sanity, insanity

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  • Sanity, Insanity and Common Sense

    written by:

    Rick Suarez, Ph.D. Roger C. Mills, Ph.D. Darlene Stewart, M.S.

    Review by: Amy Romanus

  • Albert Einstein once stated The world we have made as the result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level at which we created them.

  • Life as a perception..Originates in thought.Human beings live in the reality of their own thought-created perceptions.Life is lived from the inside out rather than the outside in.

  • Beyond a specific realm of details lies a deeper understanding

    Realizing the principle of what the mind is and how it functions to generate individual and cultural realities made up of specific details, beliefs, values, opinions, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors.

  • This new toolIs not an external device, belief system, or ritual, but a realization of an understanding that exists at a deeper level of consciousness.. a consciousness that is as accessible as the air we breathe.

  • There is a way to understand.The complete range of human experiences which include not only problems, but also states of happiness or mental health.

  • There are principlesThat have held consistently across the entire range of human experience.

  • Like the principles of mathematics.........These principles impersonally describe a function and the impact of that function on a system of experiential variables.

  • Four Principles of Human Psychological Functioning1. The capability of each human being to formulate thought and the thought system that each human being has created.

    2. The separate reality of individual differences that every unique thought system creates.

    3. The capability of human beings to understand the nature of their own psychological functioning.

    4. Feelings and emotions as indicators of the quality and direction of human psychological functioning.

  • Principle One: A Human being has the capacity to think and what that person thinks has the power to shape ones personal reality.Thought is the dimension that determines the quality of our experience at any given time.The contents of our thoughts (beliefs, values, theories, and assumptions) are an effect of the fact that we are thinking.

  • The Common Denominatoris every human beings ability to think which underlies all the content of what is thought about.Cannot exist at the level of thought content because no two people have the same thought content; So, content is a variable.The ability to think enables the individual to create a variety of content.

  • The Thought SystemOur ability to think facilitates storing and developing a personal thought system.This system is a sophisticated, interwoven network of habitual thought patterns, that interpret our experience.This system includes concepts, judgments, attitudes, opinions, assumptions, beliefs and expectations.

  • A bundle of associationsLike a computer stores bits of data we use this thought system as a basis for interpreting our experience in the present from the perspective of our experience in the past.

    Past experiences exist in the present in the form of thoughts.

    Thoughts facilitate navigation by storing contents such as our address and phone number so that we can recall it when we need it.

  • Central Themed Thoughts are called beliefs and there is a unique interdependence and logical connection among the thoughts or beliefs. Beliefs result in certain perceptions and behaviors which, in turn, will elicit a particular response.

  • Example If a person believes that someone of another race cannot be trusted.

    The person will perceive the situation in a way that conforms with and validates their system of thinking. So their belief will be validated in the external situation.

    THUSA person who believes that someone of another race cannot be trusted is a person who will never experience someone from another race that one can trust.

  • The ExperienceThat comes out of our separate reality is real to us regardless of how non-existent they may be to others, or how non-existent they are in fact.

    There is a direct connection between personal beliefs and personal experiences.

  • A Thought System isA perceptual filter through which people screen and interpret all incoming data, as perception is based on interpretation.The content of thought becomes the perceptual filter through which we screen events, situations and people to create our moment to moment reality.

  • Because, we have a thought systemTo one degree or another we all unconsciously interpret our experience to mean what it has meant to us in the past .So, we continually contaminate the present with our memories of the past.

    We innocently believe that our thinking is TRUTH with a capital T and the world exists as we personally interpret it.

  • Each Human Beinghas the capacity to take a thought - created world and bring it to life.Thought produces reality that becomes our experience.

    We have thoughts about people, objects and events.

  • We Assume.That our thoughts are fairly reliable descriptions of the thing they represent

    But, this is not always the case.

  • On Being Sane in Insane Places(1973)Brilliantly demonstrated how easily a misperception of reality could be shaped by even Doctors misdiagnosing (psuedopatients) as having a mental illness a type II error.

    Even more interesting is how easily the misperception of reality illustrated in this experiment could be reshaped into an opposite misperception ..a type I error.

  • On Being Sane in Insane Places(1973)A follow-up experiment was carried out among the staff of a research and teaching hospital, who doubted that such errors could occur at their hospital. To test the possibility, the psychiatric staff was informed that during the next three months.. one or more pseudopatients would try to gain admission to their hospital.

  • The ResultOut of 193 patients admitted for psychiatric treatment.41 were judged with a high level of confidence to be pseudopatients by at least one staff member. 23 patients were suspected of being pseudopatients by at least one psychiatrist.19 patients were suspected of being pseudopatients by one psychiatrist and one staff member.

  • What is interesting about these results?The experimenters never sent any pseudopatients to the hospital.The only thing that was sent was a thought (an expectation) and the pseudopatients suddenly appeared.

  • This characteristic of a thought system..Exists to point out that the acceptance of a new idea is limited to, and affected by, the existing content. A system of thought will reshape the new idea to conform to the context of what is already accepted.If this new idea is not compatible to existing beliefs, that new idea will be attacked or disregarded.


  • Thus, the key to the solution is....To realize that thinking is a voluntary function, it is something that we do.

    Thoughts have no life of their own, separate and apart from the thinker.

    To understand this we must make the distinction between the content of thinking and the capability to think.


  • Common Denominator RevisitedAgain, the ability to think is the common denominator (Independent Variable) because that is what gives the human being the power to formulate content or details of what is thought about (Dependent Variable).Our reality is self-created and we have the power to change that reality by continuing, dropping or sustaining a pattern of thoughts that hold together that reality.

  • The Existence of Thought SystemsIs revealed by perceptions, feelings, and behaviors that result from it.

    When human beings do not recognize the voluntary nature of their ability to selectively utilize their own thought system, they have no choice but to unconsciously function within the limits of their thought system.

  • Unconsciously Living Within the Limits of A Past Thought SystemMeans that an individual will perceive life in the form dictated by the content of his or her past without ever realizing what is behind his or her experience in the present.

  • When a Individual is Conscious of What a Thought System IsOne can more appropriately utilize the information within it as he or she consider necessary.

    So the activated thought system will determine exactly what an individual is experiencing at any given moment.

  • Traditionally One would try to find and understand the sources of feelings or reactions by examining the details of an external situation.This methodology has been compared to analyzing a picture on a movie screen in order to find the source of the picture.

  • True UnderstandingOnly occurs when we leave the picture and discover the existence of the projector.The function of thought exists as the projector of the content of thinking.

  • Principle Two: The content of each persons thought system is unique Because it is based on his or her personal stored interpretation of experiences in the past.

    It is virtually impossible for any two people to have identical thought systems.


  • Our Thinking tells us.That what we personally perceive is the only reality that exists, it is not only accurate, its absolute.

    In order to see another persons separate reality we must realize that ours is onl