Home Blog Anxiety, glorifying the brain, false cause logical fallacies and the American Counseling Association

Anxiety, glorifying the brain, false cause logical fallacies and the American Counseling Association

The notion that the brain is the holy grail in relation to emotional and mental health has been a dominant theme for over half a century within mental health globally.

This notion sounds attractive and alluring. It is widely promoted by the psychiatric wing of the medication profession, and has been taken on board as factual by many other professions and bodies.

On 25 June 2018, a blog was published on the website of the American Counseling Association entitled ‘Anxiety and the Brain’, written by Deb Del Vecchio-Scully, counsellor.

According to this article, ‘the root cause of anxiety is found in brain waves and how effective or ineffective they are working’.

Regrettably, the author of this article has fallen into the common trap of assuming and referring causality to the brain – the brain as the master.

This is a cause-correlation  (or, false cause) logical fallacy – assuming that when two phenomena occur concurrently, one causes the other, when such conclusions have not been established as correct.

The notion that emotional and mental health issues arise from the brain is now erroneously accepted as a given, as a fact.

It is disappointing and worrying to see the American Psychological Association give a thumbs up to this fallacy.

Brain imaging studies have demonstrated that changes in brain activity occur after the person’s reaction – i.e. the brain is reflecting the person’s reaction, not creating it: 

Clink here to see the article in which this image appears.

Rather than being the master, the brain is here being the servant of the being. 

The maintenance of the illusion that in such circumstances the brain is the master is essential for the maintenance of psychiatry’s dominant position in global mental health – which is why this fallacy is repeatedly emphasised from within psychiatry.

One might have thought that the counselling professions would question this assumption rather than unquestioningly accept it as a known fact.

It is high time that, in the public interest, the counselling professions became more courageous and questioned the assumptions that govern global mental health, rather than sheepishly accepting medical pronouncements on mental health that originate from self- and group-interest, that hinder real progress in global mental health.

Those who assume that the brain is the answer and that neuroscience is and will continue to be the main source of answers and progress might reflect upon the 2015 words of Thomas Insel MD, former Director of the American National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), arguably the most influential mental health organisation in the world:


Click here to access this article 

Dr. Terry Lynch.


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Selfhood: A Key to the Recovery of Emotional Health, Mental Wellbeing and the Prevention of Mental Health Problems (2011) – 23 Five-star reviews on www.amazon.co.uk  

Depression Delusion: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance (2015) – Foreword by Robert Whitaker.

Beyond Prozac: Healing Mental Distress (2004) – Best seller in Ireland in 2001, reaching no. 3 in non-fiction best sellers.

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Keynote Speaker, Samaritans Annual Conference, 2015.

Mental health professional, physician, psychotherapist, best-selling mental health author, provider of recovery-oriented mental health service.

Member of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy (formulated A Vision for Change (2006), Ireland’s official mental health policy document).

Member of the Implementation Group for A Vision for Change (2006-9), the Second Monitoring Group for A Vision for Change (2009-12), and the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) Expert Advisory Group on Mental Health (2006-8).


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