The Blair Years Review (July 2007)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:51
Observer July 15, 2007   I knew that The Blair Years was an account of events enlivened by Campbell’s unflattering comments about the people who had angered him, but I had not expected the occasional precise, perceptive assessment of certain people. His introduction confirmed my long-held suspicion that he was an introvert, one of those who need to keep chaos at bay and fulfil their need for achievement. Elsewhere I had read his description of what he calls his ‘serious psychotic breakdown’, which to me was a clear description of what happens to introverts when they discover a serious discrepancy between what they thought their life was and what it actually is. Here he explains that he kept a diary to give ‘some kind of order to often chaotic and confusing events around me’. Introverts are often better observers of other people than extraverts, even though extraverts rely on their relationships with others in order to feel that they exist. Campbell’s description of his meeting with Dick Cheney and George Bush made me wish, very fleetingly, that Campbell and not Blair had been the PM. He wrote, ‘[Cheney] managed to seem relaxed while at the same time emanating tension .…
Mental Health and Learning DisabilitiesResearch and Practice: Vol 4 No 2 Plus ça change Shortly after my book Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison was published in 1984, Angela Tilby, now the Reverend Angela Tilby but then a BBC TV producer working on the Everyman series, made a programme about my book called The Mind Box (Rowe ). This programme attracted nearly 2 million viewers, and afterwards it seemed that every one of these viewers wrote to me. This may be an exaggeration, but it is not an exaggeration to say that the majority of those who wrote said, “I’ve asked my GP if he’d refer me to someone I could talk to but he said not to be silly, just keep taking the tablets”. These GPs were not being obtuse and difficult. They were simply following the advice given by the Royal College of Psychiatrists who saw depression as a physical illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, underlying which was the gene for depression. Consequently the appropriate treatment was antidepressants and electroconvulsive therapy. In 2006 the Royal College of Psychiatrists abandoned the idea of chemical imbalance. The College now advises doctors that antidepressants (and, rarely, ECT)…

CCYP (March 2007)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:50
A Whirlpool in a Stream This was a talk by Dorothy Rowe at the BACP’s conference on Counselling Children and Young People in November 2006, which was subsequently published in the CCYP Journal (March 2007) ‘Man is the same in Pall Mall as in the wilderness of New South Wales.’ These were the words of Captain-Lieutenant Watkin Tench, one of the officers of the First Fleet sent to Botany Bay to found a penal settlement. Two hundred years later the Australian biologist Tim Flannery wrote, The two peoples who met on that day in 1788 – the Aborigines and the Europeans – had been separated from each other for longer than any other human cultures on our planet. For 60,000 years – perhaps half the span of our species’ tenure on earth – they had been cut off from each other, living on isolated and very different land masses at opposite ends of the globe. They had developed separate languages and cultures, different skin colour, gene frequencies and facial features. But despite it all, recognition and understanding were immediate, for so strong is our common bond that 60,000 years of separation melted away in a moment. A smile was a…

The Sunday Times (Jan 2007)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:50
Depression Published in The Sunday Times, 28 January 2007 Depression is a prison whose foundation stone is the unquestioned belief that you are intrinsically unacceptable to yourself and other people, and that you have to spend your life trying to be good in the way that you define ‘good’. Setting yourself impossibly high standards, you become an expert in feeling guilty. When a personal disaster befalls you, your ideas about yourself and your life no longer fit reality. This feels like your very self is falling apart and being annihilated. You are gripped by terror. You try to hold yourself together by blaming yourself for the disaster. Now you see yourself as being unforgivably wicked. Immediately you cut yourself off from other people because they will reject you, from your past where lies the evidence of your wickedness, from your hopeless future, and from society and nature. Thus, unintentionally, you create your prison of depression. The more you hate yourself, the worse your prison becomes. The key to the prison of depression is to decide to act as if you value and accept yourself. You do something nice for yourself, something as simple as going for a daily walk. You…

