What is Normalisation and how to heal
Normalisation should be a vital tool for therapists. It is to explain why someone is feeling as they are, in terms of their common psychology. Often it is liberating and sets them on their recovery path.
Normalisation relieves pressure and can begin healing
What do I mean by Normalisation? It simply means the offering of a credible explanation of why my client is feeling so bad.
If normalisation does its job it will begin to take away the pressure of feeling culpable, guilty and ignorant. This is typically how depressed people feel (and indeed pretty well how all those in mental distress feel).
If normalisation does its job, then a more hopeful recovery mindset can take root. Action to relieve the problem can begin to make sense and this can be owned by the sufferer.
If you think about it, you can see that so many pages of my website are essentially normalisation. You will read explanations for why you are feeling so bad. And if you were to think that maybe there might just be something in this explanation of depression (for example) – then this will lift some pressure off you.
Why normalisation becomes a liberating reframe
Normalisation provides an accessible and apparently sufficiently complete explanation for the endured mental problems. This not only makes sense but will accord with the experience of the sufferer. That it is normal and you are not going mad. And that the terrible way you are feeling and the lack of emotional control has a simple explanation that is rooted in the common psychology of us all.
So much of the anguish and pain of mental problems (notably for depression but for much else as well) arises because there is so much ignorance. Moreover, this ignorance extends well beyond the sufferer to include the common media explanations and up to and including most of the medical experts. The consequence of such widespread ignorance is to feed the fear and arousal that is causing the distress in the first place.
Humans are programmed to be always asking the question “why” when they are feeling bad. And then, depending how desperate they are, to alight on all manner of explanations, however unreasonable, improbable and unhelpful they may be.
There is another consequence of good normalisation – of an authoritative and credible explanation by a therapist of why someone is feeling so bad. And that is that the client and the therapist will begin to share a positive expectancy of recovery and relief. And if both do that, then recovery has taken a giant step forward.
What Human Givens teaches – the basis of my normalisation
Are you Depressed?
How has your Last Week been?
How well is your life working?
How can I help you?