Germany may be soon re-introducing a dark period where political opponents are simply declared mentally ill by the state and forcibly hospitalized for “treatment”.
Image: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975
A case for psychotherapy
In a recent paper dubbed “The Denial of the Apocalypse – Dealing with the Climate Crisis from the Perspective of Existential Psychotherapy” appearing in the German Das Psychotherapeutenjournal (The Psychotherapist Journal), author Fabian Chmielewski explains which “denial processes are effective and what the psychotherapists could and should concretely do about it”.
Panic over climate change is normal
According to Chmielewski, a psychologist with a practice in Hattingen, being in panic about the rapidly approaching climate apocalypse is in fact rational behavior, while having doubts and remaining calm about it is abnormal and thus needs to be addressed.
The journal’s editorial, written by Hans Schindler, comments that although Chmielewski’s paper is contentious, it is “a suitable impetus for the necessary debate about the socio-political responsibility of our professional group and for the discussion about the possibilities – and limits – of engagement in our roles as psychotherapists and citizens.”
Leading journal in Germany
Das Psychotherapeutenjournal is not just some crackpot publication that gets little attention in Germany, rather it is indeed the organ of the Bavarian State Chamber of Psychological Psychotherapists.
The journal is co-financed by the membership fees of the other German state chambers and sent throughout Germany. It is the central organ of a corporation under public law, which represents the profession of psychotherapists by law.
Concrete psychotherapeutic ‘interventions’
The abstract of Fabian Chmielewski paper:
A broad consensus of serious research warns of the scenario of a soon inevitable spiral of man-made climate change. Nevertheless, both large sections of the population and decision-makers do not seem to be adequately interested in the impending destruction of the world as we know it. The gloomy prophecies of climate scientists are played down or even denied, the necessary climate policy steps are not taken. The article looks at these phenomena from the perspective of existential psychotherapy and tries to point out possible causes and mechanisms of this repression as well as to derive concrete psychotherapeutic ‘interventions’. It also argues for the active participation of psychotherapists in health campaigns against this widespread “existential neurosis”.
Chmielewski claims that the “Fridays for Future” strikes and demonstrations are the clearest and most media-effective indication of the impending doomsday scenario, and calls for the implementation of the drastic climate policy measures demanded by science and that both doctors and psychologists warn of the health consequences of climate change and give it top priority. Here, he suggests, panic is the psychologically appropriate response.
Top human health priority
Chmielewski notes that at its annual general meeting, the Marburger Bund (association of physicians) demands: “Stopping climate change caused by humans and its consequences for human health must also be given absolute priority in health policy action”.
In the paper, Chmielewski writes that in recent times, various psychologists and psychotherapists have marked climate change as an “existential threat” (Psychologists for Future, 2019).
And when it comes to scientific dissent with regards to the upcoming climate doomsday, auditor Chmielewski writes that despite the scientific certainty of climate doomsday:
Nevertheless, important decision-makers are either completely denying man-made climate change or trivializing it and the urgency of the pressure to act. […] A large part of the population does not seem to be adequately interested in the impending destruction of the world as we know it and – as Brick and van der Linden (2018) put it – has only one lethargic “yawn” left for the apocalypse. Even more questionable seems to be the motivation of people to reject the human cause of climate change as a lie – sometimes with astonishing aggressiveness and with reference to untenable conspiracy theories.”
Suggesting compulsory hospitalization, medication
Also commenting on Chmielewski’s paper at the critical German achgut.com here, Air Tuerkis notes that generally therapists are rightly afraid to impose a certain point of view on people. But according to Chmielewski: “Exceptions are to be made, however, if an acute own or foreign endangerment is present”.
The concept of an ‘acute danger to oneself or others‘ is quite explosive here. It releases the therapist, for example, from the duty of confidentiality. The term normally aims at impending criminal offences that pose a danger to life and limb and above all a the danger of suicide. In Bavaria the legislator speaks of a danger to public safety to a considerable extent.”
A ‘considerable and acute danger to oneself or others’ is even sufficient as a reason for compulsory hospitalisation and compulsory medication. In this case, the patient could be admitted provisionally for up to 48 hours without a court order.”
In other words, back to the dark days days of Soviet-style punitive political psychiatry. Dissenters should be medicated into changing their views.
And here’s another whopper: 10:10 No Pressure.