Monday, April 11, 2011

The great illusion

Article from The Irish Times, Tuesday, October 12th, 2010:
According to Prof Ivor Browne, treatment of mental illness can not – and should not – be undertaken without the effort of the patient, and the power of change and recovery being firmly placed in their hands

THE WORLD is a sea of troubles and we have to adapt to these as best we can. People use all kinds of ways to manage. Some are better than others, while some are counterproductive and land us in difficulty. Mental illness is seen as a disease caused by either a disturbance in our biochemistry or by genetic influences – but this is a myth.

This view of mental illness arises from a reductionist scientific concept, where the disturbance of the whole person is seen as caused by something wrong with the parts. It’s derived historically from Galileo’s statement that, to make scientific progress, we must concentrate on things we can measure. But this is only half the story and it breaks down when applied to living creatures such as ourselves.

When a new whole emerges, this is a completely new reality, quite distinct from the parts that make it up. It’s not explainable by simply analysing the parts. Once the new reality, for example of a person, emerges, the causal direction reverses. The new whole takes control over its parts – thus we have to take control of our behaviour, cells and biochemistry, and not the other way around.

This is why, in dealing with emotional problems, there is no therapy the psychiatrist or therapist can apply to the person to bring about real change. The person has to do the work of changing themselves, with the support and guidance of a therapist.

This concept of “self-organisation” is synonymous with what it is to be alive. Anything that diminishes our state of self-organisation lessens our control over and management of our health and will be a step towards sickness.

Because of the mechanistic attitudes that have accompanied advances in science and technology, the western mind has fallen prey to the illusion that there is a remedy for every ill; we expect to be able to avail of these without any effort or suffering on our part.

When a person comes to a doctor or therapist with symptoms that indicate depression or anxiety, they expect the doctor to do something to relieve them.

Certainly doctors can relieve symptoms, but without the natural healing power of the body and a functioning immune system, medicine and doctors are largely helpless.

In dealing with psychiatric illness, there is no treatment you can apply to a person that will bring about real change in them. The person has to undertake the work himself and this involves pain and suffering. Read on
*Article Unexperienced experience by Ivor Browne


trisha said...

i believe its absolutely correct. even a psychiatric patient has to be willing to get effective treatment.

hope you are enjoying life.

lots of love.

Noreen Barron said...

I am Trisha, hope you are too xxx