Critique of a Book Used by Many Psychologists and Psychiatrists to Oppress Patients, Part One

Introduction

This is the first of a five-part series of posts that criticize a book that serves to oppress individuals, whether they have mental health problems or not.

As I indicated in another post (A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Nine), I engaged in a partial critique of the book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, M.D. (1999). This book is used by many psychologists and psychiatrists as a basis for the psychological technique called “mindfulness”–and with reason since Dr. Burns defines human problems independently of social context–quite convenient for the class of employers since the economic, social and political oppressive and exploitative contexts are thereby ignored–or rather suppressed.

The reason why I read the book was that I was required to see a psychologist as a condition of receiving disability benefits from the Manitoba Teachers Society (see A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Ten). Mr. Alan Slusky, a psychologist in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, recommended the book and, in fact, it was supposed to be part of my “therapy”–bibliotherapy. According to Wikipedia:

Bibliotherapy is a creative arts therapies modality that involves storytelling or the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing. It uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy.

I refer occasionally to John Dewey’s philosophy of science, which I will look at to some extent in the fourth post but especially in the last post of this series. I also refer occasionally to my dissertation. My doctoral dissertation compared the philosophies of human nature of John Dewey (an :American philosopher of education and author of, among other books, Human Nature and Social Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology, Democracy and Education and Logic: The Theory of Inquiry) and Paulo Freire (a Brazilian philosopher of education and author, among other books, of Pedagogy of the Oppressed).

Critique of the Contents of the Book

Let us now turn to the contents of the book and some of my criticisms.  I do not present my criticism in the order in which I wrote it since the initial points are fairly abstract (I leave those for the fourth and fifth posts in this series). My critical comments are usually either in square brackets or separate points  as a continuation of my comments: 

    1. p.xxx: “Depression is one of the worst forms of suffering because of the immense feelings of shame, worthlessness, hopelessness and demoralization. Depression can seem worse than terminal cancer, because most cancer patients feel loved and they have hope and self-esteem. Many depressed patients have told me, in fact, that they yearned for death and that they prayed every night that they would get cancer, so they could die in dignity without having to commit suicide.”

    2. P. 9: “In fact, depression is so widespread it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances.” [Would that not be evidence of a social problem for a scientist? Would not even the lay person who is curious wonder why it is so common?]

    3. Page 10: Note: “The idea that thinking patterns can profoundly influence your moods has been described by a number of philosophers [why did he not name a few?] in the past 2500 years. More recently, the cognitive view of emotional disturbances has been explored in the writings of many psychiatrists and psychologists including Alfred Adler, Albert Ellis, Karen Horney, and Arnold Lazarus, to name just a few. A history of this movement has been described in Ellis, A., Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy.”

    4. Page 11: “2. Understanding: A clear understanding of why you get moody and what you can do to change your moods. You will learn what causes your powerful feelings; how to distinguish “normal” from “abnormal” emotions; and how to diagnose and assess the severity of your upsets.”

    5. Page 11: Self-control: You will learn how to apply safe and effective coping strategies that will make you feel better whenever you are upset. … As you apply it, your moods can come under greater voluntary control.

    6. Page 12: “The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your “cognitions,” or thoughts. … You feel the way you do because of the thoughts that you are thinking in this moment. [One of the categories that he uses is “overgeneralization.” Here is a good example of overgeneralization. What is a thought? What is a feeling? What is the relationship between the two? Do feelings cause thoughts? What is the specific causal mechanism that leads from thoughts to feelings? What narrative structure, in conjunction with the descriptive structure? Furthermore, the “self” of human beings is constituted by a set of ways of acting, which are linked to how others act. Money. A set of habits is generally unconscious until a problem arises.] [Which came first? Thoughts or feelings in the process of evolution?]

    7. You create those feelings [feelings are products of the self—the environment plays no part for Burns. The subject of the action of creating feelings is “you”—apparently, you do not consist of feelings—they arise out of thin air. You are feelingless, and the feelings then are magically produced by something completely different from the feelings—thoughts.” Does Burns explain anywhere how people create feelings? Unlikely. This is mysticism, not science, or rather it is mysticism parading as science. How do thoughts “create” feelings? What is the difference between thoughts and feelings?] by the dialogue you are having with this book. [Presentation of the individual self as purely internal. There is no relation to an environment. Feelings are purely internal as are thoughts. But if both are purely internal, are they not the same in some way? This is idealist—and subjective idealism at that—by reducing the individual to purely internal processes. Anti-evolutionary.] [Burns is inferior to anything that Dewey has to offer. Burns assumes the “you” without inquiring into what he means by the “you” Does he mean the person or the body? The formation of the human person? If the “you” is itself a social process that has its focal point in an individual who becomes conscious of processes between the environment and the living being, then this “you” is itself a product and a cause. This one-sided reduction of the “you” to pure thought cannot begin to grasp the complexity of the nature of human beings. Burns does not even reflect on the use of his terms—a lack of critical thinking.]

    8. If “you” are a product of a social process, what then is the relation between the “individual” and the “social”? Burns does not even try to determine the relation since he reduces human nature to the isolated individual who is already formed—and assumes that this isolated individual is the point of departure.

    9. He assumes, in effect, that the human individual is a formed individual, and simply ignores the environmental conditions that contribute to the construction of the “you.”

    10. From Burns’ point of view, prehistoric people merely had to change their way of thinking and they would be like us.

    11. Is not the “you”—and thoughts and feelings—linked to the kind of society in which we live? Would Burns have the you that he does without the Gutenberg press?

    12. Your emotional reaction is generated not by the sentences you are reading but by the way you are thinking. Your thought actually creates the emotion. [creates? How? There is an organic aspect to all reactions, and that organic aspect, when grounded in the cns (central nervous system), can be called feeling. Feeling becomes emotion (something with an object attached to it. Feeling has organic roots and is quite independent of “thought.” Let us see whether this “scientist” explains how thought “creates ”emotion.”]Thought does not create emotion; it is a necessary condition for emotion to arise, but then so too is the environment. This person is an idealist and so too is his theory—despite the “scientific research” he claims. As for science, if thoughts “cause” feelings—in a real scientific sense and not in his pseudo-scientific conception of science, then he should be able to link up the “cause” with the “effect” in one narrative structure such that the beginning and the end form a history. See my dissertation.]

    13. The second principle is that when you are feeling depressed, your thoughts are dominated by a pervasive negativity.” Really? Such a generalization independent of context? His principle must be a physical principle since only physic-chemical principles are universal. Even if it were true—and? The implication is that “negativity” is an unreasonable or unjustifiable response to conditions. Such an assumption is unjustifiable. See the article on justifiable depression.] Social science that pretends to be universal is ideological—except for a few generalities that cannot grasp any definite, concrete relation (cannot exist independently of determinate, concrete relations).

