Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review for The Psychopath Test

So I know I said I probably wasn't going to do a review on this book, but I've changed my mind :).  Even though The Romance Bookie is mainly based on YA books, I have made a vow to myself to review EVERY book that I read :).

I finished The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson (the author of the book The Men Who Stare at Goats) last week, and have now finally decided to write my review.

Let me begin by saying again that this book is NOT YA, it's NOT a novel, it's a Research book on information into the world of Psychology.  If I am being honest here, I've never had much patience for the Psychologists or Psychotherapists.  I know I will probably get a lot of crap for saying that, but I just want to be honest before I continue this review.

And you know to be even more honest, after having read The Psychopath Test, having never been more positive about my opinions on the industry.  Now before I continue I will say I am not saying ALL Psychologists or Psychotherapists are terrible! NO! Not at all!  It just personally isn't for me!  I understand that for some therapy works, to talk about their feelings.  I've always been more of a diary person to let out my feelings, but I understand why some people swear by therapists.

What my problem with the industry is, and this was proven even further in Jon Ronson's book, that therapists and other professional psychologists, not all again!!, make up their opinion on people way too soon.

The whole point of Ronson's study was going into the study of being able to find out if someone can officially be labeled a psychopath or not.  After finding out the information about a list that was made, that thousands of psychologists look at as the official psychopath test, and with this list, they are able determine with a series of questions if the person being studied is a psychopath.

Ronson, whose also had very mixed feelings about the psychologist world, decided his study into further depths.

Along the way, he meets people that have been labeled as Psychopaths, and after questioning them and going to further studies of his own, finds them to be believed as mislabeled, however, because one person made them out to be a psychopath, they are officially labeled so for the rest of their lives.  He also meets people who he's read about, and even met before, and that have never been convicted for anything, but through his experience have either said or done things that he believes to be along the psychopath lists terms.

Ronson soon realizes that having that list, especially as a non-psychologist, is dangerous.  You start testing everyone around you.

The book featured the first twenty or thirty (I can't remember which) questions from the Hare Psychology Checklist, and as I read them I found myself thinking of some of the people I've met in my life, and to be honest I did find that a few matched MANY of the items on the checklist.  Now does that mean they are automatically psychopaths?  To be honest, who can really determine that, officially.

That is such a dangerous list to have!

Through the book Ronson also talks about buying a copy of DSM (a manual on EVERY SINGLE Mental Disorder out there in the world!).  There are currently 374 known mental disorders in the world. 374!!!  After reading about all of them, Ronson diagnosed himself with 12 different ones!

The sad part of today's society is that practically everything little quirk we have is known as Mental Disorder.  For instance, "having resultant tense homework situations with my mother"=Parent-Child Relational Problem.  Who doesn't have that as a child???  First off, who LIKES homework?? Honestly!!

By the end of the book Ronson is able determine that a lot of Psychologists and Psychotherapists have abused their power and almost gotten lazy with diagnosing people.  For instance, a child DIED because a doctor diagnosed her with Bipolar Disorder, gave her medication for it, and the child ended up overdosing on it, because it was the wrong thing for her!  So the child was a little hyper! What child isn't??

I found this book to be extremely interesting!  It was recommended to me, and even though normally it isn't something I like to read (because to be frank, I read to escape), but I ended up picking it up as a promise and I am glad I did.  I feel like I learned so much from it.  Not only about the Psychology world, but also small things such as: Did you know that when dogs yawn, they are anxious most of the time?  And I've actually found this to be true! I have two beautiful German Shepherds, and when we come home from a long day away, they get really excited to see us again, and as their jumping around they will just start yawning randomly.  I've always found it to be a little amusing, but now I know why!

Again, I am NOT saying that all Psychologists are flukes!  What I'm saying, and agree with Ronson on, is that the Psychologist industry over the past decades has begun to "diagnose" people a little too easily.  Just because a child is hyper one day, doesn't make the child ADHD.

Overall rating:

I definitely recommend this book to all Psychologist majors.  Not because I think it will change your mind about the industry, just because it is extremely interesting.  I, personally, am not a psychology major, but am interested in the mind, especially a child's mind, because I want to become an elementary school teacher in the near future, but I still found it to be extremely interesting.  Not only did Ronson use intense research to prove his points, from both face-to-face interviews, but also books, research books, but he also wrote The Psychopath Test in a way that kept me interested throughout to know what he was going to do next to further his studies.

Thanks everyone!

Up next...my review of Underworld by Meg Cabot!!!!! So excited for that one!! I am really loving it!!! :)

The Romance Bookie :)

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