Saturday, March 28, 2015

…”She acknowledged feeling uncomfortable about seeing a psychiatrist because ‘you might think I'm crazy.’ “ Gretchen N. Foley, MD and Julie P. Gentile, MD in Nonverbal Communication in Psychotherapy

There has been a great deal of commentary by the talking heads of the media for the need of more extensive psychological testing of pilots in the light of the disaster of the Germanwings crash .  Psychology is a very inexact science and I opine offers very little to increase safety, mainly because it relies so much on the veracity of the patient.  Therapy helps people who want help - but some mental illnesses preclude that avenue.

To illustrate, I was once asked (long story)  if I was suicidal.  My immediate thought was, "If I were, I sure as hell wouldn't tell you." because you'd do what was necessary to prevent me from killing myself. So both the suicidal and the completely healthy person would say "no".  Now, if I was not suicidal but wanted help I'd answer "yes".  (Has anyone never had the random incidental thought of suicide?  If you did nothing else except read this sentence, I'd say you have.)

My point is that if you're mentally ill, your answers to the questions will be designed to conceal the mental illness except in some extreme cases. Why be truthful?  Are there psychological therapeutic tests that are not verbal?  The co-pilot's reaction to his diagnosis illustrates my point.  He concealed it and carried out the scenario that his mental illness dictated.

Life can't be perfect.

© 2015 Lester C. Welch

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