De-pathologizing mental illness

There are many entertaining Hollywood stories of the crazy one! And there are many current stories that keep mental illness in the closet where society can put everything they don’t know how to yet deal with.

I have been a therapist of these ill souls for 20 years. No one will disagree with the need to take guns away from those who have become unable to protect society from them selves; no one will disagree that there are times when we need to step away from work roles when what we are doing, impacts the whole in destructive ways. But the deeper dilemma of how to respond to an ill culture – national or corporate – is avoided when we project onto a few, the disorder of the many.

Well-being and harmony exist on a continnuim – somewhere between our most natural state and our most disordered – the states which meet more of DSM criteria. It is no longer sufficient or efficient to treat the few when re-harmonizing is the task of the many. Neither is it just to pathologize what is often a normal enough response to a disordered global state (eg., it is useless to label and medicate “depression” when the presenting issue is the existential quest we are all on).

We will heal when we open both our personal and our cultural psyches for re-examination and re-ordering.


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