Tuesday, March 11, 2008
So anti-depressants don't work and, it seems, neither does counselling. Ultimately, I think this is because of the extraordinary deviousness of the human mind. Make it feel better in one way and it will find new ways of feeling worse. Depression, as Dorothy Rowe has pointed out, brings its rewards and the pills probably just improve your ability to savour those rewards. Counselling is a different matter. Judging by this article, it can be disastrous in that, in making people confront the sources of their trauma/depression, it makes matter worse. Common sense would suggest that this would be the case but common sense was subverted by the post-Freudian idea that exposing the suppressed trauma would help us to get over it. There is no reason why this should be the case. 'We forget these things for a reason,' as Peter Fonagy of UCL puts it. This is, of course, one more reason why coffee didn't cause the enlightenment - if the action of complex anti-depressants cannot be assessed then the action of a simple stimulant certainly can't - and human enhancement is an incoherent concept.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:17 am