Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths among Us
The book discusses issues revolving around psychopathic patients living within our society. It describes the situation as the most dangerous form of personality disorder.
The discussion is based on an extensive study of the world of psychopaths. It is worth noting that the author uses empirical literature characterized by various anecdotes. The author further describes psychopaths, their characteristic behavior from film and literature. Also the author discusses such issues as they appear in the press.
There are also particular celebrated cases that include Clifford Olson and Ted Bundy that are mentioned in this book as some of the ways in which the study can be done using these figures. Oprah Winfrey and Jack Abbott are also mentioned in this book. Many individuals who have been mentioned in this book shared a number of behaviors which have a common theme.
The author describes the psychopathic minds as characterized by egocentricity, recklessness and contentment. Other characteristics of psychopathic behaviors are grandiosity and lack of conscience.
The author gives three messages about how to treat psychopathic individuals. The first thing is that the parents of such people must not be blamed for the conditions of their patient relatives. Instead, such parents or spouses should consult the services of clinicians (Hare 1999).
The clinicians must be able to offer special diagnostic expertise and use specific strategies for certain special cases. The second message the author gives is that it should be known that the personality of a psychopathic patient is unlikely to change. Their behavior will change only in a situation where there is diminution with age.
Also, the treatment efforts may not be quite effective simply because the patients are content of themselves. The third message given by Hare is related to the way in which one might protect them from being mistreated by other people. This aspect of perspective is known as street proofing for adults.
The book however seems to contradict in certain specific aspects. The author appears to make suggestions that emanate from common sense. Some of his suggestions also emanate from clinical insight and folk wisdom whereas he warns against relying on such sources.
A good example of this scenario is when the author describes the fixate stare of the patients as one that can be identified by eerie anecdotes. The author goes ahead to contradict himself by saying that this method is unreliable since it does not give accurate results.
Sometimes, the author describes things in a way that can be viewed as a promotional piece. This is exemplified especially when it depicts the convention of PCL as the only way in which the patients can be diagnosed with their conditions.
This statement contradicts his earlier thoughts of a developed structured interview protocol. The other contradictions by the author are that sometimes the book seems to read like a public service announcement. The announcement is further viewed as aimed at protecting the society from the menace of psychopathic situations.
Various human personalities of a psychopath are described by the use of anecdotes. Such features are actually translated by Hare as behavioral action and victimization. The author sums up by presenting his views as a form of litany of tales that have mixed emotions. Thus, the tales are a mixture of fascinating and sorrowful senses.
The author clearly states that many people have a limited understanding of psychopathic patients. He therefore recommends an in-depth and rigorous scientific research coupled with investments into the study of psychopaths.
Hare, R. (1999). Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths among us. Guilford Press, New York.