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Tags atheism , prayer , psychology , religion

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Old 30th July 2020, 02:24 AM   #41
Minoosh
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I think you're brave to bring this up here Minoosh. From what you are describing I say go for it. I see nothing wrong with praying if it helps you or anyone else. Like you said, you aren't doing it in lieu of other actions.
Thanks SG. I know you don't have any patience for woo so I'm pleased that you're OK with these sorts of rituals. I wouldn't dream of foisting it off on someone else, but if I'm at, say, a funeral Mass and the padre seems to expect prayers, I actually do earnestly engage.

It's not a regular part of my life anymore. When it was, life seemed to go better. It's a simple ritual, saying "please" in the morning and "thank you" at night. It helps occasionally. More when I do it regularly.
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Old 30th July 2020, 04:12 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Yeah, I should have just called child protection services.
Why didn't you?

You had a relative in a bad situation. Is that supposed to prove that therapy is useless?
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Old 30th July 2020, 10:39 PM   #43
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It's supposed to show that you can talk to someone for ever, and not solve anything whatsoever that way. As long as it's just you doing the talking -- whether by virtue of the other person being imaginary or just not asking any uncomfortable questions -- you can rationalize anything, whether it's staying in a bad situation, or keeping doing something stupid, or whatever.

Edit:

Not the least because that's how the brain works: it doesn't seem to distinguish between sources for any information. Even just saying something yourself is actually just strengthening the engram (association in your head,) not helping solve anything or organize your thoughts in any meaningful way.

In a study people were asked what their political views were, and then were asked to write for exercise sake, write an essay defending the polar opposite of it. You know, just as a BS exercise. After two weeks their views were already shifting towards what they wrote. Even knowing that the source was just yourself taking the piss, the brain doesn't distinguish that as a source to discard. It goes into the same pile of associations that form your world model.

Hell, even using an engram strengthens it. If you decided to every time go right when you enter a shop, for no particular reason, after a while you start doing it automatically. Just the fact that that "enter shop => go right" association keeps getting accessed makes it stronger.

So, yeah, asking someone to just sit and listen why you keep talking about why you keep doing X, or why you don't do Y, or why you don't get out of situation Z, and not ask any uncomfortable questions, isn't them helping you sort out your thoughts. It's them being an enabler while you hammer those rationalizations into your head even harder.

Edit 2:

Also, no amount of talking will change the chemical balance in your brain, that affects the expected outcomes. So IF the root problem preventing you from dealing with some situation, no amount of talking about it will change that. Even if you somehow avoided strengthening some bad engrams -- which you can't -- at the end of the day the voting in your head as to whether to do something or not, will still be biased in the same direction. If that scale is biased towards "nah, that's hopeless", without some way of bringing it to the centre, it stays that way. And talking doesn't change that balance.
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Old 31st July 2020, 01:26 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
"Prayer is just a sophisticated way of pleading with thunderstorms" - Terry Pratchett

But that doesn't mean some people don't find it helpful.
And wasn't it Mark Twain said it was like whining to God to change the laws of the Universe?

Some people find comfort in alcohol. Not that I recommend it either.
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Old 31st July 2020, 10:44 PM   #45
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I grew up in a less than ideal home, one had to think for himself or herself and decide because one or the other parent would be unhappy.

With me both got nothing in the way of religious stuff.

We were told prayer would bring us answers, for me it was words dropping on the floor and withering away.
But when I decided and acted I got results. Not always what I tried for but real results anyway.
It wasn't hard to see which was solid.

Only once as an adult I resorted to praying to find a solution, and as expected nothing came of it. Then I pulled my head from my own backside and fixed whatever it was going wrong.
It wasn't hopeless, it was that I wasn't trying the right thing.

There are things well beyond our control and they are few compared to the things we can change.

If we are willing to make some sacrifices.
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Old 31st July 2020, 10:54 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
As long as it's just you doing the talking -- whether by virtue of the other person being imaginary or just not asking any uncomfortable questions -- you can rationalize anything, whether it's staying in a bad situation, or keeping doing something stupid, or whatever.
I think you're extrapolating too much from one anecdote. Also I suspect you have have dated views about psychotherapy.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Also, no amount of talking will change the chemical balance in your brain, that affects the expected outcomes.
Everything changes the chemical balance in your brain. If I feel bad, and I call a friend, and then I feel better, what changed? My brain chemistry. I don't know whether that's cause or effect - maybe my friend made me feel better, or maybe I was already feeling better, which made me reach out to a friend. But in either case the chemistry of my brain changed, or I wouldn't feel better.

