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It's a joke that psych students might be more likely than other students to benefit from psych treatment. I'm finding it's truer than I'd thought: fully half of my classmates in this one class I'm taking have come out with some disorder or other, either openly in class or privately to me (and I've had my own issues as well). Some students are currently actively trying to manage their problems. In class, we are called to discuss these same disorders objectively, and to engage in critical debate (which I love to do, sometimes with a fair amount of energy). The last thing I'd want to do, though, is say something that winds up being hurtful to someone (e.g. undermine a treatment they feel benefits them). I do tend to shoot from the hip sometimes, but am practising biting my tongue when it comes to certain ideas, and it's no harm to my education to do that (I can just do my own reading, talk to the prof at office hours if I really have to, etc). But I would love some suggestions around ways to present critical or dissenting arguments in a sensitive way (around controversial topics especially) -- i.e. actual turns of phrase.
 
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WisNeuro

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Confirmation bias. Considering nearly 50% of people have a DSM-IV diagnosable disorder within their lifetimes, in addition to a sizeable percentage who will be subthreshold, there will be plenty in any class that you take. The psychology class just makes it salient and some feel it is a safe place to openly discuss it given the nature of the class.

And, rather than giving you a detailed lecture on the finer points of scientific debate, do you have any examples of what you mean to better guide advice?
 
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futureapppsy2

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It's a joke that psych students might be more likely than other students to benefit from psych treatment. I'm finding it's truer than I'd thought: fully half of my classmates in this one class I'm taking have come out with some disorder or other, either openly in class or privately to me (and I've had my own issues as well). Some students are currently actively trying to manage their problems. In class, we are called to discuss these same disorders objectively, and to engage in critical debate (which I love to do, sometimes with a fair amount of energy). The last thing I'd want to do, though, is say something that winds up being hurtful to someone (e.g. undermine a treatment they feel benefits them). I do tend to shoot from the hip sometimes, but am practising biting my tongue when it comes to certain ideas, and it's no harm to my education to do that (I can just do my own reading, talk to the prof at office hours if I really have to, etc). But I would love some suggestions around ways to present critical or dissenting arguments in a sensitive way (around controversial topics especially) -- i.e. actual turns of phrase.
This is probably not going to be a popular opinion, but I think if someone is studying psychology as a field, their personal experiences should not rule or limit classroom discussion. If you are the 1 person in a million for whom angel-raven-hyperbariac therapy works, that doesn't mean that your experiences trump the fact that there is no evidence for that and substantial evidence for other treatment modalities and no one should criticize angel-raven-hyperbariac therapy . IMO, class discussion should be based around evidence first and foremost, even if that evidence may not be true for every person (there are outliers in pretty much every population after all). I've known some people (not in psychology) who dismiss research solely on the grounds that it did not capture their personal experience and therefore must be bunk. Critique the methodology or the analysis? Yes, please. Assume anything that doesn't match up to your personal experience must therefore be wrong? No.
 
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OP
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Confirmation bias. Considering nearly 50% of people have a DSM-IV diagnosable disorder within their lifetimes, in addition to a sizeable percentage who will be subthreshold, there will be plenty in any class that you take. The psychology class just makes it salient and some feel it is a safe place to openly discuss it given the nature of the class.

And, rather than giving you a detailed lecture on the finer points of scientific debate, do you have any examples of what you mean to better guide advice?
Par 1: very possible!

Par 2: I am not a fan of the SSRIs I've read about (and taken, if I'm honest, which I am, although you'd have to take me at my word, but you should ) ), or the studies often used to back them up (also ,taking into consideration the studies that simply were not seen for a good while [FDA]). I know some people have been very much helped by those drugs.

I have seen that particular conversation, outside of classrooms, get explosive fast.

Also: I do not want to come across like a Scientologist or conspiracy theorist. (Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with those people. <-- you see what I mean??)

But it is true that I am skeptical of new drugs unless I can be convinced the studies are tight and/or it's not a new drug (so has been out long enough for all the effects it can potentially create to be shown).

Ok if I'm completely, completely, 100% honest with myself, I think maybe I do actually have a more general anti-drug bias (for your garden variety mood disorders, anyway - unless it's quite a severe case and there's good support for that drug working in that instance).
 
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This is probably not going to be a popular opinion, but I think if someone is studying psychology as a field, their personal experiences should not rule or limit classroom discussion. If you are the 1 person in a million for whom angel-raven-hyperbariac therapy works, that doesn't mean that your experiences trump the fact that there is no evidence for that and substantial evidence for other treatment modalities and no one should criticize angel-raven-hyperbariac therapy . IMO, class discussion should be based around evidence first and foremost, even if that evidence may not be true for every person (there are outliers in pretty much every population after all). I've known some people (not in psychology) who dismiss research solely on the grounds that it did not capture their personal experience and therefore must be bunk. Critique the methodology or the analysis? Yes, please. Assume anything that doesn't match up to your personal experience must therefore be wrong? No.
Wholly agree with bolded (and the whole)!

