John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

It's not psychology, it's you: Stop blaming behavior on 'disease,' psychiatrist says

No excuses

Anthony Daniels (pen name: Theodore Dalrymple) is a psychiatrist who belives modern psychology is doing more harm than good by excusing behavior. (Acton Institute)

By Leslie Mann Tribune Newspapers

Modern psychology can do more harm than good, asserts retired psychiatrist Anthony Daniels (pen name: Theodore Dalrymple) in his book, "Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality.".
Instead of taking responsibility for ourselves, "checklist psychiatry" allows us to blame any pattern of behavior on a "disease," said Daniels, 65.
When he is not writing books (this is his 23rd), Daniels serves as an expert witness at murder trials, chases wild boars from his wife's garden and dreams of having a tidy study. He and his wife, Agnes, a retired psychogeriatrician, split their time between their homes in France and England.
The Tribune caught up with Daniels during a recent trip to the U.S.:

Q: Why the pen name?
A: When I started writing books, I was a prison psychiatrist, so I wanted to keep my name separate. I thought "Theodore Dalrymple" sounded old-fashioned and ill-tempered.

Q: You lead with Shakespeare's King Lear saying mental illness is "the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune…we (blame) the sun, the moon and the stars."

A: Four hundred years later, it's still true, but we blame psychology instead of astrology. We call it progress.
Literature is far more illuminating into the human condition than psychology could ever hope to be.

Q: By giving us excuses for our behavior, you say, psychology becomes a barrier to self-understanding?
A: It's not our fault if we're obese, for example. It's a disease. It's the food manufacturers' and restaurants' fault. Portions are too big.

Q: What are our primary excuses?
A: Our genes, evolution, our neurochemistry, our brain scans, chemical imbalances, our childhoods. I have a friend who goes up to people at parties and says, "I hate my parents; don't you?" People always go on about how their parents caused all their problems.

Q: Do we have an epidemic of depression?
A: We've loosened the definition of "depression" to include most forms of unhappiness. The result: 13 percent of adults (2013 Mayo Clinic are on antidepressants.
Saying "depressed" instead of "unhappy" means someone has to cure it for us. Using antidepressants is the modern-day equivalent of exorcising alien spirits.
I like the quote from the late Dr. Thomas Szasz: "Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now attributed by adults to children and by children to adults."

Q: How is profit a factor?
A: For a doctor to be reimbursed by the insurance company, he must fit the patient into a category, and the DSM ("Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," the industry bible) keeps adding more. The new edition (DSM-5) includes hoarding disorder, penetration disorder, impulse-control disorder and gambling disorder.
You could say I have a "book-buying disorder" because I cannot walk by a bookstore without buying a book.
Then, you must stay in therapy so the doctor keeps getting paid. I cite one woman in the book who has had 4,000 appointments. It's expensive, so we justify it.

Q: So we undergo psychoanalysis, as you explain, "ad infinitum"?
A: It's a journey from which we don't return. The most minor utterance is potentially the profoundest significance. Thus criteria of importance are lost.
Instead of spending years and years in therapy talking about yourself so you can find yourself, you should lose yourself in a cause, interest or activity. I'm working on three books; they're my purpose.
The paradox is overtreatment of people who don't need treatment and undertreatment of people who are genuinely disturbed.
Bad behavior can be the result of genuine mental or physical illness, but that's the small percentage of cases.

Q: Is there such thing as a perfectly behaved person?
A No. We're all imperfect, and no one's life is fully satisfactory. If there was a perfect person, imagine how extremely boring he would be.

Mann is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

6 Signs That a Passion or Calling is "True"

You need to know what to look for, and here's a primer

Post published by Gregg Levoy on May 06, 2015 in Passion!

