Monday, June 28, 2010

Fun from crank psychology: Except, it is not fun when you must live it.

I have not had much time to contribute to the Mindful Hack blog, because I must shortly help write a book about something else. But bear with me now. First, ...

One columnist writes,
I have a former student who has found the perfect job. She’s working with troubled youths in a faith-based program that allows her to finally put her psychology degree to use – a full eight years after she graduated from college. She likes the job, but she called my office recently to vent about a boy who suffers from Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).

I have a B.A. and an M.S. in psychology. But I must confess that I needed some explanation of ODD because it wasn’t yet a disorder when I studied psychology back in the 1980s. So I asked my former student simply to describe the behavior of the boy with ODD. The conversation went something like this:

Erica (not real name): He is constantly pitching a fit over nothing – or nearly nothing. He argues with everything I say and there is no such thing as a rule he does not question.

Me: So, in other words, the boy is a jerk.
You get the general idea. Modern (as opposed to traditional) psychology sometimes gives a young fellow a pass just for being a jerk.

Fast backward to traditional psychology: Unenlightened young fellows, in my experience, might not offer such a pass, especially if their sweethearts, mothers, sisters, aunts, old lady teachers, etc., are in any way concerned. Stuff happened to guys who did bad things to them, and those guys had bruises they could not plausibly explain to the emergency room physician, let alone a local cop. But no one really cared.

Was that a good teaching method? Do I know? All I would ever ask is, does your community feel safer than it did two decades ago?