Thursday, August 30, 2007

tell me where it hurts

When people talk about their first memories I am always skeptical. Did you keep a calendar (or a secretary) in your bassinet? So it is with caution that I allow that one of my earliest verifiable memories is of playing with toys on the floor with a young woman (I would consider her such today but it was a distinction I would hardly have made at 5) who had long dark hair. I have a vague association with Cher but that was the period. She was foreign-- middle eastern, I think, and perhaps Armenian (Cher again). I base these extrapolations on conversations later in life with the adults who brought me to meet her, and who waited--downstairs as I recall-- while the young woman and I negotiated over blocks.

The ensuing decades of therapy with dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, and assorted faith healers suggest that at some point during that fateful first session, I must have tried to put a square peg in a round hole.

Champion narcissists, Americans love their therapy. Like me, most of the people I know have spent years discussing their feelings with people who are paid to care, or at least to attend. I have certainly benefited from some of my encounters with these professionals. But statistically, how could it be otherwise?

Therapy and the culture industry are bound up in so many ways in the US in particular. Even if you're not a member of the talking classes, you cannot avoid its moist embrace. Perhaps you are seeking closure on a death in the family, or in the family of a celebrity, or that of some one else featured on Larry King. Or maybe you have become uncomfortable in crowded spaces like the mall, and attribute this to the impact of '9-11' on Minneapolis.

As direct or indirect consumers, beneficiaries and proponents of psychology and its attendant explanations, justifications and claims, Americans should take notice and respond to the APA's failure to condemn the participation of its members in military interrogations involving torture.

I was impressed by the Democracy Now interview with Elizabeth Phipher, who 'returned her Presidential Citation award from the America Psychological Association in protest over the group's policy on military and CIA interrogations. "The top leadership, the people on the council have been there for decades. It's a very ingrown group of people and I think we probably need some new leadership in APA"'.

Check out the audio interview here .

2 comments:

cars700 said...

That babysitter was named Beth and she looked like one of the two DeFranco sisters on the back cover of Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat. And, much like the DeFranco sisters must have been, Beth was talented. She could draw. I remember she drew a portrait, and you or I defaced it by putting some gigantic nose on it, thinking it was hil-ar-ious. Her reaction devastated me for some reason. She looked at the defaced drawing, appeared sad, turned to us and said "that wasn't very nice."

PS said...

sad story... but this was not a babysitter.