    14. p. 13: “This feeling is absolutely illogical, but it seems so real that you have convinced yourself that your inadequacy will go on forever.” [Does this person live on this planet? There are many individuals who live in hopeless situations. How many children die each year throughout the world from malnutrition and starvation? Should their parents not be depressed? Has he ever experienced depression? This “scientist” becomes ever more pompous and lacks any depth of understanding of what people in this world experience.] [In any case, his statement that it is “absolutely illogical” is itself illogical. No rational scientist would make such a categorical statement independently of circumstances. [Watched a movie recently called “Guilty,” in French. The man was accused falsely of sexual abuse; he was imprisoned; his children were taken away from him (his children were his life); his wife eventually was let go, but she began seeing another man. His mother died while he was in prison. He stayed in prison for almost two years. Despite the recantation of the woman who accused him of sexual abuse, the judges condemned him to 18 months of probation. He tried to kill himself several times. Was it his negative thoughts that led to his depressed feelings? Was it the total situation? “Negative thoughts” may be a contributing determinant of depression, but to reduce depression to just this aspect is a fallacy—a fallacy of reducing a total process and situation to one event within the process or one aspect of it.]

    15. P.13: “The third principle is of substantial philosophical and therapeutic importance. Our research has documented that the negative thoughts which cause your emotional turmoil nearly always contain gross distortion. [Why the emphasis on “always.” Obviously because negative feelings have no real basis—always. But what happens if they do have a basis in reality, but that Burns and company have neglected to determine this in a scientific manner? Do they consider the context in which people live? That is to say, the environment? Or do they act like pre-evolutionary scientists and pretend that human beings are isolated monads, cut off from their environment?] [Who determines what constitutes gross distortions? Burns has such a grip on reality that he does not live in a distorted world? If capitalist society is by its very nature a distorted world, then what are the implications, psychologically?] Although these thoughts appear valid, you will learn that they are irrational or just plain wrong and that twisted thinking is a major cause of your suffering.” [If so many people have twisted thoughts—at the beginning, Burns claims that depression is like the common cold for psychiatrists since it is so prevalent a problem for them, then is not the educational system a possible cause for such twisted thinking? Is not education supposed to teach people how to think? See John Dewey, How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Education Process—the need for reflective thinking (not rationalism as usually defined as pure reason independently of context. Would it not be rational for a person who finds that depression is common to inquire into the conditions of its emergence? But Burns has the magic answer in his cap—negative thoughts. Why so many people have negative thoughts never enters his “scientific” mind, which seems to involve a curious lack of desire to inquire into anything that may contradict his theory. If schools contribute to the lack of a capacity to think, then individual solutions of “changing” thoughts will not do. Burns will have none of that, of course.] [It can be concluded that Burns’ theory ‘nearly always contain[s] great distortions.]

    16. : “Some of the major symptoms include… the conviction that external forces are controlling your mind or body….” [There are—necessarily—in a society characterized by commodity production—a lack of control over forces that determine our body and mind.]

A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Ten

Introduction

This is a continuation of previous posts.

I went on sick leave in February 2012 after having been a French teacher for Lakeshore School Division in Ashern, Manitoba, Canada, for three and a half years. (For details of my decision to go on sick leave, see A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Eight  and  A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Nine). 

In order to receive at first short-term disability benefits and then long-term disability benefits provided by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS), if the issue is not purely physical, it is presumably necessary to be subject to psychiatric evaluation and then psychological “care” (provided the psychiatrist furnishes an assessment, I assume, that justifies not being able to work for an employer). To receive such benefits, the worker must “agree” to both the evaluation and the care. 

But what is the Manitoba Teachers’ Society? Its Facebook page indicates the following:

About

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society is the collective bargaining and professional development organization for all of Manitoba’s 15,000 public school teachers.
 
Additional information

Founded in 1919, the Society provides assistance to local associations in collective bargaining, offers professional development workshops and lobbies government on legislation that affects education, students and teachers.

As well, MTS provides a range of wellness services including the Disability Benefits Plan and Educator Assistance Program.

It also provides publication services for teacher organizations such as Special Area Groups and publishes the teachers’ newsletter, the annual handbook, annual report and an extensive range of brochures and other handbooks
 

MTS is thus not a union as such, but it is more like a union of unions; it provides services to specific teachers’ associaitons and, through them, to the members of the specific teachers’ association. 

In my last post in this series (A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Nine), I showed how I found that Ms. Morier, a psychiatrist, had oppressed me during her assessment of me–an assessment required by MTS. This time I will outline how I felt about how another psychologist, Alan Slusky, oppressed me; I was obliged by the protocols of the Disability Benefits Plan of MTS, to attend “psychological counselling.” Indirectly, then, MTS also oppressed me. 

The social-democratic or reformist left, in general, simply ignore the various forces and professions that reinforce the power of employers as a class and that lead to the oppression (and exploitation) of workers in various ways. It thereby often underestimates the difficulty of overcoming the power of the class of employers or overestimates its own reformist power. 

So far, in this series of posts, various professionals have been involved in oppression: 

  1. social workers
  2. Winnipeg Child and Family Services
  3. Manitoba Ombudsman
  4. Institute of Regiserted Social Workers of Manitoba
  5. Anishinaabe Child and Family Services
  6. the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
  7. A principal at a school
  8. A superintendent in a school division
  9. Probably the Minister of Education
  10. Probably the Minister of Justice
  11. Perhpas the New Democratic Premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger
  12. Manitoba Teachers’ Society Disability Benefits Plan
  13. A psychiatrist, Gisele Morier

Given all these professionals and institutions who, directly or indirectly reinforce the class power of employers, it is hardly surprising that the social-democratic or reformist left run around in circiles claiming to seek justice all the while failing to organize systematically and in a unified fashion to oppose such oppressive social structures and oppressive professionals. 

Let me add one more professional trade to the list: psychology. 

From a Helping Profession to an Oppressive Profession: The Real World of Psychology 

Initially, Mr. Slusky did help me. My heart was still racing every day, and he taught me, through breathing exercises, to reduce the intensity of my pounding heart. I could sleep better–although my heart still raced every day. There were limits to the efficacy of this technique.

I started to feel oppressed by Mr. Slusky, though, especially after I had been “assessed” by the psychiatrist, Ms. Morier, in November 2012 (see my critique of her assessment in the earlier post    A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Nine). Mr. Slusky attempted to justify Ms. Morier’s assessment, and such a persistent justification led me to feel oppressed. Mr. Slusky persistently used such “post-modernist” phrases after that time as “It is a question of interpretation,” or “It depends on your point of view.” Mr. Slusky persistently tried to convince me–without success–of the accuracy of Ms. Morier’s assessment.