I used to do a lot of stone sculpting, and when you want to find out whether a stone is “true,” you bang on it with a hammer. If it gives off a dull tone, that means the stone has faults running through it that are likely to crack it apart when you work on it. But if it gives off a clear ring, one that hangs in the air for a moment, that means the stone is “true,” has “integrity,” and most importantly, will hold up under repeated blows.
This is exactly the information you need to know about your passions and callings. You need to know they ring true, have integrity, and are going to hold up under repeated blows—the kind the world specializes in, the kind you’re going to encounter the moment you take your passions, calls, commitments, and convictions out into the world where they’re going to get banged on.
One of the best ways to find out whether they’re “true” is to get into the habit of continually tapping in and listening to yourself with what Saint Benedict called “the ear of the heart.” It’s the core of what spiritual traditions refer to as discernment, of clarifying your calls, and it sometimes requires not just pick-and-shovel work, but patience on the order of years.
It also helps if you know what to look for—what characterizes “integrity” in a passion or calling.
It’s one of the questions I routinely asked the people I interviewed for the Callings book: How did you know it was a true call? How did you figure out that you were on the right path, or that you were the right person? How did you know whether the call came from soul/God/passion, or whether it came from ego/ wishful thinking/the desire for financial security/the desire to show the bastards?
The responses people gave me were so consistent, I can list them for you. Here are six signs that a passion or calling is “true”:

1) It keeps coming back, no matter how much you ignore it. A poet named Francis Thompson once wrote a poem called Hound of Heaven, which is about God. He referred to God as a hound-dog because of what hound dogs are famous for, which is tracking people down. They can get one whiff of you and follow you for a hundred miles. In other words, our passions and callings may be “still small voices,” but the true ones have staying power. It’s the blessing and the curse of them—the search party doesn’t retire.

2) The true calls tend to come at you from multiple directions—gifts, talents, dreams both day and night, body symptoms, synchronicities, the books that mysteriously make their way onto your nighttable, the way events and opportunities unfold in your life. In other words, there’s a clustering effect, and you’ve got to connect the dots.

3) There’s a feeling of rightness about it. It just feels right. You may not be able to explain it, but you can’t deny it either.

4) Your enthusiasm for it tends to sustain itself over time, and doesn’t just peter out after a few weeks or months or semesters. You even feel a kind of affinity or affection for all the mundane tasks involved in bringing these passions to fruition, and they all have them. No matter how exalted, every passion or calling has its version of licking stamps and stuffing envelopes, making cold calls and tacking posters up on telephone poles.
Author Malcolm Gladwell calculates that mastery in most endeavors requires at least 10,000 hours of dedicated practice—the math: 90 minutes a day for 20 years—and anyone who’s ever been in a play or a band knows that the amount of time they spend rehearsing compared to performing is something like 90-10. But it’s passion that largely explains people’s willingness to put up with that equation. to practice the same lines or lyrics for thousands of hours for the chance to go public with it barely a tenth of the time.

5) It will scare you. Some people even told me that they figured if a call felt safe, it probably wasn’t the right path, but if it scared them, it probably was, because it meant they were close to something vital.
I’m always amused by a bumper sticker campaign I see all around the country on my travels. I think it’s for a clothing company, but it says, “No Fear.” And I don’t buy it. Fear is a biological imperative—it’s hardwired in us. The fight-or-flight mechanism is a perfect example. I think what can happen sometimes is that something else becomes more important to you than the fear you feel, and then you act with real courage and conviction. But no fear? I don’t think so. In fact, I saw one of these bumper stickers in Arizona a few years back. Same sticker, but with a slight alteration made in it, I think in the name of credibility. It said, “Some Fear.”

6) The truth or falseness of a passion or calling is ultimately in the results. In other words, you’ve got to be willing to try it out, to experiment, to go down the path a little ways—even if you’re not sure it’s the path—and take field notes.
What you do is take a step toward some passion and look at the feedback your life gives you. Take a step and see if your energy expands or contracts. Take another step and see if you feel more awake or more asleep. Another step—what do your dreams at night tell you? Another step—what does your body tell you? Another step—what do your friends tell you? It’s the old gospel criteria: by their fruits you shall know them.

Mandate paid family leave.

Mandate paid family leave.
The United States should provide paid family leave for all new mothers and fathers.
According to the International Labor Organization the United States joins New Guinea as the two countries out of 170 that provide no cash benefits of any kind to women during maternity leave.
The International Labor Organization also sets a standard for what countries should provide in a benefits package: 1) women should receive at least 14 weeks off; 2) They should be reimbursed at least two-thirds of their previous earnings; and 3) the benefit should be paid almost entirely by the state through public funds or Social Security. The United States is the only developed country to not meet any of these standards.
More information found here : www.ilo.org
Published Date: May 11, 2015

Want Paid Maternity Leave In The United States? 6 Ways To Push Congress To Change The Laws

In his Mother’s Day Last Week Tonight episode, John Oliver pointed out that the U.S. is one of two countries that still doesn’t give mothers paid time off after having a baby. It’s us and Papua New Guinea, according to a PBS report. The only real policy that helps new moms is 12 weeks of unpaid leave, which you can get only if you meet a laundry list of requirements imposed by the federal government. If this really grinds your gears, because, you know, moms are the reason why all of us are alive, and they deserve time to recover from pushing you out of their hoo-ha, then you can push almost as hard as your mom did by pushing Congress to change policies on maternity leave.
This kind of change requires us to be good Americans, though. We have to pressure local government officials and talk to our silly Facebook friends who spout misinformation about how paid maternity leave is bad for businesses. Paid maternity leave would mean putting our money where our mouths are. Instead of just recognizing how important moms are once a year, paid maternity leave would recognize the sacrifices moms make when they carry and raise children. For example, Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, owned by Google, wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal about how paid maternity leave actually helped the company. (And if we’re going to take notes from anyone, it should probably be Google.) She said that when Google increased paid leave to 18 weeks, the rate at which new mothers left the company fell by 50 percent.
This is just one of the many reasons paid leave is wonderful. So, jump on the mother-loving, paid leave train, and try out a few of these six ways that you can pressure the government to enact paid maternity leave.

Write Your Congressional Representative
Employees of federal agencies (this includes Congress) are allowed six weeks of paid parental leave because of a memorandum signed by President Barack Obama in January. Unfortunately, though, a federal bill that would have extended paid leave into the private sector hasn’t yet made it past the House of Representatives, according to Government Executive.
You can write your senator or House representative about this weird inconsistency. If their family deserves access to paid leave, then why doesn’t yours? Especially when research has shown that paid leave can be good for business. OpenCongress can help you find your senators and House representatives. Once you’ve found them, you can search for their personal website, which often includes a personal email address. Then, you can use a template that will help you draft a letter to them. Here’s a sample letter.

Sign Or Start A Petition
Thanks to the Internet, starting a petition is as easy as online shopping. You can use Change.org, which does most of the work for you, or ThePetitionSite.com, the same site used by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the queen/king of petitions. Petitions are awesome because they show elected officials that this isn’t an issue that only you and your five cats care about. There are a number of petitions already out there for paid maternity leave, so you can also sign your name to one of those. But starting a targeted petition in your local area and then sending it to your senator or House representative (see above) might help draw their attention faster.

Form A Protest In Your Area
Another way to draw attention to an issue that a lot of people support is by organizing a protest — small or large. Get on Facebook and talk to your friends who also support paid family leave. Better yet, create a Facebook event and invite everyone you know who loves their mother. Better yet, if you’re part of a university or group that has a Facebook page, post information about your protest on that page to garner more support.
Host a fun craft night at your house where supporters can make signs or T-shirts with slogans about why others should support the cause. Then, go to your local courthouse, a post office, or any other public property with the group and start your rally. You can come up with chants, you can engage with the public — regardless of how you do it, people will come out more informed about the cause. Most importantly, any kind of protest with more than a dozen people will usually garner media attention, which will only help the issue of paid leave become even more visible.

Find Out What Your Company’s Leave Policy Is
Get informed about the kind of leave that your company offers. It might be difficult to politely ask questions about their policies, so please be careful if you try to discuss it with someone. If anything, see if your company offers you any options to talk about balancing family life and work with the human resources department. But being informed about your company’s policy and the motivations behind it will be a good start, because you can be knowledgeable about it should you contact one of your state representatives.

Share Your Personal Story
The most compelling arguments for certain legislative changes are often personal ones. The movement to change the way universities are handling sexual assault began when college students around the country started sharing their stories. In April, a 24-year-old victim of human trafficking shared her story with NPR, which inspired New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to introduce legislation that keeps existing trafficking laws from punishing victims instead of their traffickers. You could share your story on Facebook or you could write about it on a personal blog. If you have a story that highlights the plight of mothers who can’t afford to take time off after having a baby, then you should get it out there. You would help draw attention to the hundreds of thousands of women who want to have it all — a family they can love and care for, but also a career that empowers and celebrates their skills.

