Monday, October 18, 2010
Over at Spiked is an interesting look at a daily struggle between the trapped Chilean miners and the patronizing team of psychologists in charge of helping them through their ordeal.
One of the medical experts at San Jose -- part of a team of 300 people that oversaw the men's health and needs -- said there was a "daily arm wrestle" between the miners and the psychology team. That isn't surprising. The mental-health experts overground used a system of "prizes and punishments" to try to control the men's behaviour -- for their own good, of course. So when the men assented to hour-long phone calls with the mental-health team, as they did when they were first found to be alive 17 days after getting trapped, they were rewarded with prizes such as access to TV shows. But when they refused to talk to the psychologists, as they started to do in mid-September when their health and body weight were improving as a result of sent-down food and they insisted that "we are well," the psychology team would deprive them of luxuries. As one on-site doctor put it: "We have to say, 'OK, you don't want to speak with psychologists? Perfect. That day you get no TV, there is no music -- because we administer these things.'" [minor format edits]The article comes across as more dismissive than critical of psychology, but it is worth a read.