Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I received a recent e-mail today that caused me to ponder in regards to the term IEP or "individualized Education Plan". Why is it that the only way to receive such a plan is to be labeled and stigmatized on the school records with a 'mental disorder' or some other impairment? Wouldn't it be wonderful if EVERY child had an INDIVIDUALIZED education plan and that they did not have to bear a label to have their educational needs met and their various strengths, creativity, and learning style respected?

-Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


How do we create a mental health system that meets the actual needs of persons? How do we create a more humane and dignified mental health system?
First, we must depart from the conception of a ‘medical model’ and biological determinism which states that all problems of life are to be attributed to be ‘chemical imbalance’ in the brain. There is nothing which substantiates this conception of chemical imbalances and time and time again psychiatrists themselves have been unable to conclusively prove this theory. Instead, it allows for more oppressive and dangerous ‘treatments’ to arise.
We must move towards post-psychiatry. What is to be implied by this is that we must completely deconstruct the current paradigm based on the medical model. The entire paradigm must change to allow us to develop a system where person’s voices are actually heard and their experiences respected.
Second, therapists need to no longer function along the lines of prostitution. What I mean by this is that when a person hires a prostitute, the prostitute receives payment and the person receives sexual satisfaction. Neither thinks that this is a real relationship. So it is with some therapists, a person makes payment to the therapist expecting to have someone who might listen and be concerned. However, the therapist does not offer a genuine relationship but instead is more focused on receiving the payment for their services. It would be a positive conception of mental health services could be offered without payment; however those who dedicate themselves to the human services do need to be able to survive. Therefore, I suggest that we no longer have a system based on insurance billing and fees where a person must be given a diagnosis, but rather privately funded charitable organizations that provide services to those who voluntarily request them. If the system is privatized and voluntary, then those organizations that are not humane and dignified and do not provide actual help for people will gradually fade away by individuals being less willing to fund them.
Third, as in the Soteria project as designed by Dr. Loren Mosher, it was found that it did not take so called ‘experts’ to meet the emotional needs of seriously distressed individuals. Rather, individuals from the community who listen, care, offer compassionate support can be far more helpful to a person than those possessing many credentials.
Fourth, the mental health system needs to be completely in tune with the voices of its consumers. It must respect their autonomy and not force various ‘treatments’ upon them. The person must have complete freedom of choice in their decisions about how they will receive mental health services.
Fifth, there needs to be a complete moratorium on the psychiatric drugging of children. We have no long term studies about many of the psychiatric drugs given to children and we are finding that these drugs are producing psychosis, suicidality, mania, violence, and many other dilemmas. In clinical trials, they are short in duration so therefore it is no wonder that psychiatric drugs would appear to be more effective than psycho-social interventions which are more long term. You cannot possibly measure psycho-social intervention which would have a longer lasting impact in the long term in a 6 week study. The psychiatric drugs however only subdue behavior and never address the core problem. How is it different for individuals to use an illicit substance versus a prescribed substance to alter their moods? There are little differences between these drugs other than one being sanctioned by a medical doctor.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


“A child born today in the United Kingdom stands a ten times greater chance of being admitted to a mental hospital than to a university ... This can be taken as an indication that we are driving our children mad more effectively than we are genuinely educating them. Perhaps it is our way of educating them that is driving them mad.”
R.D. Laing


In my work with autistic children I have found that there is significant power in 'joining in'. When I wrote the article, "Entering Their Imaginative World", this is what I was referring to by this title. We do not coerce the children to do things as our world sees them, but we seek to enter, understand, and respect the autistic child's world. Through this joining in, such simple things as hopping on one foot with a child who is hopping on one foot, I have seen an extraordinary development of communication and relationship. It was this very process of joining in where I personally saw a 3 year old non-verbal child who frequently engaged in self-stimulatory behaviors move towards communication through reciprocal dialogue, taking my hand and leading me to play with him and a peer, and the building of relationship.
I relate this story from John Clay's book R.D. Laing: A Divided Self. In this quote it describes one of Laing's times where he joined in with a person undergoing serious emotional distress and relationship was forged. Though certainly an unorthodox approach, it worked because it involved joining in and realizing that what may appear to others as seemingly meaningless behavior is meaningful for the individual.
"While still in Chicago, Laing was invited by some doctors to examine a young girl diagnosed as schizophrenic. The girl was locked into a padded cell in a special hospital, and sat there naked. She usually spent the whole day rocking to and fro. The doctors asked Laing for his opinion. What would he do about her? Unexpectedly, Laing stripped off naked himself and entered her cell. There he sat with her, rocking in time to her rythm. After about twenty minutes she started speaking, something she had not done for several months. The doctors were amazed. 'Did it never occur to you to do that?' Laing commented to them later, with feigned innocence. (pp. 170-171)"

-Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.