Ironically, Mr. Slusky did not, however, consider everything, at a practical level, to be just “a question of interpretation.” Either in late July or in August 2012, before the psychiatric assessment by Ms. Morier, he had sent me a stapled bill for July and August, 2012 (I still have the bills) since MTS had not yet paid him. When it comes to money, apparently, it is not a question of interpretation–but that is what Marxists say too. What is sauce for the goose is not, apparently, sauce for the gander.

Mr. Slusky had tried the usual psychological pablum called “cognitive behavioural therapy” (CBT) or mindfulness, which has as one of its roots the book by David Burns (1999): Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. In fact, I had started attending voluntarily counselling sessions under the MTS Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) while still working as a teacher, and Degen Gene, an EAP  counsellor, used the same approach.

This approach seems to be standard for many psychologists, without any concern for the underlying power structures and relations that give rise to stress when working for an employer.

As I indicated, the breathing exercises suggested by Mr. Slusky did help–but within limits. 

Ultimately, Mr. Slusky attempted to change my “approach” to people by getting me to be more “flexible”–a code word for not criticizing bourgeois ideology as expressed by various individuals in various areas of life.

Below, I quote Mr. Slusky’s “initial progress report,” dated September 24, 2012:

Please accept this as an initial progress report on my psychotherapy contacts with Mr. Harris. Since your referral of Mr. Harris to me, I have met with him on the following occasions: April 27, May 18, June 1, 14 & 28, Jluy 27, and August 16 & 24, 2012. Over the course of these 8 meetings Mr. Harris has attended for all of his sessions punctually and has presented in an open fashion. For the most part Mr. Harris presents in a farily serious, stoic manner, displaying little range in effect. No evidence of psychomotor agitation is demonstrated by Mr. Harris and despite his ongoing complaints of “a pounding heart” he displays no overt signs of anxiety. Mr. Harris has on occasion come to session with his computer, occasionally working in the waiting room, prior to our sessions. Mr. Harris has also brought research with him which speaks to his political and philosophical beliefs and their impact on his philosophy of education. I have thanked Mr. Harris for providing me with copies of this information, and at times this has formed the basis for some of our discussions. Mr. Harris’ attention and concentration over the course of our meetings has been good, his speech has been articulate and fluent, and at no time has he evaded or refused to answer any of my questions.

As you are aware Mr. Harris was referred to me for cognitive behavioural therapy to address his ongoing difficulties with anxiety. In this regard I have provided Mr. Harris with instruction in diaphragmatic breathing, relaxation exercises, and mindfulness meditation. The latter of these strategies has been presented to Mr. Harris both through psycho-education in session as well as through (at his request) copies of peer reviewed primary journal articles which speak to the efficacy of this approach in managing anxieties and preventing relapses of depression. I have never before had a client ask me for peer reviewed journal articles which speak to the efficacy of the treatments offered to them and while one certainly does admire Mr. Harris’ efforts to be a “wise consumer,” this is also in keeping with his critical approach to concepts and information delivered to him. I will speak more on this below, and the impact I believe that this style is having on Mr. Harris’ recovery. Mr. Harris has indicates that he has practiced the aforementioned strategies but found them to be only of limited value. The relaxation audio CD provided to him was described as helpful however and I commended Mr. Harris for his efforts in persisting with this approach. While this behavioural technique has been of assistance, Mr. Harris does acknowledge that “focusing on my heart doesn’t help.” As such, approaches to assisting Mr. Harris need to be more than behavioural, leading us to a discussion of the cognitive work that we have done together.

With respect to cognition, Mr. Harris is certainly a bright and articulate individual. In conversation he is able to reference articles and works that he has read many years prior, and weave them into cogent and coherent arguments for his positions on various issues. The concern that I have is the degree to which Mr. Harris adopts this “critical” or argumentative approach in his discussions. On the one hand one admires an individual who is true to their principles and beliefs. On the other hand when those beliefs and principles are misunderstood by others and create defensive attitudes on their part, a different approach/style may then be called for, to effectively communicate one’s beliefs and needs. It is my opinion that it is most likely in this realm that Mr. Harris struggles. Likely as a result of early experiences in his life as well as his considerable education, Mr. Harris has developed some very well thought out positions on issues of social policy and education. It is my understanding that both in the past and currently, Mr. Harris takes the initiative to inform others of his beliefs. While Mr. Harris may be engaging in criticism from an academic/intellectual perspective, others I suspect interpret this as argumentative and resistant behaviour, and it is here I believe that Mr. Harris has struggled with respect to his success in “getting along” in a variety of different situations.

On a positive note, Mr. Harris and I recently discussed the impact of his style on his comfort level in his volunteer position at the Social Planning Council. Mr. Harris again had some very strong beliefs about the research being undertaken by this organization and in session he and I have worked hard to reframe his participation there, such that he is able to tolerate the differences between his opinions and the approach that this organization is taking in its research and work. Mr. Harris has shown some growth here, principally in his approach to the organization’s Executive Director, adopting a “softer” style in expressing his beliefs to her. Whereas in the past I suspect that Mr. Harris would have led quite strongly on this, he has I believe, gained some appreciation for the need for balance in the ways in which he expresses his opinions. In part as well I suspect that the requirement for him to continue in a volunteer position has provided further impetus for his willingness to be flexible here. Whatever the case may be, Mr. Harris has here demonstrated an ability to be flexible in his approach/style and I am encouraged by this. [my emphases]

In addition to anxiety, Mr. Harris does at times present with significant anger. This is nowhere more evident than when he discusses his situation with his ex-wife and daughter, and both the allegations made against him in the past, as well as his daughter’s current situation and their relationship. Mr. Harris indicates quite clearly that it is only because of his daughter that he is remaining in Manitoba, indicating that he does not feel like he “fits in” here, expressing a strong desire to move to Toronto where there are others who are more “like minded.” As such, on many fronts, Mr. Harris I believe is experiencing of being pulled in several directions, and this too is likely contributing to his subjective sense of anxiety.

As Mr. Harris has reported that the strategies provided to him to date have not been as helpful as he had hoped, he has begun now to express a willingness to entertain medication as an adjunctive treatment. For my part I fully support Mr. Harris’ thoughts in this regard. Not only will the appropriate medication provide Mr. Harris with a more immediate reduction in his anxiety symptoms, it is my hope that this will come a “loosening” or “softening” in Mr. Harris’ thinking and willingness to be slightly more circumspect in his expression of his political beliefs [my emphasis]. I have no doubt that Mr. Harris can be an excellent teacher, as he is quite intelligent. It is his “emotional intelligence” (i.e., his ability to appreciate the impact of his actions on others) that I believe is more problematic and I am hopeful that with appropriate medication and ongoing psychotherapy, Mr. Harris can come to a fuller appreciation of this, and demonstrate additional flexibility, above and beyond that already noted.

