Tag Archives: Rosenhan Experiment

Styles of Thinking

Eastern Washington University has an article on their website called, “15 Styles of Distorted Thinking” and unfortunately I fit into most of those 15 categories. Who among us can say that their actions at some point haven’t fit into most of these styles. This article is a part of their section on stress management and according to the site, recognizing these patterns of thinking can help you to understand the things that cause stress. These are simply ways of thinking to avoid.

I would assume, in a perfect world, a person might recognize after reading this article that they must be “Catastrophizing” a situation and if they just stop doing that, their stress level will dramatically decrease. What if there is an impending catastrophe? (Yes, I realize the very wording of the previous sentence is Catastrophizing) If so, a person would be denying their inborn sense of fight or flight in an attempt to ward off stress. Essentially a person would then sit and wait for the catastrophe to happen. Like falling and not stretching out your arms to catch your fall.

Since I was a small child, I was told to put myself in the other person’s shoes and think about how they must be feeling or thinking. In a sense, that is the idea conveyed by “Mind Reading” in this article. I’d like to believe that the article refers to an extreme version of this, where the mind reader doesn’t leave room for the chance that the observed person could possibly be thinking or feeling differently than they would. In my opinion that would actually be classed as something a little more severe than a stress point.

Most of these styles could easily fit into a diagnosis much larger than a simple stress point. That statement reminds me of another article that I recently read concerning an experiment with sane people willingly being admitted as patients in psychiatric hospitals. It was called the Rosenhan Experiment. These people pretended to hear voices and such and were diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses and admitted to several hospitals in various states in the US. After being admitted, they suddenly stopped hearing the sounds and voices and reverted back to “themselves.” Several of these people were kept in the hospitals for months and all were forced to admit that they had one mental illness or another and agree to take medications before they could be released. After these patients were released, doctors and nurses were asked to find fake patients in their hospitals. These healthcare workers were unaware that none of these patients were still in their care. The caregivers then proceeded to find a large number of patients in their care that seemed to have faked their conditions.

Thank goodness the days of lobotomies are gone. I don’t think any of us would be safe and I wonder how many of us would be classed as sane at the end of the day.


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