is it linked to the brain?

The other camp assumes the airs of "scientific" and "positivist" thinking. It speculates that the mind (whether a physical entity, an epiphenomenon, a non-physical principle of organization, or the result of introspection) has a structure and a limited set of functions. It is argued that a "mind owner's manual" could be composed, replete with engineering and maintenance instructions. It proffers a dynamics of the psyche.

The most prominent of these "psychodynamists" was, of course, Freud. Though his disciples (Adler, Horney, the object-relations lot) diverged wildly from his initial theories, they all shared his belief in the need to "scientify" and objectify psychology.

Freud, a medical doctor by profession (neurologist) - preceded by another M.D., Josef Breuer - put forth a theory regarding the structure of the mind and its mechanics: (suppressed) energies and (reactive) forces. Flow charts were provided together with a method of analysis, a mathematical physics of the mind.

Many hold all psychodynamic theories to be a mirage. An essential part is missing, they observe: the ability to test the hypotheses, which derive from these "theories". Though very convincing and, surprisingly, possessed of great explanatory powers, being non-verifiable and non-falsifiable as they are - psychodynamic models of the mind cannot be deemed to possess the redeeming features of scientific theories.

Deciding between the two camps was and is a crucial matter. Consider the clash - however repressed - between psychiatry and psychology. The former regards "mental disorders" as euphemisms - it acknowledges only the reality of brain dysfunctions (such as biochemical or electric imbalances) and of hereditary factors. The latter (psychology) implicitly assumes that something exists (the "mind", the "psyche") which cannot be reduced to hardware or to wiring diagrams. Talk therapy is aimed at that something and supposedly interacts with it.

But perhaps the distinction is artificial. Perhaps the mind is simply the way we experience our brains. Endowed with the gift (or curse) of introspection, we experience a duality, a split, constantly being both observer and observed. Moreover, talk therapy involves TALKING - which is the transfer of energy from one brain to another through the air. This is a directed, specifically formed energy, intended to trigger certain circuits in the recipient brain. It should come as no surprise if it were to be discovered that talk therapy has clear physiological effects upon the brain of the patient (blood volume, electrical activity, discharge and absorption of hormones, etc.).

All this would be doubly true if the mind were, indeed, only an emergent phenomenon of the complex brain - two sides of the same coin.

Psychological theories of the mind are metaphors of the mind. They are fables and myths, narratives, stories, hypotheses, conjunctures. They play (exceedingly) important roles in the psychotherapeutic setting - but not in the laboratory. Their form is artistic, not rigorous, not testable, less structured than theories in the natural sciences. The language used is polyvalent, rich, effusive, ambiguous, evocative, and fuzzy - in short, metaphorical. These theories are suffused with value judgments, preferences, fears, post facto and ad hoc constructions. None of this has methodological, systematic, analytic and predictive merits.

Still, the theories in psychology are powerful instruments, admirable constructs, and they satisfy important needs to explain and understand ourselves, our interactions with others, and with our environment.

The attainment of peace of mind is a need, which was neglected by Maslow in his famous hierarchy. People sometimes sacrifice material wealth and welfare, resist temptations, forgo opportunities, and risk their lives - in order to secure it. There is, in other words, a preference of inner equilibrium over homeostasis. It is the fulfillment of this overwhelming need that psychological theories cater to. In this, they are no different to other collective narratives (myths, for instance).

Still, psychology is desperately trying to maintain contact with reality and to be thought of as a scientific discipline. It employs observation and measurement and organizes the results, often presenting them in the language of mathematics. In some quarters, these practices lends it an air of credibility and rigorousness. Others snidely regard the as an elaborate camouflage and a sham. Psychology, they insist, is a pseudo-science. It has the trappings of science but not its substance.

Worse still, while historical narratives are rigid and immutable, the application of psychological theories (in the form of psychotherapy) is "tailored" and "customized" to the circumstances of each and every patient (client). The user or consumer is incorporated in the resulting narrative as the main hero (or anti-hero). This flexible "production line" seems to be the result of an age of increasing individualism.

True, the "language units" (large chunks of denotates and connotates) used in psychology and psychotherapy are one and the same, regardless of the identity of the patient and his therapist. In psychoanalysis, the analyst is likely to always employ the tripartite structure (Id, Ego, Superego). But these are merely the language elements and need not be confused with the idiosyncratic plots that are weaved in every encounter. Each client, each person, and his own, unique, irreplicable, plot.