Antidepressants are statistically better than placebo for moderate to severe depression, but there can be a lot of trial and error trying to find something that helps. Perhaps your doctor's empathy and persistence eventually make you feel better. But antidepressants are ineffective for minor depression.

In moderate to severe cases:
Quote:
Without antidepressants: About 20 to 40 out of 100 people who took a placebo noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
With antidepressants: About 40 to 60 out of 100 people who took an antidepressant noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
So about as 50 percent success rate. The gains are described as "usually modest" and it can take months to years to get the chemistry right. That doesn't mean one should stop trying, of course.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And talking doesn't change that balance.
Everything changes that balance and usually medication is used in conjunction in talk therapy. I'm sure there are unsuitable therapists out there who enable their patients stay in ruts. I don't think your anecdote proves anything.
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Old 1st August 2020, 12:45 AM   #47
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I'm talking about long term changes. Short term, sure, your feeling better IS a change in chemical balance. However, those are the operative words: short term.

The very presence of those chemical signals that make you feel happier, triggers the release of the enzymes that remove them from your system. E.g., the very presence of serotonin, noradrenaline or dopamine in your system triggers the release of the MAO-A (Monoamine oxidase A) enzyme that metabolizes those right out of your system, while dopamine also triggers the release of MAO-B, which also metabolizes it right off.

So basically sure, your chemical balance changes and feel better for the moment, but then you return to the same baseline. No amount of talking will make that baseline level change.

Edit: if talking could actually change your brain's production of, or sensitivity to, those enzymes, we'd use talking to treat Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Both of those are linked to elevated levels of MAO-B in the brain, which drives the dopamine levels into the ground. So, yeah, if you could just talk your brain into changing its chemical balance baseline, we'd stop subsidizing Alzheimer and Parkinson medication for old people and tell them to just go talk to someone about it. Treatment for those two in old people is a huge chunk of the costs of health insurance, so yeah, if we could just pay someone to talk to a whole group of them once a week instead, we would.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:04 PM   #48
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Question not necessarily directed at the OP. How would a person tell if their life goes better with prayer, seems or otherwise? There is no alternate life to compare to to see a difference.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:13 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Question not necessarily directed at the OP. How would a person tell if their life goes better with prayer, seems or otherwise? There is no alternate life to compare to to see a difference.
How your life is going is at least partly subjective. If you feel it's going better, it sort of is.
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Old 1st August 2020, 04:12 PM   #50
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Actually, if you're pretty much sure that your life's going significantly better with prayer, then the thing to do, before all else, is lobby to re-institute the million dollar prize. So that your life can, on top of going significantly better, also go fabulously better.
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Old 1st August 2020, 04:22 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
... In a study people were asked what their political views were, and then were asked to write for exercise sake, write an essay defending the polar opposite of it. You know, just as a BS exercise. After two weeks their views were already shifting towards what they wrote. Even knowing that the source was just yourself taking the piss, the brain doesn't distinguish that as a source to discard. It goes into the same pile of associations that form your world model ...

Sort of like how brainwashing works. Sometimes people merely pretend to go along, but very often they actually buy in to whatever they were being brainsahed on, and continue to hold the idea/ideology even after the physical/psychological duress, that was the instrument of the brainwashing, is removed, for good.


... This study, above, would you have a link?
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Old 1st August 2020, 04:39 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Question not necessarily directed at the OP. How would a person tell if their life goes better with prayer, seems or otherwise? There is no alternate life to compare to to see a difference.
I take it as meaning that you may feel lost or alone, but after prayer, , you feel reassured, or guided. Like there's someone in your corner with you.
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Old 1st August 2020, 05:04 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
I take it as meaning that you may feel lost or alone, but after prayer, , you feel reassured, or guided. Like there's someone in your corner with you.
I have spent a few minutes thinking about this. I have to admit that it is a concept that I am struggling to understand. I am not disagreeing with your post. It is just not registering in my brain as a logical concept.
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Old 1st August 2020, 05:15 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm talking about long term changes. Short term, sure, your feeling better IS a change in chemical balance. However, those are the operative words: short term.

