Monday, January 31, 2011

Tanks a Lot

We do not err because truth is difficult to see.
It is visible at a glance.

We err because this is more comfortable

--Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I can't control my buried thoughts

the slightest thing makes me distraught
I'm like the people I once fought
my every action's being bought
--Cold Life, Ministry

milgram's 37
we do what we're told
we do what we're told
we do what we're told
told to do
--We Do What We're Told,
Peter Gabriel

A continuum 0f "Rocket Man":

Also in the ward was an older man who had a consuming, debilitating fear of tanks, as in armored fighting vehicles. He was obsessed and terrified that one was going to get him and run him into the mud. Remember that this was a VA psych ward and the patient was a combat veteran.

His attending psychologist (a different one from the previous piece) joked about this fear, using it as a teaching point in class when discussing psychotic behavior. Ranger then asked two questions:

"Are you a veteran, and have you ascertained if this patient fought at Anzio or the Battle of the Bulge, where Nazi tanks actually ran over U.S. Infantrymen?"
To both, the answer was negative.
So a psychologist in the VA system did not have a clue as to the reality that possibly destroyed a veteran's mental stability -- he never entertained the thought.

Though the VA health care system is much vaunted for its efficiency, it employs many people who fail to grasp the plight of veterans. The patients constitute a unique population, and if misunderstood, risk being warehoused for behaviors which are outside the purview of those of the general population.

That has been 35 years ago and I wonder whether anything has changed since those dark days . . . the time before soldiers were the heroes in every guy's video games; the time when the U.S. lost its first war.

I really do wonder.

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Anonymous Carl said...

Never..ever..met a psych or GP/MD who had personally experienced even 1% of what I or others I know had. All the titles & abbreviations following the so called "experts" names, ends up meaning nothing - to those who have been there..

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 11:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous CholoAzul said...

Stereotyping has it's drawbacks across the board.

I know many people including myself who served in a variety of situations, and went on to get an education and enter diverse professions.
Adding degrees to one's name doesn't automatically negate their service.

Long before earning 2 doctorates in psychology and clinical psychology, and doing his residency at the VA hospital in NOLA, my Dad was an enlisted Marine in Korea in the winter of 1950/51.

And precisely because he did know what it was about, he couldn't keep working for the VA a minute longer than he had to, which just emphasizes Jim's point about VA hospitals.

You can sneer at other people's expertise or service all you want, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 12:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Science is not about opinions.
Psychology is presented to us as a science.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 9:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous CholoAzul said...

Science is all about opinions, and *testing* them by using the scientific method. Psychology meets the definition.

Part of that method requires objectivity, which is why members of any discipline should recognize when their personal beliefs are getting in the way of professional detachment. Is it any better for a chemist or a EE to believe in an invisible sky-daddy?

In any case, it is not only that the VA hires specialists who aren't cognizant, it could also be that for some caregivers who are also a vet, the VA might be the last place they would want to work.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 12:01:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does a psychologist have to be a combat vet to treat a combat vet? Would a psychologist have to be an alchoholic/junkie to treat an alchoholic/junkie? Could a professional psychologist treat a rape victim without being a rape victim etc etc. Are combat vets a special subset outside psych. or is it all a fraud?

Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 2:17:00 AM GMT-5  

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