Georg Ivanovas From Autism to Humanism - systems theory in medicine

2.3 The psychosomatic confusion

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f) mind as behaviour

To avoid all these difficulties the totality of the expressions of a person might be called psyche (Papadopoulos 1996: 639). Psyche is then a black box that produces behaviour (Watzlawick et al: 43-44, Varela et al: 45). The question of ‘consciousness’ or ‘unconsciousness’ just does not arise.

Observation as starting point for mind also has the advantage that criteria can be defined in order to establish a diagnosis. However, this approach is in a way totalitarian. It leaves the power of definitions to others. The ‘typical’ psychoanalyst who is free to define the behaviour of others as ‘resistance’ or as ‘unconscious’ just as he likes is the humouristic version. More serious is the dilemma of people considered insane and consequently isolated or treated with drugs as in the already cited case of a misdiagnosed girl held in institutions for 30 years (chap. 2.2). In dictatorship the norm of behaviour is so strict that even a different opinion might be seen as a disease as in the former Soviet Union (Bukowskij 1971) or in China today (Munro 2002).

The question who decides on mental disorders is controversially disputed. “Officially, diagnostic decisions are made through scientific consensus by the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association. Small committees of experts decide whether, for example, schizophrenia is one disease or several, and the process of decision making should be transparent and based on good scientific evidence. But sometimes the evidence is poor and influenced heavily by the pharmaceutical industry…. which lead to an increase of new diagnosis in the last four decades“ (Shorter/Tyrer 2003). The scientific community might or might not decide on the reliability of such new diseases. The concerned individual not.

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