Friday, 30 December 2016 22:01

Cognitive therapy heals all mental disorders

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In America, middle class white Americans go to psychotherapists and pay them over a hundred dollars per hour (and do so weekly for many years) to help them improve their self-esteems. They recognize that it is those who have positive self-esteems that do productive work. On the other hand, Nigerians in Nigeria and at Nigerian Internet forums kind of think that it is cute for them to constantly attack each other's self-esteems. They consciously hope to destroy each other's self-esteems (hence I call them primitive savages).  Attacks on their people's self-esteems contribute to low productivity of Nigerians and Africans in general. For example, Africans find it difficult to do well at examinations, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, SAT (on it they score like they are mentally retarded, usually under 900 out of 1600). When Africans have mental health issues, instead of seeking therapy they resort to drinking too much alcohol and or having frequent sex and over eating.  Alcohol, drugs, sex and overeating are means of reducing stress; they are addictive. I have done my best to call attention to what these people do to each other by constantly destroying each other's self-confidence (their leaders in Nigeria are so lacking in self confidence that they literally are paralyzed and immobilized and do not know how to govern the joint called Nigeria; all they know to do is how to steal from the people). As this year comes to end, I felt a need to share with folks the below summary from my writings; my goal is to help improve the mental health of Africans (90% of them have mental disorders, especially personality and emotional disorders but do not know it!). Good luck and have a happy New Year, Ozodiobi Osuji




Ozodi Thomas Osuji


In our age psychiatry has managed to convince the general public that most mental disorders have biological roots and that their cure lie in ingesting psychotropic medications. Thus, these days if folks have any kind of mental upset, including fear (anxiety), anger, depression, paranoia, delusion, mania, schizophrenia etc. they are told that their issues are rooted in biochemical imbalances in their brains.  Folks run to psychiatrists and their bodies are loaded up with medications that supposedly heal their mental disorders.


Medications, may be, for a month or so, seem to heal folk's mental disorders but eventually folks revert to showing the symptoms that made them see themselves as mentally ill.


Actually, if they had not gone to psychiatrists and were not given medications their supposed mental disorders would somewhat dissipate without medications.


Neither medications nor uncorrected thinking patterns heal folks' mental disorders. This is because mental disorders are exactly those mental: that is, thinking disorders; mental disorders are as a result of folks' maladaptive patterns of thinking and until those negative patterns of thinking are changed the problems they produce will intermittently recur.


I am not asking anyone not to go see his psychiatrist and take the medications he gives to him for his supposed mental disorder. What I am saying is that if you choose to you can use non-medical interventions to heal your supposed mental disorders, or use a combination of medicinal and cognitive therapy to heal you.  The choice is up to you.


I know that psychiatrists make noise to the effect that anyone who appears opposed to medications for their patients is misleading the public; it is in their financial self-interests to have people hooked on medications, but the fact is that despite their noise making they do not heal supposed mentally disordered persons. If in doubt, please just show me one person that psychiatrists and their bag of medications have healed and I will withdraw my assertions.


All that psychiatrists do is hook folks on their so-called psychotropic medications, pretty much as street drug dealers hook folks on street drugs. Folks addicted to legal and or illegal drugs will be on them for the rest of their lives until they extricate themselves from them.


Additionally, psychiatrists tell folks that they have mental disorders and collude with folks in using the idea of mental disorder as excuse not to figure out a way to think rationally.


Thomas Szasz (1961) talked about "The myth of mental illness"; he saw the supposedly mentally ill as malingering. R.D. Laing (1960/1961) saw the mentally ill as on some sort of mystical trip.


I am not going as far as Szasz and Laing. People with mental disorders do, in fact, have disordered mental processes.  They actually have biological issues that dispose them to have their disordered thinking patterns.  Where I differ is in saying that the individual can change his pattern of mentation and cognition and thus heal his supposed mental disorders.


The type of cognitive reorientation that I am talking about is not the stuff taught by Albert Ellis (1975) and Aaron Beck (2003). I have a completely different approach to cognitive therapy. This is because I accept the causal role of biological issues in human thinking patterns. However, I also accept that thinking can manage biological issues.


Different body types and their different biochemical and biophysical internal patterns produce different patterns of thinking, and give people the illusions of being different from each other.


Observing people, mentally ill or not you can see that their patterns of thinking are shown on their faces and bodies. If a person is happy it is reflected on his face and body; if he is unhappy, sad and depressed it is reflected on his face and body; if a person is paranoid and deluded his suspiciousness is reflected on his face and body; if a person is over excited and euphoric in his desire for a big self his mental state is reflected on his face and body; if a person is preoccupied with talking to himself and not paying attention to external environmental stimuli, which is what happens in schizophrenia, it is reflected on his face and body.


