The Criminal’s Up – downs emotional levels.

As per my experience in the detection of deception field into the criminal world, police stations and prisons, I found this article a clear example of what inmates can really experience while being under extreme control, being able to fake any kind of emotion and being retractive making our role even more complicated.

“Mental health professionals who work in criminal justice settings encounter offenders who oscillate between emotional highs and lows. Such emotional volatility may occur many times even within a single day.  An offender may seem expansive in mood and on top of the world.  A short time later, he is irritable and depressed. Such rapid emotional shifts may suggest the presence of a mood disorder that calls for medication orpsychotherapy.

If one assesses this individual’s thinking patterns, he will find that the offender’s rapidly shifting moods result largely from his unrealistic expectations of himself and other people.  When a criminal seems depressed, he is unlikely to be dissatisfied with himself. Rather, he is dissatisfied because others have not functioned as he believes they should. Mel, a community college student, proclaimed that he was well-prepared for a mid-term test.  He asserted that he did not have to study. He was certain the exam would be easy and he would “ace” it. When I next spoke with him, he was downcast and ready to quit school because he had failed the test.  He was irate at the “unfair” teacher and fed up with the entire enterprise of taking classes, studying for exams, and being treated “unjustly”. Mel’s style of thinking was, “Because I think something is true, it invariably will turn out as I expect,” i.e., thinking something makes it so. Mel expected others to fulfill his requirements which, often, they failed to do.  If a person expects others to accommodate him just because he thinks that is the way life ought to be, he will invariably experience disappointment and become discouraged. So long as a criminal is in control, he senses he is on top of the world.  He despairs and may retaliate when others do not meet his expectations.

This “condition” does not constitute a bipolaror other mental illness. The criminal’s highs and lows result from errors in thinking such as harboring pretensions that outstrip effort, adhering to a “chessboard” view of life in which he regards others as his pawns, and remaining certain of his infallibility.  Thus far, no medication exits that can correct suchcognitive distortions.  The criminal’s emotional peaks will level off, and the swamps will drain themselves only if he recognizes his own thinking errors and understands and becomes fed up with their consequences, then learns and applies corrective thought patterns.”

Stanton Samenow, Ph.D.,is a clinical psychologist practicing in Alexandria, Virginia and author of Inside the Criminal Mind.



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IRIANS- The Neuroscience Institute

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