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, March 21, 2009


In my text, ROOTS OF DISTRESS, I described the story of "Alan", a young man who had been painted by many as seriously troubled and unreachable. The excerpt is as follows:Alan was seen by most as an obstinate young man who had completed departed from any sense of reality. His hallucinations had earned him the diagnosis of a psychotic disorder not to mention he frequently displayed aggressive behavior when provoked by authoritarian "in your face' type of individuals. Reading the charts from before, it painted a monstrosity, but gave little detail to what Alan’s experience might have been. When I first encountered Alan, I did not demand that he speak to me or that he not speak to me. I made no demands. I solely informed him that I was a supportive person who wanted to know him for who he is. This opened the door to intense dialogues. Together we explored questions about life that we both may have never thought much on before. The topics would drift to purpose, impermanence, suffering, the human condition. He related to me the pain of years of abuse, how he felt dehumanized and humiliated by the various people he thought would help him. He told me of his feelings of being alone, of being nothing. This feeling of nothing for him was an end at the time, but really it was the beginning. It was the door for him to question life, to question what he had been taught, to become. He related to me about his hallucinations, and his imaginary friends became mine as well. I asked about their habits, and their words. I noticed that these beings he saw were him at various points in time. As I met each of these beings, I learned something a bit more about the experience of Alan. Gradually as his emotional needs were met and he began to see himself once again as a singular person in the present moment of time and space, these beings began to depart. I saw in Alan the resilient human spirit and I will not forget him.

I recall as well the deep intense fear that Alan experienced. I recall on one occassion that Alan's father had been intoxicated and very abusive, Alan would run away from his home with no destination in mind. On one of these occassions, I went to search for Alan. At first, he ran from me, and I called out to him and let him no who I was and that I was safe and he would be safe. In the frame of mind he was in, he saw only enemies and he later told me that though he heard my voice, he was not sure if something ore someone was going to come do him harm. I knew that Alan needed a period of respite, and I admit I was also curious to know how Alan would be apart from the chaos of his family life. Whenever he was seen as 'troublesome', he would be taken to the hospital where he would be injected with anti-psychotics and various other 'treatments' would arise. Alan became accustomed to these trips to the hospital, but admitted that he felt he had no control over his life, he had no autonomy, and he did not feel heard or understood. I desparately wanted to create a sanctuary for Alan, if I could only provide it for a short time. I was able to arrange a situation where Alan could spend a week away from his home, I would meet with him as he so chose, and he would be able to feel he had some autonomy and was not going to be forced into anything or treated abusively. During this period, Alan settled greatly, and he appeared to smile and laugh more, it appeared a time where he was genuinely happy. The behaviors that many labeled as disturbed and disturbing faded. However, as I sadly predicted, when the time arose for him to return leave, he became agitated and depressed. On the evening before Alan was to return home, I was at a dinner gathering at which I delivered a speech. I did not realize Alan would also be attending. Following the dinner, Alan appeared to be angry and he stormed out of the building and began wondering the grounds, and then going into the nearby woods. I went to talk to Alan, he refused to go back to his family home with the person who brought him to the dinner. He told me he would only return if I accompanied him. So, though it was late in the evening, and I must admit Alan wore me out in his escapade through the woods, I rode with him to his home. I met with the family, and tried to mediate the situation, but though it was not possible to remove him from the challenges there entirely again, I sought to establish a support network for Alan, and met with him frequently. As I have also mentioned in some of my past writing, it appears sadly that many young people are trapped in situations that are almost like a prison sentence, and though we seek to be compassionate, and we seek to help ameliorate the situation, there appears many things beyond our control to change. But, if we can offer our time and our willingness to listen, as well as help the individual develop their strengths, their passions, and build for the future when they can part from this 'prison', we have accomplished much.

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