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, April 07, 2007


I was asked by some colleagues as to how I have come to some of my viewpoints in regards to mental distress and the means to address it. In my first experiences, I encountered victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. From this, I was able to see the impact of trauma on the lives of individuals. When I first began work with a pediatric population, I had been 'indoctrinated' into the mainstream psychiatric viewpoint and I had no challenge to it, I assumed that this was the appropriate course and had faith in those who instructed me. It was through experiences that my viewpoint began to shift and I began to question a lot of what was taught to me that I had merely accepted at face value. The experiences were my encounters with individuals who had been diagnosed with serious emotional distress (such as schizophrenia). I always noticed how these individuals appeared often lonely and shunned by the world. Most dismissed them as people whose behavior was random and without any meaning. As I began to encounter these individuals, and I actually began to sit with them and listen to them, I found that actually they each had powerful stories to tell, however often these stories were shrouded in symbols and metaphors. But with compassion and understanding, and a non-judgmental attitude, I began to realize that these individuals' experiences could be understood. My next experiences were to see the devastating effects of tardive dyskinesia, I saw this initially with adults, and then later I saw a child. I saw children whose only desire was to be heard, who had undergone extensive abuse, and were reacting to their painful world. It always seemed that it was the child who received the label, and their behaviors were simply subdued by various drugs. It was said to be an 'improvement' if the child was subdued, quiet, and gave no problem to the adults around them. But in this, I saw that the child's pain remained. This caused me to question if there was really something disordered within the child or maybe it is society that is disordered. From this, I began to research the effects of psychiatric drugs as well as the theory of 'chemical imbalances'. I began to see that these drugs often evoked more harm than good and that the idea of chemical imbalances have not been validated. I began to realize that a medical model of mental distress does not address experience and that there is a more humane and dignified method.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

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