Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dysfunctional Passivity

For what it's worth, I think the following applies to how we all view the economy, if not the world in general. (from ShrinkWrapped)

There is a particular type of patient I often see in the clinic who has arrived there in a particular, predictable way.
This patient is middle class and has a history of full time employment but has recently fallen on hard times. He, or she, arrives at the clinic in a state of despair, on the verge of losing their apartments, in serious financial difficulty. Their problems are identified as beginning when they lost their job yet upon further investigation, that is hardly the full story. Very often they recognized their jobs were at risk long before arriving at the clinic yet could not overcome a type of passivity that led them to behave as if nothing was ever going to change. They could not or would not change their behavior even when their behavior was no longer functional or adaptive. For example, they could see that their company was cutting back, that their jobs were insecure, yet continued going into the office everyday, making only the most vague and cursory attempts to look for alternative work. They felt a lassitude that is inadequately diagnosed as depression but is more correctly thought of as a dysfunctional passivity (which can be attended by depression, of course.) By the time they arrive at the clinic, they would typically be 6-12 months out of work, with no insurance, and thoroughly defeated. Although they are treated as if they are depressed and often gain some symptomatic relief, in reality their dysfunction started well before their depressive symptoms appeared; their problems began when they assumed that nothing would ever change in their lives even as they could see the writing on the wall.

No comments: