Trauma, not brain disease, is the cause of your distress

This post is not just about children, it’s about just about anyone who has been labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis.

From the blog Your Child Does Not have Bipolar Disorder, By Stuart Kaplan:

Dr. Dugan has found that many children admitted to the Cambridge Hospital child psychiatric unit for angry behavior and misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder have had traumatic psychological experiences that are related to their anger and misbehavior.  The children’s disclosure of these experiences is best elicited with a supportive free play unstructured interview, he believes, in which the child can establish a sense of trust and acceptance with the interviewer.  Often the children have received a structured research symptom-based interview at another site before admission.  According to Dr. Dugan, the structured interview’s emphasis upon factual questions, yes and no questions, and interview sessions held jointly with the children and their parents support the children’s failure to disclose traumatic events and family conflicts.  He believes that the failure to appreciate the history of trauma and interpersonal conflict in the children’s lives, coupled with a need to explain the children’s anger, leads to a premature and erroneous diagnosis of child bipolar disorder. (read the rest)

I’m not a big fan of psychoanalysis, at least in most instances as it’s practiced, but any decently observant therapist of any kind should be able to notice the above fact.

Unfortunately, trauma broadly underlying the source of mental distress is true for adults as well who are labeled bipolar (and schizophrenic and depressed and anxious) and it’s rarely taken into consideration with adults either.

As a social worker and clinician working with “the seriously mentally ill” for many years, I never came upon someone who didn’t have fairly severe traumas in their histories. Mental illness in large part is a reaction to trauma. When we start listening to people rather than numbing them out and effectively silencing them with neurotoxic drugs we will start healing them.

It’s rather mind-boggling and sad that most people who work with these individuals can’t see the obvious staring right at them. We’ve all been brainwashed about what mental illness is and it often blinds us to the simple truth.

A schizophrenic is no longer schizophrenic…
when he feels understood by someone else.

– Carl Jung

To read and learn about a lovely example of healing adults, in this case “schizophrenics” read “How to empty psych beds everywhere, about the Open Dialogue method from Finland, which is truly emptying psychiatric beds there in Western Finland. There are real ways of healing people. Ways that work.

Listen to Cathy Penney, recovered “schizophrenic,” (someone listened to her) on Madness Radio.

And read many more recovery stories of those labeled with serious psychiatric disorder who today live full lives while also being free of psychiatric drugs.

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters