From Psyche: “Mental health treatment needs to re-engage with the language of persons. This means suspending the detached, third-person stance toward patients, and attending to their actual experience and circumstances. And it means encouraging patients themselves to avoid this stance and draw on the normal ways that people make sense of their emotions and actions. In this everyday language, we intuitively refer to intentions and desires and a person’s reasons for thinking, acting or feeling as they do. When explaining difficult experience, we don’t ordinarily speak of causation or mechanisms but presuppose of our own action and that of others some degree of freedom and control, and we pay attention to relationships, history and social context, such as adverse events, confounding circumstances or unrealised dreams. . . Unlike the mechanical picture of a brain misfiring, this language permits a form of understanding that can bring unusual and challenging mental states into conversation with a person’s relation to the world.
Recovering this interpretive conversation means sharply circumscribing if not dropping biogenetic talk. It means seeking understanding, which is what people dealing with emotional suffering, like those we interviewed, yearn for. An understanding as persons, embodied and situated in a life-world. An understanding that is the enemy of fear and requires no othering.”