Simply put, the individual's thinking is reflected on his body; that is to say that thinking does alter the biochemical and biophysical states of the individual; it is not only the case that preexisting biochemical states affect changing, as contemporary neuroscience would like us to believe, Bear (2006), Kandel (2000).


Thus, when psychiatrists tell us that they have found biochemical indicators for the various mental disorders they are really not saying anything new. If you are happy the chances are that your body poured into your nervous system those neurotransmitters associated with joy (serotonin); if you are afraid your body poured out the neurotransmitters associated with fear (adrenalin, low GABA); if you are angry your body poured out neurotransmitters associated with fighting (Neuropiniphrine, acetylcholine); if you are preoccupied with thinking your body poured out neurotransmitters associated with thinking (dopamine).


It is also true that each individual is different in how readily his body pours out these neurotransmitters; some people, for example, are quick to respond to fear or anger arousing stimuli and it is probably because their bodies more quickly pour out associated neurochemicals than in other persons.


Be that as it may, all mental disorders are the products of mind. By mind I mean thinking. Mind is not a tangible thing; the term mind is anthropomorphication of thinking found in each human being (thinking probably also exists in other things, in atoms, animals and trees perhaps in different forms).


Because mental upsets are products of thinking the individual can change his pattern of thinking and thus change his mental state.


For example, if you are prone to fear and anger, you can choose to understand the nature of fear and anger and choose not to give in to fear and anger; if you have depression issues you can choose to understand the nature of depression and choose not to give in to it;  if you have paranoid issues you can choose to understand paranoia and delusion and choose not to think along paranoid lines; if you have bipolar affective disorder issues you can choose to understand mania and think in a manner that you do not over stimulate your body with your desire for grandiose accomplishments; and if you have issues with schizophrenia you can study it and choose not to do the type of thinking associated with that disorder.


You can choose to and remain calm most of the time and not respond to stimuli that normally produce mental upsets in people. You can choose to be objective and not respond to stimuli with any disordered response patterns.


Indeed, you can choose to alter your self-concept. In childhood, from trial and error learning, each of us established a self-concept.  As George Kelly (1955) pointed out, each child used his biological constitution and social experience to construct his self-concept, the idea of who he thinks that he is; that self-concept is thereafter translated into an image form, a self-image; thereafter the individual defends his self-concept and self-image.


Most people have normal self-concepts. Some people posit what Alfred Adler (1964/1979) called neurotic, that is, false big selves. The desired big self wants to seem superior to other selves and thus constitute mental health issue for the individual.


In truth all people are the same and coequal but some people are driven by desire for superiority or desire to attain what Karen Horney (1950) called ideal self.


In pursuing superiority and or ideal-self individuals create all sorts of inappropriate thinking patterns, including anxiety, depression, paranoia, delusion, mania and schizophrenia.


The individual can study his pattern of thinking and behavior and where they are problematic correct them; the individual can give up his desired sense of false importance and ideal self and in doing so would no longer be prone to the mental upsets he used to experience.




As an African looking at Western psychiatry and psychology what struck me is how Westerners causal explanations of mental disorders are far from being universally accepted causal explanations of mental disorders.


I believe that all the nosological categories in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual will have to be reconfigured if they are to be applied to non-Westerners.


I believe that even the diagnoses have to change. Consider the girl that using the DSM V mental health professionals diagnosed as having oppositional defiant disorder, ODD that upon reflecting on her behaviors I came to the conclusion that what she has is extreme idealistic personality.


The idealistic child wants to be perfect and can only accept his self and other persons on the basis of perfection. Since neither he nor other persons are perfect he does not accept his self and does not accept other persons.


He rejects his parents because they are not perfect and there is nothing that they can do that would make them perfect hence respect worthy in his eyes. He finds his teachers, police and political authorities imperfect and rejects them; he rejects his college professors, if at all he gets to college for he sees the professors as not good enough relative to his expectations of which they should be (those who have perfect knowledge).


No extant vocation is good enough for him so he does not commit to studying and practicing any profession.


This person sees every person as imperfect and believes that only he, the perfect aspect of him, anyways, the idealistic part, is capable of doing perfect things, not other people.


A girl, whom we shall call J, thinks that her parents are imperfect and, as such, she does not respect them and cannot ever respect them since they are never going to become perfect in her eyes. She is an idealistic personality disordered neurotic, but Western psychiatric sees her as oppositionally defiant because she dropped out of school in opposition to authorities (she does not respect persons in authority).


Alfred Adler would say that she inherited a problematic body that made her feel inferior and rejected herself and use her mind to compensate with desire for a perfect self and thereafter uses the yardstick of the perfect self to judge her and all people and find all of them unacceptable.


The perfect self is imaginary, a fantasy, it does not exist in the real world; so, using its imaginary ideal standards to judge imperfect real people is unrealistic behavior hence neurosis.


As it were, her mind is playing god; she wants to be perfect, that is, she wants to be godlike. As long as she wants to be god like (she defines god as perfect) and she is that god (that god is not external to her; all gods are  the creations of people; as one sees one's self is how one sees god) she cannot ever respect other people who are not god like.


Clearly, she has unrealistic aspirations, for neither she nor other people can ever become perfect and ideal.


In terms of therapy, she has to learn to accept herself and all people as imperfect beings and respect them despite their imperfection; she has to stop evaluating people with imaginary ideal standards and thus finding them not good enough.


This woman has to grow up and accept human beings as they are (imperfect), not as they should be (perfect, godlike).


People are not perfect gods; besides, we have not seen gods; gods are the products of our imaginations; we imagine how gods are supposed to be, perfect, but have actually not seen perfect gods.  God is the product of the human imagination.


Somewhere, Erich Fromm (see Man for himself) recognized that neurosis is really a form of religion; the neurotic is creating god and worshiping that god of his creation.


Observation actually shows us that it is mostly neurotics who invented the gods that people worship. There are no gods external to human thinking; we are the makers of our gods. If so, we might as well make our gods realistic, not make them imaginarily perfect and worship them.  If gods exist, they are probably like people and whatever imperfections people have are in them.


I will below quickly review what I have written in detail elsewhere on assorted mental disorders and how to change the thinking and behavior patterns that produce and maintain them.




At present American psychiatry recognizes ten personality disorders; they are grouped into three groups, ABC, with group A considered the most severe; group B is considered as folks lacking social conscience; group C is considered minor (they are the neurosis).


Personality disorders do not prevent people from working; indeed, many of the top persons in society have personality disorders.


Group A are: paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorder; group B are narcissistic, histrionic, borderline and anti-social personality disorders; group C are avoidant, dependent, obsessive- compulsive and passive aggressive personality disorders.


Briefly, the paranoid person feels inadequate and compensates with a false grandiose self-concept; he wants every person to see him as he wants to seem, important and powerful; he feels angry at those who see him as not powerful; he is suspicious and fears been demeaned; he does not trust anyone.  He is very rational and argumentative and wants to win all arguments so as to seem superior; he suffers from lack of human understanding hence is almost always fighting with people around him (generally he accuses people of doing harmful things to him that they did not do). Such persons do well in the police, law and investigative professions.


The schizoid person does not have a need to socialize with people or have friends; he generally keeps to his self. Such persons do well in science and engineering.


The schizotypal person has eccentric beliefs, such as believe that he has extra sensory abilities. People see him as odd. The new age movement is full of persons who claim to have psychic abilities.


The narcissistic personality believes that he is special and, as such, admirable; he expects all people to see him as their superior even though folks may see him as inferior (consider Donald Trump who believes that he is special whereas to many people he is a buffoon); the narcissist often has low social conscience and uses people to get what he wants and discards them like rubbish. He is usually very successful in society and marries pretty women as parlor trophies, not out of love (he may not even know what love is).


The histrionic person seeks to be the center of attention; she is the drama queen. This diagnosis is generally given to women; in my judgement, it is the same as narcissistic personality disorder. Many actresses and sporting figures have this personality type.


The borderline person is confused all around; this person is not sure that she is a man or woman (these days many of them are homosexuals, lesbians). It will take many books to talk about this personality disorder. Many of them are our insufferable female professors, the confused feminists of this world who want to be freed from male control yet cannot do anything without male attention.


The antisocial personality has low social conscience; he steals, even kills people without feeling guilty and remorseful. These are the criminals of this world (they are also found in business and the military).


The avoidant person is the shy person who feels that as he is he is not good enough and that if other people get to see him as he is that they would reject him; to avoid rejection he keeps to his self and in social isolation nurses a false big self. Many writers have this type of personality.


The dependent person feels powerless and thinks that if only he pleases other people that they would like him and take care of him; of course, people do not take care of him. Most human beings are dependent followers of their work bosses and religious and political leaders.


The obsessive-compulsive person wants to seem perfect and ideal; he is driven to do things that makes him seem perfect in his and other people's eyes; he uses ideal standards to judge him and people and paralyze him from doing anything. Many geniuses (those with IQ over 140) have this type of personality.


