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BEWARE! Toxic Self-help Myths, Predatory Coaches, Gurus, and “Healers” (Compilation)

Uploaded 7/25/2023, approx. 2 hour 8 minute read

Okay, guys and gaiets, girls and gurlets.


Today we are going to discuss common sense.

Is common sense nonsense? Or does it tally well with what psychology tells us?

Psychology, as you remember, has a pretension to be a science. And while it is not a science, by any extension or interpretation of the word, still it is much more systematic, much more methodical and much more deep than most people's intuitions and so-called common sense.

The other day I received a comment online followed by an email. Keith Campbell is arguably the number one experimentalist when it comes to narcissistic personality disorder, together with John Twenge. Otto Kernberg is the father of the modern field of personality disorders.

Most of what we know about borderline personality disorders come from him. And a lot of what we know about pathological narcissism can be traced back to his pioneering work in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

And the comment and the email that I had received said, "The reason we are not watching Campbell and Kernberg online is that they don't have a clue about narcissism."

I tried to watch their videos following your mention of them. So I tried to watch their videos and this guy gets it wrong all the time.

And then she gave me a list of who these guys should watch in order to learn about narcissism. And the list contains many coaches, fellow style experts, victims of narcissistic abuse and so on and so forth.

So Campbell, Kernberg, you had been warned. Your knowledge is utterly, utterly erroneous and you should immediately get to work and upgrade yourself so that you finally can reach the level of several of the online coaches mentioned in the email that I had received.

Something to look forward to, something to do during the pandemic.

But this is a great example of how intuition and common sense fail us.

You see, not everyone feels that he's a great physicist. I mean, if I go to, if I pick up 10 of you and I ask you, are you good at physics? Are you, do you know, are you a physicist?

There would be the odd, the grandiose narcissist who would consider himself a bit greater than Albert Einstein.

But nine out of 10 or statistically actually 97 out of a hundred would tell me, no, we don't know much about physics and we need a physicist to tell us what's going on.

But if I were to pick the same hundred people and ask them, do you know anything about psychology? It would be reversed.

Only three out of a hundred would say that they don't know much about psychology. 97 out of a hundred would say that they know a lot about psychology.

And how do they know a lot about psychology?

They introspected, they fought a lot, they analyzed, they synthesized, they read self-help books, they listened to online coaches and they observed the Sopranos on television.

Here's the problem.

Most of the advice given online, even by self-styled experts and most of them are self-styled, they're not experts, is not only wrong, it's harmful. Most of this advice has detrimental consequences to your mental health, to your functioning and to your future relationships in the medium term and in the long run.

And why this advice is so destructive?

Because it's wrong. It's wrong because our intuition and our common sense have extremely little to do with facts.

You see our intuition and common sense are there to help us uphold our self-image, our view of ourselves.

We don't really see the world. We don't really see other people and we don't see reality. We mold them. We play with them. We reframe them. We change them. We construct narratives.

And this is called psychological defense mechanisms. And we use these defense mechanisms to allow us to survive without modification and without narcissistic injury and without pain and without hurt.

Because we need to believe that we are good people. We need to believe that we're intelligent. We need to believe that we are liked, maybe even admired. We need to believe these things. We need to believe that people around us like us and love us and have our best interests in mind. We need to believe that people are empathic and essentially good. We need to believe that we are special in some sense, in some vocation, in some niche. We need to believe these things.

And so our intuitions, our common sense judgments, our opinions, they are built to support all this. They're not built to give you a true picture of reality. That's my job. That's why you hate me. You hate me because I keep telling you the truth and you don't want the truth.

You do not want the truth. That's another myth, another lie you are telling yourself. Lie number 999.

I actually seek the truth. I don't recoil and I don't flinch from the truth. I'm a truth lover. Nonsense. No one is.


So I want to give you two examples of advice that is very, very common online and is seriously bad for you.

Many, many coaches, experts, counselors, and even psychologists with real or fake doctorates. Hint, hint. Many of them would tell you that venting is good for you. It's good to vent. It's good to offload your pain, your hurt, your sense of injustice, your misery. It's good to share with others what had happened to you as a victim, what had been done to you, how your abuser had abused you for the reason. You will feel better afterwards. Everyone reassures you.

I have watched, I don't know many videos where this is the main core. That's the main piece of advice.

Share, share, tell, disclose, vent. Let it go. Allow yourself to be angry. Allow yourself to be furious and to rage.

Well, here's the problem.

Research conclusively shows that venting has the exact opposite effect than intended. Exact opposite effect of what you're being told.

Venting does not calm you down. Actually venting enhances, positively reinforces your anger. Venting causes you to become more angry and for a much longer period of time. Venting ossifies, crudges, causes rumination, destabilizes your inner precarious balance, makes you feel extremely bad, develop what we call negative emotionality and negative automatic thoughts, causes you to catastrophize.

There is absolutely nothing good about venting, not a single thing.

The punching bag advice is bad for you and for the punching bag.

I will mention two sources out of hundreds.

Jeffrey Law, L-O-H-R, he is a psychology professor at the University of Arkansas. In 2007 he co-authored a very famous study. The title of the study is The Pseudo-Psychology of Venting in the Treatment of Anger: Implications and Alternatives for Mental Health Practice. It was published in the Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice in 2007.

The second study I would like to mention in this context is a 2013 study, a little more recent, Anger on the Internet: A Scientific Investigation. It's an academic magazine.

The researchers in this study, they discovered that users on rant sites, because there are sites where you can go to rant, to rant and to rave and to complain and to vent and to express your anger and your rage against your boss, against your spouse, against your lover, against your children, against you name it. And the uses of these sites were more anger prone in general and more often participated in negative behaviors such as verbal and physical fights, as well as reckless behaviors such as reckless driving, reckless drinking, chauve-drinking, chauvinism. They also developed all forms of addiction and so on.

The more they vented online, the more they shared their pain, their hurt, their anger, their rage, their sense of injustice, their passive aggression, the more they did this, the more entrenched they became in these extremely negative feelings. It didn't help them, it drowned them, it drove them under.

So instead of simply letting off steam, they were actually fueling the fire of discontent and unhappiness. That's a prime example.


How most of the advice that you receive online from alleged experts is utterly wrong.

Let's take another example.

You're constantly told, especially the empaths among you, those who like to feel morally superior and totally victimized, because it makes you feel good to be morally superior and totally victimized. Most narcissists feel good in this condition.

So you're constantly being told that empathic people read others well. If you have empathy, you can read other people, you can understand them better, you can tap into their minds, you can connect with them, you can comprehend their motivation, their intentions, you can resonate with their emotions, with their fears and hopes and priorities and preferences, you can absorb the pain and hurt and ameliorate it and reduce it somehow, you can help them, etc, etc.

Here's the only problem. The more empathic you are, the less well you read other people. Truly highly empathic people, HSPs, highly sensitive persons, don't read people well at all. They have almost a total failure rate in reading other people.

They are very much like autistic people. So highly sensitive people are almost indistinguishable from people with autism spectrum disorders as far as understanding other people. They don't understand other people well at all.

They misread them. They misattribute intentions, wrong motivations. They misbehave.

They read social and individual and body language cues catastrophically wrong. Why?

Because they have high empathy. High empathy precludes understanding the other person well. The higher you are in empathy, the less you understand other people and the less you connect to them, the less you are able to help them.

Exactly opposite what all of you are being taught online by self-interested psychology professors, coaches, real doctors, fake doctors and a million others who are after your wallet and money. Many of them are real academics and they know very well what I know. They are lying to you. They are lying to you about empathy.

Again, academic sources, I refer you to studies by Jacob Shiffly.

Israël Schwäiley is like Israel plus Assili.

Jacob Shiffly currently is at the University of Amsterdam.

Studies by Disa Sauter and by Agnetha Fischer.

One such study that I will mention totally randomly out of hundreds.

Different phases of empathy, feelings of similarity disrupt recognition of negative emotions. It was published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, volume 87, March 2020.

And here are the conclusions of one of these major studies.

Number one, recognition of emotions, I'm quoting, it's not Sam Vaknin, it's Akadem, it's the science of psychology as opposed to the nonsense of common sense and other co-artists.

Here are the conclusions.

Number one, recognition of emotions becomes less accurate, less accurate when having had similar negative experiences.

Actually if you shared the same experience with someone, you recognize their emotions less accurately.

In other words, if you're a victim of narcissistic abuse, you should absolutely avoid other victims of narcissistic abuse because they're likely to read you very inaccurately.

And if you try to approach them for support and support and understanding, you will end up badly, you will end up in a conflict and dissonance and fights and trolling and flames and a big mess.

Many of you have had this experience. Let me repeat this counterintuitive conclusion.

Recognition of emotions becomes less accurate when you have had a similar negative experience to someone.

Number two, personal distress evoked by a negative story inhibits recognition of the storyteller's emotions.

Personal distress evoked by a negative story inhibits recognition, prevents recognition of the storytellers emotions.

So if someone tells you how she had been abused by her spouse, that minute you shut off, you do not, you develop distress and you do not recognize her emotions. You are unable to help her, even if you had been, especially if you had been a victim of abuse yourself.

Finally, another conclusion, being instructed to take another person's perspective does not help to recognize emotions better.

If you're instructed to take someone else's perspective, it doesn't help you to recognize his or her emotions better.

These are all myths, nonsensical myths.

And yet these are exactly the packages that the packages that are offered to you by online self-styled experts and coaches.

This is exactly what they're telling you. Stick together, share your experiences, vent, tell each other things, you know, seek company of other victims.

These are absolutely catastrophically wrong advices.

If your relationships end up the same catastrophic way all the time, time and again, you most likely need to work on three issues.


Number one, anticipated hurt.

Your certainty that everyone is going to hurt you sooner or later.

It's a persecutory delusion. It's a kind of the acquired paranoia.

Number two, if you have constant failures in your relationships, you probably interpret every behavior as hurtful.

So you anticipate pain and then you interpret every behavior as intended to hurt you.

This is called hypervigilance or hypersensitivity. It's another form of paranoid or persecutory ideation and it's a lack of skin. You have no protection, like in borderline personality disorder.

And number three, preemptive aggression. I'm going to hurt him before he hurts me. I'm going to dump her before she dumps me. I'm going to cheat on him before he cheats on me. I'm going to do bad things to her before she does bad things to me.

These are the only three things you need to work on.

Anticipated hurt, interpreting every behavior as hurtful and your own preemptive aggression.

So I gave you two examples of myths.

Myths, commonsensical nonsense that are propagated online by literally everyone I know and they're utterly wrong according to psychological studies.


And now let's transition to narcissism.

And after narcissism, I'm going to mention yet another eight myths, another eight beliefs, wrong beliefs, false beliefs, beliefs that run contrary to the best evidence we had gathered in studies, some of them gigantic studies with over a million plus people.

Many of the things we think we know about psychology, about other people, about the inner world of others, about motivations and intentions and behaviors, many of these things, if not majority of these things, many of them are wrong. They're not wrong.

Allow me to correct myself. They're wrong. And they cause you to perpetuate your own suffering and to make bad strategic and tactical decisions and to behaving with which are counterproductive, self-defeating and self-destructive.

All of this because you prefer your intuition and common sense and the intuition of common sense and common sense of other victims, coaches who used to be victims, victims who became coaches and self-styled experts who capitalize on your gallibility and your vulnerability.

You prefer to believe these people. And as I said, you prefer to believe these people because the truth hurts. The truth hurts. The truth is that you had contributed to your abuse as much and very often more than your own abuser.

This is something you don't want to hear. You don't want to hear this.

Okay.


Albert Camus was a Jewish author. He was born in 1913 and he died a year before I was born. He probably died a year before I was born in order not to witness my birth and I can't blame him, but it was best known for wonderful, amazing literary works, amazing novels. I recommend The Stranger, The Plague, which is very, very pertinent, very relevant nowadays. The Plague describes a black death at the kind of bubonic plague in Algeria. He was a philosopher. He was among the fathers of the philosophy of the absurd.

So he was closely linked to Jean-Paul Sartre. And so he was also among the fathers of modern existentialism and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.

And here's something about Camus.

For Camus, our astonishment at life results from our confrontation with the world that refuses to surrender meaning. Our astonishment occurs when our need for meaning shatters against the indifference, immovable and absolute of the world.

As a result, absurdity is not an autonomous state. It does not exist in the world in itself, but is instead exhaled from the abyss that divides us from a mute world.

This world in itself is not reasonable. That is all that can be said, Camus said.

But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and wild longing for clarity, whose call echoes in the human part.

The absurd depends as much on men as on the world. For the moment, it is all that links them together.

So I quote this wonderful phrase again, there's an irrational and wild longing for clarity in the human heart.

You victims of abuse, you want clarity, you want certainty, you want someone to make sense of what had happened to you.

But here's the thing, what had happened to you is meaningless. It's senseless. It doesn't carry any coded message. It doesn't imbue your life with a direction or a goal or a mini. It just happened to you.

And you must make sure that it never happens again. And to make sure it never happens again, you must find out the truth. The truth, as we know it in the science or attempted science of psychology, not the truth, as you'll hear from others in an echo chamber.

Others were exactly in your condition. They don't know much more than you do. They pretend to know because they want your money.

In November 1940 Camus confided to his journal, he wrote in his diary.

Understand this, he said, we can despair of the meaning of life in general, but not of the particular forms that it takes. We can despair of existence for we have no power over it, but not of history where the individual can do everything.

Important for you, victims of abuse, your history is in your hands.

Camus continues, it is individuals who are killing us today. Why should not individuals manage to give us peace? We must simply begin without thinking of such grandiose aims.

He could have been discussing narcissists, of course.

This leads me to the question of the first, as I promised in this video, I'm going to be a myth buster. I'm going to bust myths.

The first myth is that one can separate the issue of sexuality and gender from mental health.