Readers' Digest Australia (Jan 2007)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:49
READERS’ DIGEST GREAT BOOKS Published in Australia January 2007 Edmund Gosse’s book about his relationship with his father, Philip Gosse changed the art of biography forever. Published in 1907, it caused a scandal. Until then all authors of an autobiography had to be mindful of the Fifth Commandment, ‘Honour thy father and mother so that thy days be long in the land.’ Criticise your parents and you’re dead. Consequently, parents were spoken of only in terms of the greatest respect. For a son to write about his parents in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, and not merely chronicle but carefully analyse how an unbridgeable gap developed between a father and son, was exceedingly shocking. Philip Gosse was a geologist and naturalist and, as a devout Plymouth Brethren, tried to reconcile the Brethren’s literal reading of the Book of Genesis with the increasing evidence, to which he had contributed, of evolution. The publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species was to him a terrible blow. Although the Gosse family lived in great poverty and the parents demanded much of their son, Edmund Gosse did not write a ‘misery memoir’ of the kind much in vogue at present. Rather…

The Fifth Commandment (March 2001)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:48
March 3, 2001 The Fifth Commandment The Fifth Commandment does not simply direct us to honour our parents but contains a threat. ‘Honour thy father and mother so that thy days will be long in the land.’ Criticise your parents and you’re dead. In an authoritarian society children had to be taught to respect a person in a position of authority because that person was in that position and irrespective of the attributes of that person. An abusive parent merited the same respect as a kind, loving parent. The Fifth Commandment has made a major contribution to human misery. If you believe that to review critically and dispassionately certain events in your childhood which involved your parents you prevent yourself from discovering that some of the conclusions you drew from those events were wrong. When your mother told you that fire would burn you, you soon discovered that she was right. When she told you that you were wicked and useless, you decided that this must also be true, and so you grew up believing that you were intrinsically bad and unacceptable. In adult life you cannot enjoy good relationships with other people because you fear that they will discover…

Depression Two (Feb 2001)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:48
February 13, 2001 DEPRESSION TWO Alice wrote to me to tell me how much she had been helped by counselling and by my books, but she added, ‘I understand now why I get depressed, and I’ve really tried to change, but I can’t make myself feel good about myself. I tell myself I’m valuable and all that, but deep down I know I’m not. What can I do?’ Believing that you are, in essence, bad and unacceptable is absolutely central to depression. If this is how you feel about yourself then, when you suffer a disaster, you blame yourself and think that you are even more wicked and unacceptable than you had realised. Doing this you cut yourself off from other people, from society and nature, from your past and your future, and thus, inadvertently, create the prison of depression. The key to this prison is to come to see yourself as valuable and acceptable, but many people have great difficulty is finding this key. No matter how much they suffer, they cannot bring themselves to believe that they are, in essence, valuable and acceptable. So, to find the key to the prison of depression you might need some help.…

Depression One (Feb 2001)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:47
February 12, 2001 DEPRESSION ONE Lewis Wolpert, the scientist who wrote about his own depression in his book Maligant Sadness, and I were taking part in a television discussion about depression. The producer had hoped that Lewis and I would disagree, but when I began talking about how being depressed is far, far worse than having a physical illness Lewis nodded his head furiously and said, ‘Yes, yes, absolutely.’ Lewis had had more than his share of physical illnesses, but he was in doubt that being depressed was his worst experience. The fact that being depressed is so terrible makes the news about increasing rates of depression so very serious. Depression is certainly better diagnosed than it was in past years, and more people, especially men, are prepared to admit that they are depressed, but the increasing numbers of adults and children who describe themselves as being stressed at work and at school suggest that there is a real increase in the incidence of depression. We can turn stress very easily into depression by blaming ourselves for our misery. A World Health Organisation report in 1999 showed that in Europe and America depression is the second greatest cause of death…

