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Chile: solidarity wins out over psychobabble
Spiked-Online.com ^ | 13 October 2010 | Brendan O’Neill

Posted on 10/14/2010 9:41:45 AM PDT by Notary Sojac

Millions of people around the world will crack a smile today as they watch the 33 Chilean miners finally being hoisted back to life. But Those Who Know Better, the overlords of the therapy industry, see something different: not a happy ending to a two-month nightmare, but the start of an even longer nightmare of ill-health, craziness and PTSD for these unfortunate creatures from the dark. According to the experts, what we’re really witnessing in Chile today is a volcanic eruption of human instability, as 33 ticking timebombs of emotional frailty are raised to the surface.

One psycho-expert, echoing an army of others, told Fox News that the rescue of the men will release a ‘cauldron of emotions’; apparently ‘molten, churning reservoirs of emotion are about to emerge from that mine’. And there’s no telling what this geyser of two months worth of repressed feelings will give rise to. Fox’s fortune-teller says it could spawn ‘divorces, violence, terrible despondency, panic attacks, plays for celebrity that fall short and lead to suicide, addiction to alcohol and illicit drugs and gambling, and wild allegations levelled by one miner against another’. For the mental-health lobby, it seems, every silver lining has a cloud.

How will these men who coped remarkably well in a 32 degrees Celsius underground cavern for more than two months now cope with the temptation to descend into a drug-addled world of violence and backstabbing? On this question, the experts are unanimous: as one of them sums it up, the freed 33 will require ‘all the skill of the very best mental-health professionals available’. Is it just me or does this look like a brazen job-creation scheme? At a time of recession and cutbacks, I guess even the mental-health lobby has to find ways to earn a crust - even if that means cynically re-presenting 33 fairly hard, robust miners as men on the verge of a nervous breakdown who will need professional help for the rest of their lives.

The most startling thing about the various psycho-pronouncements being made about the miners is not their undiluted miserabilism, their ability to see future suicides where most of us see a moment of joy, but their ignorance of the facts of the past two months. Because the inconvenient truth is that the 33 miners survived underground not as a result of psychological advice and intervention but by sometimes rebelling against the psychologists who kept a watchful eye on their every move. The real story of the Chilean miners, for anyone who cares to look, is that the interventions of the various wings of the trauma industry often make things worse rather than better, and people are mostly happier and healthier without them.

The on-site psychology team at the San Jose mine treated the trapped men with extraordinary mean-spiritedness. Driven by the conviction that they, as one headline put it, ‘know best’, and backed up by the dime-a-dozen profferings of every headline-hungry psychologist and therapist around the globe, the psychologists saw it as their duty to police the men’s thoughts and even to censor letters from their families in case they triggered ‘problematic emotions’. Such petty authoritarianism is the end result of the deep-rooted idea that life is way too hard and complicated to be negotiated without the words of wisdom of the therapy lobby.

One of the medical experts at San Jose - part of a team of 300 people that oversaw the men’s health and needs - said there was a ‘daily arm wrestle’ between the miners and the psychology team. That isn’t surprising. The mental-health experts overground used a system of ‘prizes and punishments’ to try to control the men’s behaviour - for their own good, of course. So when the men assented to hour-long phone calls with the mental-health team, as they did when they were first found to be alive 17 days after getting trapped, they were rewarded with prizes such as access to TV shows. But when they refused to talk to the psychologists, as they started to do in mid-September when their health and body weight were improving as a result of sent-down food and they insisted that ‘we are well’, the psychology team would deprive them of luxuries. As one on-site doctor put it: ‘We have to say, “OK, you don’t want to speak with psychologists? Perfect. That day you get no TV, there is no music - because we administer these things.”’

The psychology team became judge and jury of what the men could do for enjoyment and even how they could communicate with their families. When the men asked for cigarettes and alcohol, saying that these small pleasures would help them cope better than their daily phone call with the experts, the psychology team begrudgingly agreed to send down cigarettes but not booze - because ‘the average miner consumes large quantities of alcohol’, one of the psychologists said, and there is no telling how they will behave when inebriated in hot, cramped conditions. The men were furious. But only because they don’t understand the dangers of drinking, one of the on-site doctors snootily declared. ‘These are not PhD scientists, they are rough-and-tumble miners’, he said, giving a glimpse into the experts’ deep disdain for the men they were supposed to be helping.