Like if an artist comes to you or a narcissist comes to you or a psychopath comes to you as a professional, you're not supposed to pay attention to the gender.

Someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, what does it matter if he has a vagina or a penis? It doesn't matter. We keep saying that's not entirely accurate as you will see soon.

I'm going to discuss a recent study on autism now which demonstrates conclusively that mental health issues, including mental health issues that I deal with in this channel, have a lot to do.

And when I say a lot, I mean a hell of a lot to do with your sex, not sexuality, with your sex and with your gender.


But before I go there, because this has to do with autism, I clarified in my previous video, I do not and never did claim that autism is caused by a dead mother who is not a good enough mother.

I never said this. Refrigerator mothers is a notion that had been debunked long ago. It was prevalent in the 60s and 70s before we knew better.

Autism in all likelihood has very pronounced genetic components and it's probably a brain disorder. I'm very hesitant to say it with certainty because we do not know what causes autism.

I repeat this. We have no idea what causes autism, what is the cause of autism, what leads to autism, the etiology of autism. We are still studying this and we don't know. We know for sure what does not lead to autism.

For example, vaccines.

The intellectually challenged anti-vaxxers who claim that vaccines lead to autism.

Well, it's yet another conspiracy theory, which is a great demonstration that IQ is not distributed evenly.

One of the myths that I'm going to debunk shortly.

In August this year in the prestigious academic journal Nature Communications, a mega study of autism had been published.

The study showed that there's a strong link between gender identity, autism, ADHD and other mental health disorders.

It showed that people who do not identify with the sex that they were assigned at birth are three to six times as likely to be autistic.

Six gender people, people whose gender sits well with their sex. So the sex is female and the gender is man.

If you as a woman feel comfortable with the fact that you're a female, then you are cisgender.

So cisgender people are six times less likely to develop autism than people who don't feel comfortable with their sex.

Gender diverse people report autistic traits and suspect that they have undiagnosed autism.

Gender diverse is transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, people who have what used to be called gender dysphoria. People who have the equipment of a male, but they feel like a woman or the equipment of a female and they feel like a man.

And then they do something about it or they don't do something about it.

But at any rate, there's a discrepancy between their biological, physiological equipment and their gender identity.

And these people are called gender diverse.

And they amazingly, amazingly tend to develop autism much more than other people.

And the reverse is also true. Autistic people are more likely than neurotypical people to be gender diverse.

Gender diverse people are more likely to have autism.

Seems to be a very powerful connection.

And that's not the only connection because we found connections between autism and schizophrenia, psychosis.

Between autism, a very strong connection between autism and depression.

Mind you, there's a big school in psychology that claims that narcissistic personality disorder or pathological narcissism is actually a depressive disorder.

It harks back. This thinking goes back to Melanie Klein.

And there's also a strong connection between autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD.

Many of these co-occur with autism.

Bizarrely, the previous edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual did not allow to diagnose autism with anything else, essentially.

But today with the new edition, edition five, we can and we do.

Gender diverse people have higher rates of all these conditions, schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, autism, certain personality disorders.

And the highest association was with depression.

An estimated 30 to 80% of children with autism, 30 to 80% also have ADHD. And 20 to 50% of children with ADHD also have autism.

Firstborn children of women with ADHD face a sixfold risk, six times the risk of also having ADHD and double the risk of having autism compared to the general population.

It's another study from 2014.

So the recent study was conducted on 640,000 people. Good enough for you. And it involved a television documentary, a British television documentary in 2017 about autism.

The guy who managed all this, who handled all this was Simon Baron Cohen, he's a professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge. And one of the preeminent voices and most original voices on autism.

Gender diverse people also report on average more traits associated with autism, as I said, sensory difficulties, pattern recognition skills and most crucially, lower rates of empathy.

They read utterly wrongly another person's emotional state. Let's get it straight. Autism, ADHD, six other mental health conditions, they are all linked to a massive reduction in empathy to the point of vanishing.

But this is exactly the state of victims of narcissistic abuse.

People with CPTSD, they also have severely diminished empathy to the point that technically we can diagnose many victims with narcissism or even psychopathy. I call it the narcissistic psychopathic overlay.

You see, it's all interconnected. It's not so clear cut, empath, narcissist, it is there. It's nonsense. The human mind is so multifaceted, so kaleidoscopic, so amazing, so malleable, so neuroplastic, the brain is so neuroplastic.

You can't say, I'm the victim, he's the abuser, and no story. It's not true.

He did something to your empathy and you did something to his empathy. You do something to other victims when you interact with them in your state of mind. You reduce their empathy. You create an empathy free environment, actually, we discovered.

groups of people who had a negative, a common negative experience in such groups, empathy is much lower.

You don't have to believe me, go to any forum of self-styled empaths. I mean, they put to shame forums of narcissists and psychopaths, the nastiness, the lack of empathy, the brutes, brutishness, the cruelty and the sadism are unbridled and are amazing, amazing levels.


Now the next myth.

There is a belief that attention deficits and ADHD more specifically, they are forms of dissociation.

People say, well, abused children, for example, dissociate. They want to forget the abuse. They want to repress the trauma. So they forget all kinds of things. They have a discontinuous existence.

And of course, I say the same and I have many videos dedicated to the connections between early childhood abuse, trauma, post-traumatic conditions among which I number narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. I think they're all interlinked.

Dissociation does not cause attention deficit. It causes an improvement in attention. People who dissociate are much more attentive.

And so in my work, I speculate that abused children failed to develop object constancy. Mother was not there for them or mother was very frightening or mother was very hostile or cold or detached or narcissistic, self-centered, selfish or mother forced the child to become a parent, parentified the child or she used the child as an instrument or she put him idolized him, objectified him, whatever the reason may be, the child did not feel safe enough. The mother was not a safe base. She was a dead mother. So the child could not develop object constancy because he couldn't develop object constancy. He could not pay attention to a single object to another person. He had no training in paying attention to other people. He had no focus of attention, no praxis, but dissociation actually enhances attention. It also enhances multitasking capacity.

Think about it. You're a kid. You're a kid. You're playing in the corner. You have to divide your attention if you have an abusive mother. If you have a mother who can just storm into the room and beat the hell out of you or curse you or verbally abuse you or stand you up in the corner. If you have a mother who is a source of terror, a source of horror, a mother who is unsafe base, a mother who causes you nightmares in living daylights, if you have such a mother, you must divide your attention. You must have divided attention. One part of your attention would be focused on playing the game, the toy, watching a cartoon on television. And the other part of your attention would be your mommy. Is mommy coming? Is she angry? Is she depressed? Is she going to beat me up? Is she going to break my toys, tear my books, etc?

You must divide your attention.

So people with abused people, people who had been abused as children and developed dissociation actually have superior multitasking capacity and divided attention tasks.

There's a test called the Stroupe Color Ver Test. Stroupe sounds like stormtroopers, like something from the Holocaust. The Stroupe Color Ver Test, SCWT, it's a test we administer to people to see how attentive they are, how long they can maintain attention.

And we found using the Stroupe Test that high dissociators, people with high levels of dissociation, actually they are faster. They complete the test better. The test is very clever. It shows you a color and there's a word describing the color, but the word is in another color. So they would show you the color blue and then there's a word blue, but the word is painted in green.

So there's a discrepancy between the color and the word that describes the color because the word that describes the color is colored differently. So people with high dissociation scored much better on these tests.

There's a study by Freid, F-R-E-Y-D, Maltovelo, Alvarado, Hayes and Christman. They sound like a gang in the Wild West. Cattle wrestlers. So this is a very good study by F-R-E-Y-D. Gang of Five in 1998 discovered that there is no slowing of overall reaction time for people with high dissociation. There is a bit of something called Stroupe interference. I'm not going into it, but generally there's no slowing down of reaction time. The Prince and Freid, 1999, they discovered that high dissociators are in divided attention tasks, multitasking. Becker, Bleez, Freid and Peirz in 2004 discovered that abuse leads to a distinctive attention style. When a child is abused, he develops a special attention style, the one that I mentioned a few minutes ago, but not ADHD. No ADHD for abused children with dissociation.

Delighta, R-U-Y-T-E-R at allies discovered that high dissociators are advantaged in both selective and divided attention.

And finally, Dohay, Irwin and Middleton discovered that high dissociators are a bit slower, but there's no attention deficit.

So you see, it's an example of an intuition. Nine out of ten people will tell you, well, if I constantly forget things, if I have to shut off things, if I have to repress things, if I have to ignore things in my environment, probably it will affect my attention badly. I will develop attention deficits. My attention span will be affected.

Wrong. Not true. Myth.

Let's go to the next myth, which has to do with me personally.

This is, therefore, my favorite.

The myth is that IQ is distributed normally. You also this famous graph. This is called a Gaussian distribution or a normal distribution.

Gauss was a mathematician in the 19th century, and he discovered this distribution. Distribution simply means you have many, many numbers and you arrange them on a graph. How's the graph going to look?

And a normal distribution is low numbers would be on a tail, high numbers would be on another tail, and the vast majority of numbers would be in the middle. So like the middle would be very tall, and the left side and the right side, you'll have a tail.

So if someone has an IQ of 50, probably is not watching this channel, but other channels. So if someone is IQ in IQ 50, it would be on this tail. Most people don't have an IQ of 50. So he will never be in the middle. It would be on the tail.

And if someone has an IQ of 190, hint hint, it will also be on the tail. Most people, thank God, don't have an IQ of 190. So the majority of people, the big number of people would be in the middle. So the middle would look like this. Got it? Got it. That's called the normal distribution.

Here's the clinch. Here's the myth. IQ is not distributed normally.

So why if you go online and you read articles and you read books about IQ, and why everyone says IQ is distributed normally, like 67% of the population has IQ between this and this, 39% of this. Why do we have this shape? We have this shape because the test results are tweaked. Yes, we fake them. This faking has a very nice name because in academe, when we commit a crime, or when we do something really, really unethical, we give it a name. And the name is very high for looting. Because the name is high for looting, it makes us feel good with ourselves. And it deceives everyone outside our arcane club.

So what we do with IQ test results, we fake them, we tweak them, we change them, we make them fit. Listen well, we make them fit the predetermined shape, the normal distribution.

And this mathematical technique is called standardization. We standardize the test to fit a Gaussian distribution. In other words, first we decide how our IQ results should be distributed. And then we shoehorn, we push, we pull, we change, we reframe, we fake a bit, you know, for the numbers to fit our preconceived notions.

If we were not to standardize the test results, we would have had two huge tails and a very, very small bump in the middle, which is reminiscent of the sexual performance of some narcissists I know. So we would have a huge tail here, a huge tail here. In other words, many more people have much higher IQs than we give them credit for.

I have 190 IQ, this has been repeatedly established in tests over 20 years, three types of tests. So it's probably true.

According to the Gaussian distribution, there are only eight other people in the world with this IQ. It's so extremely rare. But of course, it's nonsense. It's nonsense because it's not the result of the IQ test. It's not reality. It's the outcome of the standardization of the testing results. We convert them to normal distribution. And we change the difficulty of the question. And we use the raw test scores as output scores. And we fit them into a normal distribution. We use something called Z-test. And we have a null hypothesis for those of you who are into mathematics. So we have a null hypothesis and we have standard deviations within a Z-test. And then we apply the Z-test and we flatten the curve in effect.

Actually, we don't flatten the curve, we curve the flat. So we curve the flatland.

So actually, what I'm trying to say, most people have much higher IQs than we think. And of course, much lower IQs than we think. Majority of people have much lower IQs than we think. Just look around you. And much higher IQs than we think.

I took a raw dump of IQ test results, admittedly from the 1940s and 50s. But it doesn't matter. This was Stanford-Binet, which is no longer used and is very prejudiced, very problematic. But this is all I had. I took these results and I denormalized them. I made a renormalization, but without standardization, without assumptions concerning standard deviation and so forth.

And it seems that about 10% to 15% of the population, if we were not faking the results, 10% to 15% of the population have an IQ more than or higher, an IQ higher than 124, at least 10% to 15%.

I mean, there would have been an added 10% to 15%. They would have moved, they would have shifted from the middle to this day.

Similarly, of course, something like 30% would have shifted to the left.

Now, many people are not going to like this result. And perhaps this is the reason that we are still falsifying IQ tests, because it would have been tremendously, to use a Trumpian word, it would have been tremendously politically incorrect had we looked the numbers in the face.

Why?

Because a typical chimpanzee has 50 to 60 IQ. An adult chimpanzee has the IQ of five year old. And not pleasant to say, so does one third of the human population.

If we don't play with the test results, if we don't fake them via standardization, z testing, normalization, standard deviation, and many other statistical games we play.

I think there's a lot of political correctness, fake science, pseudoscience. That's why IQ tests are highly unreliable. They reflect absolutely statistical assumptions that adhere to social, societal mores and values, which are very period specific.

They do not reflect reality. People with 190 IQ are much more common. They're way more than eight people with 190 IQ.

If you're interested in the number, about a thousand. And people with 60 and 50 IQ, the exact equivalent of a chimpanzee, many, many, many more than you know.

Who wants to hear that?


Next myth, positive psychology works.

Everyone tells you, everyone in this talk telling you if you experience a negative emotion, angry, you're sad, you're grieving, you're afraid, fake a smile, fake a smile, cover up your emotions.

Well, research is dead set against it. I'm referring you to an article titled negative emotions, key to well being published in Scientific American. It shows that if you suppress your emotions, you raise your stress level and it causes you to dwell on the negative emotions for much longer.

If you accept your negative emotions and express them at the moment, make peace with them, embrace them, accept them as part of yourself. They go away, they go away fast.

There was a TED talk by Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy and she shared a piece of research and she said that if you power pose, if you stand or sit with your body as expanded as possible, shoulders back, you know, super woman pose and so on, it lowers your stress hormones, increases your testosterone, the power hormone and makes you look and feel more confident.