The passive aggressive person so wants other people to like him that he is afraid of asserting his wishes because to do so brings about other people's rejection of him.  Generally, he gets pushed around and occasionally blows up in anger at being pushed around by people. This is the over socialized human being and can be found in all professions.


Obviously I did not provide thorough descriptions of the various personality disorders. If you have one or more of them read up on them.


Regardless of the personality disorder, it is a product of inappropriate thinking patterns and the correction of personality disorders is not from medication but in changing the persons thinking patterns.


Aaron Beck, in his book on Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Personality Disorders, delineated an excellent to approach to healing personality disorders.


For our present purposes the salient point is that changing the individual's mental processes is how to change his personality disorder.


Personality disorder is not a mental disorder; all of us have personalities; personality is the individual's habitual pattern of behaving, responding to his environment, especially to people.


Some persons have problematic patterns of relating to people and have to change those patterns so as to stop generating social conflicts.


I will not delve into emotional and adjustment disorders and other psychiatric disorders, such as dissociative personality disorders. I simply cannot do so; I intend to limit this paper to less than ten pages.




Fear (Jiddu, 1995) is an emotion that we all know about. In fear (Marks, 2005) response, one perceives something that seems able to destroy one's life and one's body pours out excitatory neurochemicals into ones blood stream and those quicken ones bodily and thinking processes; one's heart pounds furiously; ones lungs beat rapidly; ones muscles tense up and one thinks rapidly; messages are sent from all over the body to the brain where they are processed and the brain (memory) gives feedback  to the body as to what to do: flee from the perceived danger or fight it; altogether one is forced to make a quick decision to stay and fight the threat to one's life or to run away from it.


The goal of fear is ones physical and psychological survival. If one can fight back one fights if not one runs from the perceived source of danger to one's life.


Once one has experienced past fear one can use one's mind to anticipate what could cause one danger and one's body reacts as if one is in fact threatened. One can stay in one's room and use ones imagination to wonder if the police will pick one up (a common fear found in immigrants) and deported and one feels intense fear (anxiety).


There are all kinds of fear (Marks, 1987), including the various phobias, such as social phobia, agoraphobia and panic attack; then there are fears associated with certain personality disorders such as avoidant, obsessive compulsive, dependence, passive aggressive and paranoid personality disorders.


Fear (Marks, 1991) feeling is noxious so folks seek ways to reduce it. Traditionally, folks use alcohol to reduce their anxiety.


These days' folks may go to their medical doctors and obtain anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax, Valium etc. These medications apparently allow the body to pour out anti-excitatory neurochemicals in one's body; GABA, for example, and those calm one down.


Anti-anxiety medications do what alcohol does, calm folks down; like alcohol they are addictive.  When addicted to anxiolytics and folks try to withdraw from them they go through what alcoholics go through in withdrawing from alcohol: DT (delirium tremens), hallucinations, especially visual and tactile ones.


Addiction to anxiolytic medications and fear of withdrawing from them become a secondary psychological issue.


In addition, folks have fears of what happens to them when they die; they ask whether there is life after death or is the grave the end of existence? In response to such primordial and existential fears folk's posited religions that give them mythologies about God and his heaven waiting for them.


There is fear of darkness. In the dark we can hear noises and imagine danger lurking there. One can have fear of ghosts in one's house.


Fear is predicated on fear of harm and death.  If one accepts death and says to death: come get me I do not mind dying at any moment one would see most of ones fears go away.


As long as one seeks to live at all costs one would have all sorts of fears, anxieties and phobias; these fears and anxieties restrict people from living fully.




The same biochemistry is involved in fear and anger. Anger (Digiuseppe, 2006) is the fight response to fear response. In anger one's body elicits the same chemicals elicited by fear, especially adrenalin; those chemicals make one fight what one believes is threatening one's life.


The goal of anger is to destroy the source of danger so that one stays alive. In anger you perceive attack on your person and counter attack the attacker.


The perceived attack on you may be real or merely imagined. If you are paranoid you could suspect that somebody is going to kill you and your body reacts as if, in fact, that person has attacked you and you respond defensively, may be run away from him or counter attack him (verbally or physically).


You can correct your thinking and not expect attack and even if attacked you see it objectively and respond objectively without exaggerating the attack.


One can take anger management classes; here, one learns to use one's thinking to tell one that if one is in a state of threat reaching with anger could be destructive so one walks away, count to ten before one talks or dos anything.




Albert Ellis, in his cognitive behavior therapy, points out Epictetus approach to responses to what we perceive as external stimuli; he says that it is not what happens out there in the environment that makes one upset (fearful, angry, depressed, paranoid etc.) but how one thinks about it.


