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You Nietzsche more philosophy

By Melanie Mann
On March 6, 2013

Many therapists seem to be of the opinion that all the world's happiness is encased in a tiny pill, and upon ingestion one's innards will ooze blissful sanity forevermore.
Maybe I'm exaggerating a tad, but medications do seem to be the go-to solution for many therapists when confronted with clients who are depressed or suicidal. Of course, there are cases in which a person's emotional state is directly impacted by brain chemistry, but it is absurd to assume every person who is suicidal can be cured with a pill.
In fact, I think it is safe to say many people have completely rational reasons for being depressed or suicidal.
In September of 2010, a man named Mitchell Heisman committed suicide and left an electronic suicide note that was approximately 1,905 pages long. In the note, Heisman discussed his reasons for killing himself, covering issues such as religion, politics and nihilism. Heisman believed that society is illogically biased against death, in favor of life, and he felt so strongly about his philosophical convictions, he committed suicide to prove it.
A perspective that strays so far from the norm can be difficult for most people to grasp. However, one class that includes the philosophy of Nietzsche could be enough to dispel that knee-jerk reaction to question Heisman's sanity.
Looking through the psychology curriculum at Southeastern, I find it baffling how absolutely no philosophy courses are required for psychology majors.
There are four free electives required in the psychology curriculum, and I don't see why two or three of those couldn't be devoted to philosophy classes, considering most psychologists work in the fields of counseling and therapy.
I don't believe Heisman was a victim of a chemical imbalance. In fact, he killed himself in the name of pure rationality. To simply write him off as insane or disturbed, to say one pill could have "fixed" his worldview, is almost disrespectful. The amount of thought and effort he put into the formation of his complex philosophy is what consumed him.
Sometimes, it is not the brain chemistry that needs to change; it is the perspective that needs to change.
How is a psychologist supposed to change a client's perspective when he or she doesn't even understand it? It is time for psychological professionals to realize personal philosophy can have a huge impact on a person's behavior, and to neglect the acknowledgement of the metaphysical side of human nature is a disservice to those clients.
 


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