Has anyone ever told you to “stop thinking negative?” What about “you are so pessimistic, can’t you ever be positive?” Another great one is “look on the Brightside!” If you’re like me you hate hearing these things. This “positive philosophy” actually started with cognitive psychiatrist, Aaron Beck, who believed that humans engage in a series of thought processes that leads to depression and a host of other negative outcomes such as poor health.
Did you know that psychotherapy and counselling has its roots in philosophy? Existential and phenomenological thinking processes have greatly informed multiple theories on how to “treat” psychiatric illness. Because of multiple disagreements between science and philosophy and the need for the field of psychiatry to prove itself as a science, many aspects of psychotherapy have become a type of “pseudo-science” that misses the mark every time.
Did you hate school when you were growing up? Did you like certain subjects and not others? What would have made school easier for you? Candy? Cookies for every assignment completed? A truly caring person who honestly gave you feedback whether good or bad? For most people, especially young people with severe mental health concerns or learning disabilities, require a special type of educational experience and we (teachers, mental health professionals, parents, family, etc.) must figure that out.
Have you ever taken a questionnaire in a mental health clinic or hospital? What about while you were in school (grade or college)? Were you suspicious of what the questionnaire was for, why you had to take it, and what could be learned about you once you take it? If so, you are not alone. Millions of people are suspicious about questionnaires, especially those in mental health settings. Most people are shy, while others are reluctant to give truthful information. In fact, many mental health settings have incorporated the use of questionnaires in psychiatric evaluations as a way to gather more information about a potential patient.
The topic of mental illness has infiltrated our society at increased rates. Our society was never as conversant of mental illness as we have become today. The frequent conversations were sadly not due to increased knowledge about mental illness, but the shocking numbers of cases involving violence or tragedy.
Allow me to ask you a few questions about your feelings and mood today. Are you feeling a sense of hopelessness and lack of meaning in your daily life? Do you feel like your life is slowly moving or stuck? Can you find no evidence of success, happiness, or direction? If so, you should know that you are not alone.
Have you noticed that there is hardly ever any security outside of mental health clinics, facilities, residential centers, and hospitals? It’s amazing that medical hospitals and clinics have security but very few mental health centers do. Why do you think this is? What has been your experience with this? For therapists such as myself, I’m perturbed by the fact that mental health therapists are not “respected” enough for facilities to invest in greater security.
Are you a parent, family member, or caregiver of a loved one with a severe or untreated mental health condition? How are you coping? If I were to quiz you on the top 5 complications you have encountered so far, what would you say? For many parents, families, and caregivers, the top 5 issues with the mental health system would include:
So many people are struggling during this time of year because of the ups and downs of our economy, our laws, our insurance, our benefits, and the roller coaster ride of our own emotions and lives. So many are depressed, anxious, and even considering suicide. Do you know someone like this? Give them hope by giving them unconditional love.
Do you know someone who suffers from a severe mental illness and desires to have a family? How do you feel about this? Is this you? Or someone you know? This dilemma has created a storm of controversy over the years and has even included a debate on whether or not women, who suffer from severe or untreated mental illnesses, should be on birth control. Many believe women should be free to make their own decisions, while others caution that both the child and mother are at risk.