A Physician must remove their world view like a hat and hang it on a rack

Psychiatrist Prof. Nevzat Tarhan emphasizes that a mental health professional firstly must leave behind their world view like they take off their hat and hang it on the rack when they see their counselee, and he warned that “if you do not take off that hat, you can never find the truth.”. Tarhan indicates that counselees are individuals who have both cultural identity with their own world view and a patient identity, and he said “We have to respect those people’s learnings obtained with their cultural identity.  We might have some prejudices against them, in that case, we will remove our prejudices to the rack.”. Prof. Tarhan indicates that prejudices can be eliminated with dialogue and said “Claiming everybody in Türkiye will think in the same way is totalitarianism. It is an ideology of a monotype individual.”.

Üsküdar University President, Psychiatrist Prof. Nevzat Tarhan made some evaluations on the expressions made by academician, writer, psychologist Prof. Üstün Dökmen that is “Those who wear a hijab cannot be a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychological counselors and advisory teacher.  During the session, they can develop identification and if I develop sympathy, I am no longer a psychological consultant.”.

Counselees must be evaluated with patient identity

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan, remarks that people who apply to a mental health professional, are here with their patient identity and said “We evaluate this person with their patient identity. Since that person is here with their patient identity, there is no need to question their religious beliefs. If the counselee or patient mentions their religion, that is, if that person has fights, obsessions or something else on religion matter, then that matter is evaluated. Psychology has a definition. Psychology is covered under three notion: Mind, brain and culture. Culture aspect is very important here.  The environments and culture that person lives, affect their current decisions, diseases or health. Therefore, the culture that the person lives is important to be known. American Psychiatric Association advised to our colleagues that they should know counselees’ culture in order to help their patients. America is a multicultural society. There are various people with various world view and religious view. That’s why, it was advised to learn their cultures, in order not to make a wrong decision, not to lead in a wrong way.”.

It might be a vocational thought disorder

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan indicates that it is likely to be a vocational thought disorder that a psychologist, psychiatrist or any psychological professional think themselves superior from their counselee and said “If they have a strict beliefs about this and they defend their belief without any discussion like they are proven facts, they associate their behaviors that will upset or irritate the other party, with counselee’s illness and they do this due to their prejudice. The most important thing is that they deny that they think in that way because of their strict beliefs and having prejudices.”.

One cannot be a psychologist if they cannot overcome their own narcissism

Tarhan emphasizes that an expert must overcome their own narcissi in order to be a psychologist and said “This kind of psychologist must be lay on the coach for one or two years to be a psychologist to overcome narcissism. One cannot be a psychologist if they cannot overcome their own narcissism. To overcome narcissism, a person must be able to a self-criticism, to be open to criticism. That psychologist cannot diagnose themselves, needs a help from a collogue.”.

Shock experiences change prejudices

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that shock experiences are by-passed in the brain and expressed “There is a something called learned desperation. There is a monkey experiment that they give an electronic shock whenever they reach to banana and they start not reaching to banana. Banana stays there and they do not reach it because whenever they do, their hands get hurt. This is a learned desperation experiment. Then, an interesting thing happens, laboratory gets flooded.  After the flood, everything is messed up. The laboratory is organized again. They put the same monkey in the cage again. The monkey with the learned desperation, starts to reach out the banana again.  It repeats this behavior. So, shock experiences lead to questioning. It initiates the stop, think and re-evaluate system.”.

Not wearing a hijab is accepted as a norm

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan stated that Prof. Üstün Dökmen accepts not having a hijab as a norm and said “He says that is the normal. There is this molded prejudice perceived by him and also by those who thinks in that way. These are modernist dogmas. In modernist learnings and dogmas, this is a dogmatic information, and it is sacred, close to discussion. It is a strict belief that is believed blindfoldedly. In these cases, they are dogmatic prejudices for that person. It is a dogma and that person does not question the dogma. They cannot change it since they do not question it.”.

The world is heading for multiculturism

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan stated that now the world is heading for multiculturism and added “For example, these kinds of prejudices are more common in France but different cultures from each culture can live together more in England where represents a multicultural system. For example, the Ottoman Empire achieved this. There is a population census done in 1894. In the population census, 44% of the Istanbul population in that time was non-Muslims and the Empire achieved to create an environment that everybody could live harmoniously. Many cultures were able to express themselves and live together without feeling a pressure.”.

Automatic prejudices can be overcome with dialogue

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan indicated the notion of “Automatic Stereotype” in political psychology and said “There is an example in political psychology books.  A white mother with her child was walking and a black person was coming from the other side. White mother holds her child’s hand without noticing it, she is not aware of it. An automatic prejudice says a black person is dangerous. She learned this as a threat and grabs her child. This automatic prejudice can be overcome, it can be overcome with dialogue.”.

