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January 14, 2021

Dear Therapists: This is what we Really Need.

An Ode to Mental Health Diagnoses.

I want to be knowledgeable.

I want to learn structural equation modeling and assertively defend a theory.

I want to read every book by every psychologist, beginning with Adler and ending with Yalom—the famous, the unheard of, and the absurd.

I want to read all of Freud and Jung.

I want to sit in therapy weekly, analyze the experience from both sofas, and dabble in each modality.

I want to read every psychology book on Amazon, and those tucked away on the shelves of the professors I admire.

I want to make a change.

I want to watch a life unfold from conception to age 80.

I want to understand the pathways that lead to flourishing and the ones that end in suffering.

I want to rip out every page of the DSM, crinkle it into a small, tiny ball of nothingness, and set fire to it.

I want to take a cigarette and burn “Borderline Personality Disorder” into every sofa of every therapist who diagnoses women with BPD.

I want to drop all disorders.

I want to take the DSM and repurpose it—make it a coloring book with pages 1-10 for those looking to heal following therapy and 11-20 left blank to write prose about the therapist who terminates them.

I want to do a lot, but what I want to do most is take ahold of clinical psychology programs and shake them until they wake up.

I want to create a program where trauma-informed care is required.

I want to be knowledgeable, but what I want more than anything is for mental health providers to stop pathologizing survivors.

They are not disorders.

We are not attention-seeking.

We are the very definition of resilience.

It’s time we finally recognize this and help them remain so.

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