Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PCT upside down

Person-centered therapy is "the most widely used models in mental health and psychotherapy. In this technique, therapists create a comfortable, non-judgmental environment by demonstrating congruence (genuineness), empathy, and unconditional positive regard toward their patients while using a non-directive approach. This aids patients in finding their own solutions to their problems."

It is pretty surprising to see a therapist to do practically nothing, just sitting there, "parroting" nonsense. It's even more surprising when the patient finds the solution to his own problem just because some guy "parroted nonsense". Of course it's much-much more complicated than meets the eye. The therapists are trained for long time before they are capable of doing their job. Before you'd say "parroting is easy", imagine how hard it can be demonstrating empathy and unconditional positive regard to someone who's been talking about his habit of watching child porn on the net.

While they did not call it PCT, understanding patients are key element in the earliest therapies. By the way do you know why patients are lying on the bed of early therapists (like Freud) instead of sitting? Because they couldn't see the face of the therapist so he didn't have to control his mimic, was free to express his gut reactions (disgust, fear, hate) toward the topics mentioned by a troubled mind.

How does this "parroting nonsense" works? Rogers and Maslow (the pyramid guy) explained it with the person's more basic need for socialization than improvement. If the person is in a judgmental environment, he automatically focuses on getting the best possible judgment. He is unable to improve, the same way as a starving person is unable to meditate about the meaning of life. By creating the atmosphere of unconditional positive regard, the person's need to be accepted and having high esteem are satisfied. As soon as his mind is free from the bond of these "more basic needs", it can focus on improvement and quickly solve the (not too complicated) problem.

It's great, but obviously require a therapist and of course time. These are things most people don't have. On the other hand the world outside is anything but comfortable and non-judgmental, it explains why people can't improve.

Except, most can at some degree and some can improve a lot without a parroting therapist. It seems there is a hidden factor that defines how much the person can improve in a judgmental atmosphere. It is a slider with the mental patient on the one end who start crying if someone give him a bad look. The middle guy is capable of accepting sugar-coated criticism and falls back to defensive mode to "rude" comments. On the other end is the guy who is fine no matter what people say.

It's not hard to recognize the asocial behavior with peers as the hidden factor and therefore turning PCT upside down. Actually I think it was upside down and it's time to place it on its foot. You can't solve the problems of the people by filling the world with parrots. Some people can take the job of a parrot for a payment, but forcing ordinary people to be non-judgmental (see political correctness) is a total failure.

The solution can only be improving the perception of the people about the judgment-factor of the situation. In reality most situations do not contain judgment in the sense of reward or punishment. The random guys who "judges" your make-up in the supermarket or your car in the lot do not reward or punish you. They are just random guys. The solution is to teach the people how can they trick their mind to switch to "random guy" mode instead of "judging peer" mode. I can always improve because I never feel judged. Not because people don't judge me, but because I couldn't care less about them. I have no problem writing on a 5K+/day visited blog that my 2 days old idea was total failure.

See and practice this in action in a completely anonymous way, by joining The PuG.


Andru said...

Political Corectness is such an idiotic concept.

Incidentally, I arrived to that conclusion even before I found your blog.

I mean, if two terms are synonymous, why would anyone feel better or worse when they're being described by either term?

IMO, Political Corectness was a good concept (avoiding words wich had implied bad second-meanings) ruined by the extreme 'respect for all' crowd. (avoiding all words that are commonly used to describe anyone, and replace them with composite phrases with the same meaning. That are 'better' just because they are new and pretentious.)

Chopsui said...

Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self Deception by Daniel Goleman is something you might enjoy reading Gevlon.

He portrays how people deceive themselves in order to protect their egos, and they don't know that they do it. You're trying to show them what they're deceiving themself with, which should only work with those that are only partially deceiving themselves.


Anonymous said...

"I have no problem writing on a 5K+/day visited blog that my 2 days old idea was total failure."


1. You're bragging (again) about your visitors. That's ePeen;

2. Even if you admit that some of your ideas are failures, you never admit that some of your philosophies are failures.

3. Hey, enforcing your strict rules about no social behavior isn't forcing behavior in order to all believe that all the players in the guild are "sympathetic" to each other?

Tobold said...

"See and practice this in action in a completely anonymous way, by joining The PuG."

How can we test and practice a theory anonymously? That invalidates the theory! Besides, the theories practiced on the Internet are only valid on the Internet - you can't tell how people will react by observing them in-game.

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: that's nihilism. Since nothing is exactly real life, we can't do anything but live it without any kind of planning or practice.

WeekendWarrior said...


Truly this is why I enjoy reading your blog. Discussions about human behavior, using the game as a model of how people interact with each other.

At the risk of this thread turning into a self-help book recommendations list, the title of Chopsui’s book recommendation reminded me of another book which may or may not be of a similar concept: “Leadership and Self-Deception, Getting out of the Box” by the Arbinger Institute. It was a book recommendation made to me I must confess by a counselor at a point in my life where I needed to better understand my relationship with the problems I was dealing with and potentially creating.

Anyway, this is not to imply that you are deceiving yourself Gevlon, but to agree with the point you make about changing your perceptions of how others may “judge” your actions.


Anonymous said...

Gevlon, I don't know if you even care about "thank you" but let me do just that, you saved my sanity today.

I have no problem with support calls like "hey I pushed the wrong buttons and made a mess, please help me fix it".

Yesterday I got a call "there seems to be something wrong with the payments please fix it, btw it's 4pm I'm going home". So I did the same, looking into the situation this morning luckily after reading your blog.

Turns out the dude messed up payments worth 50.000€, somehow realising it a day after and calling IT at 4pm. Exactly how he messed up and trace the payments took quite some time to figure out. He got very defensive at the slightest suggestion that he made mistakes, insisting he did everything as always, can't be his fault, the program must be broken.

I started over without any hint of judgement and he was able to tell me what he did.

Shannon Fowler said...

I'm not sure 'Political Correctness' is the correct term. Though, judging from the comments above, it does get across the negative stigma you want to associate with hand-holding behavior.

Realistically I think it's wholly possible to not use racial, homophobic, or other slurs (be 'politically correct') and still tell someone they're a terrible player (not putting up with stupid). It's wholly possible to tell someone they're bad without being a hateful bigot.

Bristal said...

Certainly it's possible to tell someone they suck without actually BEING a hateful bigot, but try doing it without them ACCUSING you of it.

Hateful bigotry is like pornography, people know it when they see it.

The age of political correctness gives that defensiveness that invariably bubbles up under criticism such a powerful bludgeon that people tend to avoid the confrontation in the first place.

chewy said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, very good indeed.

I would only encourage you to write more in this vein.

Yaggle said...

I don't agree at all that people know pornography when they see it. Just recently I was wondering if a picture of a naked woman was pornography. After wondering for a few seconds, I decided that it was not. But if I show that picture at work, most co-workers would think it was, my boss would think it was, and I would probably be fired. If you have a movie of a man and woman having sex, almost anybody would say it was pornography. But if you have a movie of two bears having sex, it's a nature-movie. Why is it different? No two people would probably have the exact same answer.

French Guy said...

Gevlon said : I can always improve because (...) I couldn't care less about them.

In other words, indifference and contempt are valid strategies in order to keep improving without being hindered by other people's judgement?

While i can concur that it shields you from "negative" judgements, doesn't it take away the opportunity of "positive" judgements, which could help you improving "more", or "faster", or in other ways?