Jordan Peterson picked up on it and included this piece of advice as the first rule in his book, the 12 rules.

He has written a book, 12 rules for life, antidote to chaos. I think this is rule number one, pull your shoulders back, pull the shoulders back. You get a hormonal boost, you look much more confident, you're going to conquer the world and end up betting the most beautiful girl in the room.

Wonderful advice. Unfortunately, totally wrong.

In 2015, a group of researchers replicated Amy Cuddy's study. They used five times as many participants. They couldn't find the hint of a clue, of a shadow, of an indication that her results are real. Not only valid, but real.

There is very strong suspicion that she and her colleagues either made a massive error in interpreting the results or much worse, they faked the results. They manipulated the data to yield a statistically significant result.

Peterson has, must rewrite the first rule because it's based on faulty signs, probably, probably fake and false results.


The next myth, opposites attract. It's a myth that when you're dating, you're likely to be attracted to people who are very different from you. I can't tell you. I can begin to tell you what mountain ranges and continents of research there are to dispute this. It's completely, utterly, unmitigatedly untrue. Not a single word is true.

I refer you to psychologicalscience.org. They have a section called myths where they summarize research for this particular myth.

The opposite is true. We are drawn to a potential partner who are similar to us. Similarity also guarantees long term, the longevity of the relationship. The success of the relationship depends crucially on how similar you are. The more similar you are, the more things you agree on, the more communication preferences you share, the more hobbies, the more avocations, the more common activities, the more you bring up the children similarly, the more you agree on money, etc. The more similar you are, the longer your relationship.

This is one of these myths that had destroyed 50% of American marriages. People were looking for opposites. He completes me. We had two parts of one. He is my better half, he is my different half.

This is nonsense. You must look for someone with your echo, who is your mirror, who is your reflection, who is you with other genitalia in case you are heterosexual.

There's another myth like this. Cohabitation before marriage. If you share premises, if you live together before marriage, your marriage will last longer.

The more you get to know someone before you get married, the more your marriage is guaranteed to last.

Wrong. Wrong? Dead wrong. Cohabitation is totally correlated with divorce. The longer you have known your partner, the longer you have known your partner, the longer you have dated your partner, and especially the longer you have cohabited live together with your partner before marriage, the more it predicts your divorce. Higher divorce rates are intimately correlated with lack of intimacy before marriage. The less you know your partner, the less time you spend with him.

And if you've never lived with him, never shared living quarters with him, then your marriage will succeed. Marriages founded on matchmaking last much longer, far more stable than love-based unions.

You see, most of what we think we know about dating relationships, marriages, is wrong. Our ancestors, forefathers, great-great-great-great-grandfathers like me, we knew better. We knew to tell you, don't date. Don't live with him. It's not okay to have sex before marriage.

Let us find for you the right partner.

These are all excellent advices if your main concern is to have a long, productive relationship, marriage, for life. If your concern is just to have fun, which is legitimate, then these factors are not relevant.

But if you're serious about your life and about your intimate partner and about your relationship, you're going the wrong way.


Next myth, the more people you put together, the more creative they become. Brainstorming is a guarantee for creativity and creative solutions. After months or, as I love to say, Boulder Dash and bladder dash, according to the American Institute of Graphic Arts and a million other research institutions, if you brainstorm in groups, you are less creative and the group is less creative. And the number of solutions and the quality of solutions is much lower.

This is because of three reasons.

One is called anchoring. Anchoring is a cognitive bias. When we begin to consider other options, we suddenly realize that we have a solution of our own by contrast. When we consider other people's solutions and ideas, we realize that we have our own solutions and ideas and we get anchored like the anchor of a ship and we get stuck.

We get stuck on our ideas and our solutions and our way of doing things.

And everyone gets stuck on their ideas and they think these are the best ideas and all the others are stupid and they fail to come up. They fail to negotiate. They fail to cope.

I mean, it creates very bad dynamic. It creates a very bad places to hatch creative way forward.


Number, the second effect is group think.

Group think simply means that peer pressure, intentional peer pressure, body language peer pressure, peer pressure mediated via body language, peer pressure that is circumstantial.

Something happens outside the group that affects all the members of the group simultaneously.

All these cause members of the group to think the same way.

And when everyone begins to think the same way and they verbalize it, you are very afraid to think differently.

It prevents unique ideas from being heard or spoken aloud. There's pressure on you. Pressure on you to conform, to join in, to fit in, not to rock the boat.

And the third reason that group is that groups are very bad places as hatcheries or wombs is pressure.

In groups, you feel that you are being tested, that you're being observed. This is precisely the reason why it's an exceedingly bad idea to introduce cameras into courtrooms.

You feel that you have to come up with a good idea on the spot and everyone around you want to do the same.

They want to impress. It becomes about impressing rather than communicating. It becomes totally grandiose and narcissistic. It puts incredible pressure on some people and then they can think. It stress levels and anxiety levels in groups are much higher by the way than alone.


Next myth, left brain, right brain, no such thing of course. The brain is totally redundant. Every part of the brain can replicate every other part of the brain.

If tomorrow you lose half your brain, the other half will take over and usually without too much of a problem. We have had numerous such cases in wars, accidents, babies born with half brain, most extreme case had something like 10% of his brain.

The brain is redundant. Everything happens in multiple locations. There are copies of copies of copies of copies of functions, copies of content, copies of memories and ultimately a copy of your entire identity.

There is no dominant side. It's totally false. I refer you to Lifescience.com.

There's an article there, Left Brain, Right Brain Myth, where they summarize the research.

Everyone uses both sides of the brains equally and equal time.

The only thing that is true, the only thing that is true is that certain abilities and capacities, for example, speech, they are more located in one hemisphere, for example, speech is more located in speech processing language, is more located in the left side of the brain.

Visual processing, which also is linked to artistic and plastic arts, creative efforts, that's more on the right side.

But here's the glitch in the each, in the each, the two sides communicate all the time. There's like a zillion connections between the parts and they hand over functions all the time.

So while maybe the language center, Broca, there's an area called Broca, which is central, but many of the language functions are in outside Broca's area during the left hemisphere.

But when you talk, when you talk, there's a huge amount of traffic and communication with the right side of your brain. And many language functions and speech functions are temporarily transferred to the right side.

For example, if you have to talk about some visual, about some image or photo, you can't, there's no such thing. Language is in the left. Language, it's like the cockpit in an image. You can't say the cockpit is this and the airplane is this. They're intricately, intimately connected. They're one and the same.

The brain is a single unitary entity. Everything works on everything all the time. All functions are carried on both sides all the time. A million pathways, like under the Senate in the United States, they have these underground enormous kilometer long corridors. It's the same. Capitol Hill, I mean, you extensively Congress and the Senate, you know, they're all connected. It's all one thing. Midlife crisis, next myth.

In reality, there's no such thing. In a study published, in a series of studies published and summarized by NPR on the 14th of March 2016, go to the archive of NPR, you will see a great summary and it's titled Forget the Red Sports Car.

So to cut a long story short, our studies show that only about 10% of the population suffer a crisis in midlife. This crisis is connected to specific events like parents dying or losing your job or divorcing or your wife cheating or something. It's not a crisis because you have reached a milestone or a certain age. You know, it's a crisis because something happened.

And then if you divide life into decades, every decade has crisis.

Ask any other lessons. Ask any child. Ask anyone 20 years old who's dating. Every decade in life.

And Gail Shee wrote the book, New Passages, to say exactly this, that every decade has its own set of crises.

So isolating a specific decade and saying, well, that's a crisis. It's nonsense. It's nonsense also because the attributes of the midlife crisis are wrong.

Not true. We couldn't find them in studies.

People who are going through their 50s and 60s, 40s and 50s, they are supposed, for example, to be much more afraid of death or they're supposed to redirect their view instead of forward and backward, like they're reviewing their lives rather than looking forward.

None of this. We couldn't find a hint or a trace of any of these fables and confabulations.

They're wrong. They're not true.

Actually, most of the crises in the 40s and 50s, in ones 40s and 50s, most of the crises, multiple, have to do with the reasons I mentioned.

We all undergo challenges and we all do the stereotypical midlife crisis things, but it's not a coherent or cohesive syndrome set of cognitions and emotions.


The next myth is personality and IQ are stable in adulthood. That's absolutely untrue. Even personality disorders change. Personality disorders are supposed to be rigid structures. That's the definition of the diagnostic statistical manual, rigid structures of personality, but they're not rigid.

For example, 50% of all people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder lose their disorder after age 45. That can no longer be diagnosed. For instance, most of the antisocial behaviors of psychopaths disappear after age 40. Antisocial behavior ameliorates in psychopaths, starting with the fifth decade of life.

The only structure that is totally rigid and almost doesn't change ever is narcissist. Narcissistic personality disorder is the only case I am aware of where there is no discernible change between age 20 and age 60.

The psychodynamic landscape is identical. The reason is that narcissist does not exist. There's no personality, no self. It's a piece of fiction. It's a story. Like War and Peace, it never changes. And like Gun with the Wind, the movie, it never changes. A work of art is forever the Sistine Chapel, the Last Supper, Mona Lisa, they're stuck. They never change.

So, narcissistic personality disorder is a work of fiction. It's a work of art. It's a literary creation. It's a piece of literature. It's a novel. Of course it doesn't change, but all others do change.

In a study published in July, in the July-August 2003 American Psychiatric Association newsletter, page 14, they took personality data from 133,000 people. Good enough for you, it's a sample, I should hope.

And they found that personality changes all the time over the entire lifespan.

People, for example, become more agreeable, more willing to cooperate with others as they age.

By the way, another myth, the myth of the traculant, irritable, irrestible old men. Actually, old men are far more agreeable than young men and far more cooperative.

Number two, women become less neurotic, less emotionally sensitive and emotionally dysregulated as they age, which would explain why BPD borderline actually disappears.

Number three, men and women become less open, less eager and willing to try new experiences as they age. All the people are far more conservative.

And number four, conscientiousness, work ethic, detail orientation increases with age. The best workers are old people.

Examples of how personality changes, these are fundamental things. These are factors in personality and they change.

And abominance, the myth, the mother of old myths, to paraphrase my favorite classmates, Saddam Hussein, 10%. We use only 10% of our brain capacity.

This myth began in the late 19th century, late 19th century, a group of wannabe psychologists, because psychology was a proto wannabe science, a group of researchers compared the learning abilities and accomplishments of a child prodigy to the average person. And they found that child prodigies are much more intellectually stimulated than the average block, which I don't know why they invited to make the experience. I mean, a child prodigy is a prodigy because he is much more intellectually stimulated.

It's like saying that they discovered that both men and women breathe air.

Anyhow, this amazing earth shattering discovery was generalized and expanded in the 1900s.

When other researchers who did not understand how the brain functions, we still don't understand how the brain function and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. We have no idea, no blue idea how the brain functions or any part of the brain or any neuron or neurotransmitters or anything whatsoever.

We are at the stage of cataloguing. We are cataloguing. We are cataloguing pathways. We are cataloguing biochemistry, we are chemicals. We are just cataloguing. We know nothing about the brain.

And at that time they knew even less, a lot less.

So these psychologists, researchers who knew nothing about the brain but were sufficiently grandiose, hubristic and arrogant to say that they did, they noticed that many parts of people's brains appeared inactive.

So they said, ah, well, the difference between prodigies and regular people is that prodigies are using more of the brain and regular people are using less of the brain.

And they gave the number 10%.

By the way, totally arbitrary. There's no foundation to this number. They just gave the number 10%.

Well, sorry to tell you, it's utterly wrong.

Modern research, a bit more modern like 100 years later, and I refer you to the article, do people use only 10% of their brains published in Scientific America?

Modern research shows that throughout the day we use, hold your breath, 100% of what you have.

Now it's very true that the majority of you don't have much, but whatever it is you have, you use 100%. Throughout the course of the day, notice at any given moment you may use 10% or 20 or two.

But when you look at the entirety of the day, 24 hours, use every corner, nook and cranny, every cell, every neuron, every synapse, every axon, everything, 100%. Everything is used, every part, every function.

So while the sections that control the central process, breathing, autonomous functions, senses, these sections are active nonstop. Other parts, I don't know, parts that are responsible for language. Fear response, fear response is what you have when you're watching my videos. Problem solving, all these are activated only when necessary.

So they're not always active. Normally, why would they be always active? It's like your apartment, you know? You get up in the morning, you go to the toilet. At that moment, only 2% of your apartment is active. The toilet, I don't know what you're doing there, I don't want to know. Please don't go into details in the comment section.

But then you exit the toilet and go to the kitchen, you make coffee. Oh, kitchen is a bit bigger. That's 5% of your apartment. Then you go throughout your apartment, throughout the day, you circulate every corner of your apartment. So 100% of your apartment is active.

And depends on your lifestyle. Of course, in some people, most parts will be more active than others. But all parts are active in all people.

We make full use of all the abilities in our brains, those of us who have them.

So this was today's video. And I hope you had great fun. And I promise to pass on the message to Campbell and to Kuremberg that they have no idea what is narcissism and they should really learn from coaches online and others. And it's never too late to start. I mean, Kuremberg, in his 80s, 90s, he's still a young kid. It's never too late to start. And I'll put him in touch with some of the self-styled experts there. I'm sure they will put him on the straight and narrow. They will fix his thinking. And Campbell should stop with his idiotic experience because he got narcissism completely wrong.

Says the woman who wrote to me. Bloody hell. Who am I talking to?

Okay, kiddos and kiddettes, go drink something. Go to the toilet. Relieve yourselves.

And I know I created a lot of negative emotionality. Do not punch a punching bag. Punch me next time you see me in a seminar.