My State has Paid Leave. It Meant Everything to My Family.
by Anne Quirk
Editor’s Note: After the launch of the Labor Department’s “Lead On Leave” initiative, the author of this post shared her story on how paid leave would benefit her and her family. Submit your own story at dol.gov/PaidLeave.
I’ll admit it. When interviewing for a job in my past, I focused on just two things: the salary and the vacation time. Babies were not on the brain yet and, truthfully, I assumed we all got some time off to care for a newborn if we wanted. Because we live in the United States and we are a super advanced and family-focused country, right? Don’t all companies have some sort of magical maternity or paternity policy they tell you about when you announce you’re expecting? Isn’t that what FMLA is for?
Stop right there! I, along with many expectant parents, quickly learned that the Family Medical Leave Act, while important and necessary, only guarantees up to 12 weeks of job protection — all unpaid, only if you have been at your employer for a full year and only if your company employs more than 50 people. A huge number of you reading this do not even qualify for job protection if you needed to care for a baby or another family member.
As a country, we can do better than this — the rest of the world is doing better than this. We are one of a handful of countries (and the only industrialized one) that do not have a paid family leave program. I’d like to share why it’s so important to me (and why it should be to you, too) and why I am so fortunate to live in Rhode Island, currently one of 4 states providing paid family leave.
At 27 weeks pregnant, I went into premature labor. I had planned on working up until my due date, which was then a whopping 13 weeks away. I was immediately put on bed rest. After I used up my few sick and vacation days, there were no more paychecks to help with the mortgage or the bills. At 31 weeks pregnant, I gave birth to a baby boy who would require a month in the NICU. Once we got him home we would have daily appointments with homecare nurses, the NICU follow-up clinic, ophthalmologists, audiologists, physical therapists, etc. Our son had quite the social calendar.
By the time my 12 weeks of “job protection” were over (remember, no income), we hadn’t even reached my son’s due date! There was no way I could drop off a 6-pound baby who wasn’t even supposed to be out of the womb to day care and hightail it back to work. Developmentally, he wasn’t ready … and mentally, I sure wasn’t.
Here is what made the difference: Rhode Island has a Temporary Caregiver Insurance program and a Temporary Disability Insurance program. Between the two, my husband and I were able to supplement our income to help make up for the huge loss in pay due to my work absence. Less stress about how to pay the bills meant everything to us during a time we needed to focus on family.
I also hit the “boss jackpot.” She was understanding and flexible, and knew I needed more time than we had originally planned. Because of her support I came back to work when I was ready with a renewed commitment to my job and to the company. But we shouldn’t need to have an exceptional boss in order to get the support we need. We should have it from our government and our employers because it’s the right thing to do and because it has proven beneficial to both employees and employers in the states that already have paid leave policies in place.
In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube (owned by Google), shared how paid maternity leave is not just good for families — it’s also good for business. When Google increased paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks in 2007, they found that the rate at which new moms left the company fell by 50 percent. She wrote, “It’s much better for Google’s bottom line — to avoid costly turnover, and to retain the valued expertise, skills and perspective of our employees who are mothers.”
If we know paid leave works for employers and it is what employees want, what are we waiting for? It’s time we start to Lead on Leave.
Anne Quirk is a working mom from Providence, RI.

Guess Who’s Leading on Paid Leave? (Hint: Not Us)
Filed in Paid Leave, Secretary Perez, Women, Workforce Development, Workplace Rights by Secretary Tom Perez on September 22, 2014