But the thing that really tore the miners and their mental-health betters apart - the thing that ensured ‘the honeymoon was over’, as the lead on-site psychologist put it - was the psychology team’s ‘widespread censorship’ of family letters to the men. Early on, every time a family member wrote a letter it had to be submitted for psychological evaluation first, before being sent down the so-called umbilical cord to the men underground, so that any material judged ‘psychologically inappropriate’ could be removed. There was uproar when the families discovered that there was a backlog of letters waiting to be okayed. One of the miners had asked his wife during a video link-up: ‘Why don’t you write to me anymore?’ In fact she had been writing everyday, but her letters were awaiting ‘psychological approval’. Eventually government officials stepped in and ended the vetting of the letters.

The men rebelled against these measures in any way they could. At one stage they delayed taking vaccines that had been sent down until they got something they wanted. And as they regained weight courtesy of the food sent down the umbilical cord, ‘their antagonism to the daily psychology sessions increased’, as one report put it. That is, the healthier they got, the closer they became through their own methods of bonding, the more they looked upon the psycho-sessions as an unnecessary irritation. Their decision to blank the mental-health team was not a result of stupidity, of their lack of a PhD in science - rather it sprung from a belief that they could cope better on their own, without videophone advice from on high. As a psychiatrist at Chile’s Catholic University put it, ‘If there is one group that is not exactly disposed to psychologists, it is miners’.

Indeed, the men instituted their own systems for coping: they had a leader, they set up a prayer room, they lunched together everyday, worked in shifts to clear rubble, and had a daily ‘showing your cards’ session at which they got things off their chests. That’s far healthier than sharing your problems with a faceless stranger who might ground you or deny you television privileges if you say the ‘wrong thing’. In working together rather than relying on external expert advice, the men reminded us of a truth often forgotten in today’s Oprahite age: mucking in, offering solidarity, is a far better guarantor of survival and happiness than being told how you should feel by aloof know-it-alls.

The way the men were treated was like a microcosm of today’s therapy industry. The censoring of letters spoke to the idea that people are psychologically fragile and easily harmed by other people’s words. The deprivation of certain ‘prizes’ if they didn’t speak to the mental-health team revealed the authoritarian dynamic behind today’s therapeutic interventions. The notion that they wouldn’t survive without external expertise highlighted the general view of all of us as needing guidance from the new gods of emotional correctness. That Fox News expert said the men are ‘just as subject to the laws of psychological gravity as you or I’. In truth, the men broke these so-called, actually non-existent laws of psychological gravity. And in doing so they have shown, implicitly at least, and contrary to every piety of the modern age, that we don’t need expert advice to survive and thrive.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: chile; chileanminers; freud; miners; psychobabble
O'Neill is a great conservative writer, and he runs a great site.
1 posted on 10/14/2010 9:41:51 AM PDT by Notary Sojac
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To: Notary Sojac
"The most startling thing about the various psycho-pronouncements being made about the miners is not their undiluted miserabilism...

Ouch! LOL!! Brilliant essay.

The men had faith with them. I saw how many knelt and made the sign of the cross when they emerged. I hope the solidarity lasts in the days to come. You know that the tabloid press will be all over them like vultures.

2 posted on 10/14/2010 9:49:19 AM PDT by Albion Wilde (Government does nothing as economically as the private sector. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Notary Sojac

I was struck by the words of the psycholigist on FOX this morning, too. Apparently, the miners are to be watched for the remainder of their lives and will be institutionalized for anything more serious than opposing global warming or some such.

The media has breathlessly reported on the miners’ plight ad nauseum. I’m sure they’re doing so mainly to distract from the economy and what a fraud Owebama is.

And if I were one of the miners I’d be thinking I have a great excuse to go KICK SOME PSYCHOLIGIST ASS!!!