Prejudices show a person how to think

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan expressed that automatic prejudices and value judgements show a person how to think without noticing just like traffic signs and he said a person can be independent from their prejudices thanks to education. Tarhan added that:

“Our prejudices and value judgements show us how to think and where to lead. If a person has their own prejudices, they stay automatically in a dogmatic zone. They do not realize their own dogmas. However, a professional, this can be a lawyer, a psychologist, a psychiatrist…  Psychology is a basic science. Psychiatry deals with medicine, and it is about treatment, it is clinical.  If psychology master’s is studied in clinical psychology, they receive an education on this matter. They are supervised and, in this supervision, they learn how to be independent from their prejudices and counselee’s prejudice in a consultant-counselee relation.”.

They must remove their world view like a hat to be hung on a rack

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan states that mental health professionals must see their world views as a hat and they should remove it just like a hat when they see their counselees and said “Let’s say a person who is against hijab in a dogmatic way, have a counselee wearing a hijab. That person must remove their world view just like a hat once they step into their office and hang it on the rack.  First you will hang that hat and then you will act like entering a laboratory. When you enter the laboratory, you remove your prejudices and enter there in that way. If you do not enter in this way, you cannot find the truth. Now a person who is in front of us, is a person with their both their patient identity and cultural and world view identity. We have to respect people’s learning with their cultural identity. We have prejudices about this matter but then we have to take it off our prejudice just like a hat.  For example, a mental health professional might have prejudices against a transsexual individual who have identity problems. The consultant must leave their prejudices behind. If the consultant cannot be object, it indicates a vocational thought disorder. That person cannot perform their job. There are some ethical discussions whether they must be expelled from the profession or not.”.

This person has a prejudice

Indicating that this person has a prejudice Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said “This type of people becomes as if they were got shocked with a 220-volt shock when they see a person wearing hijab. We lived through those times. They are like that as if they are got shocked by electricity. They are prejudged. A person who has prejudices, is already perceiving half of the society as enemy.  It means that the person sees half of the society as second-class citizens, that the person marginalizes half of the society.  That is, a white person seeing black people as a second-class, seeing themselves above them, special or important.  This kind of consultant see themselves as more intellectual or superior in morality than their counselee. Ethically, they need to say ‘I see myself above you. I cannot treat you’.”.

Respecting difference is a must

Tarhan said that when a patient or counselee is evaluated, all the cons and pros should be examined and added “however only analyzing in that was is also a prejudice. We can think different. There are many colleagues of ours that we think different from each other.  There are colleagues of ours that we work under the same umbrella. We think different but we work for the same purpose. This is quite natural but respect must be shown in these cases.  It means a level of development. If a person says ‘change and then come here’ to another person, this is totalitarianism.’”.

Claiming “Everybody will think in the same way” is totalitarianism

Stating that there are four features of democratic thinking Tarhan said “it can be described as first one is to be open to criticism, second one is to be accountability. Third one is to be libertarian, that is, to accord a right to live for those who do not think like you, and the fourth one is to be pluralist.  In a democracy, a person who thinks different, can express their thoughts. Saying everybody in Türkiye will think in the same way is just totalitarianism. It is a monotype ideology. This an ideological prejudice from times of one party-system republic.  One party republic ideology… That’s why a person insists on this kind of thoughts and that person is quite prejudiced if not apologizing.”.

One segment of the society is hostilized

Stating that currently psychiatry associations, psychology associations must release a warning to our colleagues on vocation prejudice in Türkiye, Tarhan continued: “because we can hostilized one segment of the society with our behaviors.  As those I approve and those I do not approve.  It is same logic as persona grata. It is a kind of prejudice as well. It is a sexist prejudice and this one is ideological.”.

Due to the prejudices, wrong questions are asked

Tarhan stated that the most important thing is that a person is not aware of their prejudices in a case like this and continued “one accepts it (prejudices) as a strict belief, accepts it as a fact. In this case, they can ask wrong questions to the other party because of their prejudices. This can create prejudices for the other side without being aware of it.  That patient never visits that person again. For example, a person who has prejudices gives a service within the community, manages a kindergarten, that person cannot be objective to a mother wearing hijab who brought her child to that kindergarten. If that person has a prejudice on that matter, they have to hang a sign saying ‘A person with hijab cannot enter here.’.  One person should be independent from their own prejudices. Tarhan also said: “Let’s say you are in America. A black person visited you as patient.  And let’s assume that you say ‘I don’t like black people. I hate them.’ and you do not give an appointment to that person. This is an honest approach.  If a person can say ‘I am prejudged against black people and I do not perform therapy for them’, this person can have a trauma related to black folks in the past. If a person has a trauma in the past, this can develop prejudices.”.

