Friday, April 26, 2013
CREATING A COMMON HEALING SPACE (Northeastern Pennsylvania Regional Autism Acceptance Project)
Creating A Common Healing Space There is a need to restore compassion and dignity to the mental health system. Published on April 14, 2013 by Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D., B.C.S.A. in Extreme States of Mind I have sought to bring needed reform to the mental health system. Many of my clients have been those who were actually more damaged by the system that was said to help them. This is because the system is tied to a reductionist medical model which often ignores experience and blames the brain. In March of this year, I was an invited speaker at the Society for Humanistic Psychology conference at Pacifica Graduate Institute. My presentation was "The Journey Together: Relational Approaches to Autism and Extreme States". I spoke of my relational/existential work here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I related the many examples of recovery of those in extreme states of mind by 'being with' and seeking to understand their metaphorical language, to offer compassion and support, and most importantly, empowerment. As I was at this conference, which is a Division of the American Psychological Association, I wondered why there needs to be a Humanistic Division, as should not the desire to take an approach which would embrace our common human condition just be a given? Unfortunately, it is not. And there are many forces at work that keep real compassion and understanding from arising in the mental health system. If we want true mental health to arise, we must address oppression, we must address those factors which lead persons to distress. We must become activists. In spite of resistance, I continue to go forward towards establishing affordable and accessible alternatives for autistic persons and those in serious distress that are founded upon the principles of self determination, dignity, and acceptance. I hope that others will join me in this important task. To simply create a common healing space, where we can embrace our common humanity.