Monday, January 03, 2005

Career Counseling

My advice for people seeking a career: psychology. At the rate we’re going, there just won’t be enough psychologists in the world in a few years.

Americans are a “complex” people. We have this complex, and that complex, and the other complex. Everything that appears slightly abnormal today, however mild, is some sort of psychological disorder.

When kids don’t pay attention in class, or act up in class, they aren’t lazy or undisciplined. They have Attention Deficit Disorder, or they have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or they have some other named disorder. They require analysis or drug therapy.

The other day on TV, there was a segment on a newsfotainment show about how to deal with a five-year-old and his screaming temper tantrums. The solution recommended to the parents of this brat was therapy, in which the child was isolated with the therapist for some period of time, and when the kid threw a screaming fit, the therapist would “work the child through the tantrum,” a process that took about twenty minutes. They gave us no idea of how much this cost the parents, or of how successful this approach to taming a screaming five-year-old was.

When I was growing up – back in the Dark Ages of black and white TV, when we were ignorant of the multitude of psychological disorders that plagued mankind – when a kid behaved like that, first a stern warning, then swiftly applying a hand to the backside usually took care of it pretty quickly. From experience I can tell you that a five-year-old is developed enough to understand the words “be quiet” and “stop screaming, or you’re going to get it.” But these days, therapy sessions are required. Maybe drugs.

As I have aged, humans have discovered an ever-growing number of psychological disorders deserving treatment. Nearly everything has a disorder named for it. Just after the election, a rash of PEST (Post-Election Selection Trauma) disorders appeared. People who refused to accept the reality that their candidate had lost suddenly needed therapy.

The Boca Raton (Fla.) News reported that “[m]ore than a dozen traumatized John Kerry supporters have sought and received therapy from a licensed Florida psychologist since their candidate lost to President Bush.

“Boca Raton trauma specialist Douglas Schooler said he has treated 15 clients and friends with ‘intense hypnotherapy’ since the Democratic nominee conceded… ‘I had one friend tell me he’s never been so depressed and angry in his life,’ Schooler said. ‘I observed patients threatening to leave the country or staring listlessly into space. They were emotionally paralyzed, shocked and devastated.’

“Schooler’s disclosure comes after the weekend discovery of a Kerry volunteer’s corpse at Ground Zero in New York City. Georgia resident Andrew Veal, 25, reportedly killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head due to Kerry’s loss and a girlfriend problem.

“Some mental health professionals in South Florida said Monday they have already developed a new category for the Kerry-related stress reactions. Because Palm Beach County voted heavily for Kerry, the therapists said, many residents hurt themselves by so anxiously expecting the Massachusetts senator to win – especially those who maintained unrealistic recount hopes after their candidate’s concession.

“’We’re calling it ‘post-election selection trauma’ and we’re working to develop a counseling program for it,’ said Rob Gordon, the Boca-based executive director of the American Health Association. ‘It’s like post-traumatic stress syndrome, but it’s a short-term shock rather than a childhood trauma.’”

Whether you’re a five-year-old brat, a kid who doesn’t pay attention in class, or a John Kerry supporter who can’t accept the results of the election, there is a psychosis for you in the vast land of psychological disorders. You are the victim of something or someone, and you deserve specialized help. In fact, victimhood is itself becoming a psychosis.

Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times Editor-in-Chief, describes America’s victimhood crisis in this paragraph addressing one of the nations great newspapers’ view of life:

The Washington Post's “view [is] of a world where all news is bad, the sun shines only on the rich, the rain falls only on the frail, and everyone is a victim — of homophobia in Peoria, AIDS in Afghanistan, an outbreak of teenage pimples in San Diego, a tsunami in Sri Lanka, the scarcity of vegetarian restaurants in Topeka, a woman who got winked at in Cleveland, a shortage of condoms in St. Paul. Some days there are so many victims there's hardly any room for the news on Page One.”


Hypersensitivity to certain attitudes like those described earlier has resulted in the easily excitable believing these attitudes are full-blown psychoses requiring clinical personnel and therapy in abundance. This sad development really devalues actual psychological disorders like post-traumatic stress syndrome experienced by American military personnel stationed in Viet Nam. Sorry, folks, but a soldier suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome and a John Kerry supporter who can’t accept defeat are not equivalent.

I believe that America’s pioneers, the ones who pushed through the wilderness to the Pacific, and who experienced real hardships, would be doubled over laughing at how psychologically frail Americans have become.

No wonder the country can’t take on terrorism without going through spasms of delirium and guilt over it.

But this foolish hypersensitivity and blowing things so wildly out of proportion will some day be our downfall if we don’t soon get a grip, develop a thicker skin, fire the thought police, and go back to being Americans in the mold of those courageous and ingenious folks who put this country together.


Unknown said...

Funny you should post this... I was thinking about this on the way to work this morning. Specifically as it relates to my grandfather and great grandfather...

They travelled here, claimed their land, and carved their living out there. No government intereference. No psychologists... hell, barely even a doctor... and he lived to be 82 years old, and had plenty to hand on down...

We are so different than that now... Government, it is assumed can fix most of our problems, and what the "government" (which is us) can't fix pricey psychologists can...

It really is sad if you think about it!

James Shott said...

It's actually worse than sad, it's scary. We have lost our national character, our independence, our ability to conquer obstacles.

It's always someone else's fault that things don't go right, and instead of finding a way to solve problems, we seek therapy to help us cope with our failure.

I truly believe this nation will not survive much longer unless this trend is reversed.

Buffalo said...

RIGHT ON! We have become a nation of whining little victims. It is time folks stood on their own two feet, took responsibility for what they should and realize the rest of it comes under the heading of "life happens, ain't it a bitch."

Vitriola said...

Hi James

Not a comment on this post, just wanted to thank you for the 'where've you been?' message you left on my blog. I got really sick in December and took a few weeks off to get lots of fresh air and not sit at a desk... feeling a lot better now. I look forward to reading the bits of your blog I've been missing...