Commerce in Abuse

The Client-Therapist Relation

Therapy, in its naive form, sports a partial, or even false, vision for change, a severe and autocratic purposefulness, which, with tentacled reach, intrudes the therapeutic attitude into situations pregnant with change and exploiting them anti- socially. To handle the terror and trashing of therapeutic control, you must practice a non-therapy of taking punishment for standing firm. The therapy contract depends not only on your consent to it but also on your accommodating the social relation of contract itself, in the face of issues like channeling, labeling and stigma. If you don't question the authority of the therapy structure, and absent litigation, this contract empowers a kind of scam on society by mutual pleasure, a brittle conspiracy a deux to convert private transaction to social fact.

While therapy usually proceeds from benign intent, it is necessary to challenge the philosophy of intentionality, with the positivist reduction the therapist imposes via the structure of therapy, irrespective of ideation. If you fail to exhibit a coherent and convincing style of argument, this won't likely be read as the intrusion of her reductive power pushing you into an existential snit. Therapy offers the appearance of negotiations on individual empowerment, but they are embedded in mutual denial of the social side of the empowerment problematic. What is taken to be a harmonious investigation into psychological truth comes down to a human version of two monkeys contending for status.

The mirrors of therapeutic transactions show many instructive things, but the real business transacted is the organization of a relationship into a social institution. At its most meager, this business is made up of habituations and ego boundary management, but at a more vital level there is the potentiality of linkage to reorganizing the society. If you treat, e.g., a depressed condition as an adjustment problem, you are, in effect, reinforcing in-turned anger and preventing or obstructing the energization of social activism. At its best, the helping practice is tuned to organize energy so that personal growth resonates with the struggle for social justice.

The immanent kindness and helpfulness of therapy contrasts with the role of the therapy contract as a pacification program for upstart social dynamics, albeit ineptly. Missing is the necessary ideation to identify, forget manage, the social substrate of consciousness and pick out the social causes of intrapersonal and interpersonal abuse. There is a terrible want of social arrangement to identify and rectify historical abuses, making for a difficult problem in affirmative action. Current events, such as the Bakke decision, speak to the intricacy of problems that arise in redressing botched situations in history.

Making Social Dinosaurs

With a non-directive here-and-now orientation, you can bring to life the present in encounter group format, and individually- based definitions. Add a semi-directive therapeutic leadership, and what do you have but a small laboratory in ego boundary science, with small group based definitions. With therapeutic cults like est you can get factories for the manufacture of individuation, whose definitions have a quasi-tribal basis. With global social conditioning in the style of George Bush, you obtain a general brainwashing process that therapizes the broad masses.

The business of the therapeutic system is to create artificial characters for (allegedly) deficient people, to instantiate personalities by habituation. The obverse side of birthing characters is character assassination, the methodology of disciplining the excessive or inconvenient characters that may arise. As against the potentiality of a homeostatic arrangement with ordinary democratic processes regulating the making and unmaking of adjustments, the authoritarian therapeutic system empowers extremist hate methods and repressiveness. It inspires and sustains conventions of abuse such as conformity from the 50's inspired by McCarthyism or yuppie-ism from the 70's whose impetus derived from Cointelpro.

While you could identify Vision as an antidote to ego underdevelopment, conventional psychology considers Vision to be a form of surplus ego for artisans of the boundary-making process. A person can capitalize on her insight and inspiration, become an instant guru, achieve a kind of "Marin-think" of commercialized vision, her immodest foolishness mimicking truth. By neglecting the social dimension, you can get cheap and flashy results, but the net result will be a kind of mental pollution, a negative impact on the social process. The dynamics of glorified ego adventure, i.e., spiritual meddling, betrays a kind of isolated mental subsystem, whose phony reality principle can never actualize the human potential.

So it comes about that therapists generally carry around a lot of baggage, leading to their facing a radical problem in socializing the impacts of their personalities. Beware, if you don't understand the social balance of abuse, if you act with maximal aggression as you struggle to overcome abuse and help others to overcome it, that you will manifest abusive features. You will play the role, of unaware social meddler, widely practiced but little noted, except in indirect reflections -- the ways this capacity gets regulated by interpersonal contractual arrangements. A trained person is liable to convert the working of her imagination into an exaggerated or disordered personality.