3 posted on 10/14/2010 9:55:49 AM PDT by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)
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To: Notary Sojac

Exactly my thoughts when I started hearing about how the miners’ ordeal had just begun. They were trapped. Now they are free. Nobody was hurt. It’s over. Get a life you psychobabbling fools.


4 posted on 10/14/2010 9:55:49 AM PDT by Minn
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To: Notary Sojac

The miners will be fine. Happy as hell, and fine.

The families will be crying and hugging. That guy with a wife and girlfriend will probably have both in a big hug.

The MSM (here, and in SA) will probably spew psychobabble for one month after their final rescue, and then drop it.

Chile did show solidarity. When the Americans offered experts and machines, there was not one iota of delay in the government of Chile giving permission.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a government that will do the ‘right’ things at the ‘right’ time. Good thing they weren’t involved.

Hoorahhhh CHILE !!!!


5 posted on 10/14/2010 9:56:12 AM PDT by UCANSEE2 (lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Notary Sojac

Excellent news. It is almost like these psycho-babble-ologists thought they had 33 little mice in a cage to practice all their book-learnin’ on. Hooray for the men — can’t wait to read what the poet/writer has to say next year. Too soon right now — tho’ I’m sure Hollywood is down there for a made-for-TV-must-have movie by Christmas. Resist them and do your own thing.


6 posted on 10/14/2010 9:56:59 AM PDT by bunster
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To: Notary Sojac

The miners will be just fine. You see, they have two advantages that are being overlooked.

First, the miners have not be exposed to all the mental health snake oil salesmen, so they don’t know they are supposed to be suffering from mental health issues.

Second, the miners are not a bunch of feminized, hip, urban, guys. They are miners and still know what “man up” means.

I don’t doubt that quite a few of them will go right back to mining.


7 posted on 10/14/2010 9:59:47 AM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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To: Notary Sojac
It seems to me the only people in trouble are the psychologists who harassed the miners.
8 posted on 10/14/2010 10:01:05 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Notary Sojac

Stunning!

These professionals were striving to keep these men from God.


9 posted on 10/14/2010 10:06:22 AM PDT by donna (This is the age of Republican-Feminism. We "feel right” has replaced being right!)
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To: Notary Sojac

I stopped watching any Fox News coverage of the mine rescues because their coverage was just unrelenting hand wringing about what disasters could ruin the operation, and unrelenting psychobabble about all the immense problems the miners will face after returning to their home lives.

It was beyond ridiculous. Watched the BBC feed online and it was much more realistic, surprisingly enough.


10 posted on 10/14/2010 10:06:25 AM PDT by Will88
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To: Notary Sojac

I was also disgusted by all the psychologicizing on TV. These miners are tough guys and most have God with them. They don’t need platoons of shrinks. Maybe some priests for counseling

Any disaster you can count on the lawyers (ambulance chasers) and psychologists try to horn in on the action. To insert themselves


11 posted on 10/14/2010 10:06:36 AM PDT by dennisw (- - - -He who does not economize will have to agonize - - - - - Confuscius.)
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To: donna

God had a good day yesterday. His name was mentioned often


12 posted on 10/14/2010 10:08:17 AM PDT by dennisw (- - - -He who does not economize will have to agonize - - - - - Confuscius.)
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To: Notary Sojac

great read.
Thanks for posting


13 posted on 10/14/2010 10:09:12 AM PDT by Jakarta ex-pat
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To: Notary Sojac

I remember when I was in High School and had a student die there wasn’t a phalanx of therapists rushed to the school.


14 posted on 10/14/2010 10:12:24 AM PDT by AU72
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To: Notary Sojac

Witch doctors specializing in psychobabble - is that the contribution from NASA?


15 posted on 10/14/2010 10:16:12 AM PDT by Fred Hayek (FUBO! I salute you with the soles of my shoes!)
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To: dennisw
God had a good day yesterday. His name was mentioned often.

Just not by the professionals.

16 posted on 10/14/2010 10:16:33 AM PDT by donna (This is the age of Republican-Feminism. We "feel right” has replaced being right!)
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To: Notary Sojac

God works in mysterious ways. He showed how it’ s done yesterday.


17 posted on 10/14/2010 10:18:13 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: Sergio

Amen! How did we ever evolve as a society without psychologists?

It is no wonder that we have become so feeble minded.

BTW, my fave was the soccer player :)


18 posted on 10/14/2010 10:21:18 AM PDT by panthermom
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To: dennisw

Hopefully,no psychologists wiil get their hands on them.
They have faith and family to help them!


19 posted on 10/14/2010 10:21:41 AM PDT by Dr. Ursus
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To: Notary Sojac

Many thought provoking incidents occurred as the miners reached freedom, Most of which centered around how this country, Chile, in this instance should be an example of how far off the true path the US has gone in the name of PC and Progresssive/Liberal ideals.

Examples:
-Each miner was not afraid to show his faith
-the singing of the National Anthem as the last miner was freed. Each person their knew the words to their national anthem it seemed, does our President know the words?
-the President staying at the site the entire time, with his wife, hugging each miner and giving them uplifting words
-the guy with the wife and mistress. Yeah, he’s a dummy and a cheater, but he was treated like the rest. If he was in the US, a bunch of Gloria Allred types would be there at the top of the hole trying to push him back down.
-the hand wringing by the US commentators, we are becoming the wussies of the world

May God Bless America


20 posted on 10/14/2010 10:28:44 AM PDT by MCOAvalanche
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To: Notary Sojac
After watching the rescue for the past two days, I have come a couple of conclusions.
1: For 2 days the whole world was Chilean.

2: The stark difference between Chile's President Sebastian Pinera and our President Zero.

21 posted on 10/14/2010 10:32:00 AM PDT by Tupelo
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To: Notary Sojac
As one on-site doctor put it: ‘We have to say, “OK, you don’t want to speak with psychologists? Perfect. That day you get no TV, there is no music - because we administer these things.”’

Oh boy, someone would be missing teeth as soon as I got out of that mine.

22 posted on 10/14/2010 10:49:01 AM PDT by mikey_hates_everything
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To: donna

For the shrinks God is the competition. That’s how it is 90% of the time


23 posted on 10/14/2010 10:51:46 AM PDT by dennisw (- - - -He who does not economize will have to agonize - - - - - Confuscius.)
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To: Notary Sojac
Indeed, the men instituted their own systems for coping: they had a leader, they set up a prayer room, they lunched together everyday, worked in shifts to clear rubble, and had a daily ‘showing your cards’ session at which they got things off their chests.

In other words they acted like men. No wonder the shrinks hated them.

24 posted on 10/14/2010 11:01:04 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Live jubtabulously!)
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To: MCOAvalanche

If I knew the wife and mistress were waiting for me, I’d be conflicted whether to come up.

Wife: “If I ever get my hands on him, I’ll kill him!”
Mistress: “He said he was single. I’m gonna kill him!”


25 posted on 10/14/2010 11:39:00 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: Sergio

When I first heard that the miners were arguing about who would go up last...and that all of them wanted the honor...I knew Chilean miners were a class act.


26 posted on 10/14/2010 1:03:16 PM PDT by Notary Sojac ("Goldman Sachs" is to "US economy" as "lamprey" is to "lake trout")
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To: Notary Sojac

Not the miner who had his mistress show up and publicly humiliated his wife publicly.


27 posted on 10/14/2010 1:05:46 PM PDT by Jane Austen (Boycott the Philadelphia Eagles!)
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To: bunster

Chileans have a fine tradition of resistance. I hope the miners have fun with this.


28 posted on 10/14/2010 2:49:18 PM PDT by La Enchiladita (Chi-Le! Chi, Chi, Chi!! Le, Le, Le!! Los Mineros de Chile!!)
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To: Notary Sojac

The more I hear about the elitist class of psychologists the more I think they need to be added to the list right behind lawyers.

As in...”The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers” Quot Shakespeare


29 posted on 10/14/2010 3:46:11 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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To: Lady Jag

All was not sweetness and light in the mine.


30 posted on 10/14/2010 3:46:49 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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