It is also my understanding that you are contemplating a referral to a psychiatrist to assess Mr. Harris’ readiness to return to teaching. I would respectfully recommend that this assessment also incorporate an evaluation of Mr. Harris’ readiness to accept medication treatment, and recommendations for same. Without this additional therapeutic aide I believe that Mr. Harris will considerably struggle in becoming ready to return to gainful employment as a teacher [my emphasis].

Thank you for your support in my work with Mr. Harris to date. I trust the above is of assistance to you. In the interests of therapeutic openness and transparency, I will be providing Mr. Harris with a copy of this report. Please feel free to contact me should you have any further questions or concerns regarding my work with this claimant to date.

Sincerely,

Alan Slusky, Ph. D., C. Psych.’
Registered Psychologist

Mr. Slusky, indirectly, points out that his frequent repetition of the phrase “its a question of interpretation” is an ideological cloak for his own reformist views . He wrote above:

I suspect that the requirement for him to continue in a volunteer position has provided further impetus for his willingness to be flexible here. 

Indeed, the requirement that I volunteer in order to continue to receive disability benefits from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society was economic coercion [a phrase that John Clarke, a radical social democrat here in Toronto has used on a couple of occasions while ignoring its economic, political and social implications). Had I not “agreed” to “volunteer,” I could have been cut off from disability benefits. Mr. Slusky’s reference to ‘flexibility” in effect admits that economic coercion involves forcing a person to alter their will in order to receive money required to live. 

Mr. Slusky did not even recognize that my “flexibility” was involuntary–that I was “flexible” because i was obliged to be so in order to continue to receive disability benefits. This lack of consideration of the factual economic coercion that obliged me to “volunteer” in the first place and to be “flexible” in the second place is characteristic of all social reformers and social democrats. 

Like Mr. Clarke, though, he simply ignored the social, political, emotional and psychological implications of such economic coercion. 

I felt so oppressed by Dr. Slusky that it formed one of the reasons for my decision to leave Winnipeg in favour of Toronto, Ontario (it was not, however, the only reason). I dreaded going to his sessions. To have to attend such sessions from a person who tried to justify the Gisele Morier’s abuse when she was evaluating me (as well as her biased assessment) was oppressive, and my heart would race because of such oppression. 

I am glad that I left Winnipeg–despite leaving behind my daughter, Francesca; I would have likely had a heart-attack if I did not leave. 

I still had to attend sessions with a psychologist in Toronto, but at least I was free from Mr. Slusky’s oppressive practice and attempt to justify the abusive evaluation made by Ms. Morier. 

For further information about Mr. Slusky, see     or https://mps1.wildapricot.org/Sys/PublicProfile/25307229/1789964  or    https://www.jewishpostandnews.ca/local/1074-for-dr-alan-slusky-building-relationships-is-an-essential-part-of-psychology-practice

A follow-up post will continue with a description of my experiences with a psychologist here in Toronto. 

A Worker’s Resistance to the Capitalist Government or State and Its Representatives, Part Nine

Introduction

This is a continuation of a previous post that illustrates how politically biased the capitalist government or state and its representatives (such as social-democratic social workers) are when it comes to determining real situations–especially when a person self-declares as a Marxist.

Just a recap (more details can be found in earlier posts in this series): I filed a complaint with the Manitoba Institute of Registered Workers against a social worker who had written a court-ordered assessment concerning my wife at the time, myself and my daughter, Francesca Alexandra Romani (ne Harris). I am using the initials S.W. for the social worker. Mr. S.W., claimed that my claim that the mother of my daughter was using a belt and a wooden stick to physically abuse her, was “somewhat ridiculous.” Mr. S.W. was much less concerned about determining the truth of this claim (which is in fact true) than with my so-called indoctrination of my daughter in my “Marxist ideology.”

Since the civil trial in April 1999, my daughter complained of the following  (as of February 18, 2000—it should be noted that the following does not include the many times Francesca told me that Francesca’s mother had hit her before Feburary 18, 2000): 1. Her mother was using a wooden stick on her buttocks; 2. Her mother used a belt to spank her on the same area; 3. Her mother grabbed Francesca and forced her into the apartment building; 4. Her mother had grabbed Francesca’s throat in the elevator and warned her not to tell me that her mother had hit her; 5. Her mother shoved Francesca to the floor on two separate occasions; 6. Her mother hit Francesca on the head with a book; 7. Her mother pulled Francesca’s hair; 8. Her mother scratched Francesca with a comb.

This contrasts with Mr. S.W.’s allegation, as noted in the last post, that ” Mr. Harris’ explanation for contacting the Agency [Winnipeg Child and Family Services] was somewhat ridiculous. He said that the child had made some vague indications that she may have been spanked.”

Mr. S.W. was much less concerned about the truthfulness of Mr. Harris’ claim (which is true) than with Mr. Harris’ Marxists ideas.

The Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers rejected my complaint, claiming that Mr. S.W. did not contravene the code of ethics of registered social workers in Manitoba.

I then filed a complaint against Winnipeg Child and Family Services (WCFS) with the Manitoba Ombudsman, and during their so-called inquiry, the WCFS threatened me in a letter with consulting their legal counsel and phoning the police on me. The Manitoba Ombudsman found the actions of the WCFS to be reasonable both before the letter and the letter itself: 

Our office has investigated the concerns you raised and have concluded that the position taken by WCFS as outlined in their letters of January 13, 2003 and January 22, 2004 is not clearly wrong or unreasonable. Accordingly there is no recommendation that can be made on your behalf.

So far, the Winnipeg Child and Family Services, the Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers and the Manitoba Ombudsman proved themselves to be anything but institutions that reflected any kind of fairness or equitable treatment. Quite to the contrary. They either involved oppression in one form or another or justification of such oppression by vindicating an oppressive institution. 

The social-democratic left rarely take this integrated nature of the oppressive powers linked to the capitalist government or state into account when formulating tactics and strategy. Indeed, many on the left even idealize such oppressive features by calling for, without qualification, the expansion of public services–as if such public services were not riveted with oppressive features. 

I then outlined how I tried to homeschool my daughter, how I failed my daughter by acting as an oppressive father and teacher while trying to teach at Ashern Central High and finish my doctorate in the philosophy of education; this included getting into many arguments over her lack of progress in her studies and physically controlling her when she threw a metal lid at me by putting her in a headlock and forcing her to the ground until she promised not to threw anything else (which I do not regret since she could have seriously injured me). It also included throwing hot tea, some of which hit her face. I also indicated that a mitigating factor was that I had, unknown to me at the time, invasive bladder cancer, but with chemotherapy treatment there was no further visible cancer.

I then indicated how the Anishinaabe Child and Family Services, located in Ashern, engaged in oppressive actions by falsely accusing me of choking Francesca and throwing her to the ground and forced me to inform the principal, Randy Chartrand, that I was under investigation. I also pointed out how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the RCMP–the national police in Canada) had me under surveillance before arresting me for allegedly physically abusing Francesca. Finally, I described the oppressive working situation that I experienced at Ashern Central School, in Ashern, Manitoba, Canada, and I outlined how I came to be receiving short-term and then long-term disability benefits.

Going on Sick Leave, Short-term Disability and Long-Term Disability: Another Form of Oppression 

I mentioned to the math teacher that I was to be put on intensive clinical supervision (where the superintendent, Janet Martell, would control my work); the math teacher suggested that I go on sick leave. However, given my former experience with cancer, I did not have sufficient number of accumulated sick days that would bridge the time from the beginning of sick leave until long-term disability benefits started (a period of 80 working days). Coincidentally, short-term disability benefits had been recently negotiated so that Lakeshore Teachers’ Association members would be eligible for short-term disability benefits provided that they worked at least one day after the start of the policy (March 1, 2012)–which was later than when I started my sick leave.

MTS and Lakeshore School Division made a deal; if I agreed to resign from the school division, the school division would allow me to work one day in order to qualify for short-term disability benefits. I worked at the board office on March 23, 2012, performing a superficial search for information for the Division (I forget the details of the work)–another humiliating experience.

In order to receive at first short-term disability benefits and then long-term disability benefits provided by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, if the issue is not purely physical, it is presumably necessary to be subject to psychiatric evaluation in order to justify not being able to work for an employer. To receive such benefits, the worker must “agree” to the evaluation.

I also was to have an initial “psychiatric assessment”, performed by Gisele Morier, a psychiatrist at PsychHealth at the Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.. This was on March 15, 2012. I also was obliged to begin to see a psychologist–Alan Slusky.

Adelle Field Burton also obliged me to engage in voluntary work, progressively, once half-a-day per week at first, increasing it as time went on. Since I depended economically on disability benefits, if I had refused to “volunteer,” I would have jeopardized my receiving such benefits since one of the conditions for receiving such benefits was cooperation with a plan for rehabilitation. The term “volunteer” in this context, of course, is an oxymoron.

I decided to “volunteer” at Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, a social-democratic organization that addresses poverty issues. The organization evidently functioned on the basis of defining poverty exclusively on the basis of the level of income. It had no intention of addressing the problem of the power of employers as a class. 

Near the end of November, 2012, I had to have a reassessment–again by Gisele Morier. However, several months before the assessment ,Francesca, my daughter, was in another city north of Winnipeg (Arborg, I believe), with a friend (Katy Corder, I believe). Francesca’s heart apparently started to race, so she went to the local hospital with her friend. I do not know exactly what happened, but she (or someone else) called me, indicating that she was at the psychiatric ward for minors, located in the same building as Ms. Morier, who had her office there. Apparently, the hospital doctor in Arborg wanted Francesca to stay for tests, but Francesca refused. The upshot was that an RCMP officer forced her to go to Winnipeg and was placed in the psychiatric ward for the night (probably at the Intensive Child and Adolescent Treatment Service (ICATS) at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC)).

There was a meeting of many adults, to make a decision whether Francesca was to be released from the psychiatric ward or not–an oppressive situation for Francesca. I was invited to attend, which I did. I advocated for Francesca’s release, which is what happened.

When I was to have a meeting with Giselle Morier for my own assessment on November 29, 2012, I was still upset at having my daughter forced into a psychiatric ward against her will. I indicated this to Ms. Morier. She evidently found my “attitude” of questioning the authority of psychiatrists and other government “experts” to be non-plus.

Ms. Morier’s assessment was. like the court-ordered assessment in 1998, biased and full of distortions and unsubstantiated judgements. Thus, Ms. Morier considered that I suffered from “paranoid personality disorder.” Her evidence? Mainly my account of what transpired at Ashern as well as her own distorted interpretation about what I said.

Response to an Oppressive Psychiatric Assessment

Here is my response to the psychiatric assessment:

Context: An interview of Dr. Harris (Ph. D. in the philosophy of education, with four publications) by Dr. Morier on March 15, 2012.  Another interview on November 29, 2012.

Dr. Morier, in her report dated December 18, 2012 (based on an interview with Dr. Harris neglects to include how the interview started). 

Before the interview began, Dr. Morier requested that Dr. Harris sign a permission form.

Dr. Harris indicated that he did not want to sign it but that he had to if he was to continue receiving disability benefits through Manitoba Teachers’ Society. Dr. Morier immediately stated, in a tone that Dr. Harris found offensive, that he was free to sign it or not do so. When Dr. Harris replied that he disagreed with her but that he did not wish to get into a debate with her, she replied, in an offensive manner, that Dr. Harris would probably win since he knew how to debate. The way that Dr. Morier stated this was not meant as a complement.

Dr. Harris leaves it to the reader to decide whether the above is true.

Page 1 from the December 18, 2012 report:

“When asked whether he had noted any inaccuracies or had found discrepancies in what the writer had understood and reported from what he had stated or had any comments, he stated there were no errors, but that he objected to the term `paranoid’ being used to describe him.”

Dr. Morier reiterates this view on page 5:

“I refer the reader to my IME of March 28, 2012 for family and psychosocial history, as according to Mr. Harris, he did not find any errors or needed to make any correction to the information.”

This is untrue. Dr. Morier asked whether Dr. Harris had read the report, and Dr. Harris indicated that he had. The issue came up in the context of whether Dr. Morier had provided written recommendations about medication. Dr. Harris did not recall any such written recommendations in the report itself. He did recall Dr. Morier writing the recommendations on one of her business cards.

Dr. Morier then consulted the report and indicated that she indeed had provided such recommendations.

Dr. Harris did not say that there were no errors in the previous report; Dr. Morier never asked Dr. Harris such a question. There were errors in the previous report, but Dr. Harris simply did not bother to correct such errors—he did not believe that any purpose would be served at the time. He now sees that he was in error.