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan expressed his concerns on this recent topic, which has become recently the main agenda, being politicized and warned that “We can experience new discussions like 28th February in Türkiye. That’s why this should not be politicized.  This topic must be discussed by sociologist and prejudices must be eliminated. Now, this person is insulted and this is wrong thing to do. Insults must not be told.”.

With proof and counterproof, the truth is revealed

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that he tweeted 7 tweets on this matter and Prof. Üstün Dökmen should provide proof of his facts as well. He also said: “With proof and counterproof, the truth is revealed. Id the counter proof says this is not my prejudice it is indeed a fact, he needs to provide the proof of this fact. According to what that it is a fact? Are others second-class citizen? During these discussions were made in 2008, I wrote an article on those with hijabs and those who are against it. In that article, I think, I was doing an analysis of those who are against hijab in 8 or 10 items. Those people are ones who overcame themselves, our friend could not overcome himself. He does not question himself. He thinks himself special, he thinks himself important... I think, this is a vocational narcissism.  He sees his profession as special, important and superior. It is a person seeing themselves above from their counselees, defending this as a strict belief that cannot be discussed and thinking everybody must obey this… Like how racism is an ethnic narcissism, this is a vocational narcissism.”.

For the sake of empathy, prejudices must be paused

Expressing that this type of people cannot empathize, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said “To empathize, a person must achieve to pause their own prejudices. That is, a person must be aware of themselves and that person have to say ‘I am prejudged on this topic, I am sensitive and I cannot be objective’. They can get upset or get angry at that person because of their cloths. For example, they do not let touch their body, they do not let the treatment happen. However, in this case, the person must say ‘sorry I cannot help you.’ and explain the reasons.”.

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that a person wearing hijab is a pathological case according to this opinion and expressed “in some way this means accepting that person is labelled. It categorizing the society as A class, B class and so on by thinking ‘By wearing a hijab, this person does not deserve many rights.’.  Just like white-black categorization or race categorization, it is categorized as with hijab and without hijab.”.  Indicating that it is understood that racism is a harmful thing as a result of wars lasted many years in the Europe, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said “In Europe, Hundred Years’ War happened. Civil wars happened among England, France and Germany. As a result of those wars, World War I and World War II happened.  Then, they understood racism is a harmful thing. Racism cause discrimination and changing people due to discrimination causes discussions and fights. Then, they tend towards a multicultural approach.”.

If he was working as clinician, he would not talk unproficiently like this

Stating that religious discourse and terms such as Inshallah (God willing!) and Mashallah (what God has willed) are in our cultural code Tarhan said that “These are cultural phrases that come as sociological phases. It is not possible to change this. You cannot change a person from head to heels. Then, this person has to announce that ‘Patients who think in this way should not see me.’ That person is not a therapist, a psychological counselor, advisory teacher. In fact, he is not a clinician. Since he is not a clinician, he is not well-aware of these topics. If he were a clinical psychologist, he would divide these two prejudices into categories as my prejudices and patient’s prejudices. He would examine the patient as their patient identity. He would evaluate them in this way. If he does not perform this, it is not possible to be a therapist.”.

In therapeutic collaboration, the trust relation built with a patient

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan stated that a trust relation between patient is realized in therapeutic collaboration and added: “Therapeutic collaboration, that is, treatment is a collaboration.  In forming therapeutic collaboration, a safe zone is built between a consultant and counselee.  This trust provides being able to say ‘They understood me.’.  There are some patients who always objects to everything.  We say them at the end of session ‘we agreed to disagree, right?’.  In that way, we would agree on at least one subject.  There are some people to brag about disagreeing with everything and they say ‘I said that to this psychologist and they are under the influence of it.’, however, the person who holds the power within this relation is the therapist who holds the information. Set of information and belief is held by the therapist.  They have to express their set of information objectively to the other party.  They have to express this by being objective and independent from their own prejudices.  To express this, first they have to be objective and independent from their own prejudices. To express this, first they need to understand their patient.   They should understand well weak and strong characteristics of a counselee or patient.”.

This opinion is the residue of modernist despotism 

Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that “The idea of ‘a person wearing hijab cannot be a psychologist’ is a completely dogmatic idea.” and continued “Dogmas are sacred zones. They are closed to discussions. These are modernist fascism. Just like religious fascism, there is also a modernist fascism. Türkiye experienced that in previous years. Modernist pressures and modernist despotism are experienced. These ideas are residues of that period. These opinions belong to the Middle Ages. Opinions during the Middle Ages are built over prejudices. However, Voltaire said this during the Middle ages ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ Nowadays, you see that this does not belong to even the Middle Ages.”.