Therefore, to change your behavior you have to change your thinking (cognitive processes). Changed thinking, that is, changed cognition, results in different response patterns to external stimuli.


The world would remain as it is but you would have different responses to it; the same world that makes you fearful, angry and paranoid leaves some people calm.


Your thinking decides how you feel. The world does not have to change to make you feel good but you have to change your thinking if you want to feel good.




Paranoia (Munro, 1999) and delusion disorder are really fear and anger response exaggerated. In paranoia the individual perceives danger to his person and defends against it; he generally anticipates danger and therefore is in perpetual defensive mood.  He is suspicious, untrusting and guarded; he scans his world looking for danger to spring at him at any time; he does not trust other people to protect his life and self-interests.


Generally, something in the past threatened the paranoid person's life; say, childhood illness, or racism; something made him feel weak and he expects to be overwhelmed by his environment.


The paranoid person expects danger to his physical existence and defends against it.  In America white folks do discriminate and sometimes kill black folks so black folks anticipate discrimination and or attack from white folks and defend against them with guardedness, suspiciousness and lack of trusting behaviors; these are paranoid behaviors (William W. Meissner, 1978/1986).


The paranoid person feels weak and inadequate and since to survive one needs power and strength he desires power and strength (Swanson et al, 1970). In time he desires to be a powerful and socially important self.


He is invested in seeing how other people see him. If he feels depowered, demeaned, belittled, humiliated, and disgraced by other people he feels weak and reacts with efforts to seem powerful in the eyes of the person he believes is demeaning him.


In delusion disorder the person forgets that he is inadequate and constructs a powerful self-image, a grandiose self and now believes that he is the big, powerful self he wants to become. He has gone from neurotic wishes for power to believing that he has power that in reality he does not have hence is now psychotic, he is no longer able to test reality.


The paranoid person can be taught to differentiate between real attack on his person and imaginary attacks on his person; he can learn to think and behave in a non-paranoid manner; above all, he can learn to give up his desire for a big self and the fears of that false big self that it could be humiliated.




Mania, also called bipolar affective disorder (Nierenberg, 2010) is really the same thing as delusion disorder. In mania the individual uses his thinking, mind to inflate his self-concept; he wishes that he is a very famous, powerful and important person and now believes it.


The manic person says: I am the richest man in the world (such as say I am Bill Gates); I am the most beautiful women on earth (say, claim to be Cleopatra); I am the best musician on earth (say, claim to be John Lennon).


The manic person has a grandiose self-image and uses his mind to inflate his body to make it feel excited and important. He is deluded. He can learn to give up his desired important self and accept a minimal self that is neither better nor worse than other persons.


When the manic person is over excited with his grandiosity it may be necessary to calm him down with anti-mania medications, such as Lithium and Depakote.




In schizophrenia (Mueser, 2008; DSM 2013) the person has bizarre delusions and hallucinations in one or more of the five senses; the most common hallucination is hearing voices. It is really the individual's voice that he denies ownership of and gives it a name such as say that a dead person, spirit, is talking to him, or says that his ancestors are talking to him; or that Napoleon is talking to him (reflecting his wish for a big self).


The psychotic person may also see people and things that are not there; this is sort of like dreaming while one is awake, with one's eyes wide open.


Hallucinations are nothing but inappropriate thinking that can be corrected by learning appropriate thinking.


In the past folks believed that to be schizophrenic is to be totally lost to the world. This is not true; there are many mathematicians and scientists who are schizophrenic. I personally know a brilliant lady psychiatrist who is schizophrenic.


If, for example, you give up the quest for a big and powerful self and accept the equality of all people you would not have delusion disorder (schizophrenia, paranoid type); you would not hallucinate unless you are over thinking with wishes for impossible important states. Of course, there may be predisposing bodily issues to schizophrenia, say, the body's ability to quickly produce dopamine.


The so-called schizophrenic can learn how to meditate and stop his mind from wishing for false importance and remain silent. Since many of them tend to be good at mathematics and physics they can then bless the world with their natural gifts.




To accomplish the task of teaching the individual to understand his pattern of thinking and behaving may take a long time; to get him to change that pattern may take even longer time.


It is a lot easier to give folks psychotropic medications that appear to solve their problems in the immediate run but do not cure them in the long run and in the meantime cause them side effects in destroyed body parts (such as kidneys etc.).


Changed patterns of mentation and cognition are the best way to heal people of their mental upsets, aka mental disorders.


This perspective is anti-psychiatric and understandably psychiatrists will attack it, some dismissing it as misguided. I am a big boy and can cope with attacks on my perspective on unknown phenomena.




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Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD


December 30, 2016


(907) 310-8176


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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176