Women and Depression (Sept 1998)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:47
You: Mail on Sunday 13th September 1998 Women and Depression Libby Purves is one of the nicest, friendliest, most cheerful, most attractive, most competent and hard working women I know. She combines very successfully the roles of wife, mother, friend, career woman with many outside interests, something that many women nowadays try to do. I'm sure that when she was a little girl everyone must have loved her because she was so nice, friendly, cheerful, pretty and good. However, I didn't know that Libby had been through what so many women - good women - go through, the experience of being depressed. Libby knew what unhappiness was. She'd encountered loss and disappointment. But depression was quite different. Life had no colours but grey, and she hated herself. Kate made the same discovery. Like Libby she had good friends she could always turn to. When she and her first boyfriend split up and later when she missed out on a job she wanted she poured her heart out to her friends. They listened and told her she was wonderful and would always be successful, and she felt greatly comforted. But when the doctors told her she could never conceive a child…

Sex Changes (March 1997)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:46
19th March 1997 Sex Changes It's ideas, not things, that change the world. The mechanics of sex stay the same, generation after generation, but what changes are the ideas we have about sex. I was born into a society where the dominant idea about sex was that it was secret. Men might talk privately to one another about sex, but they didn't talk about it to women, and women, that is, good women, didn't talk about sex at all. A really good woman didn't even think about sex. My mother, my aunts and my teachers all behaved as if sex didn't exist, or, if it did exist, it was something no teenage girl needed to know anything about. This idea governed what we were taught at school. When I was in my final year at the Girls' High School in Newcastle, Australia, one of the set texts for the matriculation exams was Shakespeare's The Tempest. The particular text which my class of very bright sixteen years old girls was given was one from which all unseemly words and actions had been removed. We read the text through in class and our teacher, the English mistress, set us an essay about…
04/12/07 - Health section By VICTORIA LAMBERT The death of her mother left Janet Grange devastated. The teacher, who lives in Swanage, Dorset, couldn't stop crying, sleep was impossible and she became anxious about her own health. Her GP was very helpful; after a quick verbal test, he said she was suffering from depression and prescribed antidepressants. Janet's experience was far from unique - last year doctors wrote 31 million prescriptions for the drugs - a six per cent rise in two years. Meanwhile, estimates about the numbers affected by depression have also risen, to as many as one in 12 people. Depression, it seems, has become an - epidemic. Or has it? A new book by two leading psychiatrists suggests that more of us are not depressed, rather that doctors are turning sadness - a normal human emotion - into a disease. Furthermore, they argue, sadness is not a 'bad' state that needs treating, but can actually be good for us. The authors - Allan Horwitz, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, and Jerome Wakefield, professor of social work at New York University - argue that while genuine depression undoubtedly needs medical attention, somehow every other sort of normal…

Our Best Drug

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:45
Positive Health MagazineJuly 2004 Our Best Drug Dorothy Rowe Research in psychiatry over the last 50 years has been largely concerned with comparing one drug with another. Pharmaceutical companies have always been well aware that drugs used in psychiatry could produce vast profits, and so there has always been much competition between drug companies to produce the most effective drugs in the treatment of mental disorder. Many different drugs appear in the research literature, but one drug keeps appearing, a simple drug called placebo. It does remarkably well compared with drugs that contain active ingredients but the authors such of research reports have always preferred not to draw too much attention to these findings. How can a drug company make money out of a sugar pill whose effectiveness resides solely in the how the person taking the drug sees it? If the person thinks it will make him well, it will; if he doesn’t, it won’t. However, recent research in physical medicine is putting placebo centre stage because researchers are using methods very different from those used in psychiatry. Psychiatric research simply counted the number of people taking a drug and, of these, how many got better. Recent research in…

Extreme Ideas

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:44
Positive Health MagazineDecember, 2005 Extreme Ideas Dorothy Rowe Last July and August our television news programmes were full of pictures of young people who were desperately trying to make the world over into what they thought it ought to be. First there were the young men who believed they could change the world by planting bombs and killing people. They were followed by the crowds of young people, some as young as fourteen, trying to stop Israeli soldiers from expelling them from the Jewish settlements in Gaza. While these events were going on Channel Four was showing a series called Hitler’s Children about how the Nazi leaders forced every German child to join a youth movement, one for boys and one for girls, which appeared to give them great benefits but which was intended to prepare them to fight Hitler’s war and, for the girls, to breed a race of Aryan heroes. Newsreels from that time show these girls and boys demonstrating their intense loyalty to their Führer and promising to do whatever he ordered. All of these young people were acting on the extreme ideas which had been taught to them by their elders. The young men who were…