Two wrongs do not make a right

Indicating that “we must respect an opinion like this. We might not like a person, you might hate them but this is their prejudice” Prof. Tarhan continued that “we cannot answer to a wrong with a wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right. To respect is to say I disapprove. Saying ‘I disapprove your opinion but there are people who think in the same way you do and I accept this.’ Is respecting. We will accept this. We cannot say ‘those people must be dead whenever they are seen’. If we say something like this, we would do the same mistake.”.

Stating “claiming that a person with hijab cannot be a psychologist is an imposition” Prof. Nevzat Tarhan and said “there are male counselees that see this person. A male counselee who has a wife with hijab, comes to see him because of not wearing a hijab… That is a standard characterization of those who have prejudices. The term stereotype is learned prejudices. People who are close to change themselves on these topics, they cannot change.”.

I try to share my profession for the sake of society

Stating that Tarhan does what he thinks it is the right in that kind of situation and said “being able to do things that creates affection and trust, is what a person makes happy. Of course, the important thing is not an affection towards my personality but towards the ideas that I presented to the society.  It is not about my personality; however, I try to share my profession to social values and for the society’s sake. There is a quote that they asked Tolstoy ‘Can you describe me the good?’ and he answered ‘to understand the good, you need to understand the evil first.’. and they asked him ‘well, what is the evil?’ and Tolstoy said ‘those who think happiness of nobody but themselves are evil.’.  Here now, there is a serious global narcissism in society.  Globally people only think of their own interests and they only love themselves. They do not want to do anything for the society, planet they are living. That’s why I fall over backward on how to share my profession for the sake of society and how I can contribute that people are lean to the good instead of the bad. I try to explain. If you do many things not only for yourself but also for the society, you do things for the sake of people and you see the consequences of this and this is enough. Just like a judge finds peace, happiness of realizing his duty when he provides the justice, I would not change the happiness that a patient says ‘May God bless you!’ when they are treated, to anything else. The happiness that a patient had a remedy for their problem and they are healed from their illness, a prayer from a healed person…”.

 A person needs to analyze themselves to heal themselves

Emphasizing that it is important that a person should analyze themselves to heal themselves, Tarhan said “By saying to change the world, first change yourself, a person must perform SWOT analysis on themselves. Economists use the SWOT analysis very well. They examine weak and strong qualities of a company. Then, they examine opportunities and threats of that company. I try to do a SWOT analysis for myself. What are my strong qualities? What are my weak qualities? What are prospective facilities, opportunities and threats for me? I analyze those and accordingly, I try to take calculated risks. I am not afraid of risk.”

There is a religious narcissism 

Stating that there is also religious narcissism just as ethnic narcissism, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that “This is seeing your religion superior and trying to impose it onto everybody, and this is religious narcissism. Religious narcissism and vocational narcissism are the same type of narcissism. Racism is also a disease.  It is a social pathology.  It is not a clinical pathology. Clinical pathology is among the classification books. Islamophobia is something like this, as well. For example, some people have prejudices about race. There is a global Islamophobia. I think Islamophobia is raised in a global psychological war. This does not occur by itself. It is a notion that is formed consciously. Some people want Christian culture and Muslim culture to fight each other and they want to benefit from it during this fight. They want to collide two cultures with each other.”.

Climate of possibility must be realized for the youth

Stating that an area of freedom must be provided together with opportunities to pave the way for the youth, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said “To pave the way for the youth we should pave the way for innovation and entrepreneurship, however, for this an area of freedom is important. Innovation and entrepreneurship cannot exist under fear.  Project that pleasing managers are carried out in a climate of fear. However, there is a climate of possibility in an area of freedom.  Now, young people feel like they are in the climate of fear and they plan to go abroad under the climate of fear. This perception of the youth should be changed.”.

These discussions are important necessary

Emphasizing that experiencing all these discussions are important and necessary, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said “This is a vocational prejudice. We think it is important to criticize this prejudice and also, it is important that this person do their own self-criticism. Being able to speak about this is not a bad thing, on the contrary, it is actually a good thing.  It should be spoken; however, this issue should not be polarization matter that will cause a social schizophrenia which we call it that one community is in fight with another community.  We experience this matter in the South East. This experienced matter is caused by kind of an imposition of formal ideology, race in Türkiye. People there did not want to change their own race and language, and it must be respected.  They were told to like it or leave it. IT is still being told to them.  It is told that ‘like it or leave it.’.  There is no empathy within this.  I can be honored with my own identity, it is a good thing and I can be proud about this; however, this does not mean that you have to be my identity, it would be imposing your own cultural identity to somebody. This is a prejudice. Firstly, we are human beings, and the other things come later.  First, we are human beings, then we are psychologists. The hijab comes after this. However, we are human first. Whoever see their counselees or patients not as human beings first and see them with their prejudices would have worn their prejudice shield and it does not matter which profession they are from.”  

Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)