After the pandemic, BC before Corona, AD after distancing. And in between, the BC and the AD, yet another Jew. Not Jesus this time. Sam Vaknin. Much better looking with much fewer holes where it counts.

Abandon all hope, you who enter my channel.

And why should you abandon hope? Because hope is toxic. Hope is pernicious. Hope is opium for the masses. And it is administered to you by the con artists known as self-help gurus, self-styled experts with and without academic degrees. They all sell you hope. Hope is a drug. It's an opioid.


And so today I'm going to continue the series of videos that I've made on debunking myths.

There are many myths in pop psychology, armchair psychology. And these myths are not only wrong, but they are dangerous. These myths can destroy your life. I'm kidding you not.

Now there are links to two other videos that I've made debunking myths.

Go down to the description of this video and you will find the links. It's a series.

So you may wish to watch the other two.

So here goes. I'm going to describe a myth and then I'm going to tell you the facts.

The facts which emanate and come out of studies, studies over decades involving tens of thousands of people all over the world, different cultures and different societies.

Beware of these myths.

Be careful of coaches, experts, gurus, victims, professional and otherwise. These people are out to get your money and absolutely nothing else. They couldn't care less about you. Most of them hold you in contempt. I know because I correspond with all these people. We belong to the same group.

And so listen well and fend off for yourself. Trust no one. Trust no one. And yes, including me, go.

Verify everything I'm saying. Shake.

There is a portal called scholar.google.com. Go there, read the literature, do your own research.

Okay. What are the myths of the con artists of the self-help industry, which is about 99 percent of the self-help industry, especially online? What are these myths?

Myth number one, you can learn from your mistakes. Here's the fact. You're very likely to repeat your behaviors throughout your lifespan. This is known as repetition compulsion.

We tend to repeat specific behaviors and patterns of conduct throughout our lifespan. No amount of learning, no amount of trauma and pain and hurt and damage seems to modify this particular repetition of our compulsions.

And so the fact is that we can, of course, learn from experience and we can avoid certain things tangential, fringe, not very important things.

But when it comes to the core behaviors and main topics and issues of our existence, we tend to be creatures of habit and we tend to repeat time and again everything we've done in the past, including and usually especially our mistakes.

Ask any victim of abuse and you will find that she has had a string of abusive partners.

Why is that?

If learning from experience is possible, why do people repeat their mistakes? Why is there recidivism? Why do alcoholics continue to drink after 10 rehabs?

Because behavior patterns are addictive. They provide a comfort zone. We feel safe when we repeat behavior that we are well acquainted with.

Okay, this is not a lecture in psychology. This is just to give you the gist of what we know.


Next myth, change is possible. Transformational change, basic change, foundational and fundamental change is possible throughout life. It's never too late.

This is the greatest nonsense of the self-help industry. It's the main pillar on which this con artistry rests because of course it's too late. It's too late for many things throughout life. Missed opportunities, we rarely get second chances, extremely rarely.

We miss on love, we miss on work, we miss on money-making opportunities, we miss on places and we miss on experiences and we miss life is about missing out. Fear of missing out is well justified. Life is about losses. It drives us forward. Change is possible to some extent. Some behaviors can be modified, some moods can be regulated, but this is on the periphery.

A decor, meaningful transformation is nearly impossible after the brain is fully formed at age 25. Your character, your temperament, your personality and most basic big behavioral patterns, they are set for life after age 25. There is nothing you can do about it.

Of course, the whole industry is telling you otherwise because they want your money. Therapists want your money. So they are telling you bullshit and they are telling you nonsense. They are scamming you. They are telling you, "Of course we can change you. Here, buy this DVD. Pay for this session. Talk to me. Listen to me. Pay me, pay me, pay me."

The self-help industry, psychotherapy included, is based on a lie and the lie is that it can help. It can help you change. You need to accept that you are largely immutable, unchangeable and work from there. You need to accept yourself as you are because that's who you are for life.

And then based on that, you need to construct a realistic strategy of how to cope with life based on extreme self-awareness of your skills and talents, on the one hand, your advantages and your shortcomings and your disadvantages and your frailties and your vulnerabilities on the other hand.

Because none of this is going away. Not even with the magic wand of a self-help book or a self-help DVD or a self-help therapy session. It's all self-interested con artistry. There's no other word for it. It's borders on the criminal. There's no other branch of medicine with so much crime taking place in plain view.

The next myth is your partner's past doesn't matter. Only her present behavior should be relevant to you. It's impolitic and impolite to inquire about her history or his history. You should pay attention to what he's doing right now with you. You shouldn't care much about what he had done with others.

This is one of the most dangerous pieces of advice doled out by dating coaches, online self-styled experts with relevant and irrelevant academic degrees but zero knowledge. It's a disaster. It's a disastrous piece of advice, disastrous tip because the fact is your partner's past is your future. Past behaviors and misconduct are surefire predictors of future behaviors and misconduct. Misconduct in the past will occur, will happen again in the future. Now it may happen after six months or it may happen after six years or it may happen after 16 years but it's going to happen again. Everything that had happened in the past will happen again. Every behavior will repeat itself, every wrong choice, every bad decision, every misconduct, every form of abuse including substance abuse. Everything will happen again.

Study your partner's past to the minutest details, subject her to a third degree interrogation, ask around, talk to her friends, colleagues, family, co-workers, classmates, prowl her social media, learn everything there is to learn about your intimate partner before it hits you in the face big time and destroys your life.


Next, trauma is an objective experience we are told. There's a whole industry of trauma experts and trauma healers and trauma analysts and trauma expert witnesses and trauma this and trauma that because trauma is supposed to be like I don't know cancer or tuberculosis. A clinical entity which is real objective out there trauma happens to you exactly like a virus happens to you. That's utter unmitigated counterfactual nonsense.

Trauma is a subjective thing. It's endogenous, psychogenic. In other words, trauma is not about what's happening to you. It's about how you react to what's happening to you. It's a fact that 10 people can be exposed to the same experience and only one or two of them are traumatized. The others don't give it a second thought.

Trauma is a reactive pattern and it reflects underlying factors such as your personality, life history, vulnerabilities, brain abnormalities or structure, even genetics. Trauma is uniquely subjective. It's unique to you. It's idiosyncratic. It has little to do with reality. Reality serves only as a trigger.

Now some of you have heard of brain neuroplasticity and brain neuroplasticity is a real thing. The brain rewires itself in reaction to stimuli. The more regular and frequent the stimuli the more the wiring is hardwired.

So the brain does alter itself. It's in flux but this pertains only to highly specific experiences and to certain habitual behaviors, to habituation.

So the brain can of course rewire itself but never in a fundamental way. The brain reacts to trauma in a highly rigid manner.

Now we can undo and reverse the effects of the trauma via manipulation of the brain, neuroscientific or neurological manipulation of the brain. That much is true.

Body centered techniques are very helpful with trauma.

However, the initial reaction, the trauma formation, is largely coming from the inside. It's largely endogenous. We can even be traumatized without any external trigger.

For example, we can be traumatized or re-traumatized by a memory. We can be traumatized or re-traumatized by a thought or an overwhelming emotion, something erroneously called emotional flashback.

Another stupid myth online. Emotional flashback, there's a lot of nonsense going on over there.

So trauma is subjective, not objective.


The next myth is love and time cure all. They are the big panacea. They are the medication we will be waiting for. All you need is love. Time is the great healer.

Well, the fact is that in many, probably most cases, love and time result in a luck to bleed, in losses, heartbreak and hurt. Most affairs of the heart, most relationships, most loves and definitely time itself result and lead us to inexorably a panoply of losses, a diminishment, a constriction of life itself. We hurt repeatedly, time and again, especially by love. Love and time are risks, not opportunities, not promises, but risks.

So why should we take them? Why not, for example, avoid love? And why avoid time by, for example, committing suicide?

Well, because they do come with their own awards. Love enriches us. It's about us, not about the other person. Love enriches us. Time opens vistas of opportunities for growth and personal development. We are here to evolve. The very process of evolution is rewarding and it's wonderful.

And so these are two engines, time and its losses, love and its pains. These are the twin engines of becoming.

And it is all about becoming. Love and time provide us with meaning, but they're not painless. They're not hurtless. They're definitely not solutions. They are not medication. They are not two processes, twin processes of healing. It's not about healing. It's about getting wounded. It's about getting hurt. It's about being vulnerable. It's about opening up also to pain and hurt and loss.

The next myth is sex empowers. You engage in sex, you feel gratified, satisfied, empowered, stronger, self-confident, your self-esteem is boosted. And all in all, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and you are on top of the world. The fact is only in the minority of cases and in the majority of cases during the laments phase, infatuation phase.

But throughout life, only in the minority of cases is this the case.

Most sex leads to regret, shame, anger, self-loathing and we disgust and dissonance. Shocking as it may sound to you, this is what studies show.

For example, in casual sex, something like two thirds to four fifths of women have negative emotions after the encounter and well over 50% of men, shockingly. That's casual sex.

In committed relationships, anywhere between one fifth to two fifths of couples are sexless. They're sex averse. They're avoiding sex because it has become an unpleasant experience.

Actually, the frequency and incidence of sex, sexual experiences and the number of sex partners had declined by one third in the past 40 years. People are dating 60% less. Even dating apps lead to less and less sex.

Sex is out of fashion because it's not a pleasant experience. It had never been a pleasant experience actually, psychologically speaking. It may have been a pleasant experience in terms of physiological release, but psychologically it's never been a pleasant experience.

If we review the literature on sex and literature which deals with sex, like fiction, you see that most sexual experiences except in romantic literature are described in very negative terms.

Sex draws us into a conflict, a potential conflict zone. It renders us vulnerable. We seek intimacy, we seek acceptance and we are very often disappointed. Partners are typically selfish, autoerotic.

The sexual experience is a lottery. It's a casino. It's a roulette. It's a numbers game. The more sex you have, the more likely you are to come across good sex, but on the way there, you're likely to experience the bulk of your experiences is likely to be bad sex. Bad sex is much more common than good sex.

This negative experience of sex is true even among men and even in committed relationships. Although in intimate long-term relationships sex is better than in casual encounters in one might stand. Still, overall sex is definitely not an empowering experience. It is an engine of negative affectivity.

Most people experience some kind of negative emotion after sex, including in many, many cases disappointment and regret.


Next myth, having multiple choices empowers us. We are much more empowered today because we have so many choices. We have Netflix and HBO Max and Disney Plus. We have numerous types of smartphones. We have all human creativity at our disposal, a click away and so we must feel much more empowered.

Actually, studies show pretty conclusively and any marketing and salesperson will confirm this. Studies show that choice, especially an overabundance of choice creates anxiety. I repeat, choice creates anxiety. The more choice we have, the bigger the number of alternatives, the higher the anxiety.

Consequently, an overflow of choice, too much choice, usually results in withdrawal and avoidance. When faced with too many choices, people walk away. They isolate themselves. They atomize. They retreat into a cocoon.

People hate choice. People want to be spoon fed out of a limited menu of options. People like a limited number of options.

I repeat this and they very much like to be told what to do. That is what gave rise to dictatorships throughout human history and the equivalent of dictatorships like religions. People want to be told what to do by higher authority and they want to confront limited choice. That's why, for example, in most political systems in the world, there are only two political parties, although there are hundreds and thousands of shades of opinion because two political parties is a palatable menu. It has two options. It's easier for people. Had there been a situation with 200 political parties, people's participation in politics would have declined precipitously.

Similarly, when people are faced with too many choices, when it comes to smartphones or any other type of device or gadget or whatever, they usually gravitate to the leading brand even when and if the leading brand is inferior.

Remember the Windows operating system and the iPhone, the first three iterations of the iPhone where you couldn't copy paste? That's the case.

People hate choice because it disempowers them. When they are confronted with choice, people feel helpless. They feel impotent. They feel stupid and ignorant. They feel disoriented and dislocated. People detest choice. It doesn't empower.

The last myth I want to dwell on is seriously, seriously bad and seriously, seriously wrong. And that is the myth that parents and their children should be besties. They should be friends. That's wrong. Parents should never be the friends of their offspring.

Good parenting requires setting boundaries, establishing a hierarchy, discipline, firm, but clear and consistently enforced discipline. And these are the exact opposite of a friendship.

In a friendship, you don't have a hierarchy. You don't have friend number one and underling friend number two, a subordinate friend. You don't have this.

Yet in a family, the parents should be the bosses. In a friendship, you don't have discipline. You can set boundaries, of course, and you can and you can and should enforce boundaries, but there's no disciplining action. In a family, the parents should discipline the children. Yes, something should be forbidden. And yes, children should be punished. This never happens in a friendship.

So the parent who is a friend to his child, parents who befriend their children, they are doing their children a disservice. They're bad parents. Their parenting is wrong completely. Parents should never be friends with their children.

In extreme cases, parents become so friendly with their children that they end up parentifying the children. They end up treating their children as stand in intimate partners, substitute intimate partners. This is not only parentifying, this is ambient insist, emotional insist. This is seriously wrong.

Parents, parents should be separate and distinct from their children. They should place very strong and firm boundaries, which the children should never ever cross. These are all myths.

And believe me, it's a very, very partial list. These are all myths that the self-help industry of self-interested, self-enriching coaches, therapists, most of them unqualified, most of them have no idea what they're talking about. They pull these things out of a part of their anatomy, which will remain unmentioned.

And they wreak havoc, cause serious damage to millions of people around the world. It's shocking that this industry is not regulated. Everything else is regulated, your food, your medication, medical treatments, medical devices, but people can just go around, pretend to be experts, pretend to be authorities, spread misinformation, instruct you badly, advise you horribly, destroy your life. And there's no recourse. If someone says, if someone spreads misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, it's going to pay a price one way or another.

At the very least, it's going to be blocked on YouTube, banned on YouTube or on Twitter.

