This is a very important assignment. 

Listen to the following program from This American Life: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/204/81-Words. This radio program lasts approximately one hour.

(After listening to the radio program, you have to complete the 5 steps below)

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Step 1: Summarize the radio program in your own words in no more than three paragraphs. Your summary must include the salient aspects of the podcast –10 points. (Suspicious summaries will be run through plagiarism detection software.) I WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE! 

Step 2: State the most surprising aspect of the program in one or two sentences. Explain why it’s surprising –2 points.

Step 3: In no more than three paragraphs, describe your thoughts about psychiatric diagnosis now that you have listened to this program–5 points.

Step 4: In three or four sentences, identify the most well-written and conceptual summary of 81 Words and explain why this student’s work stands out above the rest of the class–5 points.

(you have to read the student’s work below and then answer step 4)

Student’s name: Maria Ramos

Step 1) Throughout the radio program, 81 words, discussed the various tribulations that many closeted and non – closeted homosexuals had to face in the past. It discussed how many men were arrested and discharged dishonorably from the army or fired from their professions due to even the suspicion that their sexual preference was anything other than heterosexual. The podcast discussed how many psychiatrists saw being gay as an illness. This includes psychiatrists, who even themselves were homosexual. A book, titled The Diagnostic and Statistics Manual, stated that people who were homosexual were pathological. Charles Socarides used therapy methods such as talking, hormone enhancement as well as electric shock. The goal of these treatments was to extinguish homosexual desires as well as to make the patient heterosexual. Over time a few professionals began to question this supposed ‘illness’. One notable individual who challenged this was Evelyn Hooker. Hooker conducted a few experiments on thirty gay men who had never been in therapy, prison, or a mental hospital. Through these experiments, she also conducted the same studies on heterosexual men who had the same IQ and age. By the time she finished her findings, she took her evidence to three experienced psychiatrists and asked them to distinguish homosexuals from heterosexuals. Unable to do so, these studies showed that there was not scientific evidence to prove the belief that homosexuality is a pathology; but rather past misconceptions were based on prejudice. After years of protesting and taking over APA meetings, the gay activists finally saw the fruits of their labor. Ronald Gold, who before was a writer for Variety, became a media director for the Gay Activist Alliance. Though he was not prominent in terms of speaking out, he soon became a key figure in the fight for change. He gave a speech at the behavioral therapy conference in fall 1972. This speech led him to meet Robert Spitzer, who was a junior member of the APA’s Committee of NomenClature. Spitzer was able to organize a meeting between the gay activists and the NomenClature Committee where they argued both sides. Though this meeting did not lead to changes in the DSM, a party in a Hawaiian bar was where he decided to write a resolution. This resolution led to homosexuality not being viewed as an illness later on. 

 Step2) The most surprising fact about this, is that many lost their jobs for the mere suspicion that they were gay. Due to their sexuality, many had to hide away and be careful of how they behaved to not be terminated. 

 Step 3) After listening to this podcast, it makes one think just how many individuals have been misdiagnosed and mistreated for the simple fact that psychiatrists can be just as prejudiced as an ordinary citizen. Another thing that is worrisome is the lack of accurate evidence that they had used for their research. In a way, this is tampered evidence. Many of the men they had used for their research had already received some sort of therapy treatment. The therapy used on these individuals affects the way they responded to the research the psychiatrists conducted, versus someone who has not sought out any form of therapy. With this in mind, one can consider, the possibility of certain behaviors or preferences to be determined as an illness, simply due to someone with higher education has stated it is. When in reality, it might not even be a pathology. In some cases, it is evident that the diagnosis is accurate, but it makes you think just how many patients have been misdiagnosed for lack of evidence or mere prejudice. The best possible way to resolve this is to do more extensive and humane research, experiments, etc. to get accurate diagnoses for patients who truly do need psychiatric help.

Step 5: In three or four sentences, comment on at least one different student’s Step 3 posting–3 points.

Student’s name: Liane Ross

Step 3) Psychiatric Diagnosis in my opinion have a couple different views. One view, I believe is for oneself to be able to identify an internal feeling and reason on the way a person may stumble with everyday life. It can give a person an understanding on how to use problem/emotion focused coping. On the other hand, a diagnosis can be used as a weapon. A label can give a person an excuse to act a certain way when indeed it either is false or misused. I’m not trying to take away from people with true diagnosis, but I do believe there are people out there that look for a diagnosis to give them a reason to validate themselves and their actions to harm individuals in an inhumane way.

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