We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, June 24. 2012
Parts 1 and 2 were re-posted over the past two days.
I mentioned in an earlier post that a person's ability to adjust reasonably well to adult life does not necessarily depend on their DSM diagnosis (if they have one), but instead on their personality traits. Most of the personality traits we observe in people have to do with what we call "ego functions."
For just a few examples, what is their physical, mental and emotional stamina and endurance? What is their stress-tolerance, and how easily are they overwhelmed? How good are they at assigning themselves tasks and completing them? Are they reasonably honest, or connivers? What are their relationships like, and what sorts of relationships do they like to have? Are they socially appropriate? How sound does their judgement seem to be? How do they do with maintaining boundaries? How smart are they? How flexible is their thinking? How do they do with delaying gratification? Are they reliable or erratic? How self-regulating are they, or do they depend on external structures to function well? How often do they make excuses or blame? What do they want out of life? What motivates them? Do they have wholesome outlets? Are they emotionally mature? How do they view themselves, and how consistent is that with the reality?
Furthermore, what traits are out of line and give the person trouble managing life?
As I mentioned before, it is foolish to hold any standard of human perfection: I call that Psycho-utopianism. Let's just say that we are interested in a person's profile.
For the final post on the topic pf Psychiatric Diagnostics, let's take a closer look at Leo Bellak's list of ego functions, from Dr. Blatner's site which I linked last week. (It's not the best list. I wrote up a better one years ago, but cannot find it.)
When we try to assess these things, we know that we are looking at surface manifestations, not at what is going on in depth. Like geologists gazing at a landscape, we speculate about what is underground based on what we see above ground, and then test our speculations with test drilling.
Modern Psychiatrists and Psychoanalysts often tend to focus on the "Object Relations" item, believing that, developmentally, the integration of mental relationships effects the stability and integration of the adult person (and that aberrations can be improved with Psychotherapy). I am a friendly skeptic about that, and more inclined towards the genetic basis of personality traits (which by no means implies that they are immutable).
OK, I am going to avoid depth psychology here because my purpose with these posts was to give a sense of the sorts of things shrinks think about when they evaluate somebody and not about Psychotherapy or Psychoanalysis. As for the medical students who will not specialize in Psychiatry, these sorts of methodical ways of thinking about people are quite practical, not especially theoretical, and, I believe, useful to everybody in their dealings with others.
Photo is Anna Freud, the more-or-less founder of Ego Psychology.
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oh dr bliss, i love these posts! i wish it were part three of thirteen instead of part three of three!
"6. Thought Processes. This variable includes not just intelligence, but also psychological states that avoid the anxiety of thinking, so they fail to engage in abstract reasoning. Or can they, instead, manage conceptual thinking? Many people are in the middle on this one. "
Very interesting stuff. This one ... "...avoid the anxiety of thinking..." I'm confused. As we cannot not think, is the avoidance denial? What particular psychological states produce anxiety of thinking? Guilt, shame, trauma, fear? Depression, dread? Phobias?
Maybe it's the wording implying thinking produces anxiety. Also, is it an either/or with the abstract thinking vs. the conceptual thinking during the particular psychological state? And is the author talking of permanent psychological states?
Sorry for the pile of questions, but you can probably provide a single answer as I'm not sure of the language in this one. Or, more likely, the one you wrote is not as poorly written as this one.
What the fuck. I really didn't want to know the answer. I just wanted to sit in Dr. Bliss's class with my hand up for six days.
"...class with my hand up for six days."
You're funny. Seriously.
Meta, scroll down to the subhead: Flighty Cognitive Style for an example.
Thank you, Dr. X. That was perfect. It also made me a little crazy because I kept thinking of the times when I am like that and the times when I am too introspective - and would give anything to 'stop thinking'. I also thought of "Sybil" and wondered if she began this way. I did my thesis on complex PTSD and free will, and understand the desire to keep the cave empty.
I find this paragraph quite sad and wonder how damaged a mind must be that can acknowledge its own fraudulence and yet be unable to 'fix it'. The psychic energy required to sustain this condition is extraordinary. Very sad.
"To preserve their exteroceptive vigilance, they must reduce inner distractions, especially those that may be potentially disturbing. Histrionics seek actively to blot out any awareness of the barrenness of their intrapsychic world. This inner emptiness is especially intolerable because it points to the fraudulence that exists between the impressions they seek to convey to others and their true cognitive sterility and emotional poverty."
You gave me something else to study, at any rate. I have to find the cause. (Some of the pages were missing...)
Your welcome. Causes: that is a much larger question, as you might have guessed.
Is there a personality trait for the kinds of people who try to shoehorn their perception of others into somewhat openly defined personality traits? Not saying it applies, just asking...
People who insist, must, see beneath the surface to find out why instead of just reacting to the what. Lots of times if you know the why, you can forgive the what. Trait: Seeker of harmony?