But if someone spreads misinformation about parenting, about change, about what you should do with your life, there's no recourse. There's no police. There's no, you can go nowhere, approach no one. There's no licensing. There's no nothing. It's caveat emptor.

You should do your own due diligence.

But people are not equipped to do due diligence, especially if the so-called self-imputed authority is an academic degree. People don't realize that not every psychologist knows everything in psychology. Not every psychologist is an expert on racism. Very, very, very few are, and none of them is on YouTube. Not every psychologist is an expert on, for example, parenting. Few are.

So due diligence is an onerous process that should be carried out by professional committees. The industry should at the very least self-regulate and that it doesn't goes to show how corrupting money can be.


I'll recap the myths of the corn artists in the self-help industry, which is essentially all the self-help industry.

Myth, you can learn from your mistakes. Myth, change is possible at any age. It's never too late. Myth, your partner's past doesn't matter. Only her present behavior matters. Myth, trauma is an objective experience. Myth, love and time cure everything. Myth, sex is an empowering experience. Myth, having multiple choices makes you stronger and powers you. Myth, parents and their children should be besties, should be friends.

These are all wrong. These are all counter-mandated and contradicted by everything we know in psychology.

And yet these are the dominant, these are the dominant pieces of tips and advice given online by self-help gurus and self-styled coaches.

It's a lamentable situation, lamentable condition. You're still here? Okay. You asked for it. You had it coming. Another lecture by Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited and the Smiling Professor of Psychology.


Today we're going to discuss myths, misconceptions, lies, misunderstandings about psychology and more specifically about psychotherapy.

Now this whole harangue was triggered by a presentation I saw yesterday on msn.com. The presentation was aptly titled "20 Myths and Misconceptions About Psychology".

I wanted to tackle each and every one of these alleged myths my own way and to add my two dollars. It's never two cents with me, it's always two dollars to add my two dollars into the debate.

The presentation opens by saying "psychologists work hard to help many people in different fields, while the common impression is of someone who gets paid a lot of money to listen to the problems of those who are mentally unstable".

That's not the whole picture. Here are 20 Myths and Misconceptions About Psychology.


And the first myth that the msn presentation tackles is "only crazy people benefit from psychology".

Well, psychology is divided into dozens of fields and one of these fields is known as clinical or abnormal psychology. That's the psychology that deals with what you would call crazy people.

Now we are politically correct in our field so we never use the word crazy or even insane. We have many euphemisms to avoid this label.

But plenty of people can benefit from psychology. A psychologist or more precisely a psychotherapist is someone who is supposed to be impartial, supposed to look at your life, to look at your choices, your decisions, your behavior patterns and provide you with an outside perspective. An outside perspective which is supposed to cause or bring about a breakthrough through a process known as insight, provide you with insight about yourself and this should in the optimal case generate a breakthrough.

The problem is that very few psychologists and therapists are indeed objective and impartial. Many of them have agendas, many of them are committed to specific values, many of them are judgmental, many of them are prescriptive, in other words they tell you what to do. Many of them get very pissed off if you don't follow their advice.

So it's not always the case that you get a kind of observer, scientific observer who is detached and disinterested and just provides you with information and data and analysis which serve as input to generate insight which then provokes a change in behavior. That's in theory, that's the ideal but in reality that's not the case unfortunately.


The second myth is in the MSN presentation is there's a couch where you lie down and spew your feelings.

Well that's been the case with Freud. There are famous photographs of Freud's couch.

Freud called his method the 'talk cure', talk cure today is known as psychotherapy.

Don't worry he borrowed the idea from Loyler and others so he didn't invent it although he did claim credit for it, something which psychologists are known to do throughout the generations claiming credit for what's not theirs.

Anyhow, couches were in vogue and in fashion and fad when psychoanalysis had started. So Freud had a couch, Jung had a couch which he put to use in very unorthodox manner with some of his patients. Most notably Sabine Sprengel.

But couches have gone out of fashion more or less in the 1930s and they've never come back. So today we sit on a chair or we talk on the phone, there's telehealth and teletherapy, there's video conferencing, virtual therapy and so on so forth. Even in person therapy resembles much more a talk with a good friend than it does the original set up of psychoanalysis.


The third myth, psychologists earn a lot of money for not doing very much.

Well, depends which psychologist. Psychology and therapy more precisely, these are well paying professions. There's a well paying profession, psychologists are up there in the 10% highest earners.

Novice psychologists and newbie psychologists can start with $50,000, $60,000 a year and most psychologists make well over $100,000 a year. That's in the United States. And all they do is they sit and they listen to people talk about their lives. Now, isn't that a scam? Aren't these people con artists? What the heck are they doing? That's very misleading. That's very misleading because a good psychotherapist or even I would say the majority of psychotherapists, they structure the conversation. They provide input. It could be a mirroring input. It could be a directional input. It could be in the form of questions, could be in the form of comments, could be in the form of insights, could be in the form of even of reminiscences or reading a passage from a book. It doesn't matter. The psychologist, the psychotherapist structures the session and the structure brings order and the order brings meaning and makes sense of the experience of the patient. So the structure is critical and the structure is not just a whim, not just a fleeting idea.

The structure is based on clinical practice and on studies and research in the relevant field.

So the psychologist brings into the session a lot of learning, a lot of erudition and a good psychologist is what we call an active listener. He asks questions. He delves deep into the patient's issues. He provokes new thoughts and new directions and elicits new questions in the patient's mind.

And all this is done within what is called a holding environment where the therapist shows understanding and provides comfort but never crosses the line, never engages in counter-transference, never for example, falls in love with the patient.

God forbid, has sex with the patient.

So while the therapist seems to be aloof, sitting back, thinking about his cat or about the later Super Bowl, actually what he's doing is analyzing every single word you're saying, placing it in the context of previous words you've said, trying to tease out and extract meaning and sense and insights from your words and then organizing everything, impossible narratives for your consideration.

This is a lot of hard work. When you go home, the therapist sits down and he writes patient notes and he has to read, a good therapist reads all the previous patient notes pertaining to you.

So it's always a lot of invisible work. It's like an iceberg. 90% of the work is underwater and invisible to you. That's the good therapist.

Of course there are charlatans, like in every profession. Of course there are con artists and scammers and swindlers and lazy people, indolent therapists. It's like they're indolent construction workers.

I mean, this is human nature. Most therapists are human.


Okay, Shoshanim, that was the daily joke.

Now we move on to the next myth.

Psychology or psychotherapy involves medication. Not true.

Not true.

Medication therapy is a part of the arsenal of psychology, but actually it's used very rarely.

Psychologists, for example, cannot prescribe medication. Only psychiatrists can prescribe medication.

The difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that a psychiatrist has a medical degree in addition to a degree in psychology. So usually he's also a medical doctor. So he's able to prescribe medication for mental conditions. Usually psychiatrists collaborate with psychologists, unless they're very vainglorious and narcissistic.

But the vast majority of psychiatrists seek input from psychologists in order to settle on the appropriate prescription or medication.

But medication is prescribed, should be prescribed, I need to say. Very rarely, for example, antipsychotics should be prescribed only in the flare up in the active phase of psychotic disorder. Similarly, antidepressants and anxiolytics and stimulants, they should be prescribed very sparingly and limited in time because some of them, especially stimulants, create addiction.

Unfortunately, this is the theory.

The practice is that people go to a psychiatrist and he barely listens to them. And what he does, he just gives them a prescription for an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug, anxiolytic or stimulant. He sends them away and he collects the fee from the insurance company or from their own private pocket.

So many, many psychiatrists renege on the obligation to be very careful with mental health medication. And this has become an industry. Tens of millions of people in the West consume antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants and even antipsychotics on a daily basis when they most definitely should not or should have stopped long before.

So there's abuse of mental health medication. Plus, there's a big debate and a justified debate as to the efficacy of these medications.

Many of these medications are founded on speculative science yet to be fully proven. And many of these medications had been proven counter-productive to use another statement or based on wrong science or bad science. And yet they had not been withdrawn from the market.

So psychopharmacology is a scandalous area fraught with a lot of money sloshing about, which provides adverse incentives to psychiatrists.

I'm trying, what I'm trying to say gently, many psychiatrists are corrupted by money, sometimes directly by the drug companies in all kinds of junkets and perks and trips and, you know, even straight out commissions, financial commissions. All these practices are not outlawed shockingly, which they should be.


Okay, next myth. Most problems are caused by low self-esteem.

That's one of the most all pervasive myths about psychology. That everything has to do with a low self-esteem, wrong self-perception, bad or dysfunctional or unrealistic self-image, etc., etc.

The self plays a big part here.

But this is wrong. Low self-esteem is not the main cause of the vast majority of mental health diagnosis. We know that low self-esteem is a definitive factor or determinant only in one type of mental health problem and that's depression.

But even there, it's not considered causative. It's not considered the cause of the depression. Many factors can contribute to poor mental health.

And so low self-esteem is just one of them.

The idea of low self-esteem as the root of all evil in terms of mental health has to do with the twin myths of concepts, counterfactual concepts, I might do at least, of the self and of choice.

So modern psychology, let's say starting about 120 or 130 years ago, and modern psychotherapies, they are centered around between counterfactual concepts of individual, self and choice. From a very early age, we are little more than the sum and intersection of our relationship with others.

The concept of individual, the concept of self are probably utterly wrong. There's not such thing. Even the concept of personality is extremely dubious and should be challenged on multiple levels and multiple fronts.

Choice is also an illusion. In reality, it is constrained by mental illness. One's personal history, the cause of the choice, the cause involved and lack of viable alternatives.

So low self-esteem is one member of this galaxy of self-help, paraphernalia and nonsense, mostly online. We can add to this emotional flashbacks, empaths, shy body lines and healed or recovered narcissists. These are all nonsensical, nonclinical concepts not supported by any studies or research and not taught in academia. We don't teach this nonsense in academia.

So that's one more myth for you, the myth of low self-esteem.


The next myth, according to the MSN presentation, is there's a hidden meaning to your dreams.

Now Freud, of course, was the king and the forefather of dream interpretation. He actually wrote a book, an eponymous book about it, about a hundred and something years ago.

I myself am a dream aficionado. If you go to my website, there are dream interpretations there.

And so the presentation says that, and I will quote, "Many people believe that their dreams have a hidden meaning, but the truth is it's simply the brain's way of dealing with things. Our dreams often don't make any sense and can be influenced by the previous day's events, our emotions and even our thoughts. While it can be tempting to look for many in our dreams, there's often not much to them.

I cannot disagree more.

Yes, of course, dreams take place in the brain, or at least we think so, because there's a correlation to dreaming known as rapid eye movement. When we dream, waves in our brain change from one type to another and our eyes move very fast, which is phenomenon known as REM. Of course, they're physiological and neurological correlates to dreaming.

But dreams do take place in the brain, which is precisely what makes them meaningful. The brain is a meaning generating apparatus. It's a meaning generating device.

So dreams are not an exception. Dreams are about rearranging the previous day's information so that it fits into already structured narratives. In other words, making sense of the previous day's experiences, storing information in long-term memory, etc.

It's all about creating and enhancing the library of experiences that we already have up here and fitting this library into heuristic models, model of the world, internal working model, theory of mind, etc.

So dreaming is a meaning creating activity. And definitely, if you look into dreams, you can find meaning in dreams, meaning which is idiosyncratic, specific to the dreamer, not only universal or actually rarely universal, specific to the dreamer.

So I disagree completely with this so-called debunking of this myth, which I don't think it's a myth. I think it happens to be true. It's a part and parcel of a trend in modern psychology of rejecting everything that came before 1960 because it's not "scientific." I'll come to it a bit later in this lecture.

Psychology pretends to be a science, or actually it's a pseudoscience and can never, ever be a science.

And because of these high-falutin grandiose pretensions, we had discarded enormous treasure of acquaintance with the human mind, enormous insight into how human beings work, which ostensibly should be the main preoccupation of psychology.

And one of the things we had discarded is the idea that dreams have meaning. I'll come to it when I discuss one of the other myths in this MSN presentation.


So the next myth is psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors are all the same.

Well, of course, they are not all the same. All of them deal with mental health issues.

I'm a counselor. I've been in this racket for 26 years as a professor of psychology and as a counselor, but I am not a psychiatrist. So although I have a medical degree, I did not integrate it with my work in psychology, so I did not become a psychiatrist.

So psychologists are people who complete a few years.

Usually they have a master's degree, and some of them are licensed to provide therapy. They're therapists not on psychologists, are licensed to give therapy.

Psychiatrists are psychologists who also have a medical degree. They have two degrees in psychology and a medical degree.

And counselors are people who work with mental health issues, but they are not psychologists and not psychiatrists. They are, for example, social workers or just laymen or coaches who deal with mental health issues.


Now in many countries, but not everywhere, counseling as distinct from therapy is legally permissible. It's totally legal, as long as you make clear that you're not a therapist, not a psychologist, not licensed and not a psychiatrist.

Counselors are good. Some of them are good. Some of them are bad.

Exactly as psychologists. Some of them are good. Some of them are bad. Therapists, the same.

Psychiatrists, the same.

Some counselors that I know personally know a lot more than most of the psychologists I've ever met, and I've met many.

Psychiatry is the study and management of mental disorders involving also the body aspects, including, for example, medication, the administration of medication.


Psychology is the study of people and their thoughts and behaviors.


The next myth is our preferred learning style has an impact on how well we learn.

There used to be this theory. I'm saying used to be because it's been debunked and discarded. I don't know how many times, but there used to be a theory that we learn more effectively because this theory said that each person has a learning style.

Some people react more to visual material. Others react by doing things. Some people learn when they're exposed to visual material. Some people learn by doing things and some people learn by listening.

So this was called the preferred learning style.

