Posts Tagged ‘Brice Petgen’

Let Us Put Aside Ideologies

August 28, 2010

Let Us Put Aside Ideologies

I liked the following comment on one of my recent post by Brice Petgen. So, her it is on my main page.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Let us put aside ideologies, or at least try to minimize their influence. There are certain realities that occur with immigration as it currently exists. Immigrants tend to cluster together in similar areas. When you have a large influx of unskilled immigrants cluster in an area, you have a higher incidence of poverty. As the poverty increases then there is an increase in crime. It is not a function of ethnicity but of the relationship between crime and poverty. What happens when there is an atmosphere of come one come all is that we wind up inviting increased crime rates. That puts a strain on the society that the infrastructure is not prepared for. Also with an increase in unskilled immigration there is a direct effect on the social service system, medicaid, welfare, education, health care, etc. Again the infrastructure is not prepared for such an increase. The inability of the infrastructure to deal with the new consumers is a key reason why open border or semi closed border policy is truly unsustainable.

Skilled immigration does not share the same effect on the current infrastructure as unskilled immigration does due to the reduced poverty rate. As such the U.S. should encourage large amounts of skilled immigration and also encourage significantly reduced levels of unskilled immigration.

Skilled immigration is key to the growth of the U.S. It increases our greatest strength, our diversity. It also adds increases in tax revenue to the federal government. Also immigration also helps to reduce the effects of the reduced birth rate in the U.S. Again it is the skilled immigrant that we need more of, but we should also welcome smaller amounts of unskilled immigrants.

As for Washington being left or right, yesterday’s radicals become today’s conservative heroes.

Brice Petgen

Medical Marijuana Revisited

June 16, 2010

Medical Marijuana Revisited

My main objection is our governments’ allowing legalized marijuana for “medical use” in ways that are prompts and successive approximations to increased rates of generalized population use of marijuana for recreational purposes. When this happens there will be an increase in rates of marijuana use among children and adolescents.

I hope you will read the comments by Brice Petgen on the right side-bar of this blog for the context of my continued discussion of this topic. Brice, I am in agreement with most of what you have so well written.

Giving permission to grow one’s own pot plants to some specified number, even for legitimate medical purposes, is a prescription for disaster. This cannot be controlled and “medical marijuana” will be harvested and sold for profit, or given, to those who have no legitimate medical needs. Furthermore, it sends a message of general acceptance to your youth. This was the point of the disturbing case study that I described in my previous post on this topic.

An article in Monitor On Psychology (June 2010, Vol. 41, No 6) entitled Medicine or Menace? provided a balanced account of this medical marijuana issue.

Research indicates that approximately 10% of those using marijuana develop marijuana dependence. The “2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that among people who had used heroin in the past year, 45.4 percent met the criteria for dependence. Among those who had smoked cigarettes in the past year, 35.3 percent were dependent on nicotine, and 20.4 percent of past-year cocaine users were dependent. The analysis included in Chapter 22 of ‘Psychiatry Third Edition, Volume 1 ‘(Wiley, 2008) that 9.7 percent of people who used cannabis met criteria for dependence. Among past year alcohol users, 4.9 percent met criteria for dependence.”

If medical use of marijuana proceeds in ways that stimulate increased recreational use of marijuana, the absolute number of those dependent upon this drug will, in my view, certainly increase. In my private practice, I too often see the life-ruining results in families and children caused by marijuana use. Currently about 6 percent of our youth “12 years and older have used marijuana in the last month.”

“About 4.2 million people are dependent on or abuse marijuana, almost twice the number of prescription drug abusers and three times the number of cocaine abusers, says Joseph Gfroerer, director of SAMHSA’s Division of Population Surveys.”

The principle active ingredient in Marijuana is THC, which has been FDA approved in medication form (as opposed to the smoked variety). This medication has been found effective for a variety of legitimate applications (pain, nausea, stimulating appetite, and more). Smoking the marijuana weed introduces the unnecessary risks of smoking. I have read that one marijuana cigarette is equal to 20 tobacco cigarettes in terms of its health risks.

I do not object to legitimate M.D. prescribed THC medication controlled and dispensed through pharmacies for appropriate medical applications.

I do object to the explosive growth of pot-shops selling “designer pot” in all flavors and mixtures under the fraudulent guise of “medical marijuana”. I do object to “prescribed memberships” in the “medical marijuana home growers association”. All of this will do is catalyze a national behavioral contagion of drug dependence and abuse.

All of that would be just another dumb-assed self-driven nail in our American coffin.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. 6/17/10

Behavioral Contagion of Psychological Problems

April 6, 2010

Behavioral Contagion of Psychological Problems

Brice Petgen wrote:

I have been studying quite a bit about personality disorders this semester. It is rather fortuitous that your blog entries have been what they have been recently. The more I learn the more I come to the realization that personality disorders are really disorders based on, and developed from, interpersonal relations. There is no pill that can alleviate these disorders. They only “fix” I see is a therapeutic approach with a strong relational basis. We, as therapists, must gain the trust of our client. We must create the environment in which the client can display these deficits in interpersonal relations. At that point we must address the deficits or distortions. CBT and behavioral techniques can be quite useful then to challenge the views and meanings that underlie the issue. Plus quite a bit of insight from the client is required. But that becomes the most difficult, due to the fact that the client generally does not see a problem. In essence we are attempting to help the client change who they are as a person. Now that is quite a bit of heavy lifting.

VTM wrote:

Yes, Brice, the concept of behavioral contagion is nicely illustrated using the personality disorders. You are correct that therapy with those who suffer from Personality Disorders is “heavy lifting” for both the therapist and the client. In fact, the message of behavioral contagion is that the only winning way to deal with the increasing spread of behavioral/emotional problems within a population is through prevention. Perhaps you recall the ol’ nursery rhyme, “All of the kings men and all of the kings horses couldn’t put poor Humpty Dumpty together again”. That is to say, all of the therapists that we could possibly field cannot stem the flow of Americans with psychological problems. The name of the game must be the prevention of psychological disorders…When it comes to “people raising”, doing it right the first time around is what must be done. That will require some major changes in our American socioculture. And that really is some “heavy lifting”!

Thanks for your thoughtful reply Brice.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.   4/6/10

What’s More Important:Liberty or Equality?

February 2, 2010

What’s More Important: Liberty or Equality?

The following response was written by Brice Petgen, a outstanding former student, now in graduate school. He was responding to my post, “Are You a Ant or a Grasshopper”.

I judge that his thoughts are worthy of  your consideration.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 2/2/2010

The following are Mr. Petgen’s words:

As I read the new parable I see it as so true.  But I find myself asking a question.  Which does our current society value more, liberty or equality?  Do not misunderstand, I agree with EQUAL OPPORTUNITY with ever fiber of my being.  But what I see occurring is the focus, in academia and in society as a whole, is there is now a focus on equal outcome.  But I seem to remember learning in a history class long ago that the American Ideal is centered on liberty.
You see a free society is by definition unequal in outcomes.  I work on a PhD in Counseling and another person sits around the house glued to the T.V. when not at work.  I am free to work harder and make more than the couch potato.  Hence inequality of outcome.
An equal outcome society by definition cannot be free.  As I work harder to make more, more is taken from me and given to the couch potato.  Hence I am not free to enjoy the fruits of my labor, essential in liberty.
So now I ask again, especially to all those “social justice” disciples, what is more important, liberty or equality?

As I compose my diatribe I am waiting for Bruno’s pizza and having fond memories of my classes and discussions with Dr. M.  And if any IUSB faculty read this, thanks. You guys did a great job of educating and preparing me for Grad school.


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