As for the issue of paranoid, Dr. Harris never indicated that he objected to such a term because Dr. Harris does not recall that such a term was in the first report. Dr. Harris no longer has a copy of the report. He was rear-ended in a car accident on July 20, 2011, and Dr. Morier’s report was in the trunk. Dr. Harris did not bother trying to pull out several papers from the trunk (he had to use a pry bar from the inside to gain access to the contents in the trunk since the trunk would not open from the outside). One of those papers was Dr. Morier’s previous report. Dr. Harris left the report in the trunk since he did not consider that report to be all that important when he delivered the car to Manitoba Public Insurance.

Since Dr. Harris no longer has a copy of the report, he can only recall one element from the first report that was “in error.” Dr. Harris had previous heart palpitations when he was a union steward in British Columbia. As a union steward, he filed a union grievance against his immediate supervisor for having written a job description that only personnel in the library where he was working could fulfill since only those who had job training in the specific library could obtain the specified skills. Since a job posting is supposed to be for all union members as far as possible, and since the rewriting of job descriptions to suit managerial will could, potentially, undermine the union as a viable structure, the union business manager agreed with Mr. Harris (Dr. Harris did not obtain his doctorate until afterwards) that a union grievance should be filed. Of course, Mr. Harris’ immediate supervisor did not like this and harassed Mr. Harris. As a consequence, Mr. Harris was subject to substantial pressure to resign, which he eventually did. Dr. Morier, however, failed to understand the situation and her first report reflects such a lack of understanding. If Dr. Harris recollects correctly, Dr. Morier personalized the issue in British Columbia rather than contextualized it in the context of the employer-employee relation (a relation of power). Dr. Morier persistently ignores context.

Dr. Harris would never have said that the first report was without error. It is untrue. Dr. Harris leaves it to the reader to determine which version is true and which version is false.

“She [Francesca, my daughter] was released the following day after being evaluated by a psychiatrist.” Dr. Morier either does not know or chooses to ignore the fact that there was a meeting of about nine adults, including Dr. Harris, a social worker from Child and Family Services and several others. After some discussion, Dr. Harris stated: “To sum up, this should not have happened.” No one contradicted him. Dr. Harris informed Dr. Morier that he had stated that the incident should not have happened.

“Mr. Harris appeared exceedingly angered and insulted by this. He states that both his daughter and his mother were abused by the psychiatric system.”

Dr. Harris’ mother was forced to undergo electric shock treatments against her will, forced to take so-called medication against her will and so forth. Perhaps Dr. Morier could explain what a rational person would feel when a person whom they love has been abused—unless of course psychiatric care in so-called mental institutions in the 1960s could not be characterized as an abuse. If they were not an abuse, why not reinstitute them?

As for Dr. Harris’ daughter, no one at the meeting indicated why Dr. Harris’ daughter was involuntarily incarcerated. Apparently, Dr. Harris should trust in the judgement of those in “authority”—because they are in authority—rather than in terms of understanding a situation. Why was his daughter incarcerated against her will? What damage did that do to his daughter? If a private person did that, it would be considered abuse and kidnapping. However, if the government does that, why is it is considered to be legitimate by some? Is this the attitude of a scientist? Dr. Harris leaves it to the reader to decide on Dr. Morier’s degree of understanding of the situation and the right of a parent to be angry when parent or child is possibly mistreated at the hands of “authority.” Until Dr. Harris knows the facts, he will presume his daughter’s innocence.

Furthermore, given the quality of Dr. Morier’s report, the reader can surmise the possible quality of care that Dr. Harris’ mother and daughter received.

Page 1:

“He was `well aware of their game.’”

This quote is out of context and therefore distorts the meaning. By decontextualizing the statement—which Dr. Harris did indeed make—Dr. Morier distorts its meaning. The context was in terms of his life in Ashern—a town of 1,400, where he was arrested on April 4, 2011 (by two members of the RCMP personnel in Ashern), with the charges dropped on November 16, 2011. Dr. Harris was arrested on a Monday. Since September 2008, Dr. Harris had a habit, on Saturdays, of going to the bakery/coffee shop at 12:30 in this small town, to read the Saturday Free Press and have a coffee and sticky bun and then study or do some work for his profession as a teacher until around 2:30. He would sit at the same table near the window every time (unless, of course, there were other customers who were already sitting there).

The RCMP never once sat across from Dr. Harris—until Arpil 9, 2011 the Saturday following the arrest). The father of one of Dr. Harris’ former French students was in plain clothes, but there were two other RCMP officers in RCMP uniforms seated with him. They arrived about a half hour after Dr. Harris arrived.

The same thing occurred the following Saturday, but this time the father was dressed in RCMP uniform—along with a couple of other RCMP personnel.

Dr. Harris was referring to this situation when he made the comment that he “was well aware of their game.”

Page 2:

“He chooses to eat take-out chicken two to three times a week in his car, which he parks at the same location on a public street. He believe that someone complained about this behaviour, reporting him to the police. He stated that late one night police came knocking at his door, which he did not answer. They left a City of Winnipeg Police business card, asking him to phone the police about an incident. He remembers his heart pounding.”

Dr. Morier neglected to mention that they arrived at the place where Dr. Harris was staying—at 11:45 p.m. (when, in fact, he was in bed and doing his breathing exercises as suggested by Dr. Slusky). She also neglected to mention that they flashed their lights in the window—a tactic which the RCMP also used in Ashern (in addition to stomping in the snow so that Dr. Harris would look out the window—in which case they would know Dr. Harris was there.)

Dr. Morier also neglected to mention that Dr. Harris had called the police at the number on the card left by the police the next day, but no one returned the call despite the fact that Dr. Harris left his telephone number.

“Since that time he has become more aware of police all around him.”

Also, page 4: “He does believe that the police are targeting him and harassing him. He has searched for evidence in his environment to validate these thoughts.”

Page 2:

“He questions whether they are stalking him and every time [Dr. Harris’ emphasis] he sees a policeman, he states that `I ditch them.’” Actually, Dr. Harris did indicate that once he felt that police in a police car were following him and that he did indeed ditch them. He also indicated that his heart was pounding. He categorically denies, however, saying “every time.” One instance hardly constitutes “every time.” This is a generalization made by Dr. Morier.

Dr. Harris is certainly more aware of the police around him—when he sees them, of course. As Dr. Harris discussed with Dr. Alan Slusky, clinical psychologist, when a person has experienced what he experienced in Ashern in relation to the police—the arrest and the subsequent harassment–increased awareness of the presence of the police is natural.

