An essential shift for real happiness and mental health
The dramatic closure of Kids Company has sent shockwaves around the charity world and prompted some significant questions about how to best offer effective help and support for our young people.
The current system for funding requires a charity to ‘demonstrate need’ by identifying client numbers accessing the service. Certainly, one way to guarantee an ever-increasing client base is to offer promises of cash in envelopes.
The rights and wrongs of Kids Company will be long debated. Meanwhile, there are unsettling parallels in the troubled world of mental health.
Support or dependency?
When does ‘support’ evolve into ‘dependency’, and whose interests are being served?
We know long-term therapy can create long-term clients just as group therapy can create the kind of co-dependency which discourages members from recovery, if recovery means exiting ‘the group.’
And what better way to create need than to pathologise the normal range of human emotional reactions to the ups and downs of everyday life, by creating an ever-expanding range of mental health labels which require medication?
The DSM scandal
The 1952 edition of the psychiatric ‘bible’, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) listed 106 categories of mental health disorders.
Alan Frances, who oversaw the publication of DSM IV has been highly critical, referring to an ‘epidemic of overdiagnosing’. ‘Normality’, he says, ‘is an endangered species’.
53 million prescriptions of antidepressants in the UK last year (a rise of one quarter in three years) there are fears that drugs are being offered to numb down uncomfortable emotions as a quick fix.
An essential shift in perception
All good talking therapy is about shifting perception, encouraging people to change their internal dialogue and re-narrate the story they are telling themselves about their life.
One of my most therapeutic interventions is to affirm to my client, ‘There is nothing wrong with you. It’s just that life has got in the way for a while.’ The resulting shift in perception can be dramatic as they are empowered to reorient their locus of control and reclaim their personal autonomy.
Fusion Therapeutic Coach, however, has the skills to work in the best interest of the client wherever they present on the continuum of wellbeing.
Let’s face it; keeping a client too long in the role of client can create dependency and medicalising emotional wellbeing can create physical dependency too.
Those of us who work in the caring professions, especially with the young, have a responsibility to make sure we do not become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. We must stay focused on the real needs of the client.
The best things are not things
The greatest ‘gift’ we can give, especially to the young, is the gift of knowledge.
If we pass on good mind management skills to the young, we pass on the gift of emotional resilience which will last a lifetime; a gift which they, in turn, can pass on to their children.
Handing out money does not empower our children to make good choices. Passing on knowledge does, which reminds me of the ancient wisdom;
how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.’