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Do you think our fetishes are representative of deep desires?

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Phoenix-Kat

Guest
I was once accused my veterinary themed pics being "fetishy". But although I drew them with no sexual fantasies in mind, yes they were representative of a deep desire...to be a vet....which at the rate things in my real life are going may never come to pass.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
Well for something to be considered an actual "true fetish." It must be present in order to achieve arousal, but that's just the strict psyco-stickler definition. To most people, it's as involved sexually in something as "low" as something that is a turn-on to them.

That's an extreme fetish.

A sexual fetish is normally and properly defined as an unusual or not inherently sexual item or action that causes an individual arousal.

Of course. I was by no means being exhaustive when I mentioned prior experience. Being a (trainee) psychotherapist of a mindfulness/humanistic bent, though, experience and the meaning constructed around it is what's most important to me :p




Emphasis added by me.

The meaning ascribed to fetishes is arguably more important than the actual reason they exist.

If I had a client who came to me and said "Dr. Student, I'm so upset because I like sexy pictures of animal people" my first instinct would not be to tell them "well that's okay, it was a simple conditioning process that resulted in that. No need to worry." Rather, I'd explore what it means to them that they're attracted to sexy animal people, why that is unacceptable, and what could be done to either help them accept theirself or change their behaviour in order to move in a valued direction in life.


If we're trying to discover the truth of the situation, the function of whatever lies we might come up with is not important.

The Ptolemaic model of the solar system is very useful for farmers. It is, never the less, incorrect.

I agree that therapies should be targeted at functional outcomes, in which the correct question definitely is 'if you're not doing harm to anybody, why do you dislike this facet of yourself?
However if we wanted to discover why they held it, that's a different ball game.

I think if we did discover someone held a particular personal trait for some reason, but then deliberately lied to them about the reason because we thought it would achieve a better functional outcome, that we would be breaching some serious ethical guidelines and undermining any authority that is meant to be placed in psychology as a science.

IMO the correct response, if it was discovered there is no psychological significant to fetishists, would be to tell the patient that whatever paraphillia they have is of that nature, rather than concocting a story because we think it will make them feel better.

We wouldn't tell a smoker with lung cancer that the cancer fairy is responsible to spare their feelings, so doing the equivalent in psychology should set alarm bells ringing.
 
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Student

Anthrosexual
Troj said:
I would certainly NOT go full Freud on someone in that situation, and idly speculate about how they clearly had a bad relationship with their mother and that's why they blah blah blah.

Never go full Freud ;)
 
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Student

Anthrosexual
The Ptolemaic model of the solar system is very useful for farmers. It is, never the less, incorrect.

I think this point invites a discussion (one that I've been inviting a lot on this forum!) about what it actually means for something to be true.

The Ptolemaic model was truth until the Copernican Model came along and explained more. The Bohr model of the atom was truth until chemists and physicists needed to explain relativistic effects and account for probabilities. I think if you are in the pursuit of a capital-T Truth you're always going to come up short. You're just going to keep peeling back the layers, developing increasingly sophisticated models to the point of infinity, never quite explaining everything. This is because theories and models aren't reality. We don't have access to that.

I think if we did discover someone held a particular personal trait for some reason, but then deliberately lied to them about the reason because we thought it would achieve a better functional outcome, that we would be breaching some serious ethical guidelines and undermining any authority that is meant to be placed in psychology as a science.

Part of me agrees with you here. Our practices should always be shaped by the best avalible scientific evidence.

However, we still teach highschoolers that electrons orbit around the nucleus of an atom, even though that isn't truth :V

IMO the correct response, if it was discovered there is no psychological significant to fetishists, would be to tell the patient that whatever paraphillia they have is of that nature, rather than concocting a story because we think it will make them feel better.

We wouldn't tell a smoker with lung cancer that the cancer fairy is responsible to spare their feelings, so doing the equivalent in psychology should set alarm bells ringing.

If I have brain cancer, and hanging myself upside down 20 minutes a day makes me feel better, I'm still going to die of cancer. If I have depression, and hanging myself upside down 20 minutes a day makes me feel better, the treatment worked.
 
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Troj

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dino Therapist
Two big questions to consider:

1) How easy or hard is it to divine the The Real Truth in a given situation? Is there an absolute or objective truth that can be discovered in a particular case?

2) Upon discovering the Truth, how does that change things?

If you can't grab onto the Absolute Truth, you may have to settle for the best hypothesis or the best approximate model until something better comes along.

If the truth in a given situation has no little-or-no bearing on your ability to operate in reality productively, then maybe it's of a lower priority than other items in your life. This comes into play in therapy a lot, because clients will get hung up on "what actually happened" to the point where their whole response to the situation will be totally maladaptive and ultimately fruitless.

