Just to use the term psychiatric disorders is to be entering a no go area. We can already see the warning sign.
- You are entering a zone where you will confront your ignorance, see great suffering for which you will have nothing to say. But there are wise experts who can be trusted to act well on your behalf
No is my answer.
Many unfortunate people are of course trapped in severe mental and emotional problems. Most will have a diagnoses of a psychiatric disorder and invariably also will have been dispensed strong and potentially dangerous medication, by psychiatrists who will have little idea of the deeper medical effects of the medication or indeed have much idea what their diagnoses actually mean.
For some who are locked into severe mental distress, the existence of a diagnoses, will help them live with their problems, while for others, the diagnosis will become a dead and unmovable weight around their necks. This can literally be the case because once diagnosed, you can never escape it – like being born with freckles or having a tattoo. For some also, the medication will bring some kind of relief that at least mitigates the worst of their problems. But very rarely will the medication heal in the sense that most of us understand that term. And for most, the medication will evolve into an addiction which of course further entraps.
BUT there is much that can be understood about the wide range of mental and emotional difficulties that humans experience, even if we go beyond the life problems, stresses, anxieties, addictions and depressions that are the subject matter of much of this website.
There is also a lot that can be done to relieve such mental suffering – if you stick to sensible principles and don’t allow yourself to get lost in jargon and the gobbledygook of the self styled experts.
What I know is this
- I see people who are lost and tell me terrible stories – of neglect, ignorance and trapped on medication and a state run system that is not designed to help but to protect itself
- Human Givens have a far simpler way of understanding mental problems that has the distinct advantage that from it, one can actually begin to facilitate helpful change.
Begin from this:
- The principles of Human Givens, which is not to diagnose or pathologise.
- Instead, ask a big question: What can be done to reduce arousal, to provide an explanation that liberates and not condemns and then to assist in action and training that will get a life that is working again?
Healing serious Psychiatric disorders
The principles are the same as for all emotional and mental healing – namely to find ways to reduce arousal and heal and restore emotional pattern matching, in order to facilitate a measure of control and hence a life that works better.
And how do you do that for those with psychiatric disorders? Here are five contributors:
1. Understanding the continuum of mental distress
At one end, there are psychotic imbalances, where Unconscious Processing and high Flight and Fight arousal overrides the capacity to be present in the real world and take useful action.
At the other, access to Unconscious Processing is limited, resulting in ineffective and distorted Caetextic behaviours which generate high anxiety and practical dysfunction.
Normalising for highly distressed individuals means explaining what and why they are like they are in a way that makes sense. Thus for psychotic and schizophrenic people, why they have weird feelings, paranoia and resistance to pain can all be explained. And what do waking dreams means?
That is possible from the perspective that in turn restores hope and removes pressure. An inevitable consequence is to reduce arousal and hence the opening up to meaningful change.
3. Communicating effectively
At the psychotic end of the spectrum, communication is easy, almost too easy as there is be great sensitivity to metaphor and indirect trance communication, both in and out of trance. Practically, effort is needed to use language and questioning to narrow the field of attention of an extreme end spectrum individual – in order to connect to reality.
At the caetextic end, trance states and indeed stories and complex metaphors are difficult if not impossible to use simply because access to Unconscious Processing is so hard. This means a natural attention to specifics, albeit very differently formulated for left and right brain caetextics, including tasks and instruction e.g. learning relaxation techniques to tame chaotic emotions. Use of logic and universal reasoning and review can also direct attention differently. This is a slow process and a caetextic’s sense of self is always vulnerability. This lack reflects fundamental feelings of insecurity in a world where everything is constantly changing.
4. De traumatising and Reframing
Virtually all people who are on the spectrum of disorders, between the psychotic extreme and to the centre (and even through that) will be living with active trauma of some kind. . More than that, those at or towards the psychotic end will, by virtue of an active imagination be suffering disproportionately. Indeed their lives can easily descend into what might be understood as serial traumatic experiences that become worse and worse. If this is the case, then the Rewind may be needed on many occasions or a more expanded trance work will be needed – to clear much of the historical memory and create new stories. This is often particularly appropriate for those diagnosed with Personality Disorders.
Reframing is a vital tool for helping most distressed clients – and revolves around the use of language and metaphor in a way that communicates well. See here for more on Skillful Counselling.
5. Focus and Practicalities
This is about setting goals that help to get essential needs met – mainly around community and relationships and satisfying work. This might be where the focus is on learning skills and cultivating empathy and when the time is right to clear addictive behaviours. Alternatively rehearsal and visualisation may be important.
Understanding what mental disorders might be about
If you go to what are psychiatric disorders, there is an explanation of what might be going on for those either at the psychotic or aspergic end of the spectrum of mental disorders and perhaps how extreme bipolar or mood disorders might fit in. This explanation, illuminated with my schematic brain diagrams is my understanding of what Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell are saying. They provide a framework that is accessible and very different to the conventional view.
Critically, there is a spectrum of disorders – from psychotic at one end to aspergic (caetextic) at the other.
Don’t trust the psychiatry profession
It is not my purpose to alarm readers of this page who are suffering and labouring from severe mental problems. But I believe I can assume that those who find their way here have done so in a state of some desperation at the failures of the NHS and the psychiatric profession that holds sway within the NHS, to offer the help they need. And it is to these that these few remarks are mainly directed.
You cannot expect much from these people because it is clear to me that they lack the capacity to offer the healing that is required.
- The clinical assumptions of their work – that mental illness is a distinct illness (that separates such illness from the rest of the population) and that can be in principle identified by medical tests (eg blood tests or X-rays) has absolutely no basis in accepted scientific enquiry.
- The universal resort to medication is based on scientific studies that do not bear any serious examination. The evidence of “success” is patchy or non-existent and the science behind the way in which the medication is deemed to work cannot be seriously accepted.
- The medicalisation of mental illness into literally hundreds of separate illnesses that has grown like topsy over the past fifty years is beyond parody. The DSM which is the psychiatrists bible of these “illnesses” is no more than a listing of behaviours – and no two psychiatrist can ever be relied on to come up with same diagnosis. It is so easy to criticise what the profession says and does in the name of science and healing that in different circumstances of human activity it would be considered as unfair or bullying. But the profession has such power and influence against vulnerable people that it is justified.
- Serious money and prestige is to be made in the “ mental illness industry” – for pharmaceutical companies, clinicians, managers and politicians. And we know from much else in modern life that fraud and even criminality can exist for many years, without detection or acknowledgement.
Of course I am not saying that many in the profession are not dedicated physicians who do good (despite themselves). Neither am I saying that I have all the answers for dealing with these unfortunate people who are not coping in this world and who have been so damaged by the system – of drugs, ignorance and vested interests and who will be living with trauma and bad memories that most of us can barely imagine. And who may also have a brain chemistry that is malfunctioning in some barely understood way.