The very presence of those chemical signals that make you feel happier, triggers the release of the enzymes that remove them from your system.
That's feedback. That's normal. One possible solution is to keep doing the behaviors that make you feel better short-term. (That don't involve self-harm.) I feel better after making my bed. I try not to give up just because I'll have to do it again tomorrow.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
No amount of talking will make that baseline level change.
I don't think your information is up to date. From Forbes:

Research Again Finds That Talk Therapy Can Change The Brain

And while we know the broad outlines of tinkering with neurotransmitters, according to the NHS, It's not known exactly how antidepressants work. Sadly, chances are almost even that a given drug won't work. Or it can stop working. Or it can have serious side effects, including suicidal ideation. Or the patient's depression is not severe enough to benefit from medication.

Depression sometimes resolves itself spontaneously. How? Why? I don't think we know.

And, also from NHS:

Quote:
While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they do not always address its causes. This is why they're usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions.
IOW, they still advise you to talk to someone.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Edit: if talking could actually change your brain's production of, or sensitivity to, those enzymes, we'd use talking to treat Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Both of those are linked to elevated levels of MAO-B in the brain, which drives the dopamine levels into the ground.
Who said talking was a cure all? It isn't going to undo organic brain damage.
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Old 1st August 2020, 09:25 PM   #55
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That's not always the case, Minoosh about treatment for depression, or about the underlying causes.

SSRIs specifically increase serotonin in the nerve synapses in the brain. It's not so mysterious that the underlying mechanisms of chronic depression (not situational depression which is another way of saying grieving).

We don't know all the things going on in the brain of chronically depressed people. There are probably multiple causes. But it's not all that mysterious.

We don't have a cure for hypertension, but we know what's going on and can treat it.
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:04 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
That's not always the case, Minoosh about treatment for depression, or about the underlying causes.

SSRIs specifically increase serotonin in the nerve synapses in the brain. It's not so mysterious that the underlying mechanisms of chronic depression (not situational depression which is another way of saying grieving).

We don't know all the things going on in the brain of chronically depressed people. There are probably multiple causes. But it's not all that mysterious.

We don't have a cure for hypertension, but we know what's going on and can treat it.
I don't mean to be defeatist. I know if a drug works only 50 percent of patients that's still clinically significant. My main point was that the claim that talk therapy never helped anyone is not supported by compelling evidence.
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:20 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
I take it as meaning that you may feel lost or alone, but after prayer, , you feel reassured, or guided. Like there's someone in your corner with you.
That's not what happens to me. If I'm dreading a situation I might send up a flare - "please help me deal with this." Next thing I know, I'm coping with the situation better than I expected to. Then, it seems only polite today say, "Thank you."

If repeated it is reinforced.

I don't expect this to be compelling evidence to anyone else.
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:33 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I don't mean to be defeatist. I know if a drug works only 50 percent of patients that's still clinically significant. My main point was that the claim that talk therapy never helped anyone is not supported by compelling evidence.
Talk therapy is very helpful for some people. The goals include helping the person have better insight into their behavior/emotions and learning coping skills.

My main contention was with this:
Quote:
according to the NHS, It's not known exactly how antidepressants work.
We do know how they work.

It seems the NHS doesn't like the conclusion they cite:
Quote:
It's not known exactly how antidepressants work.

It's thought they work by increasing levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, are linked to mood and emotion.
So the evidence is not certain enough for them?

This is typical of a lot of medical sources not wanting to address mental illness the same way they approach other physical ailments.

Quote:
... While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they do not always address its causes. This is why they're usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions.
I'm not buying that at all. Therapy is very useful for many patients. But for others it isn't.

But claiming therapy addresses the causes while psych meds** don't? That doesn't make sense to me.



** We don't have meds for every kind of mental illness and some of the older meds were atrocious, just like ECT was.
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:38 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
That's not what happens to me. If I'm dreading a situation I might send up a flare - "please help me deal with this." Next thing I know, I'm coping with the situation better than I expected to. Then, it seems only polite today say, "Thank you."

If repeated it is reinforced.

I don't expect this to be compelling evidence to anyone else.
I think this is great. If that works for you, why would anyone insist therapy is better?

It's like alcoholism, for some people finding God helps them abstain. For others going to AA helps but they don't need the God belief. And for others, they just quit. Still others relapse repeatedly or never quit and then they die.
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Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. It's the American way. That's how Mnuchin got rich. Worse, he did it on the backs of elderly people who had been conned into reverse mortgages. Mnuchin paid zero, took on the debt then taxpayers bailed him out.

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Old 2nd August 2020, 12:24 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I don't mean to be defeatist. I know if a drug works only 50 percent of patients that's still clinically significant. My main point was that the claim that talk therapy never helped anyone is not supported by compelling evidence.
That is exactly the fallacy of reversing the burden of proof. The one making the claim of the form "X exists" or "Y happens" (the two being trivially equivalent), a.k.a., a positive claim, is the one who needs to present the evidence. Saying that you're right about such a claim because the negative wasn't supported by compelling evidence is nonsense.

I mean, watch me do the same: the black dragon Alduin exists and he's going to return to devour the world, including Heaven and Hell. And I know that's true, because none of the naysayers claiming he doesn't exist has presented any compelling evidence to support that.

Now I realize that it's not easy to show that talking to someone isn't just placebo effect. I do realize the problem of having a control group who only think they're talking to someone about it, or for that matter going double-blind about THAT. It's not as easy as giving one group the new antibiotic pill and the other group just pressed lactic acid pills. In the case of pills, neither the patients nor the one giving them the pill can tell the difference, so double-blind works. It's not as easy to make someone just think they're in a group therapy session, when they aren't.

Fair enough.

But that still means you don't have evidence for the positive claim. And that's it.

It doesn't change how the burden of proof works. You don't get to then claim to be right because nobody proved the negative.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 08:47 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That is exactly the fallacy of reversing the burden of proof. The one making the claim of the form "X exists" or "Y happens" (the two being trivially equivalent), a.k.a., a positive claim, is the one who needs to present the evidence. Saying that you're right about such a claim because the negative wasn't supported by compelling evidence is nonsense.

I mean, watch me do the same: the black dragon Alduin exists and he's going to return to devour the world, including Heaven and Hell. And I know that's true, because none of the naysayers claiming he doesn't exist has presented any compelling evidence to support that.

Now I realize that it's not easy to show that talking to someone isn't just placebo effect. I do realize the problem of having a control group who only think they're talking to someone about it, or for that matter going double-blind about THAT. It's not as easy as giving one group the new antibiotic pill and the other group just pressed lactic acid pills. In the case of pills, neither the patients nor the one giving them the pill can tell the difference, so double-blind works. It's not as easy to make someone just think they're in a group therapy session, when they aren't.

Fair enough.

But that still means you don't have evidence for the positive claim. And that's it.

It doesn't change how the burden of proof works. You don't get to then claim to be right because nobody proved the negative.

I met someone who was very anxious and upset. I asked why they were anxious and upset, and it turns out it was because they couldn't turn their ignition key to get their car started, and they were running late. I advised them to try forcefully turning the steering wheel (even though with the key not turned, the wheel won't move very far) to unstick the ignition lock. This worked, and they soon became less anxious and upset.

I consider that interaction to have helped that person.

You can argue that that wasn't really talk therapy, because it involved giving and applying practical advice for a specific situation But there's nothing in the definition of talk therapy that prevents (or even makes it unlikely for) such situational practical advice from being given and applied as part of the process.

I suppose you can still claim "talk therapy that doesn't include giving and applying practical situational advice never helped anyone" without having been contradicted by evidenced positive claims, yet.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 09:01 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I have spent a few minutes thinking about this. I have to admit that it is a concept that I am struggling to understand. I am not disagreeing with your post. It is just not registering in my brain as a logical concept.
Ya, it's a little tough to put into words. The most rational view may be the same as what many gain through talking to a therapist; when you actually formulate your thoughts to express them to a listener, it changes them a little. Vague dark thoughts bouncing around in your head become simpler to deal under the sunlight of expression and identification. Also, when you are presenting your feelings to someone/something else, you might get how they would view your problem and what their response would be.

Way back when I used to pray, I started imagining that the answer from an all-powerful deity would be along the lines of "Shut up. You have it easy. And I know My Creation is banging. Get to work". And I stopped praying.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 09:42 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I met someone who was very anxious and upset. I asked why they were anxious and upset, and it turns out it was because they couldn't turn their ignition key to get their car started, and they were running late. I advised them to try forcefully turning the steering wheel (even though with the key not turned, the wheel won't move very far) to unstick the ignition lock. This worked, and they soon became less anxious and upset.

I consider that interaction to have helped that person.

You can argue that that wasn't really talk therapy, because it involved giving and applying practical advice for a specific situation But there's nothing in the definition of talk therapy that prevents (or even makes it unlikely for) such situational practical advice from being given and applied as part of the process.
Not being forbidden by any definition, and not being what the job and the theory behind it are about, are also not mutually exclusive.

I mean, it's also not forbidden by any definition to sleep with your lawyer. And I can also offer an anecdote to the effect that yep, it can happen. I mean, I did just that myself, way back. But that doesn't mean that that's what the legal profession is about

And it's not just random snark. I seriously mean that your example is exactly that much off the mark. The whole theory in psychology, starting from Freud to this day, is more like letting you talk about your problems (with some encouragement or neutral-ish question to help you along the way), until you figure out on your own terms in which way your own subconscious is plotting against you, so to speak. As in, because of what issue was it preventing you from remembering that you can turn the wheel to unjam the lock. Well, IF it's a psychological issue at work, anyway.

And even if you don't go full-tilt Freudian, you're still supposed to just let the guy organize his own thoughts -- again, IF it is a psychology-related thing -- rather than just telling him what he should do.

And if it isn't a psychological issue, which, let's face it, in that case most people would agree that that guy probably just didn't know that, then what you did is fully outside the scope of it. I mean literally as much outside the scope of it as helping someone relieve sexual tension is outside the scope of the legal profession.

You're not FORBIDDEN from offering some non-psychological help on the side, sure, but that's in the same way as an actor can also offer you advice for fixing your computer, or a policeman can offer you advice about what age to neuter your kitten at, or a taxi driver can tell you what's the best hotel in town. Let's face it, life would be outright impossible for any profession, if you were outright forbidden from doing anything outside the scope of that profession. But that doesn't make any advice they'll ever give, on any topic ever, somehow be a part of their profession.

Plus, that still brings us to the question: if it's not at the point where it's a random acquaintance happening by and offering the advice, but rather at the point where you pay someone to help you with such issues... why not ask someone qualified instead? If you go to a psychologist for advice on how to start your car, or any other of the examples above of people offering advice outside the scope of their qualification, it's a bit random whether they actually know that. They could give you the most competent advice ever, or they could tell you the most wrong thing ever. There is nothing in their actual certification and experience that guarantees either. You can for example have 20+ years of experience and all the qualification in the world in psychology, but only ride the bus and have no clue about cars.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 10:52 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
That's not what happens to me. If I'm dreading a situation I might send up a flare - "please help me deal with this." Next thing I know, I'm coping with the situation better than I expected to. Then, it seems only polite today say, "Thank you."

If repeated it is reinforced.

I don't expect this to be compelling evidence to anyone else.
I find it very compelling that that is your experience, and that it betters your life.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 03:09 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That is exactly the fallacy of reversing the burden of proof. The one making the claim of the form "X exists" or "Y happens" (the two being trivially equivalent), a.k.a., a positive claim, is the one who needs to present the evidence. Saying that you're right about such a claim because the negative wasn't supported by compelling evidence is nonsense.

I mean, watch me do the same: the black dragon Alduin exists and he's going to return to devour the world, including Heaven and Hell. And I know that's true, because none of the naysayers claiming he doesn't exist has presented any compelling evidence to support that.

Now I realize that it's not easy to show that talking to someone isn't just placebo effect. I do realize the problem of having a control group who only think they're talking to someone about it, or for that matter going double-blind about THAT. It's not as easy as giving one group the new antibiotic pill and the other group just pressed lactic acid pills. In the case of pills, neither the patients nor the one giving them the pill can tell the difference, so double-blind works. It's not as easy to make someone just think they're in a group therapy session, when they aren't.

Fair enough.

But that still means you don't have evidence for the positive claim. And that's it.

It doesn't change how the burden of proof works. You don't get to then claim to be right because nobody proved the negative.
I could easily be violating the accepted rules of rational argument. "Talk therapy is useful" is a positive claim, but to me, "Talk therapy is useless " is also a claim. It's easy to find studies supporting my position. Feel free to rebut with something stronger than an anecdote.

As far as I can tell, you defined benefit as leaving the marriage, or at least making their spouse stop hitting them. You said talk therapy was useless or worse in this situation. Confiding in a relative was useless, too. But you know what sometimes helps? LOSING YOUR KIDS until you take concrete steps to provide a safe home. A family member reporting physical evidence of abuse could probably get that process started. I know it's a big step. In my work I could be criminally liable for *not* reporting it.

"Why don't they just leave?" From the Domestic Violence Hotline: Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse. That's one of 10 reasons listed, and "having an incompetent therapist" is not on the list.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 03:18 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I think this is great. If that works for you, why would anyone insist therapy is better?
The argument wasn't just that prayer is useless - Hans said talking to therapists was also useless.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 05:36 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
It seems the NHS doesn't like the conclusion they cite ... So the evidence is not certain enough for them?
I don't know why NHS are so vague in describing the role of neurotransmitters. I think partly what they are saying is, "the science of neurotransmitter metabolism is complicated, sometimes paradoxical, and highly varied among individuals, and we don't always know exactly why, and there is some controversy about such-and-so." So they make a very bland statement, and a small bit of information.

On WebMD I found this: "Doctors don't know exactly how lithium works to stabilize a person's mood." And it's well-studied and has been around forever. This may just be a common disclaimer on public websites.

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not buying that at all. Therapy is very useful for many patients. But for others it isn't.
This is more problematic, but I think I know why they put it that way. They want people with mental illness to keep talking to their health-care providers. I think they're including almost everything in "talk therapy," even brief check-in visits.

A study posted above suggests that CBT combined with medication leads to better outcomes for schizophrenics than medication alone. Obviously they have messed-up brain chemicals and talk of finding a "root cause" sounds weird, almost cruel, but talk therapy apparently changed their brains.

I doubt if it would do much good if they weren't already stable on meds.
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Old 2nd August 2020, 10:26 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I could easily be violating the accepted rules of rational argument.
In fact, you are. Or in the same way I would if I were to claim there are invisible elves in my fridge, unless you show the evidence that they don't exist.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
"Talk therapy is useful" is a positive claim, but to me, "Talk therapy is useless " is also a claim.
Yes, it's the negative claim. Which incidentally is the null hypothesis unless the positive is supported.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
It's easy to find studies supporting my position.
Then please do so. Especially if it's that easy. Saying that someone COULD find evidence for it is not the same as supporting the claim.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Feel free to rebut with something stronger than an anecdote.
In fact, I don't need to present anything to rebut an unsupported positive claim. The fact that you didn't show any evidence for it is more than enough to fall back to the null hypothesis.
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Old 3rd August 2020, 04:17 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post



Yes, it's the negative claim. Which incidentally is the null hypothesis unless the positive is supported.
Here is a link to a meta-analysis of funded studies on treatment of depression.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...l.pone.0137864

"The efficacy of psychological interventions for depression has been overestimated in the published literature, just as it has been for pharmacotherapy. Both are efficacious but not to the extent that the published literature would suggest."
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Old 3rd August 2020, 06:31 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
What if your life (seems) to go better with prayer?
If sitting on the beach looking out at the sea makes me feel better in times of trouble then I just do it and don't make any gospel out of it.
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Old 3rd August 2020, 06:42 AM   #71
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My problem though is that none of that is really a double blind and when you rely on self-reporting of improvement, you're in about the same range as the self-reported results for placebo effect.

As Minoosh too pointed out up in the thread, just giving people some pressed lactic acid pills and telling them it's antidepressants, caused up to 40% or so of them to self-report that they got better. Hell, you can get people to self-report that they got better for a wide variety of conditions even from faith healing, homeopathy, or just wearing some magical crystal. That's placebo effect for ya.

(And just for the record, placebo effect doesn't mean that those pills actually heal anything. In a meta-study about different medication, it turned out that the percentage of cases actually healed after giving people placebo was identical to the cases where they were told not to take any medication.)

For actual medicine what we do is compare the results to those of placebo effect. It's not just that X% got healthier (or self-reported feeling better) after taking whatever new medicine is being tested. It's also not how high X is by itself. (After all, 99% of common colds heal just fine after taking sugar pills.) It's also compared to the Y% who did the same with a placebo. We know it works when X>Y and with a high enough statistical confidence to disprove the null hypothesis, i.e., show that it's not just some fluke.

Here we see that, say 39% of people who talked to a therapist say they feel better. Well, as opposed to what? If it were a pill we could compare it to the 40% that felt better with a placebo in a double blind trial, and say, ehh, maybe it doesn't actually help. Here how do you give a control group placebo therapy to compare it to that, and how do you make it double-blind?

And again, why does something that supposedly helps realign the chemical balance in the brain suffer from the same 'God doesn't heal amputees' problem that faith healing does? As soon as you have any actual measurable effects of an imbalance, like Parkinson, damn, suddenly psychotherapy doesn't help with that.
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Old 3rd August 2020, 07:36 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
"Talk therapy is useful" is a positive claim, but to me, "Talk therapy is useless " is also a claim.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Yes, it's the negative claim. Which incidentally is the null hypothesis unless the positive is supported.

Sorry, Hans, but I don't think that's right. I agree fully with you as far as your overall post, as well as the larger point you're making in this thread, but as far as that specific portion, I'm afraid you seem to be squarely mistaken.

Every claim carries the burden of proof. It's not as if negative claims are somehow absolved of that burden. True, negative claims are sometimes/often difficult to back up; but it does not follow that, therefore, negative claims get a free pass; it only means that such negative claims, that one is unable to evidence, the rational person will not make at all.

As far as the null hypothesis, this is how I think it goes, in this case:

When Minoosh claims, "Talk therapy is useful", then it falls on her to back it up. In so doing, yes, the null hypothesis will be "talk therapy is not useful" -- or, more directly, and as you say, that "talk therapy is useless".

On the other hand, when you claim that "Talk therapy is useless", then it is you on whom the burden of proof vests; and, when you go about presenting your proof, the null hypothesis is, obviously, no longer the one that Minoosh needed to work with. That is, "Talk therapy does not work" isn't some kind of blanket null hypothesis.

*

I agree, this heuristic, if used without discernment, might well open the floodgates for the elves in your refrigerator, and for every kind of woo. Absolutely, agreed. But that does not, can not, change the fact that all claims, positive AND negative, carry the burden of proof; and it also does not change the fact that the null hypothesis will be a function of what it is you're trying to prove. I suppose the true null hypothesis, using that term loosely, will, in this case, be something like "We don't know if talk therapy is useful."

And this is where discernment comes in, as well as personal predilection, when it comes to how this bears on everyday life. When it comes to talk therapy, as well as your fridge elves, like you I'll choose to disbelieve until I'm shown that belief is warranted. But think of a claim like "Person X is honest." In every way that claim's similar to Minoosh's; but still, I could easily see myself -- not always, not by a long shot, but given everyday contexts and normal & generally inconsequential everyday situations/interactions -- weighing in toward a default of "People are honest". (Depending on the context, let me emphasize again. And without necessarily invalidating another's default of mistrust on general principles.)

At least that is how it appears to me.

*

Incidentally, re. all this talk about placebo: We tend to dismiss the placebo effect as irrelevant in these tests, and rightly so. But that effect isn't insignificant, and oftentimes it is pretty much awesome, and of the same order as the medication being tested. I wonder if there's some way to deliberately trigger the placebo effect in patients, not just to test some other drug, but directly as part of treatment?
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Old 3rd August 2020, 07:45 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
"Talk therapy is useful" is a positive claim, but to me, "Talk therapy is useless " is also a claim..
Thinking is inaudible talking.
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Old 3rd August 2020, 08:10 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
My problem though is that none of that is really a double blind and when you rely on self-reporting of improvement, you're in about the same range as the self-reported results for placebo effect.
If this is a response to the PLOS ONE analysis I linked to above, it's not correct.
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Old 3rd August 2020, 08:39 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Clutch Cargo View Post
If sitting on the beach looking out at the sea makes me feel better in times of trouble then I just do it and don't make any gospel out of it.

You might not, but plenty of people do the equivalent. I've been seeing similar advice offered multiple times daily for people stressed out by the pandemic or other current events. And it's good advice! (There, I just proselytized too.)

The advice usually doesn't involve a beach specifically, because we know most people don't have access to one (especially when many of them are closed to the public due to lockdown measures). So it could have the opposite of the intended effect. ("I find that going for a drive in my Lamborghini takes my mind off my financial difficulties; you should try it!")

But "get out of the house," "go for a walk," "go to a park," and "go somewhere there's trees," yes, all. the. time. Including here.

(And that's not even counting one site where it's neo-druids advising walking among trees, because there it really is proselytizing!)
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Old 3rd August 2020, 08:49 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
You might not, but plenty of people do the equivalent. I've been seeing similar advice offered multiple times daily for people stressed out by the pandemic or other current events. And it's good advice!

