Paris Williams & Anomalous Belief Systems

Click on the title for an interesting and thought-provoking post from Paris Williams on Monica Cassini’s Beyond Meds site.

We like Paris’ willingness and ability to look below the flat surface of cultural ideas/norms, to the underlying political, philosophical and existential issues.

Here he challenges our current cultural tendencies and structures – to respond to anomalous beliefs with attempts to encourage or even coerce conformity, for example in the medical/psychiatric model of ‘diagnosis’, ‘disorder’, and routinely prescribed drug treatment. Paris accurately sees this in cultural and political terms, rather than ‘objective reality’ terms.

He proposes that a more useful approach would be a three stage process focused on offering ‘genuine support’ through identifying unmet needs, rather than seeking conformity. He summarizes this (and then goes on to provide significantly more detail on his thinking):-

  1. First of all, as supporters, it’s important that we assess whether an individual’s anomalous beliefs really are distressing (i.e., significantly impeding on the needs of self or others), and honestly evaluate our own reasons for wanting to challenge them.
  2. Foster healthy skepticism of one’s beliefs, not only in the person we are trying to support, but in ourselves as well.
  3. Finally, try to determine the basic needs that are not getting met, distinguish these needs from a particular strategy or behavior that someone may be fixated upon, and support the person in exploring the most sustainable and least harmful strategies for meeting these needs.

He also takes an interesting step sideways, applying the same model to beliefs about climate change.

His PDF list of Human Needs is extremely useful:-

(Here is a good list of what I mean by “needs”).”

Here is a link to Paris’ book:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rethinking-Madness-Understanding-Treatment-Psychosis/dp/0984986707/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402122708&sr=1-1&keywords=paris+williams+rethinking+madness

Monica’s site has a wealth of resources and links, whether you are a therapist; seeking to consider all the implications of taking, coming off or recovering from psychiatric drugs – or indeed, for anyone concerned with the human condition and our paths forward as cultures.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

 

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