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Transcript II: 8.5 Million Sociopaths: interview with Psychiatrist Donald Black

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Rob Kall:   Final question: How do we deal with people who are anti-social personalities or sociopaths if we encounter them, if we work with them?

Donald Black:   Well, if you know that they're anti-social -- (laughs) one of the things that I say almost in jest in the book but actually has some practical application is: keep a distance from these people, because they can only cause you grief.  Now as a doctor, I interact regularly with people who are anti-social.  Much of my work is on an inpatient unit.  I see these people with some regularity.  I tell our residents in training that we don't have much to offer them on an inpatient basis, and we shouldn't keep them around very long.  The longer you keep them on an inpatient unit, the more disruptive they can become in terms of requesting special privileges or requesting new medications, and they can become very disruptive.  But in your personal life, if you know a relative has one of thees disorders, or maybe your husband, or a son -

Rob Kall:   Co-worker?

Donald Black:   Co-worker.  If they're in your family I would encourage them to at least get counseling for the trouble that they have in getting along with other people.  Maybe they can benefit from anger management.  Some people may benefit from medication, particularly if they suffer depression or some kind of anxiety disorder.  If they have a substance abuse problem they should be encouraged to get treatment for that.  So those are things that family members can do.  But in the worst cases, the best thing to do is create distance from that sociopathic relative. 

Rob Kall:   And what about if you work with somebody who is like that?

Donald Black:   Well - you're more limited.  But you could always go to HR and ask for reassignment, or if you have knowledge of their misbehavior, report that.  But you're probably more limited because of rights that people have in the workplace that may actually keep them in the workplace than outside the workplace.

Rob Kall:   OK.  What if a sociopath is intentionally making your life miserable?  Does that happen much?

Donald Black:   It can - for example, a stalker: some who's stalking you and making threats.  That's criminal behavior, it should be reported to the authorities.  And in the worst cases, perhaps, someone needs to get a "No Contact Order" - although with some anti-socials, it might just make them more angry.

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Rob Kall:   I see.  Sounds like our culture really has not dealt with the reality and phenomenon of the sociopath in anywhere near close to a way that is competent or comprehensive.

Donald Black:   I totally agree.  I think our society needs to address it, I think the leaders at our research institutions need to address it, and they're not.  I think by writing this book, and talking about this condition and bringing attention to it - that helps, but we need more than just talk.

Rob Kall:   I'm sorry, a last question.  What about in other cultures?  What about in indigenous tribal cultures?  Have you ever looked at that, the phenomenon in different cultures, and particularly tribes, things like that?

Donald Black:   That's an excellent question, and I can address it this way: anti-social personality disorder has been looked at in various countries around the world, various societies.  Wherever people have looked for it, they've found it.  I don't know that anyone has specifically looked at, say, indigenous cultures or very primitive cultures, but my guess is that you'd find it there too.  I think it's in our genes.  Wherever it's been looked at, it's present in a certain percent of the population, and I think it's just part of human society wherever humans are found.

Rob Kall:   OK.  It's been a great interview.  Thank you so much.  This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM.  I've been speaking of Donald W. Black MD, author of Bad Boys, Bad Men: Confronting Anti-social Personality Disorder.  Thank you.

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Donald Black:   Yes, thank you.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also (more...)

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I think lots of the time we prefer to distance our... by anna kakol on Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:06:14 PM
When I think about the typical narcissistic person... by anna kakol on Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:25:09 PM
...because things are not always what they seem.&n... by anna kakol on Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:53:55 PM
Shared on Saddam Hu... by paulvcassidy on Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 5:39:44 PM
How about classifying corporates according to the ... by paulvcassidy on Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 5:40:14 PM
statistics but my question is "why do they all hav... by Archie on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013 at 11:27:29 AM