“…however, he is unhappy with his daughter’s choices, particularly her interest in Amway, because he believe that this organization is a waster of her time and is a `religion.’” Dr. Harris’ daughter invited him to attend a session of Amway with her, and he observed close at hand its operation. As a consequence, he did some research on this organization and sent it to Francesca. Francesca subsequently stopped attending such meetings. Dr. Morier, however, made the comment at the time, when Dr. Harris indicated disapproval of this organization and his daughter’s participation in it, that perhaps Dr. Harris was disapproving of her independence and was trying to control her. Attached is what Dr. Harris sent Francesca that he found on the Internet concerning Amway. 

“He [Dr. Harris] is well aware, however, that the vice-principal at Ashern School refused to give him a reference, as did the principal.”

Dr. Morier failed to pursue why the vice principal refused to provide Dr. Harris with a reference. The vice-principal was the former principal and was demoted to vice-principal the same time that Dr. Harris was demoted to being a de facto educational assistant after having his senior-high French classes stripped from him. The vice principal may well have refused to provide a reference out of fear for his own position. The year before, the vice-principal, who at the time was the principal, had evaluated Dr. Harris’ teaching positively. It is, moreover, Dr. Harris’ understanding that the vice principal would like Dr. Harris to call him since he stated that he had nothing to do with the situation that occurred at Ashern Central School.

“The main reason for this he believes was that these individuals disagreed with him on the value of John Dewey’s philosophy on education and their poor appreciation of Mr. Harris’ skills in teaching French.”

Dr. Harris does not believe this with respect to the vice-principal. With respect to the principal, Dr. Harris and Dr. Slusky have discussed how it is possible that the principal may have been intimidated by Dr. Harris’ doctorate and reacted accordingly. Undoubtedly the principal was concerned about the French program and attributed the problem to Dr. Harris’ apparent incompetence as a teacher. However, when the principal evaluated Dr. Harris’ French teaching, Dr. Harris responded with a 43-page reply, edited to 30 pages by Roland Stankevicius, MTS staff officer. Mr. Stankevicius also stated that the principal did not come out looking very well in his evaluation.

Page 3:

“Dr. Slusky has also prescribed the cognitive therapy book, called Feeling Good by Dr. Burns. Mr. Harris has read parts of the book but he stated that he has to disagree with many issues in this book, in particular in that he believes that there is no scientifically proven cause and effect relationship between thought and emotion.”

This is inaccurate. Dr. Burns claims that negative thoughts cause negative emotions. Dr. Morier failed to understand Dr. Harris’ assertion.

“He tried to engage the writer in a discussion defending this belief. When the writer would not participate and pointed out that he was being argumentative and pedantic, he stated that he feels that he needs to criticize everything.”

Dr. Harris denies this account of what transpired. Dr. Harris merely indicated that Dr. Slusky had recommended that Dr. Harris read this book as a prelude to engaging in cognitive behavioural therapy. Dr. Harris had already indicated to Dr. Slusky that, philosophically, Dr. Burns’ assertions are questionable. Dr. Harris did in fact write up a critique of parts of the book (attached).

Dr. Harris then indicated that he considered Dr. Burns’ assertions about the relationship between so-called negative thoughts and negative emotions to be unsubstantiated. Dr. Morier responded “Not yet” very emotionally.

After having felt abused by Dr. Morier, Dr. Harris felt inspired to do some research in educational journals that involved, implicitly or explicitly, the premises of cognitive behavioural therapy (which is linked to Dr. Burns’ assertions about the relationship between so-called negative thoughts and negative emotions). Dr. Harris came across Dr. Falkenberg’s article (attached), published in the Canadian philosophy of education journal. Dr.Harris submitted a short criticism of the article in the dialogue section of the journal (attached).

Dr. Harris has more appropriate outlets than debating with a psychiatrist who has economic power over him, indirectly, since the report, Dr. Harris knew, would influence whether he would continue to receive disability benefits from Manitoba Teachers’ Society.

Dr. Harris never stated, during this interview, that “he feels that he needs to criticize everything.” Such a view is simply stupid, and Dr. Harris would never say such a thing. On the other hand, he does have a Ph. D. in the philosophy of education and he agrees with John Dewey’s definition of philosophy as critique—and critique does not mean criticize everything—but criticizing what deserves to be criticized and that has importance in this world.

John Dewey was the greatest American philosopher of the twentieth century. Perhaps Dr. Morier would find John Dewey “pedantic and argumentative.”

Dr. Harris had no desire to engage in debate with Dr. Morier. He was not at the interview with Dr. Morier to debate with her.

Dr. Harris leaves it to the reader to judge whose version is more accurate.

Dr. Morier neglected to mention that Dr. Harris also stated that Dr. Burns argued, in his book,  that his book constituted bibliotherapy. Dr. Morier herself ridiculed such an idea. Dr. Harris leaves it to the reader to question why Dr. Morier permits such ridicule by herself but not by others.

“He stated that he often tried to have these philosophical discussions with Dr. Slusky.”

Actually, Dr. Slusky has been open to discussing a number of things. Dr. Harris need not “try to discuss”—he does discuss them. Dr. Harris also provided Dr. Slusky with a couple of his published articles.

Dr. Harris denies that he tried to discuss anything with Dr. Morier. He felt abused by her. Dr. Harris had no desire nor intention of trying to convince Dr. Morier of anything. He wanted the abusive process to stop—period.

Is it credible to maintain that someone wants to debate the other person if the person is feeling abused?

“He reported that Dr. Slusky is also trying to help him improve his interpersonal interactions by teaching him that there can be many ways of looking at and interpreting things which differ from his own view.”

Dr. Harris reported no such thing. Dr. Slusky and Dr. Harris have been discussing how Dr. Harris needs to understand how those in power are often threatened by the fact that Dr. Harris has a Ph. D.

What is sauce for the goose, apparently, is not sauce for the gander. Do psychiatrists display an understanding “that there can be many ways of looking at and interpreting things which differ from” their “own view?”

Dr. Morier implies that Dr. Harris’ views are dogmatic. Her views, of course, are not—according to Dr. Morier.

“He is also learning how to analyze his effect of his behaviour on other people.” The same issue again: the issue of Dr. Harris’ impact on those in power because he has a Ph. D.

Does Dr. Morier understand the impact of her behaviour on other people? Dr. Harris felt abused during the course of the interview.

“Mr. Harris seems to appreciate how flexible Dr. Slusky can be.” Dr. Harris certainly appreciates the respect that Dr. Slusky has shown Dr. Harris—unlike the extreme disrespect and indeed abuse that Dr. Harris experienced during the two-hour interview.

“When asked about his daily activities and his vocational rehabilitation planning, Mr. Harris spoke very disdainfully about how he was being `treated as a thing, as a machine’ by the disability insurance plan. He indicated that he was resentful that volunteering was forced upon him and increased by half-days on a weekly basis.”