All recent research has demonstrated that there's no such thing. The most effective modality of teaching and learning varies according to what you're studying. It has nothing to do with a preferred modality.

So when you're exposed to a certain topic, you may be able to learn much more if it's done through visuals. But when you then switch to another topic, you may be more amenable to audio messaging and audio teaching, teaching via voice.

Each person has all learning styles and all teaching and learning modalities.

It's a myth that we have a preferred mode. We don't.


Next thing is psychology is hype.

It's just common sense. You do as well to talk to a good friend, to your grandmother, to a neighbor as you would to a therapist or to a psychologist because all they do is they codify common sense.

Well, I don't even know where to start to tackle this myth because it's nonsensical. It's not common sense. It's nonsensical.

While I completely agree that psychology is not a science and I even go as far as saying that psychology can never, never be a science, it definitely is a discipline. It's a discipline.

There's a lot of accumulated knowledge, a lot of information, many experiments and studies, a lot of research, millions of people, millions of people participated in creating this body of knowledge. And to claim that it's nothing but common sense that everyone in his dog has, that's simply ignorance. I would even say glorified ignorance.

Psychology is very complicated. To become a psychologist, let alone, for example, a professor of psychology, you need to really, really work hard, spend a lot of time and effort researching, reading, studying, interacting with people. The mind is the most complex object in the universe. It's much more complex than the universe and behavior patterns emanate from the mind. So they too reflect the mind's complexity.

No amount of common sense can cope with this.

Actually, we have quite a few studies that show that intuition and common sense are often extremely wrong. I refer you to one of my videos here, which debunks 12 common sense myths. And I analyze these myths there and they are nonsense. They appear to be common sense. They make sense, but they are not factual. They're not true. They're nonsense.

So I wouldn't rely on common sense if I have an alternative, which is a structured discipline. I would go for a structured discipline.

Imagine that someone builds a bridge or constructs an airplane and tells you I don't need to study engineering. I have common sense. I know that this rivet should go with this nut here and everything will be okay. I mean, you wouldn't fly this plane, would you? You wouldn't cross this bridge.


Okay.

Next is the myth that memory works like a video recording of events.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing can be further from the truth. Memories are recreated on the fly every time we need to remember. Every single time we need to remember, we reach into our minds and take elements and put them together. And this feels like a memory, but it's actually not a memory. It's a reconstruction of a narrative.

That's why memories often get distorted as time passes because you can't always identically recreate the memory. Memories are not clones over time.

In other words, the same memory, you have to recreate it time and again. And every time you recreate it, there's a slight change and these changes accumulate and the memory gets distorted and changes to the point that it has nothing to do with the original.

Memories after a few years, even after one year, have little to do with the original.

And this is why there's a big issue with false memories and another big issue with eyewitness accounts.

In courts, we can't really trust them. Memories are confabulations, they're inventions, they're narratives, they're stories that we create every time we are faced with a demand on our identity. Our identity crucially depends on continuous memory.

So we ask ourselves, who am I? What am I doing here? And why am I doing what I'm doing?

And then you need to generate memories, put them together to feel your own identity.

And of course, it also means that identity is a kind of dune of sand. It also shapeshifts all the time.

But I have a video on this, a lecture I gave in university about identity and memory. You may wish to watch it.


The next myth, according to the MSN presentation, psychology only has to do with therapy.

Well, of course, therapy is a tiny, tiny fraction of psychology.

Psychology is by far the biggest field, the biggest field in academic studies. It's much, much bigger than physics.

I used to be a physicist, I used to be a physicist for 25, for first 25 years of my life. Physics is a much smaller field than psychology.

I used to be an economist, it's a much smaller field in psychology.

And many people say that economics is actually a form of psychology. It's a discipline is actually another name for economic behavior. So it's psychology as well.

But you have psychology of sports, psychology of the arts, psychology of teaching, psychology of politics, psychology of collectives, psychology of individuals, children of adolescents, I mean, it's an enormous field, absolutely enormous field.

Wherever human beings are in action, there is a field of psychology that deals with it, studies it, teaches it, research is conducted, and so on. It's not a specialty.

Psychology is not only about mental health and mental health problems.

It's again, that's clinical and abnormal psychology.

But there are numerous other fields that have nothing to do with mental health or mental illness. Nothing whatsoever.

The study of behaviors, the study of traits, the study of stability, for example, of attachment style and personality, the study of personality.

There are numerous studies of how people behave in groups, how they behave in various settings, like for example, in a factory, in an office, how do people react to product design, all this is psychology, advertising, marketing, it's all psychology.


Okay, the next myth is, if you're violent, probably you're mentally ill. If you're promiscuous, probably you're mentally ill. If you deviate from normal behavior, then by definition, you're not normal, you're mentally ill.

And there's a flip coin of this myth. If you're mentally ill, you're likely to deviate from accepted behavior, likely to be violent or promiscuous, and so on and so forth. That's absolutely 100%, or shall I say 110%, untrue.

Actually, there's a book titled 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, which I recommend. It's layman's thing.

So it's easy to read.

Evidence shows that 90% of people with mental illness never offend, but they're always the victims. Mentally ill people are victimized, they don't victimize.

Behaviors such as promiscuity, violence, aggression, defiance, recklessness, etc. These behaviors have to do with the lack of empathy and what we call dark triad personalities, dark personalities.

These dark personalities, they're not mentally ill, it's not mental illness. They're just prone to antisocial behaviors. They have a tendency, a proclivity for antisocial behaviors. So we call them subclinical, subclinical psychopathy, subclinical narcissism, but they're not mentally ill.

Mentally ill people are victims, not perpetrators.


Next myth, psychology is only for certain people but not for everyone.

I have no idea why this might be true.

Psychology is for everyone.

If you have a mind, and many of you do, if you have a brain, and some of you do, if you behave, if you interact with other people, psychology is for you.

Psychology should be a part of everyday life. Psychology should be taught in high school and even primary school because it's all around you.

The advertising you watch is structured by psychology, how the website is optimized, is influenced by psychology. Your neighbor's psychology, everything is psychology.

I mean, how you should interact with your boss, how is your relationship with your spouse, your children, everything is psychology.

So psychology is for everyone. It's the only discipline actually, that's for everyone.

You don't have to be a physicist, you don't have to be a chemist, God forbid, you don't have to be a biologist, but you have to be a psychologist, at least a pop or armchair psychologist, because you can't live or survive without a modicum of psychology in your life.


The next myth in the presentation is we don't use 100% of our brain function, only 10%.

Again, it's a nonsense internet hype. It's total nonsense, exactly like empath or emotional flashback, or quiet borderline, or what have you, or indigo children, or I don't know what, it's simply nonsense.

Actually, every minute, every part of your brain is up and running, all billions, 100 billion cells up and running. Every single neuron in your brain fires every second. That's a fact. And many of them collaborating, what is known as multiple unit activities, even the smallest bit of damage to the brain usually results in a devastating deterioration in functioning, major loss or damage to function.

So every part counts, every neuron participates, every second of the day, always, even when you sleep, big parts of the brain are still active. So I have no idea who came up with this idiotic myth that only 10% of the brain, maybe in his case or her case, it was true.


Next.

Psychologists know what you're thinking is the next myth.

Well, except for me, most psychologists cannot read minds. I can, but that's because I have a hundred percent, you know, not because I'm a psychologist.

Seriously, now, psychologists don't read minds. They can observe human behavior. And they can speculate as to the reasons why you behave in the way you do.

And some of these reasons have what we call an etiology. So they can, they can try to make sense of your reasons to behave and make sense of your behaviors by resorting to possible antecedents, possible reasons in possible events in your early childhood, during the formative years, and so on, so forth.

In some cases, these speculations would be wrong.

Actually, I could say that in majority of cases, they would be wrong.

Not only psychologists are not mind readers, they're actually not very good at deciphering human behavior and so on, unless you give them the information that they need.

What psychologists are good at is taking this information that you provide about your early childhood, parental figures in your life, interactions with peers, your personal history. This is known as anamnestis, your personal history, everything.

They take all this information. What they're good at is structuring it, making sense of it, deriving insights and lessons from what you had told them so that they can then help you to change for the better, to become more functional and to avoid repeating mistakes, repetition, compulsion.


Okay, so, next myth. It always helps to talk about your problems.

No, that's not true. I refer you to the video that I mentioned earlier about 12 common sense nonsense that I've made.

One of them is venting, about venting. Venting is seriously bad for you.

Seeking closure is a seriously bad idea also. These are online nonsense, propagated and perpetuated by self-styled experts, coaches and an assortment of other, how to put it, gently unqualified people.

So the talking cure, psychotherapy is a big fan, a big fashion.

Again, everyone from age 12 is in therapy, but it's not always helpful and it's not always a good idea.

For example, we know that trauma victims, for trauma victims, it's very bad for trauma victims to revisit their trauma.

There was initially in the 60s and so on, there was an idea that if you had gone through trauma, you need to go through a process called debriefing. So it was known as psychological debriefing or trauma debriefing.

Until we discovered decades later that these people were seriously damaged when they were forced or coerced to relieve the trauma by discussing it. That's why it's not always a good idea to talk about your problems. It sometimes can be harmful and a good therapist, a good psychologist, would know the difference. He would know not to push. He would know not to trigger you.

There is a good reason that you forget things, a good reason to dissociate. Some events, some traumas never come to consciousness. The memories are repressed. There's an excellent reason for this.

And before you bring these memories back to the surface, before you eliminate the dissociative barriers and the protections, you better know what you're doing.

Freud coined the word abreaction. It's a bad reaction to the release of the pent up negative energy that is associated with traumatic memories.

So go slow, go easy. Don't push. Don't push it. Sometimes not talking is the right course of action.


Okay, next myth in the MSN presentation.

Psychology is simple. Psychology is easy because everyone is exposed to other people and so everyone knows psychology intuitively.

In a way, I've dealt with it when I discuss the myth that psychology is common sense.

Having certain foundations is not the same as having the building. You could, for example, be an English speaker, but you couldn't be an English author.

So it's the same with psychology.

You know people. You maybe you're even observant. Maybe you observe human behaviors and human traits and you know you classify them in your mind and you're very alert, very vigilant, and so on.

Maybe, but it doesn't make a psychologist.

Knowing English doesn't make an English author. Knowing people doesn't make your psychologist.

Psychology is very challenging because it's very big. It's a huge field and it involves numerous schools of thought and a lot of, I mean, gigantic plethora of studies and experiments and research and so on.

Don't underestimate psychology.


But this leads me to the next myth.

According to the MSN presentation, the next myth is psychology is not a real science.

And I'm going to read to you what the MSN presentation says. Then I'm going to give you my take on this.

The MSN presentation says, "Some people believe that psychology is not a real science, but that could not be further from the truth. Those in the field utilize the scientific method to conduct research in order to investigate human behavior.

While psychology may be a relatively new science in the scheme of things, it's still very much a real science. Could not be further from the truth.

Astrologers use the scientific method and statistics. It doesn't make astrology a science.

Numerology uses very sophisticated mathematical techniques. It doesn't make numerology a science.

That you use the scientific method does not make you a scientist.

Conspiracy theorists of all stripes very frequently use the scientific method and a lot of statistics. It doesn't make them scientists. It makes them crackpots.

So that a group of people in a shared psychosis use a certain methodology, doesn't make them scientists, except in their own grandiose minds.

Psychology is not a science for a variety of reasons.

And I have at least two videos on this channel dedicated to this question. But I'll mention only one.

You cannot replicate most of the experiments in psychology. That's a fact.

Between 2004, fifth of experiments in psychology cannot be replicated. You cannot have a science where you cannot replicate experiments and of course. You can replicate every single experiment in chemistry and physics, every single one, even in medicine. You can't do that in psychology.

So it's not a science.

What is psychology?

It's a wonderful body of literature. It's one of the proudest achievements of the human mind in terms of literature. It's a literary art form and a very penetrating, incisive and insightful view of the human mind, human beings, human behaviors, human interactions, human organizational principles, and the meaning and sense of it all.

Yes, no one can compete with psychology when it comes to this, perhaps except for literary giants like Dostoevsky and Nietzsche.

But otherwise, no one can come close to psychology.

Even the most mundane and pedestrian paper in psychology is so full of wisdom and insight that it competes easily with any biblical text.

But that's what it is, a text.

Psychology is not a science. End of story. And anyone who claims otherwise is either mis-deluded or misleading.

It's a pseudoscience.


Next, psychologists only work in clinical settings.

That's the next myth in the innocent presentations.

That's of course not true. Some psychologists work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, inpatient clinics, private clinics. That's true.

But that's a tiny minority, actually. The vast majority of psychologists work in other settings, in schools, in factories, among athletic teams.

I mean, psychologists are everywhere. They're even here making YouTubes.

Yes. So, psychologists involved with human thought, human behavior, human development, personality, emotion, emotions, motivation, cognition, etc. Wherever humans are, psychologists are.

They follow humans wherever they go. So you can find them working in prisons, intelligence agencies, schools, athletics, law enforcement, I mean, everywhere.

Profiling the department of the FBI is much larger than any psychology faculty in the world. It's comprised mostly of psychologists.


And so this is the last myth in the presentation. I hope I corrected some of your misconceptions and wrong ideas about psychology and therapy.

And even if you're not in distress, even if you don't have a mental health problem, take the time. Go once a year like a checkup.

No, go once a year. Two therapists. Talk to him or her about your life. Just about your life.

How things stand. Are you happy? Where do you need to go from here? What mistakes do you seem to commit repeatedly? And why do you commit these mistakes?

Get to know yourself better. Therapists can help you with it.

Even a mediocre therapist can help you with that much more than any friend or neighbor or grandmother.

You need friends and neighbors and grandmothers, because what advice they provide is backed by life experience and empathy for you. They like you. They love you.

A good therapist should not like you or love you. A good therapist should be like a mechanic. A garage should fix your car. Go fix your car. You do it once a year. You check your heart once a year. Check your mind once a year. Go to therapy.

I haven't slept a wink tonight, so please forgive my frazzled look and attributes, nature. Usually, I'm much more cheerful and a lot more optimistic as all of you can attest.

But today, we are going to do or I'm going to do what I do best. I'm going to be iconoclastic. I'm going to be, yet again, psychologist whistle blower.

Now, what blows my mind is that when I blow the whistle on psychology, when I expose to you the dirty secrets and the taboos and the topics that are hidden under the rug and in the closet, you're angry at me.

You don't want to know the truth. You'd rather live in Disneyland, inhabit a terrain of fantasy.

And so, I'm not quite sure whether I should proceed doing this to do this or not. But let me give it a last try.


Today, we're going to discuss four facts that will blow your mind.

And these are the facts for those of you who don't wish to crawl through my long-winded presentations. These are the facts.

Parents are much less happy than the childless. People who have children are less happy than people who do not have children.

Fact number two, abusive behavior in a relationship is a strong indicator of love and caring. I'm going to get a lot of flack for this one.

Number three, stress is good for you. Meditation and mindfulness intended to treat stress and reduce it and ameliorate it. Meditation and mindfulness are not always beneficial to use a British understatement.

Number four, the marshmallow test is wrong. And this was an earth-shattering statement. Only you have no idea what I'm talking about. So stick around till the end of the video and you will find out.

We're going to start with the most explosive of these claims. And that is the claim that abuse within relationships actually means love and is a strong indicator of deep caring.

Now, abused women have been claiming this forever. When you talk to abused women, victims of domestic violence, for example, they tell you, "He beat me up because he loves me and he's jealous. I made him do it. I provoked him."

And then when you ask them, "Why don't you get away?" these women answer, "Better to have bad attention than no attention at all."

And these victims insist that when the abuse stops, it makes them very worried because they equate pain, maltreatment, they equate hurt and harm with love. They believe if their intimate partner cares about them, he cares about them enough to abuse them. He cares about them enough to be possessive. He cares about them enough to penalize them for misbehavior, such as triangulation or flirting, or just saying or thinking the wrong thing.

Indeed, when couples come to me, a standard practice in couple therapy is to ask, "Are you still fighting?" Fighting is an indicator, is a determinant of emotional investment.

Only people who are still emotionally invested in each other and in the togetherness, in the relationship, only such people keep fighting. The moment the fighting stops, you know that the partners have given up on each other, that it's hopeless, that it's a lost cause and they better break up, better split up.

Fighting, therefore, is like a thermometer or like a barometer of the health, vitality, resilience and energy of the relationship, the life force left in the relationship.

When the fighting stops, the relationship is dead, it's a corpse. But fighting easily and frequently deteriorates into abuse.

So where do we draw the line? Should we ask in couple therapy, "Are you still abusing her? Are you still abusing him?" Or should we make a clear delineation and demarcation between fighting, legitimately arguing, debating things, trying to reach a consensus or trying to express emotions, negative affectivity such as anger and envy and jealousy? This is a legitimate side of things. Should we demarcate this from abuse and then what is abuse? Where do we draw the line?

Each person alive has his or her own or her own standards of what constitutes abuse and what doesn't. Boundaries are not rigid, they are not universal. My boundaries are not your boundaries.

What you may consider to be abusive, I want, and what I consider to be abusive, you will not consider. The same, you will not agree with me.

There's a lot of disagreement on what constitutes abuse.

I want to read to you a text from a book titled "Human Sexuality - Biological, Psychological and Cultural Perspectives". The second edition has just been published in 2021 by Rutter and the book is authored by Anne Boleyn and others.

Here's the book, I hope the camera captures it. I'm going to move it around a bit so that because it's a big book, so that it captures the whole cover.

Human Sexuality - Biological, Psychological and Cultural Perspectives.

Actually, it's the anthropology of human sexuality. Interesting book. Here's what it says on page 36.

Right. The dark side of relationships, inflicting of aggressive behaviors on your partner.

This can be seen in a study conducted by Hammill. The study was conducted in 2003.

The book continues to describe the study.

This study investigated the ability of a number of variables to predict the use of physical and psychological aggression in intimate relationships. Physically aggressive behaviors were actions that either threatened or delivered physical harm.

For example, kicking, hitting, forcing sex and choking.

Psychologically aggressive tactics involved those that potentially harmed the self-concept of the recipient. For example, calling the recipient names, giving angry stares, isolating the recipient from friends and family and humiliating or degrading the recipient.

Hammill in 2003, it's a woman.

She found a number of variables that reliably predicted the use of the participants' physical and psychologically harmful behaviors.

In other words, she isolated a series of variables that predicted well aggressive and abusive behavior.

These variables involved hold on to your chairs. It's going to get very bumpy.

These variables involved love, trust and emotional commitment.

Not surprisingly, those individuals who felt they could not trust their partner were more likely to use both physical and psychological aggression with a partner.

On the other hand, those who reported high levels of love and high levels of commitment for their partners were more likely to use physical and psychological aggression.

No, I didn't get it wrong. I didn't misread this sentence. I'm going to read it to you again.

Those who reported higher high levels of love and commitment for their partners were more like in more likely to use physical and psychological aggression against the partner.

Though the last finding, says the author, though the last finding might seem surprising, an interesting explanation is given.

We are not likely to bother using aggressive behaviors with our partners when their relationship is of little value to us.

In other words, ones in which we have little emotional commitment.

However, when we have high levels of emotional commitment, we might have a greater motive for controlling the partner or for retaliating against the partner for things the partner says or does.

Certainly concludes the author.

This study suggests that emotional responses have interesting impacts on relationships and what we are willing to do in relationships.

So this is one example of quite a few studies that link aggression in relationships, abusive behaviors in relationships, constant conflict in relationships to levels of love, commitment and emotional investment. The higher the levels of love, commitment and emotional investment, the more frequent and intense the conflicts and the more they tend to escalate towards maltreatment, abuse and worse.

Yes, there is a direct positive linkage, positive correlation between love and commitment and abusive behavior. The more you love and the more you care, the more abusive you are.

Every woman who has ever been abused tends to rationalize the abuse, tends to resolve her cognitive dissonance by telling herself exactly this, "He is abusing me because he loves me, because he cares about me, because he is jealous when I even look at other men. He beat me up because I made him do it. I provoked him.

In other words, I am in control.

So we used to poo-poo these narratives. We used to say these are nonsensical, self-soothing stories that women, abused women, tell themselves.

But it seems that they were right all along.

The next amazing fact, parenthood makes you unhappy.

I'm referring to a series of articles, all of them in the description. You go to the description, you find as usual the bibliography.

One of them is titled "Parenthood and Happiness: Effects of Work-Family Reconciliation Policies in 22 OECD countries, Industrialized Countries.

The lead author is Jennifer Gluck, and there are others.

The authors found, I'm quoting, "The authors found that more generous family policies, particularly paid time off and child care subsidies, are associated with smaller disparities in happiness between parents and non-parents.

Moreover, the policies that augment parental happiness do not reduce the happiness of non-parents.

This is one of the most refined sleight-of-hand texts I've ever read, because it disguises the truth.

And this is what the text actually says. The text actually says that people who are not parents are much happier than people who have children. That having children reduces happiness pretty dramatically, by the way.

And what they are saying is, Jennifer Gluck and others, what they are saying is, the state can help. The state can provide paid time off, child care, and this will narrow the happiness gap.

But even the authors admit that it will not resolve or eliminate the happiness gap. It will only narrow it somewhat.

It's a fact. Childless people are considerably happier than people with children across the lifespan.

And in a minute, we'll come to this.

There is an article titled, "Does Having Children Make People Happier in the Long Run?" It was authored by Nicholas Wolfinger. I'm not making this up. And he says, "I examine the relationship between children and happiness using over 40 years of data from the General Social Survey, a national omnibus survey conducted annually or bi-annually since 1972.

This data provide a sample size of almost 14,000 adults in the 50 to 70 age range and allow me to ascertain whether the benefits or liabilities of children for parental happiness have changed over time across the lifespan.

In particular, I examine both overall happiness and marital happiness.

One finding is consistent in all analysis, says Wolfinger. Older parents with minor children still at home are less happy than their emptiness contemporaries.

In other words, if you still have children at home, you are still unhappy. You become much happier the minute all of them leave home.

The emptiness syndrome is a myth.

And the difference is huge. It's five to six percentage points, statistically significant difference.

I'm going to read this paragraph again, because it defies all the myths about the happiness that children bring to you as a parent and how heartbroken and devastated you are when they leave home.

It's not true. You're unhappy when they're at home and you're delighted, relieved and elated when they're gone and you're free finally.

So here's what Wolfinger says. One finding is consistent in all analysis.

Older parents with minor children still at home are less happy than their emptiness contemporaries by about five to six percentage points.

A difference that's statistically significant.

Myth or nonsense number three. Stress is bad for you. You should meditate. You should do mindfulness.

So there's a series of articles published in New Scientists. New Scientists is a popular science magazine, but relatively okay when it comes to depth of research and so on.

And the article is titled How to Hack Your Stress and Turn It into a Positive Force in Your Life.

And this is what these are some excerpts from the article.

It was authored by Catherine Delange. I love these French names. They reduce my stress.

So here's what the article says.

Too much stress hurts the mind and body, but the stress response exists for good evolutionary reasons.

Recognizing this fact is the first step to turning the negative effects of stress around.

And Delange continues.

Last year the American Psychological Association found that two-thirds of people in the U.S. reported feeling more stressed in the pandemic and predicted a mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come.

Increased risk of diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease and more are all associated with high stress levels. It's enough to make you feel stressed just thinking about it.

Perhaps, says Catherine Delange in New Scientists, perhaps we just need to think about stress differently though. That at least is the startling conclusion of researchers studying the mind-body connection.

There are natural benefits to being stressed, they say. And if we change our stress mindset, we might be able to turn things around and make stress a positive influence on our lives.

Fortunately, there are some simple hacks that will allow us to do this and they bring with them the promise of better physical health, clearer thinking, increased mental toughness and greater productivity.

There is no denying Delange. There's no denying that too much stress can harm both body and mind. It has been linked to all six of the main causes of death in the West. Cancer, heart disease, liver disease, accidents, lung disease and suicide.

She forgot to mention listening to Sam Vaknin.

Stress can weaken the immune system, leaving us more prone to infection.

What does one of the leading authorities in the world have to say about this?

Ellen Francis, medical doctor, is professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine and the author of Saving Normal, an insider's revolt against out of control psychiatric diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma and the medicalization of ordinary life.

Sounds like a chap I could be friends with, write this very second, emeritus or not.

Ellen Francis gave an interview to Stuck News in 2016, 8th of February 2016.

Again, the link is in the description.

Ellen Francis is a respected US psychiatrist. He had to write a previous version of the country's main psychiatry textbook and he says there is an increasing tendency for people to confuse depression and anxiety with normal short-lived feelings of sadness and stress.

I repeat what he says. There is an increasing tendency for people and he should have added diagnosticians, clinicians, psychologists and psychiatrists and therapists. They all committed the same mistake.

Confusing depression and anxiety with normal short-lived feelings of sadness and stress.

In 2016, he went all out against depression screening and in an article titled "Depression screening for adults and adolescents has benefits but don't ignore the downsides". The author was Patrick Skerritt and it was published in February 2016.

So Ellen Francis says routine screening for depression is wrong on several levels.

It perpetuates a huge mistake made in 1980 as part of the update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, psychiatry's bible for defining mental illness.

It combined two distinct types of depression under a single label, major depressive disorder.

One type known as melancholia or endogenous depression causes severe trouble eating, sleeping, feeling, moving and talking along with unbearable sadness worse than losing a loved one.

Severe agitation and sometimes delusions.

But the other type known as reactive depression is more common and much milder and is on a continuum with a normal sadness that comes with daily life.

Francis says in lumping together these two very different severities of depression, major depressive disorder was often no longer really major or depressive or even a real disorder.

This helped to medicalize the inevitable disappointments, stresses and losses that are a part of everyday life.

The pharmaceutical industry exploited the loose definition with misleading marketing claims that all depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain that requires treatment with a pill.

Today 11% of Americans take an antidepressant among women over 40, the rate is 25%.

Screening tests, especially the brief ones used by primary care clinicians, cannot judge clinical significance. They are not specific, meaning they identify as depressed, a large number of people who really are not depressed and who would do just fine with a simple passage of time, natural resilience, family support or brief counseling.

Far too often they won't be given a chance to get well on their own. Instead, harried clinicians prescribe pills as the easiest way to get the patient out of the office. Insurance companies make things worse by not paying for careful diagnosis and further encourage a rush to medication.

Routine screening of all adults and adolescents would ramp up this already excessive treatment of the mildly ill and worried well. It would also further burden primary care clinicians, giving them yet another box to take off and reducing precious quality time spent actually caring for their patients, says Dr. Francis.

I love this guy.

Instead of screening all adults and adolescents for depression, our efforts, says Dr. Francis, would be better spent identifying and helping those with true clinical depression.

It doesn't make sense to create an army of fake patients when hundreds of thousands of Americans with serious depression and other mental health issues sleep through wide cracks in our broken healthcare system and receive minimal or no treatment.

What about the interventions that we do have?

Start with screening tools. Few of these interventions have been shown to do more good than harm in randomized clinical trials.

Actually, I could generalize and say that I'm not aware, although I'm not infallible and I'm not omniscient.

Here, you heard it first on this video. I am not infallible and I'm not omniscient and I'm not godlike. I'm just perfect.

But to the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of any intervention that had gone through the rigorous process of randomized clinical trial and that had been proven to do more good than harm.