But, say, now that I know that really quite a lovely kid really believes that angel-raven-hyperbariac therapy works* and is working to help them right now, I would have a hard time talking about it. (If I didn't know that person liked the stuff, I'd be all over the debate like your annoying lawyer uncle. But even a placebo effect can be quite strong, although of course, they'd encounter the criticism elsewhere.) In any case, I'd like to know how to be gentler about criticisms like that than I am/your annoying lawyer uncle is.

*I don't actually think anyone believes anything that outrageous, to be fair.
***
And, this applies to me as well. My own not-great experiences with SSRIs should not prevent me from staying open to at least the possibility they (or SNRIs, or what have you) might be efficacious for some beyond a placebo effect.
 
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WisNeuro

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My advice is, if you want to talk about something that is controversial, come prepared. For example, you could mention the particulars of the STAR*D trials. In our field, we're all about the empirical evidence, so back it up. Of course, you will always have people who are going to believe what they believe, evidence be damned! The thing is to just stick to the data and try not to follow into logical argument fallacies.
 
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My advice is, if you want to talk about something that is controversial, come prepared. For example, you could mention the particulars of the STAR*D trials. In our field, we're all about the empirical evidence, so back it up. Of course, you will always have people who are going to believe what they believe, evidence be damned! The thing is to just stick to the data and try not to follow into logical argument fallacies.
Thank you! I'll come armed :)
 
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So I was not familiar with the STAR-D studies -- interesting, thank you!! Will be watching for the results around the switch at Level 2 to CBT, and the followups! [edit, whoops it's there, thanks :)] I will be continuing my own reading on the subject (am particularly interested in RCTs in which the placebo was tight tight tight, if anyone wants to throw another bone my way, but of course I am happy to do my own digging) - great lead, thanks again :)
 
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T Brown

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I've come across this issue more than I would like to admit, mostly because I am always the one who says what no one else wants to say. Some people like and others don't. The ones who don't are usually the ones who have always thought a certain way and can't believe any other way of thinking is possible. I come armed with empirical evidence to back up my statements or if its my opinion I make that very clear. I figure at graduate level education everyone should not have the same thoughts and feels about a subject. We are supposed to be independent thinkers !!
 
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I've come across this issue more than I would like to admit, mostly because I am always the one who says what no one else wants to say. Some people like and others don't. The ones who don't are usually the ones who have always thought a certain way and can't believe any other way of thinking is possible. I come armed with empirical evidence to back up my statements or if its my opinion I make that very clear. I figure at graduate level education everyone should not have the same thoughts and feels about a subject. We are supposed to be independent thinkers !!
For sure :) But also, there's the issue of wanting to be careful around people who might be vulnerable. I don't really know what kind of assumptions it's safe to make. I don't want to assume people can't handle talking about xyz (how insulting would that be?), but if I know for a fact someone is having a tough time and maybe a little fragile right now, I'm not going to be all b**** to the wall.

I think probably just being polite and respectful and adhering to classroom norms should be enough, really, but I sometimes worry about putting my foot in it.
 

T Brown

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For sure :) But also, there's the issue of wanting to be careful around people who might be vulnerable. I don't really know what kind of assumptions it's safe to make. I don't want to assume people can't handle talking about xyz (how insulting would that be?), but if I know for a fact someone is having a tough time and maybe a little fragile right now, I'm not going to be all b**** to the wall.

I think probably just being polite and respectful and adhering to classroom norms should be enough, really, but I sometimes worry about putting my foot in it.
There is always going to be a subject that is a little touchy for someone. Its absolutely unavoidable to not touch on something. Staying respectful is the key !!
I worried about is the first part of last semester and one of my instructors called me out (in a private conversation). She asked why don't I speak much in class, I had a lot to offer. I explained to her this was a new setting for me and I did not know how my mostly controversial thoughts would be received. She stated be respectful and allow people to have their own opinions that's all I had to worry about. That's how I appropriate everything.
 
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WisNeuro

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Just be careful in validating everyone's opinion. Not all of them need to be validated. I would suggest reading Paul Meehl's "Why I do Not Attend Case Conference" paper. It's freely available and by far in the top of my psychology readings of all time.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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There is always going to be a subject that is a little touchy for someone. Its absolutely unavoidable to not touch on something. Staying respectful is the key !!
I worried about is the first part of last semester and one of my instructors called me out (in a private conversation). She asked why don't I speak much in class, I had a lot to offer. I explained to her this was a new setting for me and I did not know how my mostly controversial thoughts would be received. She stated be respectful and allow people to have their own opinions that's all I had to worry about. That's how I appropriate everything.
This. Especially in a graduate classroom setting, you really can't be continually concerned with whether or not your questions and/or thoughts might offend someone, particularly if they're empirically-based. Rather, as T Brown mentioned, all you can (and, in my opinion, should) do is voice the questions/statements respectfully. Grad classrooms aren't therapy sessions, and as such, your primary role should be as a student/learner/trainee.

Heck, even if folks are initially resistant to the idea(s) because they challenge long-held (but perhaps infrequently internally-evaluated) beliefs, they might end up thanking you later.
 
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Thanks, all -- and thanks for another great recommendation, WisNeuro :)

(this is only senior UG [hons seminar] btw, none of us really knows what we're on about ;) )