Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT has been pretty heavily criticized by people within the "alternatives" community and in particular by a number of Mad in America (MIA) bloggers and commenters in the past few years. In a way that isn’t surprising, because many of us are looking for radical change, and CBT often appears to be part of the establishment, especially within the therapy world.--But while I’m all for criticizing what’s wrong with CBT, especially with bad CBT, I think there’s also a danger in getting so caught up in pointing out real or imagined flaws that we fail to notice where CBT can be part of the solution, helping us move toward more humanistic and effective methods. I would propose that we instead attempt a “balanced approach,” noticing both where CBT is likely to help and where it is not, and discovering what can be done to build on the strengths of CBT while avoiding problems with the misapplication or overstated marketing of it. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Once we're adults we cannot expect another adult to fix the infantile parts of ourselves that were never appropriately nurtured by our parents. Healing is about becoming conscious of those parts and then learning to reparent those parts for ourselves. No one else will ever know what all the little hurt children within us need. We're the only ones who can hear those parts and tend to them. This is the biggest reason the mental illness system fails. It pretends to be a parent and further infantilizes it's adults clients. Until it understands how to support folks to trust themselves and thus empower themselves it will continue to cause further harm. … [click on the title to read and view more]
By Krista MacKinnon I’ve worked in the mental health system for twelve years now, and prior to that was a patient for three. My family was educated to believe that I would be sick my whole life, and that they should have very little hope for my future. When I became a family counsellor, I vowed to never “educate” anyone in such a way. Since then, I’ve watched “Recovery” grow from a subversive whisper to a full-blown growing paradigm in mental health services. Countries have adopted Recovery and implemented its model into their health care planning, academics have studied it and written thousands of articles in peer reviewed journals, organizations have restructured and reorganized their teams to reflect it’s principles, and brave everyday people have told their personal recovery stories to friends, colleagues, conferences, and the media. Recovery is a strong political force, a narrative, a system, a way of life, and a tool. So why then, has this incredible force of “Recovery” not leaked its way over to Family Education? As far as we’ve come (and I mean that as a global community) why are our most intimate loved ones still being educated in old school reductionist ways of thinking about what gets called “mental illness” “Schizophrenia” or “Bipolar Disorder”? Why are there still support groups for families out there where the facilitator thinks it is perfectly okay for families to strategize and brainstorm together ways to sneak their loved ones their medications to “keep them well” or “prevent relapse”? … [click on title to read and view more]
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Now I want to introduce a different type of suffering, one that can be particularly difficult to unravel. Over my years of teaching, I've noticed that there's a particular type of sufferering that is sticky, pervasive, and often very hard to find your way our of. I've come to call this "generational sufferering." The notion of generational suffering is based on the fact that each of us comes from a generational line, which goes as far back in time as we can imagine, back even to the original human beings, our original ancestors themselves.
Last year my psychiatrist asked me to do him a favor. He teaches at a Chinese Medicine school. He does the Western Psychiatry block of the course. He asked me to come into his class to be interviewed by a student. They would be taking my "history." I told him that if I did that... Continue Reading →