Editor’s note: This has been cross-posted on the Huffington Post.
I spent last week in Melbourne, Australia representing our government at a meeting of Labor Ministers of the world’s 20 major economies.
After sitting down with my G20 counterparts and learning more about their policies relating to work and workplaces, my main takeaway is that the United States is distressingly behind the curve on paid family leave.
It’s incomprehensible to me that we’re the only industrialized nation without a national paid leave law of any kind. How can we say we’re for family values when so many women in the United States have to jeopardize their livelihood to take a few weeks off from work after giving birth? Should a man have to sacrifice his economic security to take care of his sick mother or his wife returning wounded from active duty?
Our global partners have figured this out, building a solid consensus around these issues. They’ve taken partisanship and ideology out of the debate to recognize this for what it is – a 21st century economic imperative. They’ve discovered that paid leave, child care and similar policies increase our human capital by bringing more women into the labor force. They know it’s possible to have a growing economy, thriving businesses and family-friendly workplaces. They’ve realized we have to give people the tools to be productive employees and attentive parents – the two aren’t mutually exclusive, they go hand-in-hand.
Consider these examples:
•           Canada guarantees at least 15 weeks of paid maternity leave, with some employee cost-sharing as part of the national employment insurance system. Parental leave is 37 weeks shared between both parents with similar payments. There is also child care support of $100 per month for children under six.
•           The United Kingdom allows women to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave (including 39 weeks with pay), in addition to a range of options for paternity leave.
•           Australia offers up to 18 weeks of parental leave with financial support, and at 5.8 percent its unemployment rate is lower than ours. The conservative Australian government didn’t embrace this policy grudgingly; they made it a centerpiece of their campaign platform and want to extend it to 26 weeks with more financial support.
•           Brazilian unemployment is comparable to ours, but their women get 120 days of leave at 100 percent pay.
•           Japan offers paid maternity leave at slightly reduced salary and benefits for up to 14 weeks of total leave. Moreover, Prime Minister Abe has made “Womenomics” — increasing GDP by boosting female labor force participation — a cornerstone of his governing agenda.
So, where does that leave us? While the rest of the world leans in, we’re still falling behind.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much appetite in this Congress for forward progress on these issues. But instead of waiting for leadership from Capitol Hill, we’re incentivizing reforms at the state level where so much public policy innovation takes place. Later this week, I’ll announce the winners of $500,000 in total grants for states to explore the feasibility and evaluate the effectiveness of paid leave policies. Currently, California, Rhode Island and New Jersey stand alone as states with paid family and medical leave laws.
Our pressing challenge right now is to ensure shared prosperity, to build an economy that works for everyone. That means investing in the middle class, rewarding hard work and responsibility, ensuring that everyone has a chance to succeed. Paid leave has to be at the center of those efforts.
Follow Secretary Perez on Twitter, @LaborSec.

John Oliver Explains Why Paid Maternity Leave Is Such a Joke – for Us

Did you know that in 183 other countries around the world women are legally entitled to paid maternity leave? 

America is one of only two nations that has no mandated paid maternity leave.
No mandated paid family leave here or in Papua New Guinea.

You probably know this already, but here in America the Family Leave Act entitles you to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave -- we can recover from giving birth and bond with our babies for 12 weeks and still expect to return to the same job, or at least an equal job (however your employer grudgingly defines that).

You just have to make sure you comply with these no-big-deal conditions:

1. You have to work in a company with at least 50 employees.

2. You have to have been on the job for at least a year.

3. You have to be a full-time salaried employee.

So that's most of us, right? HA HA! That depends on how you define "most." Actually, 40 percent of workers are not covered by the Family Leave Act. And even fewer make use of that leave because, as we all know, that leave is usually partially or completely unpaid.
There was a lot of whining from legislators about how much the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act would KILL American businesses. And when it passed?
Oh, I guess we survived.

But PAID leave, that's another thing. That would be going too far! I mean, look at what happened in 2002 when California mandated six weeks of partially-paid parental leave that cost employers little to nothing.

More than 90 percent of businesses reported either positive or at worst neutral effects.
Oliver compares it with having a hockey game on in the background at a bar. "It's not hurting anyone. And a couple of people are actually really into it!" And yet only two other states have followed California's lead: New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, what happened when Minnesota tried to expand its unpaid parental leave laws? Well, before we get to that, Oliver makes us watch a montage of Minnesota state senators thanking all mothers.

"You can't have it both ways. You can't go on and on about how much you love mothers and then fail to support legislation that makes life easier for them," Oliver says. And if we're going to do that, then this is the only message we should be able to give moms on Mother's Day.

Unless you can personally afford to take take the time off you want, we're going to need you to get your exhausted ass back to work and show us that can-do attitude that moms are famous for.

We'd do anything for our moms!

Up to, but not including, paying them to stay home for a while after pushing a human being out of their body.

Look at you, Super Mom! Taking care of everyone. Because remember: Not only can you balance work and family, you have to.

What we're saying is, you deserve the very best, moms. You're just not going to get it. Happy Mother's Day!

To kill freedom, kill the writers first

(From CNN) The attack on bloggers critical of Islam have taken on a disturbing regularity in Bangladesh with yet another writer hacked to death today.

Ananta Bijoy Das was killed as he left his home on his way to work at a bank, police in the northeastern Bangladeshi city of Sylhet said.

Four masked men attacked him, hacking him to death with cleavers, said Sylhet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Ahsan.

The men then ran away. Because of the time of the morning when the attack happened, there were few witnesses. But police said they are following up on interviewing the few people who saw the incident.

Das was in his 30s, Ahsan said. He couldn't provide an exact age.