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Sociopaths - They Prey on All of Us

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In 1999 RobertD.Hare, Ph.D. published Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us. Today, thanks to RobertHare, DavidKosson, Pd.D, and others, the means exist to reliably diagnose the condition. The test, carried out by qualified professionals, allows us the tools needed to understand and to take steps to help victims. The test, known as Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) and the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, when used by qualified professionals, makes available the means to identify those with the condition. As with other tests it, presumably, will soon be commonly used in court proceedings.

Hare's new book, Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work, written with PaulBabiak, Ph.D., and published in 2006, opens the issue of the impact of the condition on the workplace, including large corporations.

Since psychopaths live and work in every part of our culture we must consider this issue. How many sociopaths have worked their way into the management structure of corporate America? Estimates vary widely and lacking documented evidence all numbers are open to question. However, the behaviors associated with psychopathy, lack of conscience, lack of concern for the well being of others, a pattern of blatant lies and others, strike many as strongly present in corporate culture today. Both the recent banking and mortgage implosions are evidence of this conclusion.

What if the present meltdown is partly due to a growing presence of psychopaths in upper management? Disturbingly, this may well also be true in higher levels of government given the massive cross which exists at the over the highest levels of each. Logic supports the theory.

The test originated by RobertHare has proven to be a valuable tool both to help victims and, increasingly, to open the door for victims to find justice. The work of Hare and his associates may, possibly, be used to the benefit of business and politics as well.

Psychopaths can impact us from every direction. For individual victims there is also hope.

Through the Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy website victims participate with clinicians, therapists and others to move on with understanding. The site provides a Forum for victims, clinicians and therapists for discussion and could well become the hub needed to generalize understanding of the condition in the general public.


Reading books on the subject, such as the excellent work by MarthaStout, Ph.D., The Sociopath Next Door, provides tools and tests which you can use personally. Dr.Stout, a practicing psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at HarvardMedicalSchool, warns the reader to beware of those who fail the simple tests she outlines. Three lies and you're out is one of simple suggestions she proposes.

In dealing with the overall problem Stout raises other questions which are profoundly on point for all of us today.

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Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father (more...)
 
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