To qualify as a "psychological" (both meaningful and instrumental) plot, the narrative, offered to the patient by the therapist, must be:

1.. All-inclusive (anamnetic) - It must encompass, integrate and incorporate all the facts known about the protagonist.

2.. Coherent - It must be chronological, structured and causal.

3.. Consistent - Self-consistent (its subplots cannot contradict one another or go against the grain of the main plot) and consistent with the observed phenomena (both those related to the protagonist and those pertaining to the rest of the universe).

4.. Logically compatible - It must not violate the laws of logic both internally (the plot must abide by some internally imposed logic) and externally (the Aristotelian logic which is applicable to the observable world).

5.. Insightful (diagnostic) - It must inspire in the client a sense of awe and astonishment which is the result of seeing something familiar in a new light or the result of seeing a pattern emerging out of a big body of data. The insights must constitute the inevitable conclusion of the logic, the language, and of the unfolding of the plot.

6.. Aesthetic - The plot must be both plausible and "right", beautiful, not cumbersome, not awkward, not discontinuous, smooth, parsimonious, simple, and so on.

7.. Parsimonious - The plot must employ the minimum numbers of assumptions and entities in order to satisfy all the above conditions.

8.. Explanatory - The plot must explain the behavior of other characters in the plot, the hero's decisions and behavior, why events developed the way they did.

9.. Predictive (prognostic) - The plot must possess the ability to predict future events, the future behavior of the hero and of other meaningful figures and the inner emotional and cognitive dynamics.

10.. Therapeutic - With the power to induce change, encourage functionality, make the patient happier and more content with himself (ego-syntony), with others, and with his circumstances.

11.. Imposing - The plot must be regarded by the client as the preferable organizing principle of his life's events and a torch to guide him in the dark (vade mecum).

12.. Elastic - The plot must possess the intrinsic abilities to self organize, reorganize, give room to emerging order, accommodate new data comfortably, and react flexibly to attacks from within and from without.

In all these respects, a psychological plot is a theory in disguise. Scientific theories satisfy most of the above conditions as well. But this apparent identity is flawed. The important elements of testability, verifiability, refutability, falsifiability, and repeatability - are all largely missing from psychological theories and plots. No experiment could be designed to test the statements within the plot, to establish their truth-value and, thus, to convert them to theorems or hypotheses in a theory.

There are four reasons to account for this inability to test and prove (or falsify) psychological theories:

1.. Ethical - Experiments would have to be conducted, involving the patient and others. To achieve the necessary result, the subjects will have to be ignorant of the reasons for the experiments and their aims. Sometimes even the very performance of an experiment will have to remain a secret (double blind experiments). Some experiments may involve unpleasant or even traumatic experiences. This is ethically unacceptable.

2.. The Psychological Uncertainty Principle - The initial state of a human subject in an experiment is usually fully established. But both treatment and experimentation influence the subject and render this knowledge irrelevant. The very processes of measurement and observation influence the human subject and transform him or her - as do life's circumstances and vicissitudes.

3.. Uniqueness - Psychological experiments are, therefore, bound to be unique, unrepeatable, cannot be replicated elsewhere and at other times even when they are conducted with the SAME subjects. This is because the subjects are never the same due to the aforementioned psychological uncertainty principle. Repeating the experiments with other subjects adversely affects the scientific value of the results.

4.. The undergeneration of testable hypotheses - Psychology does not generate a sufficient number of hypotheses, which can be subjected to scientific testing. This has to do with the fabulous (=storytelling) nature of psychology. In a way, psychology has affinity with some private languages. It is a form of art and, as such, is self-sufficient and self-contained. If structural, internal constraints are met - a statement is deemed true even if it does not satisfy external scientific requirements.