Anything that works is good.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
There, I just proselytized too.
Naughty boy.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I find that going for a drive in my Lamborghini takes my mind off my financial difficulties; you should try it!
Mineís in the garage but my MC12 helps in a pinch.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
But "get out of the house," "go for a walk," "go to a park," and "go somewhere there's trees," yes, all. the. time. Including here.
I fully agree!
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Old 3rd August 2020, 07:34 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Clutch Cargo View Post
Anything that works is good.
And it should be mentioned that in most cases of mental health treatment, several approaches are tried, sequentially and/or simultaneously. Talk therapy is rarely used by itself. Most of the time, treatment is trial-and-error. Sometimes you manage to settle on a single treatment that works for a long period of time, sometimes you have to switch up and just keep trying different things. Most approaches work in a limited way for a limited time. But they're usually better than no treatment at all.
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Old 3rd August 2020, 10:24 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
And it should be mentioned that in most cases of mental health treatment, several approaches are tried, sequentially and/or simultaneously. Talk therapy is rarely used by itself. Most of the time, treatment is trial-and-error. Sometimes you manage to settle on a single treatment that works for a long period of time, sometimes you have to switch up and just keep trying different things. Most approaches work in a limited way for a limited time. But they're usually better than no treatment at all.
I think making a change (a slight one) is always good. Sometimes itís a matter of finding a way to appreciate what you have and other times it might be a taste of the unpleasant to see the difference but in the end, it's the same thing.
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Old 4th August 2020, 11:41 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
As far as I can tell, you defined benefit as leaving the marriage, or at least making their spouse stop hitting them. You said talk therapy was useless or worse in this situation. Confiding in a relative was useless, too. But you know what sometimes helps? LOSING YOUR KIDS until you take concrete steps to provide a safe home. A family member reporting physical evidence of abuse could probably get that process started. I know it's a big step. In my work I could be criminally liable for *not* reporting it.

"Why don't they just leave?" From the Domestic Violence Hotline: Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse. That's one of 10 reasons listed, and "having an incompetent therapist" is not on the list.
Just to clarify that too, we're talking about a woman who was spectacularly good at finding the dumbest imaginable reasons for not dumping the abusive idiot, even when help was offered. E.g., and I swear I'm not making any of this up:

- her father offered to take her back in, and yes, that includes her kids. (Her parents were separated. Her dad loved kids, in any case.) She's like, "OMG, people will think I'm having sex with dad, if I move back with him." Far as I could tell, the ass hole somehow managed to convince her of that nonsense, no matter that millions of people live with parents without screwing them, PornHub's "Incest" category notwithstanding. LITERALLY, that was her reason. LITERALLY, she thought that if she's living in the house of a man, it means she's getting sex from him, and that included the case when that man is her own father.

- the ass hole husbands own MOM (i.e., her own mother-in-law) was trying to get her out of it. You know you're having it bad when the MOM of the guy beating you up is trying to save you. Her reaction? "OMG, typical mother-in-law, trying to ruin my marriage." They ended up bitter enemies (and I really mean BITTER, as in, the Sith kind of raw, pure, boiling hatred,) for no other fault of the other woman than trying to help.

And generally, she was damn good at driving away everyone who was trying to help -- as you put it, "barging in with advice" -- and cultivating relationships with the worst ass holes who didn't give a flying f-word about her problems, and were bad for her. Most even used the information that she's vulnerable and gullible to take advantage of her.

And then concluding that EVERYONE is that kind of ass hole and she can't rely on anyone than the abusive idiot husband. Derp.

(And if you feel like pointing out in what category that places ME, you haven't been paying attention. I'M telling YOU that I'm a bigger ass hole than on goatse. Pay attention)

So, yeah, that's how good humans can be at rationalizing nonsense, when they're the ones doing all the talking. As in, not listening to anyone who asks uncomfortable questions, and only talking to gods, ancestors, and therapists that don't ask any uncomfortable questions.


Also, just for the record, I dunno what gave you the idea that my lack of trust in psychotherapy is based on just and solely that case I had the (mis)fortune of obverving first hand. Kinda like being the guest star to observe a train wreck in slow motion. That's just supposed to be an illustration.

Just jumping to the conclusion that that's the only reason for a hypothesis, is like seeing someone use Mercury's orbit as evidence for GR (General Relativity), and concluding that that's the ONLY evidence ever for GR.
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Old 4th August 2020, 02:05 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Then please do so. Especially if it's that easy. Saying that someone COULD find evidence for it is not the same as supporting the claim.
I posted a link indicating that talk therapy and medication changed the brains of schizophrenics in measurable ways that medication alone did not. The study's author cited earlier work in social anxiety and other disorders.

Your claim that I didn't support my claim is hooey.
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