Being Listened To

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:44
Positive Health Magazine February, 2004 Being Listened To Dorothy Rowe When I was in my early sixties I was sure that I would continue being the person I knew myself to be. My passion for my work and my curiosity about the world and everything in it would not diminish. Ten years on I am just the same. However, I hadn’t anticipated that other people would change in how they see me. I’ve now discovered that for many people being old means being incapable of speaking for oneself. They believe that all old people don’t keep up with progress and that they easily get confused. Since you’re not capable of speaking for yourself there’s no point in asking you what it is that you need. Instead, your would-be helpers give you what they think you need. Thus a friend of mine, a contemporary, came home from hospital to find that her would-be helpers had decided to refurbish her kitchen. Gone was the stove where she had cooked the family meals. She knew its every quirk and foible. It was a family friend, a storehouse of memories. Now it was gone, and in its place a smaller object with buttons, mysterious…

Review- My Dearest Enemy

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:43
My Dearest Enemy, My Dangerous Friend: Making and Breaking Sibling Bonds Reviewed by Sandra Goodman PhD I am a Number One fan of Dorothy Rowe. I admire her straight-talking way of discussing the inner world of individuals in light of their family circumstances and experiences, including our fear of annihilation due to perceived threats to our sense of being a person. In this her most recent book, she sheds light on the fruitful and pivotal roles played by our siblings in our growing up, and in our present life, workplace and even the wider world. It is astonishing that perhaps the most important and endearing relationships we ever form - that with our siblings, i.e. brothers and sisters - have never been the proper investigation or study of Psychologists, Psychiatrists or Therapists. This is despite the passage of a century of becoming familiar with many forms of Psychotherapy and the notions of talking about how our life situations, behaviour and attitudes may stem from our early childhood, or our parents, or indeed life-changing events. People talk about their relationships with their sisters and brothers with an intensity that far supersedes that of their friends or even their parents. Relationships between…
The Meaning of Emotion  For all of us emotion exists like a Greek chorus in the play which is our life. Sometimes it is just a gentle hum in the background: sometimes it takes centre stage. However, the fact that something plays a significant part in our life does not mean that psychologists research it. Like every human activity, psychology has fashions. Certain topics become fashionable to research: certain words become fashionable to use. For most of my career as a psychologist ‘emotion’ was considered to be unmentionable and ‘subjectivity’ was scorned. Psychologists had to be ‘objective’ and ‘impersonal’. Now fashion has changed and ‘emotion’ is definitely in fashion. Unfortunately the years of neglect meant that the problems in understanding what emotion is have not been tackled.  Emotion has always been very difficult to define. When I ask colleagues what they mean by emotion I am given a list of emotions or told – usually in many words – that it means ‘feelings’. Definitions of ‘emotion’ always turn out to be circular and explain nothing. Collins Dictionary define ‘emotion’ as ‘(1) strong feeling, excitement, and (2) any specific feeling as love, hate, fear, anger etc.’ Macquarie Dictionary defines it as ‘an…

Behind the Lines by Andrew Carroll

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:40
©July/August 2005 Book Review by Dorothy Rowe Behind the Lines: Revealing the uncensored letters from our war-torn worldby Andrew CarrollEbury Press - 447 pp £19.99 My father was a great story teller. At bedtime when I was a small child I would demand he tell me a story. My favourite stories were those about when he was a soldier in France during the First World War. As I got older he added more realistic details to these stories, and I came to see how he had left his home in the Australian bush as an inexperienced young man with little education and a passion for sport and returned a committed Socialist and atheist with an intense compassion for fellow soldiers whatever their nationality. He despised the generals who treated their men as no more than disposable puppets, and he hated all political leaders who start wars, and what he called ‘the vested interests’ who profited from war. He was one of those Andrew Carroll called ‘combat veterans’ who abhor ‘the glorification of war itself. They believe that sanitizing or concealing its ugliness only trivializes the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve.’ Dad would have wept and laughed…

Edvard Munch paintings

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:39
Edvard Munch paintings Written by Dorothy Rowe and published in Hildon Magazine (Summer/Autumn 2005) The publication of this article has been timed to coincide with a major exhibition of Edvard Munch’s paintings at London’s Royal Academy(October - December 2005) Edvard Munch - his pictures were a means of understanding himself Often the swirl of emotions and thoughts inside us is hard to bear. We feel confused, uncertain, fearful that we are about to be overwhelmed by chaos or lose all control of ourselves. One way of dealing with this is to create some account of what is happening to us. We may talk to someone, or keep a diary, or turn our experience into a story, a poem, a play, a song or a picture. Taking what is inside us and putting it outside helps us manage, understand and contain our experience. Turning our experience into some artistic form is a defence, a way of holding ourselves together when we feel we are falling apart. Other people may find what we produce incomprehensible, or banal, or, at best, an explanation for our behaviour. What we produce is not art. However, if we are skilled, what we produce may be art,…

The Skeptical Intelligencer

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:27
The Skeptical Intelligencer Vol 3, Issue No1 July 1998 A Skeptic's Attitude to Science and Religion Radio Four's Today programme has, as far as I'm concerned, only one fault. Thought for the Day is ring fenced. John Humphreys can't interrogate the person presenting the Thought, while every other person who ventures on to the programme can be scrutinised for lies, inconsistencies, logical errors, fudges and downright inaccuracies. On Thought for Today and, with Melvyn Bragg's blessing, on Start the Week various church men and women can be heard discussing religion and science in the terms which imply that these are equivalent modes of thought. This is one inaccuracy which ought to be challenged if not by John Humphreys then by the rest of us sceptics. Religion and science are not equivalent concepts of modes of thought. Religion uses the mode of thought called fantasy and science uses the mode of thought called scientific method. The way we are constructed physiologically means that we are unable to perceive reality directly. All that we can ever know are our constructions, our theories about reality. (See Richard Gregory's Eye and Brain and any of Oliver Sacks books for demonstrations of this.) Once we…

The Journal of Palliative Care

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:26
Information ExchangeThe journal of the National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative CareNo 32 - March 2001 WHAT DEATH MEANS TO US When my mother was eighty years old she said something to me which I found to be totally unexpected and utterly amazing. She said,Dorothy, I’ve had a good life. I asked, What do you mean? She replied,Your father never interfered with what I wanted to do. I thought, but did not say, He wouldn’t dare. My father was afraid of her just as all her relatives were. When Mother was displeased she would become immensely enraged, and many times she followed this with a great sulk which could last weeks, even months. She often had occasion to be displeased because, apart from flowers which she loved, everybody and everything in the entire universe failed to live up to her expectations. When I recovered from the shock of my mother’s words I was pleased because I knew then that Mother had carried out the task which we all have to complete if we are to face our death with any degree of equanimity. Our task is that we have to review our life and find it satisfactory. Just how…

Spirituality & Psychotherapy

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:26
Spirituality & Psychotherapy - In Spirituality and Psychotherapy edited by Simon King-Spooner and Craig Newnes, Critical Psychology Series, PPC Books, 2001 11 November 2000 WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘SPIRITUAL’? Dorothy Rowe Religion has always been one of my interests – what people believe and why, and the consequences of different beliefs. This was the subject of my second book. I called this book The Construction of Life and Death but when the publisher HarperCollins acquired it from the original publisher John Wiley my editor changed the title to something more upbeat, namely The Courage to Live.(1) The theme of this book was that our metaphysical beliefs are central to the way we live our lives because these beliefs always concern the nature of death and the purpose of life. All religions try to bridge the chasm that death creates in the project of our life by teaching that some important part of ourselves will continue on after death. Actually, no one knows what death is. All we can say for certain is that a living person becomes strangely still. Nevertheless we each choose one of the two possible meanings we can give to death. Either death is the end…

Sunday Telegraph

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:25
The Sunday TelegraphThe Sunday Magazine - Colour supplement, Australia March 4, 2001 Love Thine Enemy Do you have an enemy – someone who hates you and wants to harm you, even destroy you? It might be just one person or a group of people. Of course, everyone has at least one enemy somewhere in the world, someone who hates us because of our nationality, or our gender, or our religion, or the colour of our skin, and who wants to destroy us, but we don’t know who this person is. Do you know who your enemy is? Can you give your enemy a name? I’ve been asking people whether they’ve got an enemy. Some people say they don’t have an enemy, but a lot of people say they do. They’ll say, ‘It’s my ex-wife’, or, ‘My family’, or, ‘My boss’, or, ‘My next door neighbour’, or, ‘Politicians’, or, ‘Anyone who betrays me or lets me down’, or, ‘People who always think they’re right.’ In Lebanon I found that the enemy was the Israelis, in Serbia the enemy was the Americans, and in Northern Ireland, while the Protestants and the Catholics hated one another, they all hated the British government. Having…

Sunday Express

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:25
Sunday Express 4 June 2000 DUNKIRK Dorothy Rowe Dunkirk is remembered now as a national triumph of hope and courage, but that was not how it was seen in the dark days of 1940. I was a child of nine in Australia, but I remember it well because I saw my father, who had been a soldier in France in the First World War, angry with what he saw as a the betrayal of the British troops by the French. Not long after Singapore fell and nothing stood between us and the advancing Japanese army. I saw that Dad was afraid. Only the stupidity of the Japanese generals who attacked Pearl Harbour and brought the USA into the war saved us. People in Britain and in Australia, as they stood defenceless before their enemy’s advancing army, were afraid, not just because they were in danger of dying but because all of them had grown up believing that Britain and the British Empire were absolute, impregnable fixtures in a dangerous, unstable world. Now those ideas which had informed us who we were were crumbling. What wins wars is not troops and equipment but ideas. Propaganda is vital, but for it to…

The Express

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:24
The Express The advantage of having an enemy Dorothy Rowe Everyone wants to have friends because good friends make life worth living. However, many people need to have enemies because having an enemy can give them lots of advantages. Perkins and Co was a small firm employing 35 people. When Janice went to work there she found her fellow employees pleasant but no one was particularly friendly. They all just seemed to arrive in the morning, do their work and go home. Occasionally they chatted about the weather or last night’s television but they were impossible to get to know. Janice felt lonely, but at least she went home to her husband. Mrs Fraser in accounts went home only to her cat. Then Mr Perkins, the owner of the firm, sent around a memo. He was going to retire and his son Oliver would take over the running of the firm. Oliver had been working for some top organisation in the USA. Now he was going to make Perkins and Co a firm for the 21st century. Or so he said. That was in his first memo. Others followed with hints of possible redundancies but with no mention of compensation.…

Psychotherapy & Politics

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:23
The Age of Melancholy, Dan G. Blazer, Routledge, 2005, 251pp,   Anyone interested in the history of ideas would find this book very interesting. Currently the medical model of mental illness is so all-pervasive and powerful that people born after 1950 could be led to think that this has always been the accepted explanation for mental distress. The subtitle of Dan Blazer’s book is “’Major Depression’ and Its Social Origins” but the book is essentially a history of the ideas in psychiatry in the twentieth century.  Psychiatry did not come into its own until after the First World War and in time for American psychiatrists to be greatly influenced by psychoanalysis. This was the point where psychiatry began to be associated with the image of the couch, an image which bears no relationship to present day psychiatry in the USA where psychiatrists do not sit beside a couch and probe their patient’s unconscious. Rather, they sit at a desk, question their patient, make a diagnosis, and write a prescription. An efficient psychiatrist can complete this in 10 to 15 minutes.  Freud saw neurosis as the conflict between the individual and society. Blazer wrote, ‘For Freud . . .a neurosis, such as melancholia, arose…
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next > End >>