Psychiatry professor Anthony Tobia of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is teaching his students about psychiatric disorders through required watching of Seinfeld episodes.
It sounds like a joke, but Dr. Tobia is completely serious. He states “When you get these friends together the dynamic is such that it literally creates a plot: Jerry’s obsessive compulsive traits combined with Kramer’s schizoid traits, with Elaine’s inability to forge meaningful relationships and with George being egocentric.”
The many critics of psychiatry and their Bible the DSM, will justifiably have a field day with this latest demonstration of psychiatry’s ineptitude.
To underline this point, Gary Greenburg, a practicing psychotherapist, asserts that psychiatric disorders are completely invented.
He points out the very genesis of the DSM was a desperate psychiatric profession attempting to prove it’s worth.
Greenburg states “As the rest of medicine became oriented toward diagnosing illnesses by seeking their causes in biochemistry, in the late 19th, early 20th century, the claim to authority of any medical specialty hinged on its ability to diagnose suffering. To say ‘Okay, your sore throat and fever are strep throat.’ But psychiatry was unable to do that and was in danger of being discredited. As early as 1886, prominent psychiatrists worried that they would be left behind, or written out of the medical kingdom. For reasons not entirely clear, the government turned to the American Medico-Psychological Association, (later the American Psychiatric Association, or APA), to tell them how many mentally ill people were out there. The APA used it as an opportunity to establish its credibility.”
Greenburg colorfully points out that “The reason there haven’t been any sensible findings tying genetics or any kind of molecular biology to DSM categories is not only that our instruments are crude, but also that the DSM categories aren’t real. It’s like using a map of the moon to find your way around Russia.”
Like the invented “mental disorder” dubbed “drapetomania” concocted by a slaveholder’s doctor in 1850 to explain the “mental illness” that would compel a slave to attempt an escape from slavery, today’s labels are for the convenience of the diagnosing mental health care worker. These disorders are voted on to “explain” someone’s behavior before being put into print where they become psychiatric “law.”
To illustrate this, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder until the 1970s, when gay activists made it an uncomfortable stance. The APA trustees voted to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders by a vote of 13 to 0, and it was removed from the DSM issued in 1974.
So with absolutely no scientific tests to determine mental illness, it’s not surprising that a psychiatric professor would turn to a humorous hit TV show to instruct students in identifying mental “disorders.”
Consider this: If a professor of surgery instructed med students to watch reruns of E.R. to perfect their diagnostic and surgical techniques there would be a public uproar. The very fact that a psychiatric professor can get away with these antics proves a sorry point. The public just doesn’t expect anything more from psychiatry.