Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"WTF" Doesn't Even BEGIN To Suffice!

I was watching WDSU "6 On Your Side" tonight (Monday 1/8/07) when a popular local clinical therapist Cecile Tebo commented, and quite assertively so, that crime is not a mental health issue and that criminals are "just bad people." Furthermore, she made no effort to qualify this statement at all, which leads me to suspect that she believes strongly in what she said. Prior to saying this, she said that people don't just become criminals at age 29; it starts from a young age.

Does this mean then that our city is just plagued with several "bad" children for whom mental health treatment is irrelevant and on whom such treatment would be wasted? Regardless of her line of reasoning, as a clinical psychologist, I have NEVER been as shocked as I was tonight by anything a colleague has said -- publicly or privately. Not only is such a statement completely and utterly factually incorrect, it is, in my opinion, unethical. Such a view does not represent that of the vast majority of mental health professionals, especially when considering that DSM-IV criteria for diagnosing Conduct Disorder consist almost entirely of illegal or potentially illegal behaviors ("The primary diagnostic features of conduct disorder include aggression, theft, vandalism, violations of rules and/or lying...Conduct disorder has a multifactorial etiology that includes biologic, psychosocial and familial factors. The differential diagnosis of conduct disorder includes oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood disorder and intermittent explosive disorder." American Family Physician, 4-15-2001).

Considering that Ms. Tebo is also the Crisis Coordinator for N.O.P.D., no wonder our leaders and authorities can't get a handle on crime. They don't even fucking understand it!

God help us, and help the young people watching tonight and their parents who were perhaps on the verge of seeking help, but who will now never turn to us, thinking that if licensed professionals say they or their children are "just bad people," then it must be true. Why even bother?


slate said...

This is just so outrageous I can't begin to fathom it.

Years ago, there was an interview with John Hinckley's parents. He came from a family of six kids, I think. Well to do, well educated. Five of the kids did great, graduated and went on to contribute something to society, John clearly got sick and took something from society. Aside from the "kid units" family dynanics, all six kids had the same upbringing.

In my view, if you have six kids being reared in poverty, with no support system and all the attendant problems of an impoverished environment, and one might have a biological flaw, for lack of a better word, then the problems will only be worse for that one, but the others will also have problems because the environment is what it is.

Why don't people GET that we have to do something to make things equitable. If I hear "level playing field" one more time I'm gonna scream. It simply doesn't exist in this country.

e.j. said...

As you can tell, I about tore my hair out too! I don't get it; what is so hard to understand about a shitty life leading to crime?