So, what are psychological theories and plots good for? They are the instruments used in the procedures which induce peace of mind (even happiness) in the client. This is done with the help of a few embedded mechanisms:

1.. The Organizing Principle - Psychological plots offer the client an organizing principle, a sense of order, meaningfulness, and justice, an inexorable drive toward well defined (though, perhaps, hidden) goals, the feeling of being part of a whole. They strive to answer the "why's" and "how's" of life. They are dialogic. The client asks: "why am I (suffering from a syndrome) and how (can I successfully tackle it)". Then, the plot is spun: "you are like this not because the world is whimsically cruel but because your parents mistreated you when you were very young, or because a person important to you died, or was taken away from you when you were still impressionable, or because you were sexually abused and so on". The client is becalmed by the very fact that there is an explanation to that which until now monstrously taunted and haunted him, that he is not the plaything of vicious Gods, that there is a culprit (focusing his diffuse anger). His belief in the existence of order and justice and their administration by some supreme, transcendental principle is restored. This sense of "law and order" is further enhanced when the plot yields predictions which come true (either because they are self-fulfilling or because some real, underlying "law" has been discovered).

2.. The Integrative Principle - The client is offered, through the plot, access to the innermost, hitherto inaccessible, recesses of his mind. He feels that he is being reintegrated, that "things fall into place". In psychodynamic terms, the energy is released to do productive and positive work, rather than to induce distorted and destructive forces.

3.. The Purgatory Principle - In most cases, the client feels sinful, debased, inhuman, decrepit, corrupting, guilty, punishable, hateful, alienated, strange, mocked and so on. The plot offers him absolution. The client's suffering expurgates, cleanses, absolves, and atones for his sins and handicaps. A feeling of hard won achievement accompanies a successful plot. The client sheds layers of functional, adaptive stratagems rendered dysfunctional and maladaptive. This is inordinately painful. The client feels dangerously naked, precariously exposed. He then assimilates the plot offered to him, thus enjoying the benefits emanating from the previous two principles and only then does he develop new mechanisms of coping. Therapy is a mental crucifixion and resurrection and atonement for the patient's sins. It is a religious experience. Psychological theories and plots are in the role of the scriptures from which solace and consolation can be always gleaned.

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The Ghost Cat In The Attic

(category: Psychology, Word count: 661)
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This is a very strange but true story. Not everyone believes in ghosts but I do and I have had several experiences with the super natural, this is only one of my encounters.

This happened when I was only (8) eight years old.

My bus driver's wife had a kitten and she wanted to get rid of it so she offered it to me first and of course I took the female kitten from her. Now this was the first cat that I can remember owning, she was a black and white cat and for some reason I gave her the name Dozier. She was a very sweet cat and she truly was mine because she was every where that I was.

Now we had several other cats and we had a problem with them getting into our attic, seemed like we could not keep them out so we decided to put up boards in the places that they were getting in through but Dozier would always find a way in. Now in my bed room there was a large rectangular hole in the corner of the ceiling: now Dozier had found this hole and we started playing with each other through this hole and I would feed her if I had any food in my room, she would stay there for hours and play with me.

We had this cat for maybe a year, we had her long enough for her to have a litter of kittens. About two weeks after her having her kittens my grandfather had found her dead in the road when we all had gone to the store. Instead of burying her he had just thrown her over the hill. When mom had finally decided to tell me that evening I was sad and depressed because that cat and I were so close and I couldn't believe that my grandfather didn't bury her.

Well we were left to care for her kittens. Days later after Dozier's death I was sitting in my bed room doing home work when suddenly I saw a black and white paw coming through the hole in my ceiling and not really thinking I was glad to see Dozier because my home work was getting on my nerves and I went to play with her. Now her death had completely slipped my mind and I was really playing with her and petting her then I turned to see if I had some food for her when suddenly it hit me that she was dead and I fell flat on the floor trying to get away from her and I busted my head on the floor but the pain didn't faze me. I looked back up at the hole and she was still there waiting for me to bring her something like she always did.

I went to my mother and asked her to go outside and call all of her cats on the porch then I had her to come in the bed room and she saw it to. This dead cat was still there. I was one terrified little girl then suddenly I had realized why she had came back to me, two reason for her return; one was to tell me good bye and the other one was that she was not at rest. The next day when I came home from school I went over the hill where my grandfather had thrown her and found what was left of her and I buried her in the hills and I never seen her again. So I put her soul to rest and she was satisfied and had no reason to come back.

Seeing a ghost is one thing but seeing one and touching one is something that you never forget. The reason that so many ghosts try to reach the living is because they want us to help them to reach the other side.

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