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

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.

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