Agnotology, the study of the production of ignorance
The Hiltzik article reports on the work of Robert Proctor, a history of science professor at Stanford specializing in what is called “Agnotology”, the study of the cultural production of ignorance. This is the investigation of the deliberate sowing of public misinformation and doubt in a scientific area. I of course saw an immediate application to what I have been calling the “sex addiction deniers”.
First, an important point to remember is that only those therapists who are already licensed or otherwise credentialed in their particular counseling field (e.g. psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage counselors, pastoral counselors) are eligible to enroll in the CSAT training.
The focus of traditional sex addiction-compulsivity treatment models tends to be on diagnosing and stopping specific sexual behaviors, or sexual sobriety (Carnes, P., 2001). From a treatment perspective, it is correct to implement behavioral containment and stop problematic behaviors.
I’m away this week and I will post again on 2/24, so for now my cat is holding down the fort. Truth in advertizing: my cat is a lousy therapist.
Bill Cosby once said “all cats do is shed on the rug and make you sneeze” but I think they do a lot more. My cat is entertaining, ornamental, and a good hunter. And I guess that’s what cats are for. Then too, I have read that petting a cat can lower your blood pressure.
I believe that sexual betrayal of the partners of sex addicts has a two-fold impact. It is both a trauma and a serious loss. The trauma that accompanies the discovery of sex addiction shakes the spouse or partner to the core.
Many sex addicts enter recovery with little or no ability to identify what it is they are feeling. I had one client say that he never used to know what his feelings were, that he used to think hunger was a feeling!
Most of us have some so-called baggage, unnecessary fears, mistaken ways of thinking, and self-destructive behavior patterns. This is true for all people struggling with sex addiction as well as most of the rest of the population.
A while ago I was driving to hear a talk near where I live and I was running late. I must have gotten distracted and I swerved and had a near miss with another car on a curvy road. I pulled over to the shoulder and a woman in another car stopped and talked to me from her car. I said “No, no, I’m fine” as I was anxious to be on my way.
Self destructive behavior is often hard to fathom. A person who habitually cuts him/herself, a person who has risky sex with a stranger in a park at night, a person who eats to the point of being sick; such behaviors make no sense to the average person.
Such behavior can be seen psychologically as an escape, a coping strategy, a survival skill, or a way to restore emotional equilibrium.
Correcting mistaken thinking is the basis of some approaches to therapy. The idea simply put is that what we think controls what we feel. So the way to become happier healthier people is to change the ways of thinking that cause us problems and hold us back.
So the cognitive approach says if think that I am unworthy of love I will feel ashamed of who I am and this in turn will hinder my relating. The other way to look at it is that I feel ashamed of who I am and therefore I think I am unworthy of love which in turn hinders my relating.
In practice it is never as simple as taking a person who thinks he or she is stupid or unattractive and then convincing them otherwise.