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View Diary: Psychiatry: What Is Normal? (20 comments)

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  •  No mention of Abraham Maslow? (1+ / 0-)
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    Catte Nappe

    Okay, Abraham Maslow was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. But he was one of the first to take up the pressing question of "what is a normal, healthy human mind like?" Like you, he was distressed that studies of the mind up until that point had made little attempt to figure out what normal was. He is best know for developing the concept of the Hierarchy of Needs, and for helping develop the concept of self-actualization.

    •  Maslow did fine work on healthy psychology (0+ / 0-)

      Maslow did fine work studying the psychology of healthy successful people.

      But he did nothing to advance the power and accuracy of psychiatric diagnosis.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:40:49 AM PDT

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      •  He didn't? (0+ / 0-)

        I thought you had said that the problem with psychiatric diagnosis was that we did not really know what a healthy mind looked like. Maslow helped us understand the healthy human mind. How can you then say he did nothing, without refuting your own hypothesis? Unless your claim is "He is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, so he did not advance psychiatry."

        I mean, it sort of sounds like your thesis is really that psychiatry is bunk science and you don't want to hear anything to the contrary. Maslow wasn't the only one who studied the healthy mind. We know much, much more about the mind, both healthy and unhealthy, than your diary gives us credit for.

        In fact, our problem is NOT that we are unaware of what a healthy mind is like, it is that we simply have not found effective treatments that will turn an unhealthy or disordered mind into a healthy one.

        •  The issue is psychatric diagnosis (0+ / 0-)

          While Maslow studied "healthy" psychology, his work did not contribute the the psychiatrists' understanding of mental health and illness.  Had the world of psychiatry bothered to include a description or diagnostic criteria for "normal" or "healthy", we might see some of Maslow thinking in such a description, but sadly, the world of psychiatry has never attempted to formally describe "normal" or "healthy".

          I have no criticism of Maslow or his studies (well, see below), but rather my criticism is for the failure of the psychiatrists to work towards understanding what is "normal"

          My one criticism of Maslow is that he based his work of humanistic psychology on the writings of Albert Einstein, Lao Tzu, Ruth Benedict, and Max Wertheimer.  These were not ordinary Joes, but extra-ordinary individuals who were highly accomplished, hugely talented, and well-regarded people.  Such extra-ordinary people are perhaps poor models of "normal" people.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:36:39 AM PDT

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