None, not one. Depression and anxiety screening tools have been trialed several times, but there were no findings of any benefits to mental health.

Some of the trials don't even attempt to find out if they improve mental health, but just measure if they work at finding cases of depression.

Screening tools do find the outlier case of depression here and there, but do they find people who really have depression or is the rate of false positives so overwhelming that they should be avoided altogether?

Okay, you say, forget screening. Once you have been diagnosed with depression by a proper diagnostician, administering all the tests over many hours, by the way, and then analyzing them for several days, because that's what needs to happen for you to be properly diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Once you have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, how about mindfulness and meditation? Aren't they supposed to help these new age tools?

Here's an article, New Scientist, 14th of August 2020, by Claire Wilson. It's titled, "Mindfulness and Meditation Can Worsen Depression and Anxiety."

And I'll read to you from the article.

"Mindfulness," says Claire Wilson, and other types of meditation, are usually seen as simple stress relievers, but they can sometimes leave people worse off.

About one in 12 people who try meditation experience an unwanted negative effect.

I'm going to read this back to you, because one in 12 is seriously high. You wouldn't take antibiotics if they killed you one in 12 times, would you?

So about one in 12 people, says the article, who try meditation, experience an unwanted negative effect, usually a worsening in depression or anxiety or even the onset of these conditions for the first time. According to the first systematic review of the evidence, Miguel Falias at Coventry University in the United Kingdom is one of the researchers behind this study. And he says, "For most people, it works fine, but it has undoubtedly been overhyped and it's not universally benevolent." There are many types of meditation, of course. One of the most popular though is mindfulness. Mindfulness to my mind is absolutely the reification of narcissism. It's the narcissist therapy, it's a narcissist meditation. Had the narcissist been forced to invent, to come up with a meditation protocol, he would have come with mindfulness. I deal with this in other videos. But okay, forget my personal anger. Let's go back to mindfulness. There are many types of meditation. Mindfulness is one. In mindfulness, people pay attention to the present moment. They focus on their own thoughts and feelings or on external sensations on their body right here and now in the present. Actually, several national health bodies around the world in the United Kingdom as well, do recommend mindfulness as a way to reduce depression and especially the relapse of depression in people who have experienced a condition several times. And so there's a huge hype and a huge enthusiasm for meditation. And of course, numerous an army of self-styled experts on YouTube and promoting and hyping and praising and bragging about outcomes and pushing you and forcing you to buy products and retreats and so on and so forth. Enthusiasm, it's all over the place. It's a hot button topic. And the article says, "enthusiasm for meditation may partly stem from a growing awareness of the side effects of antidepressant medicines and the difficulties some people report in stopping taking them. There have been some reports of people experiencing worse mental health after starting meditation, but it is unclear how often this happens. Farias Tim combed through medical journals and found 55, that's a lot, relevant studies. Once the researchers have excluded those studies who had deliberately set out to find negative effects, they worked out the prevalence of people who experience harm, damage within each study, and then calculated the average adjusted for the study size, a common method in this kind of analysis known as meta-analysis. So they become the literature. They excluded studies that they thought were biased. They focused only on neutral studies, and then they adjusted the outcomes to the sample size. Having gone through these very rigorous and statistically efficient series of techniques, Farias and others found that about 8% of people who try meditation experience an unwanted effect. Farias says, "people have experienced anything from an increase in anxiety up to panic attacks." They also found instances of psychosis and thoughts of suicide following meditation and especially mindfulness. They found that about 8% of people who try meditation are subject to this. 8% I can tell you is a vast underestimate. How do I know? Many studies of meditation record only very serious negative side effects. Many studies of medication don't record negative side effects and are biased in the opposite direction. They are more like marketing tools than real studies. Generally, there's a reluctance because it's politically incorrect. There's a reluctance to record the negative effects of meditation. I would venture a guess that in one of five cases, meditation and mindfulness are potentially life-threatening. Katie Sparks is a chartered psychologist. She's a member of the British Psychological Society. In this article, she says, the figure could have been pushed up by people trying out meditation because of undiagnosed anxiety or depression. Meditation has been found to help people to relax and refocus and help them both mentally and physically, she says. But sometimes when people are trying to steal their thoughts, the mind can rebel, she says. It's like a backlash to the attempt to control the mind. And this results in an episode of anxiety or depression.

This doesn't mean people should stop trying the technique, says these psychologists, but instead they should opt for guided meditation sessions led by a teacher or for an app with a recorded narration, which she believes is safer.

I don't know why you should try techniques when you need to take safety measures. I mean, that sounds totally nuts to me, but that's what she says.

And she concludes, the current study could stop people participating in something which can be of benefit in the right context, she says, and I add or kill them.

The journal references the article, various articles where he discovered that about one in 12 people are seriously adversely affected by meditation and mindfulness. The article is published in Aktucius Medicus. So mouthful. And it's titled systematic review or meta analysis adverse events in meditation practices and meditation-based therapies: a systematic review.

21st of August 2020 link in the description.

Let's continue a bit further to augment our case.

There's an article published in New Scientists were else in the 13th of May 2015. And it's by the same Miguel Fahlias and Catherine Wickel. It's titled Panic, depression and stress: the case against meditation.

It couldn't be more explicit.

Fahlias is a leading scholar of meditation, the effects of meditation, medical psychiatric effects.

So here is offering an article in 2015, since then, by the way, is a bit a lot more careful, probably the backlash or some threats or some censorship or whatever. I don't know, but the guy is a lot more gentle.

But in 2015, he was all gone, the whole.

And the article is titled Panic, depression and stress: the case against meditation. End of story. It says meditation and mindfulness have become the new aspirin, a Buddha pill without side effects, but not all their effects are positive.

We come and far as say, twitching, trembling, panic, disorientation, hallucinations, terror, depression, mania, psychotic breakdown. These are some of the reported effects of meditation.

Surprised, we were to say the two psychologists, techniques such as transcendental meditation and mindfulness are promoted as ways of quieting the mind, alleviating pain and anxiety, and even transforming you into a happier and more compassionate person.

Natural cue-alls without adverse effects. But happiness and distressing were not what meditation techniques with their Buddhist and Hindu developers had in mind to start with.

Read this article, relatively frightening and shocking.

Okay, this was topic number three.

Stress is actually good for you. And if you do attempt to reduce stress because it's become too much, please reconsider whether you listen to YouTube hype rather than to scholarly articles, meditation and mindfulness, if not guided by a really, really good professional can be life threatening. And definitely, have in many cases adverse mental health effects, including depression, anxiety and even psychosis.

Our last topic is the marshmallow taste test. A tasty test for a change in psychology.

Generations, decades, a mountain range of textbooks have relied on this seminal study known as the marshmallow test. Yet, it's beginning to unravel.

Science Daily, on the 21st of July 2022, published a review of an article. The article is titled "Cultures Crossing: the power of habit in delaying gratification".

Was published in Psychological Science in 2022, volume 33. It was co-authored by Kai Chi and Aoka, Laura Michaelson and others, the University of Colorado at Boulder.

And here is what the article has to say. It's a new take on the marshmallow test.

When it comes to resisting temptation, a child's cultural upbringing matters.

The article is so well written that I'm simply going to read it to you.

For decades, studies have shown that children able to resist temptation, children opting to wait for two marshmallows later, rather than consume one now, these children tend to do better on measures of health and success later in life.

But 50 years after the seminal marshmallow test had suggested this, a fresh multicultural approach to the test adds a missing piece of the story.

What kids are willing to wait for depends largely on their cultural upbringing.

And I would simply say on their upbringing. I don't know why they need the word "cultural" here.

In a study published in the Journal of Psychological Science, the study as I mentioned before, children in Kyoto, Japan, waited three times longer for food than for gifts. Whereas children in Boulder, Colorado, waited nearly four times longer for gifts than for food.

One of the authors says, "We found that the ability to delay gratification, which predicts many important life outcomes, is not just about variations in genes or brain development, but also about habits supported by culture."

The findings provide good news to parents showing that fostering simple, culturally appropriate habits in young children may influence their development in ways that make it easier for them to delay gratification later.

But it also calls into question decades of social science research, suggesting that some children, deemed lacking in self-control, may have instead just had different cultural values around waiting.

Muna Kata, one of the authors, says, "It calls into question how much of our scientific conclusions are shaped by the cultural lens we as researchers bring to our work.

It's a major problem in psychology, anthropology, sociology, sexology. It's a major problem.

We bring into the studies, into the research, our cultural biases, our values, our beliefs, our education, social mores, expectations. This is wrong. This contaminates the work, the studies.

What is the marshmallow test?

First conducted in the early 1970s by psychologist Walter Mischel, M-I-S-C-H-E-L.

What a mystery. The marshmallow test worked like this.

A preschooler was placed in a room with a marshmallow. They were told they could eat the marshmallow now, or they could wait and get two marshmallows later.

Then the experimenter left the room, and the children were left alone while the clock ticked and a video camera rolled.

Many studies found, because the marshmallow test has been replicated like thousands of times, many studies found that preschoolers who waited longer did better on academic test scores, were less likely to exhibit problem behavior, and had a healthier body mass index and better relationships later in life.

Now I know why I am the way I am. I ate the marshmallow even before the experimenter left the room.

I am continuing from the article.

Some studies also found that these same study subjects were less likely to end up in jail and more likely to make more money.

So if you didn't eat the marshmallow, if you waited for two marshmallows later, you had it made.

Early on, researchers focused on inherent and cognitive explanations.

Munakata says there was this idea that some kids simply have more self-control, and some kids have less self-control.

Munakata, who is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is, as the name implies, of Japanese heritage. But he grew up in the U.S., and actually he conceived of the idea while he was on a sabbatical in Kyoto.

On the first day of school, her two children tore into the lunch boxes. The Japanese peers in Kyoto told them that in Japan you don't eat until everyone sits down.

Munakata noticed that her children, the behavior of her children, and her children's ability to delay gratification was heavily influenced by peer pressure. And of course, peer pressure reflects socialization and enculturation.

In other words, peer pressure reflects society. Society's strictures and mores and edicts and expectations, beliefs and values.

So the peers communicated Japanese culture to these two American kids.

And Munakata noticed that her kids are changing. While her children were used to waiting to open their gifts on birthdays and Christmas, their Japanese peers opened the gifts the moment they got them, whether the gift-giver was present or not.

So here she saw the opposite example.

Japanese children were able to postpone, delay the gratification of food. They waited for everyone to sit down before they ate, which is a process that could take a few minutes, but they were used to that.

But Japanese were unable to delay gratification when it came to gifts. American children were the opposite. They were able to delay gratification when it came to gifts, but not when it came to food.

Obesity anyone?

So she asked herself, how much does culture influence all this?

So she teamed up with Professor Satoru Saito at the Graduate School of Education in Japan and Kaichi Yanagawa, a graduate student in University of Tokyo.

What they did, they recruited 144 children from Boulder, Colorado and Kyoto. They randomly assigned these children to a test involving a marshmallow or a wrapped present, a wrapped gift.

And then they looked through the video.

So how did the children cope?

They say one counted the dots on the ceiling, another drew his name on the desk, another paced around the room.

It was fascinating to see the self-soothing techniques these children engaged in.

The children in Japan were overwhelmingly better at waiting for the marshmallow with a median wait time of 15 minutes. I'm not sure I could do this. If we had just looked at their behavior with the sweets, it would have looked like Japanese kids have better self-control, says Monakata.

But that was not the end of the story.

In Japan, kids waited less than five minutes to open the presents, open the gifts. The reverse was true in the United States, where kids waited almost 15 minutes to open the presents versus less than four minutes to gobble the poor marshmallow.

So notably kids who had a habit of waiting for meals at home and elsewhere waited longer to eat a marshmallow.

And across cultures, children who were more attuned to social conventions as measured by surveys, waited longer generally.

This suggests, says Dostat, one of the authors, this suggests that the way you grow up, the social conventions you have raised around and how much you pay attention to these social conventions, these are all important.

Monakata said that the study does not debunk the marshmallow test's central finding, that the ability to resist here and now rewards is linked to success in long term goals.

She acknowledges that genetics, neurocognitive factors and social factors play a role in how much willpower a child exhibits.

She herself actually in 2018, another study, she found that preschoolers in their in-group opt to wait for the second marshmallow because the in-group does.

So she herself kind of supported the main conclusions of the marshmallow test.

But this new study clearly indicated that the locus of cell control, the locus of delayed gratification has nothing to do with genetics, your brain, your neurological system, nothing. It's nothing to do with the nucleus.

Where you exercise control, self-control, where you delay gratification is determined by culture and society, not by you.

Cultivating, the authors conclude, cultivating habits of waiting for others could be doing much more than supporting politeness.

Munkata says such habits may change brain systems in ways that makes delaying gratification more automatic. It could make it easier for kids to succeed in future life situations without having to work so hard.

I wish someone told my mother this, but you know I was born way too early.

Okay, so today we delve deep into some of the tabools and the myths and of psychology, things that psychologists know but rarely dare to speak of.

Number one, parents are less happy than childless people across the lifespan. They become very happy when the children live home.

Number two, abusive behavior, aggressive behavior does indicate love, caring, an investment in a committed relationship. It does. It's linked to it.

Number three, stress is good for you. Meditation and mindfulness can be seriously bad for you.

And number four, delayed gratification has at least as much to do with culture as with us. We are molded by cultures, by the culture and society we grow in.

If the culture and society broadcasts to you, tells you that you have to wait, that you have to be polite, that you have to be considerate, then you will be and you will be able to delay gratification. If the culture tells you that you come first, you are entitled, you should gratify yourself at the expense of everyone and immediately it's a jungle out there, it's dog eat dog, it's a zero-sum game, you're likely to be unable to delay gratification.

And these are the results of the recent, most recent studies. You have been warned and forewarned is forearmed.

What's with the British idioms today?.

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