Saturday, October 28, 2006

What I Learned: Part 1


For the past week I've been attending my annual professional conference. Lest anyone think I've been lounging around the pool, touring the city or just hanging out instead of seriously learning anything, I've decided to post a random sampling of unrelated things I've learned at this conference. I think it's a good representation of the range of topics that get presented every year. This is the first of a three part series of posts entitled "What I Learned". Again, these items are presented completely at random and have no relation to one another.

Here goes:

  • Robert Simon gave a great keynote speech entitled "Authorship in Forensic Psychiatry". Now, some people are born writers (like my co-blogger Dinah) and some are not. Dr. Simon is a born writer who will probably be buried with a pen or two in his front pocket and he will continue publishing from the grave. I am not a born writer so I appreciated the advice he offered: don't even look at a piece of paper until you have a paragraph or two already written in your head. If you run into a blank patch, keep writing because you can always edit it later. Set a consistent time for writing in a quiet space with no distractions. There were many more relevant bits but I'm trying to keep this brief. I spoke with him afterward and mentioned Shrink Rap, and he asked me what a "blog" was. I tried to explain (poorly) and ended up sending him a link to Shrink Rap instead.
  • People are more willing to talk about the accuracy of criminal profiling rather than the ethics of doing profiles.
  • People who are fascinated by serial killers and who want to hear about them have probably never met one.
  • The BTK serial killer once worked for the ADT home security company.
  • Under Sharia law women are not allowed to speak in court. Certain serious religious offenses, called hadd offenses, are punished through stoning or amputation. These offenses include rape, theft and robbery, fornication and adultery. In some countries the amputations are carried out by physicians. Under Sharia women are not allowed to speak in court or testify. I heard a talk by a female human rights lawyer from Nigeria that was fascinating; the audience was completely silent while she described the lengths she had to go to to avoid assassination travelling to and from court.
  • One California judge stated that he is bound to the same level of confidentiality as any other mental health professional involved in his mental health court program. They stopped questions before I could ask him how he preserved confidentiality while discussing a defendant's mental health problems in open court.
  • Mental health courts decrease frequency and length of incarceration, increase compliance with mental health care and improve the quality of life of the defendant. Of the 200 defendants involved in one mental health court program, only 2 became employed as a result of their involvement. The goal of mental health court most realistically appears to be to minimize the cost to society rather than helping the defendant achieve employment. This is probably an indication of the severity of the illnesses suffered by these defendants.
  • The majority of psychiatrists sanctioned by physician boards are male (90%) and sanctions are agreed upon without an administrative hearing. They are typically guilty of sexual boundary violations and are given multiple sanctions including license suspension, probation, and requirements for counselling and supervision.
  • In 2004 less than 2% of violent sexual offenses reported in the Uniform Crime Reports were committed by women.

That's the end of Part 1. It's been a great conference so far.

And yes, I have toured the city a bit and will be lounging around with friends tonight.

10 comments:

Midwife with a Knife said...

I can't even imagine participating in an amputation as punishment, I still have nightmares about a particularly ugly procedure from residency! Do they use anesthesia as part of their amputation procedures? Do the physicians have the right to decline to participate. Ugh. Again, can't even imagine. Then, there's always the obvious women's rights implications of Sharia law.

Sounds like an interesting conference. I hope forensic psychiatrists hold their conferences somewhere warm and sunny!

dinah said...

I have seven 12 year olds in my family room watching a movie and eating pizza, hiding in an adjacent room with the laptop and an email comes through via Shrink Rap that begins: "I can't even imagine participating in an amputation as punishment" and after my initial, "What the??" I regrouped and realized, CLINK posted Again!! of course. Hope you're having a blast in warm and sunny chicago.

Roy's scientologist post is getting lots of "attention." Oy.

Hope everyone else is having a quieter Saturday night and what ever happened on Carrie's date with the intern???

Dinah said...

gave you a pic

Sarebear said...

Yeah! I hope her date went well. I note that the music is back. I liked the optional on or off part of it, not for it to be gone completely!

jw said...

Some of the things you mention being taught go to the problem I have with the profession: A problem most of the men's groups also have with psychiatry.

For instance the mention of 2% of UCR mentions being female. Of the most serious male victims of female offenders known to the various male survivor groups the conviction rate for the offender(s) is zero.

I know 44 (it was 43 two weeks ago) men who have --using reasonable standards of proof-- lived through extremely violent female offender sex assaults. Among those 44 there are zero convictions; there is also only one who feels he was treated fairly by psychology/psychiatry.

YET! Yet, psychiatry demands, loudly demands, that male victims are rare and almost irrelevant.

Let's be straight up here: If the level of contempt shown to male survivors was shown to any other group in the country there would be convictions and major loss of jobs for the guilty parties.

I make no bones about it: I believe that the gender policy used by the psychiatric professional groups is misandrist and may well amount to an attempt to increase the male suicide rate. Given what is taught and how it is taught, I can see no other reasonable conclusion.

Roy said...

Thank you for the synopsis, Clink. I'll be going to the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine meeting in a few weeks, so I'll do the same when I'm there.

JW, I agree with your observation that male-directed aggression by women is an under-recognized, under-reported, and under-appreciated problem. But I don't think it has anything to do with Psychiatry, and think it has everything to do with our society's notion that men are "macho" and in control, and that any man who is assaulted or bested by a woman is a wuss. (Hmm, I wonder what Scientology has to say about this.)

jw said...

roy: And who has control over what psychiatrists and psychologists believe?

Exactly, the members and their professional bodies ... Worse, those professioanl bodies not only refuse to make changes, they seek to make the situation worse. EXACTLY what Dr. Wm Masters told me would happen ...

That is blameworthy behavior by any standard I've ever heard of.

Borneo Breezes said...

Great gleanings.

NeoNurseChic said...

Sorry I just read these comments today for the first time! Guess by now you all know how the date went... At first, the dates were really nice. Each one was fun, and I enjoyed getting to know him.

But you know the rest of what happened.... Jerk, yet again.... He's going to be an ENT...they always get a bad rap for being really arrogant and all, but I was thinking this guy was different. He didn't have that same ENT persona that the rest of them have. I figured, he hasn't actually started that residency yet, so maybe he hasn't been shaped.

But he still treated me like that...

That's now 1 med student (who was almost an intern) and 1 intern who have broken up with me or ended a brief dating thing by just not speaking to me and sending me emails. I'm still trying to contemplate why that is considered an acceptable way to handle things in this day and age. Talk about wusses......Especially when the guy gives me a kiss at the end of each of 3 dates and then within hours just decides never to speak to me again.

Ah well...

Went figure skating today at the Penn Class of 1923 rink. It was great...just what I needed. Will blog about it later, but right now I want to read for a little bit and take a short nap I think! Didn't sleep much at all last night and then PT and skating today wore me out!

Hugz,
Carrie :)

ClinkShrink said...

Thanks Borneo; I just put up Part 2.