Monday, July 27, 2015

Scientific Torture. As Recommended By Your APA Psychologist

"...doing special things to special people in special places.”
So the American Psychological Association assisted in the torture of terrorism suspects. In itself no surprise. The frightening part however is that the people you should be able to trust in the most difficult of circumstances and who are trained to help people overcome mental hurdles, allow their skills to be used for something very bad. Perhaps some masochists dream of being tortured by someone who understands their deepest fears and uses his or her skills to magnify them manifold but for most people it is the end of yet another safe haven.

mistress tells slave in bondage they're gonna talk about her feelings
Mind games (Source: Arrakis Art)

Trust me, I'm not a doctor

Imagine at some point you discover you are into weird stuff called kink and struggle with its very concept. Alpha male who doesn't understand his desire to surrender or prom queen scared by her desire to inflict pain. So you look for help and talk to a psychologist. You assume your conversations remain private and they look out for your well-being. But what if some of them apply their skills to make people suffer?

I've always known I was into kink. Once I figured out exactly what it was, I said to myself: "oh, that's it". It is not as easy as that for everyone. The more people you talk to, the more you realize a great many kinksters struggle for a long time with their feelings before they accept them, if they do at all. For those people it is a good thing counselling is available.

The reality of what happened is even worse. When the CIA's own in-house psychologists objected, management looked for a few yay-sayers among the members of the American Psychological Association (APA). Torture was recast as "research on human subjects" and while "studies" were ongoing “the APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House and the Department of Defense to create an APA ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the CIA torture program.” Of course those involved were compensated handsomely for their assistance and valuable insights. Not that their involvement yielded any meaningful results. During World War II Nazi doctor Jozef Mengele conducted evil experiments on prisoners in the concentration camps. Guess history repeats itself in slightly different ways.

So what?

Of course the actions of the APA do not necessarily represent the stance of its individual members. While the APA's management has been screaming bloody murder, independent research has brought to light the ugly truth that psychologists not always apply their skill for the benefit of their patients.

And yes 9/11 was exceptional, but if you look at the definition of terrorism one of the most common ones is to destabilize society by striking fear in the heart of it. Judging by the APA's response, the bad guys did an excellent job, unfortunately. In many ways the attacks however served as catalyst for our own responses. We all got so engaged in the war on terror that we failed to notice we are mainly waging war on ourselves by destroying trust, the very fabric of society. The bad guys: they just sit back and watch.

So non-consensual

Imagine some millennial who discovers his preference for BDSM today and struggles with it. What are the odds that he will confide in a psychologist, to help him deal with his feelings?

In itself this story doesn't have that much to do with BDSM but I am sure that after learning how the APA acted, their members will receive fewer applications from people coping with their kink. It also highlights the difference between consensual and non-consensual. Some players frown upon safe words but the ability to end a scene if it gets out of hand distinguished players from rogue psychologist. It reminds me of those dommes whose only thrill is getting as close to people's hard limits as possible, but that's a story for another time.

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