June 2, 2021

It’s Time to Challenge the Culture of Pathologizing Emotional Distress.

My path to healing has been nonconventional in many ways.

I’ve done a marriage of therapies—IFS, Somatic, EMDR, Hakomi, DBT (I hated it), CBT, and Gestalt.

I’ve done three-day silent meditations with monks on Mt. Baldy in Southern California.

I’ve cuddled with a woman in her bed for hours in what’s called, “Cuddle Therapy.” It was truly magical and one of the most healing experience of my life.

I’ve written my entire life on the internet. Truly. Google me, and too much of my personal life is available to you.

I’ve joined thousands in the UK in a group called, “Drop the Disorder” in which I perform slam poetry challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnoses.

I’ve read and read and read to the point that I’ve switched to audio books.

I’ve even enrolled in a PhD program in Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation, not to understand what causes pathology, but to understand what supports one in living a good life.

In the end, I’ve spent way too much money, but I have started to understand something that I believe is important for me and for you.

What I’ve come to understand is that most mental health professionals have it wrong. They have it so very, very wrong.

You see, I believe labeling emotional distress rarely helps people, and I don’t believe we should be placing this work in the hands of individuals who are often “trained,” but lack lived experience.

You see, most of what is being seen as “pathology” by the medical field are behaviors that stem from trauma, often developmental.

To a privileged therapist who was fortunate enough to have been raised by a “good enough” parent, to be provided a secure attachment, what they note in a client may be viewed as “attention seeking” or “manipulative,” but to the individual, what is felt inside is likely nothing but excruciating pain.

You see, we allow privileged mental health providers to narrate the experiences of the less privileged—to call them “attention seeking,” “troubled,” “pathological,” and we accept it.

We believe what these “professionals” say because we trust they have our best interests at heart. We trust that they understand us, but do they?

What if the narrative we heard was that of those suffering?

What if instead of being “othered” and viewed as a problem to fix, we began to speak and we listened to each other’s stories?

What if treatment were based on the experiences of the clients and their requests rather than what the medical field believed is needed to make us normal?

What if we stopped taking the narrow lens of medical professionals as truth and began to listen to clients when they say “help me” instead of seeing them as “manipulative” because that is the mental health provider’s narrow lens speaking?

I’m not a mental health provider.

I’m only a researcher in psychology who is on a mission to end this madness because I was severely hurt by a mental health professional. It needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.

I am not the only one with this experience.

There are many of us.

It’s time we speak up.

It’s time this madness ends.

It’s time to stop taking the voices of the privileged as truth.

It’s time to challenge this culture of pathologizing emotional distress.


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