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, September 27, 2008

If I opened the door of paradise...

If I opened the door to Paradise, would you choose to remain in Hell? If I gave you my heart, would you notice? Can you respond to that you never knew or had? Surrounded by the demons, yet truly alone. You recognize not your friends. Engulfed in delusions, seeking pleasure in that which but leads to more suffering. How I sought to change the wretched mind. A deafening silence, but then an echo, a constant echo. Are you too far away to hear it? Your hurt is now the hurt of others. You inflict your pain on many. Covered in stinking filfth, they say you are foul. Yet I saw what was within. I saw what was possible. You glorify the one who hurt you. You have indeed become him. A sick cycle. The wheel must be broken. Who are you? What do you see? A mirage. A false image, not you, but that which the demons say you must be to join their legion. You think they laugh and revel with you, they laugh at you, they scorn you. And now in the darkness, they flee, leaving you truly alone. If I open the door to Paradise to you now, will you choose to remain in Hell?

-Dan L.Edmunds,Ed.D

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Treating children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with drugs is not effective in the long-term, research has shown.
A study obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme says drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta work no better than therapy after three years of treatment.

The findings by an influential US study also suggested long-term use of the drugs could stunt children's growth.

It said that the benefits of drugs had previously been exaggerated.

The Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD has been monitoring the treatment of 600 children across the US since the 1990s.

'Exaggerated impact'

Most of the estimated 500,000 children in Britain with ADHD receive no treatment at all.


The Department of Health has issued a statement on the treatment of ADHD

But of those that do, most - about 55,000 last year - are prescribed stimulants like Ritalin and Concerta.

The cost of these drugs to the NHS is about £28m.

In 1999, the American study concluded that after one year medication worked better than behavioural therapy for ADHD.

This finding influenced medical practice on both sides of the Atlantic, and prescription rates in the UK have since tripled.

But now after longer-term analysis, the report's co-author, Professor William Pelham of the University of Buffalo, said: "I think that we exaggerated the beneficial impact of medication in the first study.

"We had thought that children medicated longer would have better outcomes. That didn't happen to be the case.

"There's no indication that medication's better than nothing in the long run."

Prof Pelham said there were "no beneficial effects" of medication and the impact was seemingly negative instead.

"The children had a substantial decrease in their rate of growth so they weren't growing as much as other kids both in terms of their height and in terms of their weight," he said.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

American society is now filled with the concepts of self interest, entitlement, and playing victim. The downward spiral of our economy should be no surprise, our attitudes have only led to this eventual result. As I have mentioned previously, the education system does not value or reward initiative or creativity, it is rather focused on the self interest of the educators and administrators who seek to have children conform to standards based on tests and gain their compliance so that the administrators can appear as if they have fulfilled their duty while the children actually languish. We are a society that expects others to 'fix' our errors and provide for our relief. We are a society of shifting blame. We are a society that does not seek to take ownership and responsibility. We are a society that knows not how to think critcally but only to possess and consume. The American dream can be now said to be the American nightmare. We do not think of others, but we focus on our own survival, and our political leaders and the elite have placed persons in this uncomfortable position of intense worry for their own survival. When this occurs, the concern for others lessens, and we focus solely on our own needs, our own desires. Society itself is sick, yet it seeks to pathologize those who would react to this sick society, and it offers them its technologies, it offers them its drugs, to numb them into accepting things as they are rather than to actively protest and change the injustices that exist. American society has become apathetic and numb, and if such persists, our further decline is only inevitable. Let us hope that some will awaken from their stupor before it is too late.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Today I spent some time conducting observations in a school. One of the students I noticed had significant reading challenges and appeared to be enormously frustrated with academics because of this. He appeared somewhat distractible and not engaged. The teacher came to me and stated that if 'he had meds he would do better." I saw this as an ignorant and self serving response. She was plainly not understanding how this child cannot read well and this is at the root of the problem and that the dilemma is not an issue of his brain but how SHE can reach him and provide him a REAL education. I explained the recent study that showed no academic improvement or improvement in pro-social skills with kids on stimulant drugs and shared some of my own research. The response was only a blank stare. New York State Teacher of the year and author of "Dumbing Us Down" John Taylor Gatto remarked, "Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity." And this is what I sadly saw, these children had no outlets to explore their curiosity. A token system exists to bribe them into conformity and to make them dependent and unable to develop skills for the real world for the real world does not operate this way. I noticed that there seemed to be as many adults in the room as children. It seems we are doing much schooling, but not educating. Education comes through creativity, exploration. Children who are truly being educated have a zeal for learning. One of the students stated to me, "I hate school, I wish the school would be blasted off by a rocket into space." I did not respond to this, but to some degree in my mind have to admit, I agree. This statement received the response of "well, we don't speak that way", but I am more curious to know this child is so unhappy with the school he is in. Did anyone of the school staff consider that? Probably not. It will remain status quo. And who benefits? Not the children. I share a few other qoutes from John Taylor Gatto:
"...‘How will they learn to read?’ you ask, and my answer is ‘Remember the lessons of Massachusetts.’ When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks, they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease, if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them."
"It’s absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does..."
I have argued for a more humane mental health system as well as for democratic education and an educational system that encoruages our spirited children rather than stifles them. Gatto describes clearly the education system we should all be striving for- "Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die."

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I was contacted by a special education department because they had a teenager, who I will refer to as Bob who was having frequent aggressive incidents at school, had poor motivation, and whose attention was said to be fleeting. Bob struggled academically and had little interest in school. This is what was initially presented to me. So, I met Bob and his family. I first wanted to know something about Bob as a person and the world he was living in. Bob expressed to me that his family was disadvantaged and he often felt 'lost' among his siblings. Bob lacked confidence and felt that because he was not a good reader that school was basically pointless. He spoke alot about conflicts at home that he was exposed to and many times feeling belittled if he did not meet certain standards. My sessions revolved around first understanding his experience. From this, I worked with Bob in being able to come to a realization that all people encounter problems and they have no choice in this but we do have a choice in how we seek to think. I worked with Bob on non-violent communication and posed various scenarios as to how he might be able to work through conflicts with others. I allowed Bob to share his thoughts openly and honestly. I do not believe he had this opportunity before. In prior therapeutic programs that Bob had been involved in he was often taught programmed responses. I noticed this from the beginning as he often had answers to various dilemmas that appeared as if they came from a textbook. I encouraged Bob to be a critical thinker, to develop a higher level of independent thought. I explored with him some of his strengths and interests and began to encourage him to channel this into building confidence. I worked with Bob on a 'life map' to explore short term and long term attainable goals. We also made use of decision trees whereby we would evlauate his decisions and go through on explore the ramifications. He began to read books based on his interests, and this combined with some reading support arranged for him, led him to have more desire to read. As his confidence built, his reading gradually improved as well as his motivation. I spent some time in the community with Bob seeking to provide him positive validation and the opportunity to communicate this thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental atmosphere as he appeared to feel somewhat unheard and repressed before. I encouraged the family to begin to do likewise. I established a discipline plan with the family based on social reinforcement and provided some additional opportunities for outings provided that Bob was willing to follow through on a basic contract addressing what he would accomplish at home and school. The school staff noted marked improvement and the parents stated that the aggressive incidents were eliminated and that Bob appeared to have a more positive attitude. What went from a period of daily calls from the school over various dilemmas, now has become calls from the school to discuss what Bob has accomplished. I saw that Bob was a young person who had been hurt and did not feel a sense of worth. This is what led to him to react in ways that were at times destructive. School did not appear important because he could not grasp many areas, so previously had decided to shut down and give up. At the root of the problem was the desire for attention and validation and the concept of assumed disability that he had adopted. What if Bob had been told he had a chemical imbalance? That he was disordered and could not control his actions because of this so called disorder? Would this have resolved any inner conflicts for him? Would it have built his confidence? or would it have only perpetuated the problem? And so it seems in the education and mental health systems today. We are creating 'disability', we are allowing our children to languish, we are not meeting their true needs. We are forcing their conformity to a broken system.
Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


When we seek to judge behavior, we come upon some great difficulties. Let us say that we have identified a person as 'aggressive'. What exactly is an aggressive act? A person who hunts an animal? Is that an aggressive act? Johnny punches Sally in the nose, is that an aggressive act? A nation invades another nation. Is that an aggressive act? Mr. Smith invests a lot into the stock market. Is he an aggressive investor? George rises to the top of his company. Is he aggressive? How we answer this is based on our values. However, psychiatry would like us to think that judging and categorizing behavior is a science, that it is medicine. So, understanding that these are value judgments, we could say that 'well, a behavior that infringes on the rights of others is a problem'. Indeed, he may be, but to state this means we are dealing with legality, not medicine. Therefore, psychiatry can be said to be an arm of the law, a means of social control and defining who are the offenders of the social 'norms'. From this arises the question as to whether this position should be afforded to psychiatrists to be the arbitrators of values and what society 'should look like'.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

breaking free

As human beings, we all seek to be free from suffering. We all seek to be free from oppression. We all react to what we experience. Some react in unconventional ways. Not all reactions are effective means, yet we react. We all are seeking to create order, a sense of purpose to our lives, though there are varying constructs of what life is, of what it means to be human. Some retreat from suffering or seek higher levels of consciousness through use of substances, but this often becomes destructive, much like a plane soaring to high altitudes only to crash and burn upon landing. Those who become labeled as mentally ill are often seeking to break free from severe oppression and suffering. Yet society seeks to stifle their experience. How dare they break free! How dare they act in ways we do not approve! So we drug and shock them hoping they 'come to their senses' or at least not be a 'bother' to us anymore. If we could only come to realize the transformative process, and support their liberation. If society could but realize its illness rather than ascribing so called illness to persons.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Experience and reactions.

We all react to what we experience. We all seek at some point to create order in life and at times control those events which are uncontrollable. We each have our stories of joys and sorrows, blessed memories and traumas. For some individuals, the way they experience the world has led them to despair, or led them to obsessive behavior as a reaction to the extreme chaos they have internalized. Those we label as mentally ill are those whose reactions to their experience society judges to be without value or problematic. This creates stigma, but if we understood these reactions, if we sought to understand the experience, we would find that these reactions may be the person's only way of dealing with the intense emotions, oppression, or other experiences they have had. As Laing stated, that what is termed insanity may be a sane response to an insane world. We lock people up for behaving in ways we do not like. We argue it is for their own good, and we claim that we can predict their behavior or judge them to be a harm to themselves or others when in reality we do not truly possess this capability, we can only hypothesize based on our own limited perceptions. We believe falsely that those labeled mentally ill are more prone to violence while our 'sane' ones continue to involve themselves in wars and conflicts.
-Dan L.Edmunds,Ed.D.