This is inaccurate. Dr. Harris was forced to increase volunteering every half-day each month without any assessment of how the process was proceeding.

Dr. Morier, on page 1, decontextualized Dr.Harris’ assertion about being “well aware of their game,” thereby overgeneralizing. She here inaccurately reduces the timeframe for increasing the volunteering.

“He also disliked that he was told he needed to have an exercise program.” Dr. Harris believed that he had a right to express his dislikes to Dr. Morier. However, at one point, Dr. Harris queried whether Dr. Morier then expected Dr. Harris to subordinate his will to those in power. Dr. Morier’s response was, ”Exactly.”

Dr. Harris, during a meeting with Adelle Field Burton, case manager for MTS, and Kathleen Moore, employment counsellor, indicated that he had always hated physical education in school. They agreed with him. They saw nothing wrong with his choice of taking martial arts.

“Although he chose a form of martial arts training called Wing Chun for physical conditioning, he resents this as he does like being told what to do in class, feels exhausted after his weekly lessons and is in some pain because of recently developed bursitis. As well, he does not enjoy the sensation of having his heart pounding during the exercise.”

Dr. Harris at no time indicated that he was resistant to taking Wing Chun Kung Fu. Dr. Harris had taken such a form of martial arts when he was younger, and he is eager to learn this system. It is untrue that Dr. Harris “resents this as he does not like being told what to do in class.” Dr. Harris never stated such a thing. Dr. Harris recognizes the superior skill of his sifu, and he would never say such a thing. There is no evidence to suggest that Dr. Harris dislikes being told what to do in class. His sifu would undoubtedly confirm that Dr. Harris tries his best while in class.

Dr. Harris did indeed indicate to Dr. Morier that he often woke up in the early morning the next day after having attended the Wing Chun class. Dr. Morier’s response was rude: she indicated, in a very brusque manner, that Dr. Harris was out of shape.

“He clearly stated that he resents the Disability Benefits Plan telling him what to do and controlling his rehabilitation plan.” Dr. Harris talked to Dr. Gene Degen, counsellor in the EPA plan for Manitoba Teachers’ Society, while still working as a teacher. Dr. Degen indicated that, although one was expected to do certain things during rehabilitation, ultimately it was the person who formed the center of the plan and who was the driver.

“Upon reviewing the rehabilitation plan and the correspondence, the writer actually believes it is a quite gradual, gentle, generous rehabilitation program.” Dr. Harris is unsure what this means. Is Dr. Morier claiming that she reviewed the plan with Dr. Harris and stated that it “is … program?” Otherwise, the following sentence makes little sense: “He [Dr. Harris] abruptly stated that he wanted his family physician and him to negotiate the rehabilitation process.”

If Dr. Morier claims that she reviewed the plan with Dr. Harris and stated that it was a gradual plan, this claim is false. If she means that she reviewed the plan and found it gradual—that is her opinion. Dr. Harris was under the impression that he had a right to voice his views. Dr. Morier’s attitude that any negative attitude expressed by Dr. Harris was illegitimate shines through in this passage and was evident throughout the interview process. Her evident hostility towards Dr. Harris’ views formed the basis for Dr. Harris’ feeling of being abused.

Since Dr. Morier claims that the rehabilitation program is gradual when volunteering is increased a half day every week, she must, logically, consider the fact that volunteering was increased once every month to be even more generous.

Page 4: “The anger and irritability are much more prominent than sadness, which he acknowledged but has difficulty acknowledging that it is severe or disabling.”

This is false. Dr. Harris provided the examples to illustrate that he was less patient than before and that the impatience could be a problem for teaching since it was necessary to be patient as a teacher. He specifically stated that to Dr. Morier.

“…he clearly ruminates about the injustices he has suffered because he is a Marxist, as well as about his mistreatment and the mistreatment of his daughter at the hands of the police.”

Dr. Harris’ response is: And? Ignoring injustices is hardly healthy. Apparently, Dr. Harris is expected to view the world the way Dr. Morier does (despite the claim, in cognitive behavioural therapy, of viewing the world in diverse manners). Dr. Harris prefers a quote from the preface to Capital, volume one, by Karl Marx: “Perseus wore a magic cap that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. We draw the magic cap down over eyes and ears as a make-believe that there are no monsters!”

Page 5: “Content was significant for his preoccupations with all of the injustices in his life perpetuated by Child and Family Services….”

As for injustices in the world—Dr. Harris’ daughter has certainly experienced such injustice via the negligence of CFS and the Selinger government  [the NDP premier) (and, before that government, the Filmon government). [Gary Filmon was the Progressive Conservative Premier before Mr. Selinger.]

See the attached complaint against the Child and Family Services. Dr. Harris leaves it to the reader to determine whether the Child and Family Services has looked after the best interests of his daughter.

Apart from the above, there is further evidence of the inaccurate nature of Ms. Morier’s assessment. From Kathleen Moore, Rehabilitation Consultant, employed by MTS Disability, dated September 11, 2012: 

Fred made clear to me he has no interest in a gym program overseen by a therapist. I asked him what type of exercise programs he has done in the past and he stated he participated in martial arts programs. He has an interest in learning a martial arts program called Wing Chun. Fred found out the following that is of interest to him in terms of martial arts programs: 

  • Fred and I found one instructor who will instruct in Wing Chun but there were no others in this particular form of martial arts in Winnipeg. This instructor does it as a way of introducing the art to others and will only charge for the cost of the facility rental which is $30.00. Unfortunately he does not start a new class until November. The classes run for 3 weeks at 2x per week.
  • Fred has registered for a martial-arts and self-defense course with the Winnipeg School Division called “Personal Defense Readiness.” The cost is $89.00 total. It starts October 1st and runs for seven weeks 1x per week.

How anyone could claim that I resented participating in Wing Chun is beyond me. Perhaps it is due to stereotyping? As for the bursitis, the MTS Disability Plan actually paid a physiotherapist in order to solve that problem. I attended several sessions with the physiotherapist and engaged in exercises recommended by him at home in order to be able to participate in Wing Chun. That I felt tired while taking it is true–as was my pounding heart when I tried to sleep at night. I leave it to the reader to determine whether it is rational not to “enjoy” such sensations as a pounding heart that prevents one from sleeping properly. 

Conclusion

The oppression I experienced at the hands of Dr. Morier forms just one example of the oppression that many regular–and powerless–people experience at the hands of “experts” and “professionals” related, directly or indirectly, to the capitalist government or state. Such oppression is largely ignored by the social-democratic left, who idealize public services in general. 

In another post, I will further show how oppressive “psychological” therapy can be.