Mental Illness or Social Dis-ease?

Its interesting and useful to consider the way that the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of the American Psychiatric Association) has been used by so called “Mental Health” professionals to marginalize a whole class of citizens for life. The one thing that a person can never, ever get away from no matter how hard they try is to escape the label that has been put on them by these so called “professionals” who in essence kind of function like gatekeepers of the culture denying legitimacy to those sorry souls that fall afowel of the system’s divine right to define who a normal person is and isn’t.

The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as normal. That is another good thing that is being taught at the graduate level these days. It was music to my ears to actually hear this for the first time and begin to realize that at long last maybe ideas and attitudes related to “mental illness” were actually beginning to change for the better. Maybe liberation was just around the corner!

From the study of anthropology I have learned that this DSM label that is used has nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of a truly diagnosable medical condition. It is purely and simply a social definition and category that people are placed in solely because they do not conform to the acceptable social standards of their era.

Much academic research work funded by the major pharmecutical companies has gone into trying to come up with some reasonably scientific proof that there is some biological basis for this thing called “mental illness.” In spite of all this effort to prove that their is indeed some underlying biological basis for these diagnostic labels, no such real proof has ever been produced.

For big pharma it is hoped that the logical fallacy of such attemps will never register in the consciousness of the untrained masses and that the vast horde of profit that is made through the systematic forced drugging of the population in the name of “treatment” will never be challenged.

This abuse of the public produces the largest source of profit for the drug companies, i.e. the drug pushers and dealers. People everywhere have not only a right but an obligation to oppose such an ongoing abuse. Most people in treatment for any kind of serious psychiatric disorder are brainwashed by the system funded by big pharma into believing that they have to stay on expensive and debilitating drugs that actually have been demonstrated to change the shape of a person’s brain for the rest of their lives. Such an abuse of the public constitutes and ongoing crime against humanity while providing an endless source of profits for big pharma.

It is important also for people to understand that organizations that claim to be on the side of people with “mental illness” such as NAMI (National Alliance of the Mentally Ill) are actually funded by big pharma. The purpose being to maintain the fiction promoted by the industry that there is a biological cause of their “illness” and that they will have to stay on expensive, debilitating, and highly dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives. Another such highly questionable organization is the nationally based propaganda organization that used to be called the Mental Health Organization that did more harm to more people than any other organization precisely because it worked assiduosly to promote the worst kind of stereotypes regarding “mental illness” with the purpose of serving big pharma’s bottom line. Today this this propaganda arm of the drug industry chosen to change its name to “Mental Health America” in an effort to distance itself from its past.

One of the more interesting things that I learned from my time spent in the graduate mental health counseling program at Stetson University is that the counseling profession is constantly coming up with whole new definitions as to what constitutes a disorder and/or an addiction that inevitable expands the base of potential clients, i.e. customers for the services and therapies that they invent so as to guarantee a good return on investment in a counseling practice.

One learns in a graduate counseling program that there is something that they call “addictive” behaviors. This is in spite of the fact that addiction has been clearly defined as a CHEMICAL dependence upon a given substance that acts upon certain specific receptor sites in the brain.

One of the more interesting things that I picked up on in my brief stay at Stetson was how much the so-called “Christian” counseling racketeers have taken over this profession so that in the end it always comes down to browbeating someone in a very precarious emotional state into admitting their sinfulness and their need to find Jesus.

At Stetson University in DeLand, Florida (often described as part of the Ivy League of the South) the faculty in the counseling program was made up almost entirely by instructors who also worked at a “Christian” counseling service in Orange City, FL just down the road from Stetson.

All this is not to say that there are not indeed  psychological and behavioral disorders that people do indeed suffer from. One of the better aspects of the Stetson LMHC program was that many behavioral techniques were taught that was based upon the sound scientific demonstration of the fact that the medical model is in fact broken and that a behavioral/psychological approach is the only one that has validity today for the largest number of potential clients who will seek treatment.

This is indeed progress and we should all be happy for it. Sometimes the good news is harder to accept than the bad.

The MSW (Master of Social Work) is a more prestigous degree and I am thankful for being able to have been a participant in the program in spite of my not having completed it and graduated.

The University of Central Florida has three graduate programs in psychology. There is a PhD. program in Clinical Psychology, a PhD. program in a field called Human Factors Psychology, and an M.A. program in Clinical Psychology. I applied to all three of these programs and was denied acceptance. In the application essay I had discussed my own past history as a patient/client/consumer of mental health services. This was probably not a very wise thing to do as denial and hypocracy still hold sway to a large extent in the psychological field. At the time, however, I felt that by being honest about my own past as a consumer that I would earn the respect and maybe even the admiration of the selection committee. How nieve I was!

There was another reason why I chose the straightforward path and that was paranoia more generally related to the fact that the US military and intelligence establishment has become very, very emeshed with professional psychology at the academic level. I chose unwisely perhaps in assuming maybe too much in regard to whatever sharing of knowledge I thought may have been opperant in regard to myself and my past history based upon the fact that I am an independent social activist and Marxist (however not a very doctrinaire one).

A major influence on my personal life has been my interest in the theories and life work of the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. I have read all of Jung’s major works and I am familiar with most of the many strands of post-modernist thinking that have demonstrated their theraputic efficacy. At the top of this list would be Narrative Therapy. It is based upon the idea people who are suffering from a whole range of behavioral disorders can be helped by learning how to change their personal narrative about themselves, their lives, and just about everything else in their personal story by seeing the good instead of the bad, looking at their successes rather than their failures.

By seeing the American success myth for what it really is, i.e. just that- a myth, people can learn to forgive and be happy with themselves for the first time in their lives and cease blaming themselves for being failures. We live in a society and a world that sometimes expects too much from people. Conspicuous consumption is a term that pretty much sums up how it works with people building their happiness around their relationship to things rather than other human beings.  Our relationship with God is really to be found in our relationship to other people. That is and old idea that makes a lot of sense to me. I have become a lot happier and healthier by trying to keep this uppermost in my mind at all times.

“It works if you work it.” A God of our understanding can be any force greater than ourselves.

 

 

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About charlesknause

I was born in Camden, N.J. (now the poorest city in America) in 1950 and grew up in a beautiful old Victorian town in South Jersey called Collingswood. I now live in Ormond Beach, FL where the weather suits my spirit. My personal life was impacted at an early point in my life by a psychiatric diagnosis that changed my life and put me on the workers scrap heap. I have refused to accept such a miserable fate and today consider myself a social activist dedicated to changing the way that people who have been diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disability are perceived by society and the people in their community. I have a B.S. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida and 18 graduate credits in Mental Health Counseling from Stetson University in DeLand, FL as well as 24 graduate credits in an MSW program at UCF. I am a member of the Volusia County Behavioral Health Care Providers Consortium where I function as an advocate. I am a daily reader of the World Socialist Website and an occasional contributor.
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