Child sex abuse can scar the psyche of the victim and its repercussions can last well into adult life. A combination of factors keeps the victim from not seeking immediate help. These include unwarranted guilt, shame, and fear of retribution by the perpetrator, etc. Moreover, the emotional impact of the trauma is so severe that the victim is inhibited from opening it again. The psychological mechanism that arises in this milieu is denial. Denial consequently inhibits the victim from availing conventional therapeutic options.
The most common manifestation of child sex abuse is dysfunctional intimate relationships in adult life. Since healthy intimate relations involves a healthy sex life, the residual psychological baggage of child sex abuse carries over to later relationships. Herein is a pointer for marriage and relationship counselors. It is imperative that their psychotherapeutic approach takes into consideration early life trauma, especially sexual abuse. That way, . . . Read More
1. What is the most remarkable feature of Mark Micale’s work that makes it a valuable supplementation to existing literature on the subject?
The most notable feature of the book is its thesis, namely, an affirmation of the concept of Male Hysteria. The short and provocative title of the book is a grand statement in itself. The concept of male hysteria had ebbed and flowed in medical and popular culture over the centuries. But Micale’s work seeks to bring constancy to this phenomenon by citing examples across ages. By way of assembling copious examples of hysteria suffered by men, the author removes all speculation surrounding the veracity of such a condition. More importantly, although the title concerns with one gender, the broader objective of the book is to showcase hysteria as a gender-neutral mental malady. The author meets this objective with élan.
2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of Micale’s approach to . . . Read More
1. In which way is memory related to the formation of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)?
According to author Ian Hacking, memory plays a pivotal role in the creation of our personality or our idea of ‘self’. We are just the compounding of our ‘collected describable memories’. The word ‘describable’ is the key here, for it suggests that memory does not exist outside of verbal description. This is especially true vis-à-vis identity or personality formation. One might argue of the verifiable phenomena of visual memory, as in those occurring in vivid dreams. But upon careful analysis we realize how these imageries are triggered by labels and descriptions of psycho-emotive import for the subject. Those individuals who have a compulsion to erase most painful memories from recall are the most vulnerable to become MPD.
2. What is the psychological mechanism that nudges a susceptible individual toward acquiring . . . Read More
1. What are some of the author’s charges against diagnostic models of mental illnesses?
Through the course of recorded history no other domain of illness has underwent such frequent theoretical upheavals and revisions as had mental illness. This is best borne by the fact that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (considered the prevailing authority on classifying psychiatric conditions) is constantly revising its manual. In a manner similar to how software companies release updates to their applications on an annual basis, the same set of symptoms could lead to different diagnostic conclusions on two different years. This is a statement on the confusion within the profession rather than making case for the rapid evolution and metamorphosis of the human mind. For centuries, if not millennia, the elements of human psychology have remained the same. As we learn from ancient through recent history, . . . Read More
The Enlightenment is a historically important event for scientific progress. It was ushered in by the collective transformative forces of path-breaking scientific discoveries in the preceding century. Most of these scientific discoveries dispelled long-held religious views of the world. This proved controversial at the time and provoked sharp censure from religious authorities. Yet the force of truth and reason is too strong to be contained by threat of punishment. This inevitability gave rise to the Enlightenment – one of the pivotal moments in the cultural ascent of our species. As Immanuel Kant famously described, Enlightenment is humankind’s “release from its self-imposed immaturity”. (Withers, 2007) Enlightenment is therefore an act of breaking shackles of authority and substituting it with independent inquiry. Since the Enlightenment attitude toward science encouraged skepticism over tradition and superstition, it immediately attracted the wrath of the powers that . . . Read More
In the case of Tan, while physicians were aware of a prior brain injury causing speech impairment for the patient, they were unable to localize it within the topology of the brain. Moreover, since all other cognitive functions of the patient remained unaffected after the injury, the task of drawing up the diagnosis and prognosis became difficult. It is only after the death of the patient that the brain autopsy revealed lesions in areas of the brain now identified to be the speech centers. (Stirling, 2002)
In contrast, in the case of Phineas Gage, the exact location of the injury was known. During a rock-blasting operation, foreman Gage’s skull was pierced by a thick iron rod above the left-prefrontal cortex and had exited through the left cheek bone. The miracle of his survival apart, Gage even managed to regain most of his functions over the next 12 years of his life. But the behavioral changes witnessed in him by close friends and colleagues indicate core personality . . . Read More
The film Shutter Islands holds value for students of psychology, psychiatry and nursing for its portrayal of complex mental illness. The film should be evaluated separately on two counts – first, its entertainment value and second, its relevance to the medical profession. Obviously, the parameters used for the respective evaluations are different. In my view, the film is highly impressive in both these counts. But this essay will focus on the second aspect, and argue that the film is full of key insights into the pathology of delusion and the range of therapeutic approaches in dealing with it.
Firstly, director Scorsese intertwines war-induced mental trauma of Teddy Daniels with personal tragedy of Andrew Laeddis. This compounds the confusion for the audience, but also adds a political dimension to what is an exposition on psychiatric illness. Toward the end of the film it is unveiled how the whole of the Shutter Island is a set up to play along the illusions of Andrew . . . Read More
Being the same person from one day to the next means to carry forward a whole complex of characteristics across time. This essay will argue that self-identity is constituted of three key components, namely, mind, brain and body. Based on the essays by John Perry and Daniel Dennett, it can loosely be stated that individual identity is primarily a concept of the mind, with the brain and the body providing supporting physiology. Though the role of brain and body are secondary, they are nonetheless essential to self-identity.
Daniel Dennett and John Perry address two facets to the question of identity. Dennett’s preoccupation is with various manifestations of identity during an individual’s lifetime. Perry, on the other hand, treats the idea of the self in the backdrop of mortality and impending death.
Weirob identifies qualities of memory and anticipation as key markers of identity. In the context of mortality, an individual’s afterlife can be spoken of only as a . . . Read More
Daniel Dennett’s essay is about the roles of brain, body and mind in self-identification. Dennett takes the reader through a list of dizzying circumstances in which the brain is separated from the body and yet the two are in communication through sophisticated technology. The central question in a situation like this is the location of the individual across temporal and spatial scales. Given the speed-of-light communication between the terminals in his skull and the separated brain, the subject’s experiences only suffer a small time lag. The really important philosophical questions, then, arise out of spatially locating the ‘I’ in this unusual configuration of one individual.
Dennett suggests various methods of logic and training through which the distended individual can retain his personhood and function as he is used to. Dennett chooses himself as the case study of these thought experiments. For the sake of this acclimatization project, the body is named Hamlet and . . . Read More
Rubric: What two conditions must be satisfied, according to Campbell, in order for a choice to be an exercise of free will (in the morally significant sense)? How do these two conditions relate to determinism? Also provide a reasoned evaluation of Campbell’s defense of free will.
At the outset, there is no consensus among philosophers as to the definition of free will. The definitions have ranged between the most banal to the most intellectually rigorous. Since Campbell believes that a well-defined problem facilitates its solution, free will is identified with two attendant features – moral responsibility and consequences. In other words, free will is said to be operant whenever an action is seen to be morally responsible or lack thereof. In the same vein, free will is applied to those actions which lead to significant consequences. The second condition is important, for there is no utility in dissecting the intentions of an individual when they do not . . . Read More