To the mental health professional, healer heal thyself

I spent about 15 years in social service agencies in the United States as a social worker serving folks with a large spectrum of mental health issues.   What I learned is that, as a generalization, most mental health professionals are not comfortable with their own unchartered psyches and therefore, project their fear onto the people they are charged to help. This unconscious habit contributes in large part to the incredibly unsuccessful mental health system in our country. It’s much more appropriate to call it a mental illness system as that is what it breeds and perpetuates.

One of the many harmful ways this system manifests is in the massive over-drugging of  individuals who exhibit difficult psychic material — emotions, feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

I have never been one to say that psychiatric drugs are always unnecessary. They certainly have a place in crisis care and I imagine even in an ideal system where people got what they really needed we’d still see that on some occasions they’d likely be necessary beyond that. We don’t really know given we don’t allow people to find out at this point. We have a system that reflexively puts everyone on medications without any other considerations and we do it while damning them to an entire life-time on them.  There is in general not a belief of any sort of real recovery and so nothing of the sort is offered. This is ludicrous to say the least. I now know hundreds of people who have been told they would need drugs for the rest of their lives who have freed themselves from the drugs who are now doing far better without them.  It is no exaggeration to say that this reflexive habit  to medicate and the refusal to seriously and sensitively engage the pained psyche of those who look for help in mental health services is destroying lives in a multitude of ways.

I want to say to the mental health professional, simply, Healer heal thyself. Become familiar with your own pain that you might help others. Transformative healing is not only possible it is our birthright. Love and heal one another and when you know that something is sorely wrong at the social service agency you work for, say or do something about it, please. That might be the beginning of how we can  give the most vulnerable in society what they really need starting with a safe place to be totally uninhibited with the despair and pain and confusion that is now generally too dangerous to share with most so-called healers of the psyche. (counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists) Numbing the pain away with drugs is not healing. At best it’s a time-limited bandaid and at worst the drugs really do deeply harm the body even to the point of death.

Soteria-like houses are a kind of healing place we can copy more often. The Open-Dialogue program in Finland too.

And these are all stories of recovery that involve freedom from drugs/medications.  There are many ways to find healing. No two paths are alike. Most everyone on these pages were told they would need drugs for the rest of their lives and proved psychiatry sorely wrong. Recovery Stories

More posts to consider: 

●  Reframe your experience

●  The foundation of healing mental ills and of becoming a mature human adult

●  Spiritual emergency: one way of interpreting activity of the psyche that is often labeled psychotic

●  Links to articles that look at the Shamanic-like nature of consciousness

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters