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

Monday, July 30, 2007


Often, adults become overly controlling or overly permissive with their children.
Both are destructive. The overly controlling parent must 'let go' as the child demonstrates responsibility. C Discipline literally means 'teaching' and it should be employed only where their exists harm to another person. Children, as do all people desire freedom and autonomy. Freedom comes with responsibility. Freedom is not to be equated with chaos or merely doing what one so chooses without thinking of the community around them. Children want their parents involved, but they as everyone else do not desire to be controlled.

I have noticed that in conflicts between children, adults are often rushing to intervene. How is a child expected to learn conflict resolution unless they are given the opportunity to work through their own conflicts (even if it takes many attempts). With the current divorce rates and the current number of conflicts in the world, children themselves may be better at handling conflicts than most adults! Once again, the adult only need intervene where their exists serious harm to another, and in this, the role of the adult is to provide feedback and guidance, not to suppress or merely provide the solution. The child will never think critically if this is done.
Parental hypocrisy is another problem and frequently noticed by children. The idea of 'do as I say but not as I do". This is often a tactic of control. Families often also establish forbidden fruits. For instance, little Johnny says the word 'shit'. The parents tell little Johnny- 'don't say that word, its not allowed." Not to mention, mom and dad are frequently shouting it out at various occassions. Now it has become something little Johnny finds immensely curious and wants to do frequently. To me, the use of swear words as an expression is not as much an issue as the person who spreads malicious gossip. Of course the person who uses these swear words throughout their conversation, for no apparent reason, or compulsively will be looked upon in a negative way. But the occassional release of such a colorful word is not something that is something to make into a enormous issue. Actually making it an issue, does exactly that- makes it an issue!
Humiliation is often a tactic employed by adults on children. Making them an example is thought to 'set them straight'. It only causes them to shut down and become emotionally distraught. In many situations where children no longer have a zeal for learning in school and a lack of motivation, it often stems from a period where humiliation was used upon them.
Parents and teachers often pressure children to adhere to their definition of 'success'. They MUST learn! But children learn in spite of school. Many of the greatest lessons I learned in life were certainly not in a classroom. Learning should be tailored to the innate strengths of the child. Learning should be a desired activity not a mundane one. However, when one pressures a child or forces them to conformity to rote tasks, learning will become a mundane activity, motivation will decrease and possibly never be regained.

In my work with families, I have often developed a family constitution. This is a list of what all feel are their rights and responsibilities. It is designed collaboratively and certain laws are agreed upon. Grievances are worked through at family meetings where each party is given a voice and the right to speak uninterrupted to present their viewpoint. This helps to work through conflicts and use shared energy for problem solving. The family meeting also allows for together time, something very important but sorely lacking in today's society. It helps families to once again come together in community.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.


We see the man on the street corner conversing with himself and dishelved. Most often turn away in fear. Why are we afraid? Because this man speaks of the human condition- of how a disordered society can break any of us. What has been termed in the DSM IV as 'mental disorder' is entirely subjective and the product of the voting of psychiatric committees. The disorders are often a product of their imagination and designed for their ultimate profit. The diagnoses are categorized under the guise of help, but who benefits? Solely those making the diagnosis. In the 1970's Rosenhan and his colleagues conducted an interesting study in which pseudo-patients were sent to mental hospitals across the country. They has no history of psychiatric concerns and were told to tell only one lie to the psychiatrist- that they heard the word 'thud' in their heads. Otherwise, they were to behave 'normally'. All of these individuals were admitted to the hospital. The only means for their release was to submit to the idea they were insane but were getting better by the 'treatments' of the psychiatric staff. The psychiatric establishment was appalled and said this was merely a fluke and suggested Rosenhan send pseudo-patients again and they would be able to identify them. Rosenhan stated he would send 40 pseudo-patients. The psychiatrists stated they had found the 'fakes' but the fact was Rosenhan actually sent no one else. In all of this, we see that experience is ignored. Instead, we have categorized behaviors, all in the eyes of the beholder, and medicalized it. It does not matter any longer what the experience of the person is, the objective of psychiatry is to suppress the behavior, and suppression then leads to oppression. If we were to truly be pro-active and psychiatrists were motivated by a true desire to do no harm and to seek for person's mental health, then we would not be merely suppressing, but rather seeking to understand. In addition, we would be targeting those issues which often create mental anguish for persons to begin with. We would be addressing issues of social justice. Instead, psychiatry exonerates institutions from taking responsibility and blames the brain of the person with no evidence provided that their brains are actually dysfunctional. Theory has become fact in psychiatry. Psychiatry has its free advertising through the workings of the so called support groups and through its alliance with the pharmaceutical industry. Such groups as NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit) have received large amounts of funding from the pharmaceutical industry who now have access to many new consumers of their products and who benefit from promoting the concept of 'chemical imbalances' to further the sale of their toxic drugs. Schools have now become not about education at all, but rather mental institutions for children. Children are stifled and are not given the opportunities for critical thinking, but rather to be proper test takers and to become cogs in the industrial machine. When they fall out of line with the desired result, they are labeled and drugged. Social Security payments for 'ADHD' or other behavioral disorders become a temptation for poor, struggling families to encourage their compliance with the status quo. Psychiatry has also taken over the cause of child welfare. In California, it was seen that over 90% of foster children were on psychiatric drugs, often multiple drugs, with no apparent reason to support the use, not to mention that potential for serious adverse events. These drugs are being implicated more and more in causing violence, mania, and suicidal ideation in children. The only reason for these foster children to be treated in such manner is solely greed and to perpetuate a corrupt system geared at control of the vulnerable. The abused are being further abused by the psychiatric system. The elderly are subjected to ECT at 3 times the rate at age 65 than age 64. Why? Because at age 65 Medicare will pick up the tab. Once again, abuse of the vulnerable. We must awake to this fraud. When we can begin to understand the human condition, work for social justice, and take responsibility for a disordered society, then it will be that 'disorders' will fade away and true mental health will arise.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Children learn in spite of school. In today's environment schooling has become an unpleasant experience for children based on making them to become good test takers and cogs in the industrial machine. The modern American educational system does not value those who are critical thinkers or who might be more independent minded. It also does not value those who have different means of learning (such as those who are more hands-on). The system exepcts a certain level of conformity and those who do not conform are either considered for remediation or are considered to be 'mentally ill', labeled thus, and prescribed drugs that will force them to adhere to the system as it is. It is never examined if the system itself is broken, rather it is the child who is considered defective.
Children are bright creatures and often suprise adults with their ability to be reflective. There is an innate zeal for learning, and in early childhood it is amazing what in a short period of time children are able to absorb. Children are innately good. What behavior that we perceive as problematic always arises because the child is unhappy, and in most cases it arises from what they have seen modeled to them from the adult world. It is interesting that we find that adult society is filled with conflict and turmoil and poor choices, however in spite of this, many adults continue to interact with their children in an authoritarian way, feeling that the children have no voice and they have all the answers. To some it may appear odd, but adults could actually learn alot from children.

Friday, July 13, 2007


It was stated by Breggin that children do not have disorders but live in a disordered world. I find that the DSM easily exonerates us from taking action towards social change and justice as we can easily dismiss experiences and blame the brain. Problems lie with the child, never society.
Our society is 'bipolar'- think after September 11th, people were rallied into a frenzy of flag waving, flag bumper stickers, along with an extreme of patriotism. Now that people are seeing the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan for what it is, we now find sadness and disllusionment among the public.
Our society has attention deficit- we amuse ourselves with all sort of entertainments, and pay no mind any longer to our children or to what should be our priorities.
Our society is 'schizophrenic'- our politicians are deluded and they delude people into believing the most outrageous of lies.
Our society is 'anti-social'- violence, greed, and corruption abound.
Who is 'treating' society?

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


In collaborating with teens, there are a few themes that we work together towards:


Let me explain each of these concepts:

Community is important. Human beings cannot survive alone. We are all interconnected in some fashion. To forge into community means we become capable of understanding, of forging relationships, of creatively resolving dilemmas together, and finding what our common strengths and weaknesses are. A community is able to resolve conflicts, they are able to share in common goals, and they have concern and regard for one another.

It is my belief that there are levels of respect. Even those who we find undesirable do not need to be treated in a demeaning way. We can remain courteous even when we disagree. We can disagree without being disagreeable. However, the higher levels of respect is where one earns our admiration by what they model to us. As stated, this is earned, not immediately given. It is earned by modeling virtue.

Teens are all seeking autonomy. They are in the critical phase where they are separating themselves from childhood, wanting the things of aduthood, but not yet ready to assume the responsibility that comes with taking the step into the adult world. Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize with teens the importance of how freedom or autonomy is attached with responsibility. Many individuals confuse the concept of freedom with what would really be destructive chaos.

Empathy implies the Golden rule, that we seek to treat others as we desire to be treated. But it goes beyind this that we seek to understand and even embrace the experiences of others. When teens and other individuals are able to develop this important skill, we begin to gain better understanding and the ability to work through conflicts. We are able to understand more fully what it means to be part of the human family.

In establishing these objectives collaboratively with the teen we work on the following:

1. life map
2. listening partnerships
3. defining problems in terms of needs
4. setting one's own goals and priorities rather than 'rehashing' what others have stated to us
5. seeking to connect to the experience of others
6. understanding of our own experiences, and oru strengths and weaknesses.


I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop at the 4th Annual Alternative Education Resources Conference. I met many interesting individuals representing various movements within alternative education. It has always been my belief that force and coercion never motivate any person and we must also realize that our definition of 'success' may not always be another person's definition. Education wishes fosters responsibility and accountability, encourages autonomy, novelty seeking, and the importance of forging into community is crucial for our children. We can longer have 'cookie cutter' education or a system which only rewards children for being good test takers. It is time we begin to understand the innate qualities of our children, respect the ways that they learn, and develop the means by which learning is not merely geared towards becoming a cog in the machine, but where the child has a zeal for exploration and to realize his or her interconnectedness with others.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.