Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"What is right with you?" Part 15: Another word about medications, chemical imbalances...Can medications just be written off that easily?

Are medications this easily written off (see prior post)?  Clearly not.  The prior post takes a harsh look at the lack of data supporting the ideal of "mental illness" or biological/chemical imbalances as causes for emotional problems.  However, it needs to be made very clear that our stress, emotional struggles, and so on, can take its toll on the body and may result in our having symptoms which express these conditions. From this point of view, symptoms are natural indicators of things gone awry that need help.  Sometimes this means that our minds and bodies can go into overload and that medications may be needed to help us cope until we can. Also, some individuals do not always have the resources with their insurance (this is especially increasingly so in a society and a culture that does not value healing relationships in therapeutic settings and seems more inclined towards medical model solutions such as medications), nor do we all have the finances, or psychological resources to cope with the rigors of psychotherapy.  In summary, from my point of view, medications can help.  Our body can be thrown off balance by the stressors of life and need to be held in check until, and if we can find another way through these challenges.  Thus, in this respect "What is right with you?" includes the asset that our symptoms can be to us in helping us back to health. MY WEBSITE

Saturday, July 6, 2013

"What is right with you?" Part 14: Yes, but aren't some conditions the result of a chemical imbalance or genetics?

This is a very good question, because we have been strongly conditioned to believe this.  Before I say more about this, I want to affirm that medication helps many people through many things.  At the same time, there are some important considerations to be made regarding the assumption that medications are a cure for a problem with the brain, or a chemical imbalance.
The following represents a summary of the research on the so-called "mental illnesses":
     * No gene has ever been identified as associated with any "mental illness."
     * Despite being able to measure neuro-transmitters, no support for chemical
        imbalance has ever been found.
     * Psychiatry is the only branch of medicine that treats "disorders" or medical
        conditions with no known causes.                            
     * Twin studies' correlations do not rule out environment and artificially inflate
        results by double counting (proband) instead of pairwise tallying.
     * Brain imaging studies do no support any consistent findings associated with
        "mental illness"
An alternative view is that symptoms are not to be blamed on the body, a defective brain, or some kind of chemical imbalance, but rather are the result of the mind's creative ability to protect itself against further emotional pain.  Therefore, symptoms, rather than being something to be disabled by medications, again, seem to play an important part of signalling the clues of what is ailing the psyche (soul).  How does making an unfounded claim that we are brain impaired, etc. have on our already struggling psyche?  MY WEBSITE

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"What is right with you?" Part 13: Let's start looking at symptoms

Symptoms or dreams, or other confusing experiences often occur to us as something going wrong with us.  But let us take a closer look.  I once worked with a woman who complained of chronic emptiness, often with depression.  We explored the emptiness together.  It was interesting because as we explored the history of this feeling, she recalled a story of telling everyone about her experience of being visited by a beautiful butterfly, how it landed on her and she interacted with it for some time before it flew away.  She was amazed and gleefully told everyone, but the feeling  was not returned, in fact it was diminished.  Although this was later determined to not be an isolated event, but typical for her experience as a child, we explored how her experience was full of life, and anything but empty.  It was full of life, enchantment and wonder!  It was the response that was so empty and devoid of celebrating her amazing experience.  Apparently she had internalized this empty, callous, and devaluing response in the place of an appropriate one, of affirming her emerging identity and feeling good about sharing her experience.  This was the beginning of many explorations and discoveries around her "experience" of emptiness, something that was accurately reflecting in her mind (as the symptom of emptiness) of her experience. It clearly was not her own void, but representing the lack of response (and her inner experience of it) to her emerging sense of self.  Her experience was full of life, but the reaction lacking.  A rich inner life began to emerge where she once felt only a void, shut off from re-experiencing more pain that might emerge from having an experience of getting excited, only to be ignored and/or diminished.  Her symptom of emptiness was an amazing clue for us in our work.  Symptoms mean things.  More to come...  MY WEBSITE