Saturday, November 25, 2006

If Your Doctor Is An Alien

When my brain comes off holiday you will get a serious post. In the meantime, you get this.

I was at the grocery store this afternoon and as I was checking out I saw this week's copy of Weekly World News. The front page had a picture of three bug-eyed monsters dressed in surgical scrubs complete with masks and caps. The title of the story was:

"Your Doctor May Be An Alien"

I can't speak for my fellow bloggers, but I for one am not an alien. Not that I have anything particular against aliens---I would never require proof of terrestrial origin when hiring someone, nor would I support the idea of building a fence around Earth to keep them out. (After all, we're getting blown up to make way for an intergalactic highway anyway.)

But it did get me thinking about Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Mack. Although not definitively an extraterrestrial himself, he did write books about alien abductees (now available used on for forty cents). He interviewed many people who claimed to have been abducted by aliens and found that they had experiences in common like being subjected to medical experiments or being forced to breed with aliens. He used hypnosis to regress the abductees and enhance their memories of what happened.

It's interesting to see the parallels between the alien abductee phenomenon and people purported to have multiple personality disorder back in the 1980's. (The abductee phenomenon was a bit later, with Mack's books published in the 1990's.) MPD patients sought treatment for trauma related to organized Satanic ritual abuse. They were treated by therapists who used hypnosis to enhance memory and often reported being forced to breed by cult members. They referred to themselves as cult "brood mares". (I always wondered why no one was ever groomed to be the Satanic cult treasurer.)

I don't know how many of these therapists accepted the trauma history as literal truth and how many used the abductee/Satanic abuse schema as a metaphor in treatment; the more important question is the validity of the treatment that was provided. Alien or not, patients deserve treatment that is not out-of-this-world.