Whether a basically-irrelevant or peripheral person grimaced at you because they hate you or because they were farting may not be important, so the best and most pragmatic response may be to cultivate or choose the appraisal that helps you to be productive in your life.

So, I'd like to know the REAL REASON why people develop fetishes, of course, but in the meantime, I'm content to come up with good-enough hypotheses that can hopefully or ideally help to inform good research questions and actually help real people in their real lives. If new evidence happens to contradict that hypothesis, then you may have to be willing to abandon it, and form a newer, better one.
 

Fiab

Crazy enough
FallowFox said:
That's an extreme fetish.

A sexual fetish is normally and properly defined as an unusual or not inherently sexual item or action that causes an individual arousal.
The more ya know.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
Two big questions to consider:

1) How easy or hard is it to divine the The Real Truth in a given situation? Is there an absolute or objective truth that can be discovered in a particular case?

2) Upon discovering the Truth, how does that change things?

If you can't grab onto the Absolute Truth, you may have to settle for the best hypothesis or the best approximate model until something better comes along.

If the truth in a given situation has no little-or-no bearing on your ability to operate in reality productively, then maybe it's of a lower priority than other items in your life. This comes into play in therapy a lot, because clients will get hung up on "what actually happened" to the point where their whole response to the situation will be totally maladaptive and ultimately fruitless.

Whether a basically-irrelevant or peripheral person grimaced at you because they hate you or because they were farting may not be important, so the best and most pragmatic response may be to cultivate or choose the appraisal that helps you to be productive in your life.

So, I'd like to know the REAL REASON why people develop fetishes, of course, but in the meantime, I'm content to come up with good-enough hypotheses that can hopefully or ideally help to inform good research questions and actually help real people in their real lives. If new evidence happens to contradict that hypothesis, then you may have to be willing to abandon it, and form a newer, better one.

The academics in pursuit of understanding psychology should prioritise epistemology. People being treated needn't, but they should not be lied to either. If a fact is elusive that needs to be made clear, rather than being replaced with a fabrication.

I don't think the explanation which is most functional to the patient would necessarily be the true explanation, or that fabricating lies to tell the patient is the best approach to managing it: whether someone is a paedophile because they had an early sexual experience or because they have a psychological need to return to youth, for example, may not have the greatest relevance to regulating their behaviour.

In any case, if it is known that a story is a fabrication then telling it to the patient because it is believed their belief in it will be beneficial...well that doesn't really sit right.
 

Student

Anthrosexual
The academics in pursuit of understanding psychology should prioritise epistemology. People being treated needn't, but they should not be lied to either. If a fact is elusive that needs to be made clear, rather than being replaced with a fabrication.

Nobody is advocating straight-up lying to clients. Research informing practice is the holy grail of all clinical activities.

However, as you said, the psychology of sex is too chaotic to be reproducible and predictable on a reliable basis. But those of us in the trenches do not have the luxury of time; we have to pull together theory, data, and our client's idiosyncratic experience in order to make sense of things and proceed with treatment as quickly as possible. Our 'best guess' is often what we have to work with, and as people who want to work towards a specific end, a functional explanation is often the most direct path there. If progress occurs at an unsatisfactory rate, then the model is revised, but if the client is making steady progress with our 'best guess' then who cares if the explanation isn't Truth as it exists in objective physical reality? Truth is what works.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
Nobody is advocating straight-up lying to clients. Research informing practice is the holy grail of all clinical activities.

However, as you said, the psychology of sex is too chaotic to be reproducible and predictable on a reliable basis. But those of us in the trenches do not have the luxury of time; we have to pull together theory, data, and our client's idiosyncratic experience in order to make sense of things and proceed with treatment as quickly as possible. Our 'best guess' is often what we have to work with, and as people who want to work towards a specific end, a functional explanation is often the most direct path there. If progress occurs at an unsatisfactory rate, then the model is revised, but if the client is making steady progress with our 'best guess' then who cares if the explanation isn't Truth as it exists in objective physical reality? Truth is what works.

That's a 'data point of 1' problem. :\ as long as patients appreciate that there is very little chance of their individual explanations being meaningful. If they wanted comforting fabrications, they would turn to the church rather than the medical profession.
 

Troj

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dino Therapist
The difference is that many religious or spiritual claims are fundamentally unverifiable, and often persist even after they've been effectively discredited or debunked, or even, after they've been shown to be actively harmful.

But, the reality is that life is complex and often ambiguous, and is viewed through a glass darkly. All humans have appraisals and narratives that help them to make sense of that reality and keep functioning in it, and even your brain basically "lies" about reality at the most basic levels so that you can process it without breaking down.
 

RockerFox

Meat Popsicle
I really hope not for if that is the case; I should probably get myself committed to the nearest asylum
 
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