Institutionalized Abuse

The therapeutic paradigm's failure to employ social dynamics is profoundly irresponsible, in the sense that responsibility means the ability to respond. Long-standing abuses are, at best, escaped or avoided, not rectified, and flagrantly abusive behavior is commonly tolerated rather than disciplined. The profiteers on this state of affairs are the instant gurus disseminating instant gratification and the programmers gaming the insecurities of the public with their novel disciplines. There is a population of individuals hooked on these practices, whose fragility must be respected, even as reformers discount and refocus people's habituated processes for changing themselves.

It would be improper to identify the present counseling institution, the therapeutic clinic, with its ideal of being a sanitized ground of helping for a figure of interpersonal process. Nor would a (fantasized) system imposing fixes for abuse histories and the retraining of extant abusive patterns serve as a clean rendering of that interpersonal figure. The creators of today's institutions imposed the former mode and shied away from the latter because they believed that they could control clinical spaces, but lacked a recipe for social factors. Reform of the present situation means political commitment to the mediation of social factors relevant to abuse and a psychology of moral interaction to reconfigure clinical dynamics.

Inter- and intrapersonal work are outgrowths of the mystical theoretical construct of the unconscious. This metaphor for mental process is a good salve for the excessively rationalistic Cartesianism that pervades social discourse, but it is also used as a theoretical tool to bolster the clinical approach. A more workaday approach to this process is provided by Uznadze's psychology of the set, which identifies the mindset of the individual as the dynamic origin of the processes identified as "unconscious." The under-content of people's thought, accessed nowadays by arcane methods such as free association, is really quite accessible by social methods that challenge the fig leaf covering the adjustment to repression and sublimation.

Society has bought into the institution of therapy at the price of tolerating a certain amount of private workspace for personal growth. The practitioners of self-actualization have incorporated as therapists by selling off the extreme aspects of social critique that would embarrass the providers of legitimacy. A therapeutic system structured to reinforce abuse promotes itself as the proverbial Emperor's new suit, where everybody by mutual agreement carefully avoids mention of the delicate realities. The good will of the therapeutic workers is not the issue, it is that the therapy trade-off institutionalizes abuse.

The Cult of Ego

The etiology of mental dysfunction, says Freud, is traced by how the person responded to disturbances of sexuality, especially infantile sexuality. The thought is that, by affirming your earliest being, you can keep from being distracted by the intervening years of bad attitudes toward your feelings. Psychoanalysis then arranges its process so as to offer you the opportunity to rework your feelings and get connected with yourself in maximal isolation from environmental distractions. Under the rubric of sado-masochism, psychoanalysis accommodates the social condition of the person as a trauma of society, a phenomenon thought not susceptible of engagement or remedy.

An ugly consequence of the purging of social engagement and remedy was the formation by psychiatrists and others of a eugenics movement which connected mental dysfunction to (supposed) genetic deficiencies. They inverted their denial of the social factors, turning the thought back-to-front, and projected it as an affirmation of biological determinism. Today, a hard core of medical model positivists has created a second wave of "no fault," (supposed) neurotransmitter disorders, a neo- eugenics movement. With reductive zealotry, this trend demands that people believe in biopsychiatry, while curiously hushing any concern on the danger posed by denying personal responsibility.

Today's culture of the brush off, of stonewalling, provides an ambience for the cultivation of hypocrisy and the avoidance of inconvenient truth. The so-called reality principle or EGO is promoted from fetish to idol, with the underlying reality asserted being the maintenance of systems of dominance and exploitation. This realpolitik has it that, if there be no alternative to mob psychology than the authoritarian relations of social privilege, a stylized practicum of ego promotion / dysfunction is called for. To a biosocial mystique is appended a social psychology of reckless self-centered arrogance in the fin de siecle crudeness of the cult of ego.

Whence comes this denial, whence comes this avoidance, whence comes the principle that society, as presently constituted, is a moral absolute, a flagpole to wrap yourself around? What is being avoided is the proletarian cause, the moral obligation to use knowledge of social process in the interest of social justice. What is being denied, the very archetypical act of denial, is the objective character of child abuse, the social responsibilities inherent in and deriving from substantive formative experiences. Retrieving the feelings buried by trauma is only the first step, yet it serves as a cover-up for the capitulation to patriarchy that prompted Freud's gutting of his seduction hypothesis.

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