Taking Out the Mental Trash: Attempts to normalize “abnormal” psychesPosted: July 2, 2013
Are therapists and psychiatrists the new Saint Augustines? Attempting to convert heretics into pious automatons. Diagnosing is an escape from the freedoms of self-definition and into a disempowered clinical and social identity.
When did mental health become monotheistic? A belief in one “god” and truth of “right”. There are many ways to think, to behave, and to identify.
Diagnosis is the Trojan Horse masquerading as a gift of healing when it’s truly an impending attempt to normalize and whitewash diversity of psychologies. Disruptive children labeled disordered and placed into medicinal straightjackets to aid parents and teachers in controlling them. Sexually confident individuals shamed into labels of addiction. It’s the modern day psychological eugenics. Attempts to weed out and perpetuate a mental survival of the fittest only. This concepts ignores the beauty of variability and liberty, by working to reform the “broken” to ensure a society of “fit”. The world of addiction and trauma therapy already operate from a paternalistic geographic of condescension. The poor elementary client is unable to recognize his own pathos and needs an “expert” to frame a “could be” neutral experience as a trauma, thereby victimizing them. All to what end?
The emergent academic field of “Disability Studies” has much to teach us about our views on mental illness and social pathology. The concepts of “impairment” versus “disability” call into question how an “expert” or institution (medicine/psychology) can so patronizingly turn an impairment, a physical fact, into a social identity and experience of “disability”, a social construct. Lennard J. Davis brilliantly states that Disability Studies demands a shift from the ideology of normalcy…to a vision of the body as changeable, unperfectable, unruly, and untidy. I grew up academically worshipping the deities of brain scans, SPECTS, and psych testing (modern day psychological eugenics) and do believe in the existence of brain functioning and neurology. But there is NOT a one-to-one relationship from brain functioning and localized brain activation to personality characteristics, mental health functioning, or mood (this is called “reverse inference fallacy”, an embarrassing blunder not to be made by a neuro intellectual). I love brain science but it is sloppy and lazy to myopically ignore all the social, relational, cultural, even epigenetic (read up on this fascinating emergent field) implications upon that which occurs between brain functioning and local activation and what one thinks, feels, and does behaviorally. To label ones “impairment” or “sexual interest” as an “illness” is taking the physical and turning it into the psycho-social. The undereducated “experts” with flimsy certifications to legitimize the work of a sex phobes, and psychiatry education which provides little to no psychology or therapy training, both police sexuality like the Nazi’s policed racial identity. Both work towards extermination of diversity.
We get to choose our identities and labels. A body (mind and personality, too) that isn’t functioning up to par with the “ideal” (which is what?), is not “disabled” or “ill” unless one chooses to subscribe to the social construction of non-ideal as “broken” and in need of rehabilitation and fixing. “Disability being in the eye of the observer and not the observed.”