The best therapy for mental illness…

Rossa at Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia nails it on the head with her post from yesterday. I’ve often thought about the fact that “recovery” is about learning to live well. That is all. Learning to be healthy and true to oneself. Calling what it is one does to do that therapy actually keeps one in the illness framework quite often. Healthy lifestyle choices is what it’s all about…call it whatever you feel like calling it. Whatever resonates and works for you. We all have different combinations of things that make us thrive. But certainly the support of those around us is always important as Rossa underscores.

I would generalize Rossa’s message to ALL psychiatric diagnosis.

I’ve excerpted a couple of paragraphs from Rossa’s post:

The best and cheapest alternative therapy for schizophrenia

Here’s my two cents worth. Alternative therapies to treat schizophrenia may not be necessary. Plenty of people I have come in contact with through this blog and from reading recovery stories, have never gone in for orthomolecular therapy, or ridden a horse, or participated in dance or drama therapy. What I would consider the most basic alternative therapy that works for most people is take time out to rest and reflect, and to have the non-judgemental and encouraging support of family or a close friend or friends. I call this basic therapy an alternative one because it is actually contrary to what a lot of people believe. The public mainstream still invests in the idea that schizophrenia is a debilitating, chronic illness that medications can manage. Encouraging growth at home is also contrary to how a lot of people are treating their relative, who they have come to view as having a disease. To quote from the Sheila Mehta/Auburn University study testing whether the belief that a disease view of mental disorder reduces stigma:

In general, the disease view did not improve attitudes, except in terms of blame. It did, however, tend to provoke harsher behavior. In contrast, the psychosocial view induced treatment no different from that toward normal others. The results provide little support for the claim that regarding the mentally disordered as sick or diseased will promote greater acceptance and more favorable treatment.

The therapies I have written about in my blog are icing on the cake. They can help and do help a person to be more at ease in their body and mind (enabling them to stop relying on meds), but all of the work the therapies do counts for nothing if a person sees himself as fundamentally a chronic case or if his family and friends treat him as such. You can practice alternative therapies, but if you return each day to an environment that is critical and unnurturing and which supports your patienthood, all the good they have been doing for you will undone. read the rest

Rest and reflection, indeed.

A bit of coaching about ones inherent wholeness and goodness as well. From there you can find all you need.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters