Click on the link for Laura’s powerful piece about medicating our children. This has a U.S. perspective – and these are also live issues in the U.K.
We are concerned about many aspects of this, not least the power imbalances in operation. This is often an issue where the ‘patient’ is an adult – coercive hospital and drug treatment are commonplace. Where the ‘patient’ is a child, they are even more likely to find themselves voiceless and choiceless – experiencing devastating consequences that can last decades, arising from decisions imposed upon them by adults and ‘professionals’. One aspect of this is lack of availability of balanced or accurate information, to support parents – and any of us – in making helpful choices. Parents – and ‘mental health professionals’ – are often operating from assumptive perceptions that the disease/disorder model of ‘mental illness’ is scientific fact, and that drug treatments are proven and effective treatments. People seldom appear to have heard the arguments challenging these assumptions, and often appear unaware of the severity and duration of the potential unwanted effects of these drugs, the challenges that can arise when stopping them or of the risks of iatrogenic illness.
‘If we are to truly help our children—this goes the same for our fellow adults, too— we must start by demystifying the so-called “mental health system” and naming it what it truly is: a mechanism of social control hidden behind a false veil of “medicine” and “science” and “care”. And it will take shifting our focus off of the individual mind—especially the mind of the child—to place it instead on the state of the world we live in. For we suffer and go “crazy” not because of problems within us, but because we’re intuiting and perceiving what’s around us, and responding to what’s happening to us, to our neighbors, to our communities.
To our collective human family.
As long as we believe in the concepts of “mental illness” and “mental health”, we will never truly address the real causes of our pain: this crazy world we live in, with all its pressure and intolerance and neglect and abuse and violence…….and the countless ways that fear of difference becomes discrimination and oppression. We must stop “treating” ourselves—and especially our children—and instead focus our energies on transforming our relationships, our communities, our schools, our workplaces, our governments, our media, our use of technology, our consumption, and at the heart of it all, our ideologies.’
The ‘treatment’ we actually need for our pain, our distress, our trauma – whatever our age – lies in relationship, characterized by the core conditions: loving presence, authenticity, empathy. To the extent we are offered this, and become more able to offer this to ourselves, we heal, grow and flourish. True for individuals, true at a cultural level. At the individual level, this is what we seek to provide at this service and what we look for and seek to foster in our therapists.
Thank you, Laura.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter