Growing Good Mental Health with Choice Theory

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Thought Provoker:

How do you define good physical health? Do you know what to do to develop, improve and maintain your physical well-being?

How do you define good oral and dental health? Do you know what to do to develop, improve and maintain oral and dental health?

How do you define good mental health? Do you know what to do to develop, improve and maintain good mental health?

A colorful illustration in blues and greens depicting a figure standing atop a globe, holding an orange ball in their hands.During the psychiatric rotation of my undergraduate nursing program, I read William Glasser’s Reality Therapy: A New Approach to Psychiatry (1965). At that moment I knew this was going to be my area of specialty. All of Glasser’s subsequent books, lectures and especially the work I was fortunate enough to do with him have influenced my entire professional career and personal life.

I worked for decades as a psychiatric nurse in traditional psychiatric settings, using the medical model where diagnosing and medicating people was considered to be “best practice.” This is still true today, despite the lack of evidence to support this protocol. People did experience temporary relief of their symptoms and upsets, but never quite returned to a medication free life, or a vibrant and happy one.

Most of these folks developed “side effects” from the medication they were taking, which were often just as bad and debilitating as the original mental and emotional distress that brought them to treatment to begin with. For some, this led them to seek help from a different health care provider. This often led to a different diagnosis, with new medications prescribed.

Rarely were the previous medications discontinued. It was not unusual for me to see patients with more than one psychiatric diagnosis, taking as many as 25 or more medications, and still complaining of unhappiness and unpleasant symptoms.

This is what was considered best practice. Today this is still what is considered best practice. The noteworthy changes that have occurred in the 48 years of my career in mental health include: new, and different medications, and a change in the terminology from “mental illness” to “mental health,” but still without defining what mental health is. There is no information given or discussion about what a person can do to develop, improve and maintain their own good mental health. It’s worth noting that changing the name from illness to health has had no effect on the negative social stigma associated with mental health. Added to the problem is the pharmaceutical industries’ false advertising that medication can “fix a person’s broken brain,” as if that defines mental illness.

What if we changed the mental health paradigm altogether, making it more consistent with the paradigm shift that has occurred for physical and dental health? What if our best practice taught all people what mental health is, and taught people what to do daily to develop, improve and maintain their mental wellbeing? What if we could start right now Growing Good Mental Health?

In 2005 Glasser wrote a small booklet entitled Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Issue. Today, in 2022, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world finally understands that personal mental health is also a public health issue.

Yet we still have not defined what mental health is.

Most six-year-old children in the US can tell you what to do to get into better physical shape. The same is true for dental health. I personally know a few elementary teachers who ask their students to brush their teeth after lunch before they go out for recess.

Imagine an eight-year-old, or an eighth grader, or a junior in high school or college knowing what to do to develop, maintain and continue to grow their own good mental health. Imagine them understanding that their negative experiences create a negative change in their mental health. Imagine that they know what steps to take to improve it. Imagine that they know and accept that there may be times when more help is needed, that they know who to reach out to, and that help is available to them, not something to be stigmatized by or hide from.

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes in people’s lives, including an awareness of the disruptions, disturbances, and changes in their mental health. Because of my interest in the subject, I set a Google search for “mental health as a public health issue,” and the number of alerts I started receiving increased significantly and continues to this day.

For me, COVID has created an opportunity and a call to action. (More on that later*)

Choice Theory Psychology Explained

William Glasser is the founder of Choice Theory psychology, an internal control psychology. In fact, Glasser, along with Albert Ellis, created the original CBT (cognitive behavioral therapies): Choice Theory by Glasser and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy by Ellis.

Choice Theory is a psychology based on internal motivation. as opposed to external motivation which is the model most individuals and organizations operate from. Internal motivation means that the external world provides us with information, but does not make us do anything; behavioral choices are inspired from within and every individual has the power to control only themself. This allows us to take responsibility for our own life, happiness and choices. Knowing this also allows us to stop the exhausting process of attempting to control other people’s decisions, lives and choices. The only person whose behavior we can control or change is our own.

Choice Theory explains that we choose our behaviors in an attempt to meet one or more of our five genetic psychological needs: safety and security; love and belonging; power; freedom; fun. From birth we begin creating internal pictures of what we want, our quality world pictures, because these things, people, relationships, and experiences satisfy one or more of our needs.

Our daily lives are composed of a constant series of self-evaluative cycles, comparing what we want and need with our perception of the world. When there is a difference between what we want and what we perceive we’re getting, we are driven to behave, in an attempt to effect change. Thus, all of our behaviors are purposeful. But all behavior, although purposeful, may not be effective. And even purposeful and effective behaviors may not be responsible. Responsible is defined as a person’s ability to meet their need without interfering with another person’s ability to meet their needs.

Attempting to control another person’s behaviors is almost always irresponsible, leading to damage in the relationship.

In an attempt to better understand Choice Theory psychology, let’s look at the many choices people made during COVID-19. If you were worried about your own health and safety, and the security and survival of others, you probably wore a mask and practiced physical distancing. In fact, these may be things you continue today. You probably quarantined, if possible, for your own protection and the safety of others. Getting vaccinated was never a question for you, you did it to stay safe and healthy even though it was inconvenient and uncomfortable. Because it was important to you, and you chose these things, you never felt your freedom or power were being infringed upon, although you probably felt unhappy about your lack of connection, fun and freedom.

You probably also changed the way you met your needs for love, power, fun and freedom. Suddenly the world was learning and using Zoom for connections, shared holiday dinners, playing new games, going to school and working remotely. It wasn’t the same and yet, because health and safety were your strongest need, alternative methods were found to meet your other needs.

However, if you believed that COVID-19 was not a health and safety issue as reported, you may have done only a few of the above, or none at all. You felt your freedom and power to make autonomous decisions were being imposed upon. No matter what anyone else said to you or threatened you with, you were not going to change your mind or your behavioral choices. Your need for power and freedom were/are more important than your perception of the threat to your health and safety.

Whose position was correct? It depends on what need was most important to you, as well as your quality world pictures, and the way you perceived COVID-19 and the world.

Evaluating the difference between what you want and what you have motivates you to take action, to behave, in order to achieve more of a balance. The practice of Choice Theory involves having an awareness of the choices that will meet your needs, and self-evaluating whether your behaviors are helping you achieve what you want in a way that doesn’t interfere with others doing the same.

Choice Theory involves shifting from an external control psychology, the belief that our behavior (thoughts, feelings, actions and to a certain extent our physiology) is determined by outside forces, such as luck, circumstances and other people, to an internal control psychology, knowing we always have choices and understanding that we direct and are responsible for our choices and resulting consequences.

Definition of Mental Health

My definition is based on Choice Theory psychology. I do not mean to say that this is the only or the best definition, but using this model informs all the work I do with others. I would invite and encourage all practitioners to develop and use their own definition for good mental health, sharing it with their clients so everyone knows and agrees with the goals you are aiming for.

In Glasser’s small booklet, Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Issue, he writes:

As I will now begin to explain, mental health can be accurately described as an entity totally separate from mental illness and I offer the following description: You are mentally healthy if you enjoy being with most of the people you know, especially with the important people in your life such as family, sexual partners and friends. Generally, you are happy and are more than willing to help an unhappy family member, friend, or colleague to feel better. You lead a mostly tension-free life, laugh a lot, and rarely suffer from the aches and pains that so many people accept as an unavoidable part of living. You enjoy life and have no trouble accepting other people who think and act differently from you. It rarely occurs to you to criticize or try to change anyone. If you have differences with someone else you will try to work out the problem; if you can’t you will walk away before you argue and increase the difficulty.

You are creative in what you attempt and may enjoy more of your potential than you ever thought possible. Finally, even in very difficult situations when you are unhappy — no one can be happy all the time — you’ll know why you are unhappy and attempt to do something about it. You may even be physically handicapped and still fit this criteria.

My definition of Mental Health is somewhat simpler: For me to be mentally healthy, my daily objective is to meet my needs for safety, love, power, fun and freedom. When I do, I feel satisfied and content. On those days when I’m experiencing discomfort, anger or frustration, I ask myself: What do I want? What do I need? Which need is not being adequately met and which is driving my discontent? Is what I’m doing now helping me get what I want and need? Can I make better choices about what I’m doing? Do I need to make different choices about what I want?

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Glasser’s ability to present his ideas in an uncomplicated, straightforward way has always been appealing and it has meant that these ideas can be understood and practiced by anyone, at any age, anywhere. However, putting these simple ideas into practice is very challenging.

There is more to Choice Theory psychology than I have explained here, but this is a good beginning. The more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn and that you want to learn.

COVID-19 presented challenges for all of us, no matter what your circumstances. There are many people in the world who are growing their good mental health and creating a happy life following the tenets of Choice Theory. But has it been working during COVID?

*Growing Good Mental Health: Is It Working?

Several colleagues and I started a project in March of 2022 to find the answer to: Is your knowledge and practice of Choice Theory helpful in grappling with the impact this virus has had on your life?

So far, we have received survey responses from people in more than 11 countries, with the majority of people stating that Choice Theory has been valuable or highly valuable. We are continuing to reach out to our international Choice Theory community to get more survey data. And since Choice Theory is being taught in our many Quality Schools around the world, we have plans to create a survey asking similar questions of that demographic.

Our goal is to share the results of our qualitative grounded research with the largest audience possible, and invite people to start GROWING GOOD MENTAL HEALTH. We hope this will be a giant step forward in changing the mental health paradigm in the world.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

64 COMMENTS

  1. I think all these old theories are no longer working. Just like you mentioned that physical health – we created gyms and all new world of dealing with it. Same for dental, we created many new ways a person can do their own thing including buying a night guard, flossing, and seeing a hygienist few times a year. All these industries are sharing power. A dentist is a doctor and we cannot do their job but the system gave the individual some autonomy for maintenance.

    Only mental health is the one area, where a person loses autonomy and power to know their bodies and the only acceptable thing is often seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist and when a person gets sick, just locked them up.

    My theory is actually to challenge what is trauma? We need a real definition of trauma without confusion.
    My theory is this back to basics.

    We are born as animals and develop mind. Often trauma happens prior to the mind development, hence why it is very difficult to know what is trauma. So let us do research on what is trauma in the body. Not just repeating the same old tired of survival responses (flight, fight, freeze)…what are they on the body on the corporeal? We should not use words without source of materialism. If a doctor says a person’s response is freezing, they need to teach exactly what is freezing so the person can learn, observe and improve.

    Doctors are keeping knowledge and then wondering why people are not happy with them? People know more about cancer than a functional freeze response…why is that?

    But now, unfortunately mental health is a metaphor – meaning saying something that means something other than what we are saying it is! you see the problem right there!

    What is the source of the metaphor of mental illness? Why animals do not get bipolar but people do? How do animals deal with the source of mental illness? Going back to the body to teach people how to read their bodies. I think the problem of doing this is many but the biggest is cause doctors do not know their bodies as well.

    Let us go back to the board of determining what is mental illness. Otherwise, I feel we are just scratching the surface and discussing about words and lexicons.

  2. “knowing we always have choices and understanding that we direct and are responsible for our choices and resulting consequences.”

    We most certainly do not always have choices. A person locked in a psych ward does not have a choice whether to take the medication or not.

    I find this viewpoint extremely simplistic, untrue and demeaning to psychiatric survivors and others who have experienced coercion, suppression and the like.

    • Katel, I find the whole article simplistic at best and complicated again by comparing dental health to something so very very complex as human emotions. “mental health” is the new advert, making people believe that to feel things is a “health” related issue.

      Our minds and body, and it’s connections, and it’s ability to absorb everything that occurs, to be remembered not just by the mind, but also by the body simply cannot be defined as of yet by any human. Perhaps a dog has a much greater ability to assess a human’s situation and what their needs might be.

      It is just so simple to write an article about choices. I would not write such a thing, because I would offend a ton of people and sound uneducated and priviledged.

      I get it. I get how she thinks if people would just stop “thinking” of themselves as victims, and pursue the elusive “mental health”.

      It is quite the norm for the world to have a ton of suffering people. When we stop pretending that it is “mental illness”, perhaps we would be on the right track to ease some. But it cannot occur since people are selfish and bound up in their own lives….which is quite natural.

      Every single one of us has the potential to look or behave disfunctional to someone else. We are simply animal. Maybe half of us eeks out a sort of comfortable path, and if we look around, many jobs, occupations allow individuals to be in the illusion that they are “mentally healthy”. It is easy to hide behind our jobs or power, usually not even aware just how nutty we are.
      It is simply a crapshoot.

      • Thanks, Sam. Yes, I found this article pretty triggering. I spent a lot of time in DBT (after decades of psych drugging without informed consent, or rather with mis-informed consent, led to a diagnosis of treatment resistant depression, which led to ECT, which led to a diagnosis of borderline personality). I heard a lot about choice and only being able to control my own behavior on a daily basis in DBT. Ultimately, I found it to be very damaging, as it ignored the iatrogenic harm I’d experienced and the almost complete loss of power I experienced as a patient. This idea about personal choice and responsibility would make more sense to me if the mental health system did not exist. But the mental health system does exist and it leads people into very dangerous places from which it is hard if not impossible to return, and many people do it without any support and surrounded by risk. Can I risk going to a doctor with a physical complaint, can I risk opening up to an acquaintance about my life, my history, my struggles without worrying that they might decide I need more treatment? I don’t think people who haven’t been through it can understand what a dark place psychiatry can lead people to. I’ve been disabled for 15 years and the idea that my current situation is due to my own poor choices and that I am solely responsible for the loss of health and a place in the world that resulted from my interaction with the mental health system feels unfair. There is also no mention of trauma or the impact of trauma on a person’s ability to make good choices and meet their own needs. Personally, I never feel exactly safe in the world. The best I can manage is to feel less unsafe. Often that comes down to staying in my apartment, not communicating with the outside world.

  3. I’m sorry, but I truly wonder whether such an analytical method truly helps regarding responses that are subconscious or unconscious responses. Feelings are subconscious, and trying by any means to first analyze them, then decide which ones are good and which ones are bad, and where they come from, this could be like taking a fish out of the water to see what it is, and you’ve killed the fish.

    Emotions are made to be felt, deciding this isn’t a good emotion, and I want it to go away, and using the left side of the brain to develop strategy, even when you’ve accomplished this you might be worse off. Because the natural intelligence that comes with the emotion when felt, intelligence that’s also so subtle you can’t fit it into the calculations of the conscious mind, it’s more intertwined with life than that. Simply not pushing an emotion away, but allowing it can get rid of the discomfort that came from pushing it away, not the emotion itself.

    I’ve had thoughts that would be labeled as schizophrenic happen, simple thoughts regarding themes in life that for one day bled into my conscious mind, like the kind of eidetic memory that say Tesla had. Visceral depictions of something inner, potential and symbolic of interactions that are impelling. The next day I realized that stuff I needed to be able to consciously relate to had superimposed in a way that could be seen as non-reality based, and even though I was COMPLETELY non-violent in contrast to those deciding I was some danger, it made no difference when I had the next day realized I was a bit off. Those thoughts then 13 years later pointed out so clearly things regarding life, and time, and what life is about, and how a miracle resonates with themes in life and touches upon others I hadn’t even met yet, that the whole idea that those thoughts needed to be seen as crazy, or stuff that comes from bad decisions on my part, or any of what “psychiatry” would come up with, such that even any analyses regarding whether they are reality based or not falls short.

    And I’m sorry again, but the example of what mentally healthy is you list above can be seen as quite non reality based to anyone who every day has to deal with what you have even listed as going on in the asylum, and then further more outside of the asylum, which might have forced them into one. I’ve never been committed to an asylum during the incarnation this body has had so far, I’ve never been forced on or taken psychiatric drugs, but yet EVERY DAY I have to deal with SEVERE discrimination because of alarmist paranoia in society regarding how my mind works, when my brain is HEALTHY. I can only imagine what it’s like for those whose civil liberties were taken away from them who are surrounded by those who only see them as broken, diseased and flawed when they have logical and understandable reactions to trauma in life that they either can’t or don’t know how to respond to or express. And then have to deal with the chemical imbalance the MEDICATIONS have caused in their brain disabling it from natural functions, the whole while being told the untruth that the meds are necessary to treat exactly what they are causing instead, and even if they know these truths aren’t allowed to express them because they’d be seen as non compliant to treatment and forced on more. Somehow somebody with such a life isn’t going to fit into your analyses of whether they are mentally healthy or not, as little as those in a war zone, suffering extreme poverty, living in an autocratic regime or worse. Maybe they just need someone to listen to them so that they feel it’s OK to even feel any emotion, let alone analyze it as good or bad, what to do this about or not? Maybe the emotions THEMSELVES when allowed and simply given some legroom have an intelligence all their own and then solutions are found, rather than they already are analyzed before they are even given the space to be felt.

    Emotions are meant to be felt. To once again be offered a whole school of how to make one “mentally well” can be like these drugs you say “People did experience temporary relief of their symptoms and upsets” when in reality you have to admit there was no true relief. And it’s simply discrimination in society in general. Women lack the ability to make rational decisions because they are emotional was even put forth as the reason they weren’t allowed to vote or have positions in government or religion. There’s this untrue concept that emotions are irrational. It’s simply wrong, and it could be that someone having an observably “happy” life with “emotional well being” in reality is maybe too sterile to feel the emotions of someone that’s actually experienced what’s going on in a society not quite as functional as its made out to be, and those emotions themselves when allowed have answers rather than deciding one is to find a means to turn them off, and then one is mentally healthy. Maybe such inhibiting isn’t mentally healthy, no matter how uncomfortable that may seem to the fantasy people have that they shouldn’t be feeling what they make strategies to avoid. No matter how disruptive or inappropriate it might seem to others when those emotions aren’t avoided and express themselves in whatever way is left for them to find an outlet.

    Emotions exist to be felt, that’s why they exist, that’s what their purpose is, and they involve all manner of natural instincts with perspective and insights that one isn’t going to find deciding how to censor which ones one should be feeling and which ones one shouldn’t.

  4. My point actually was that a child that is going to end up diagnosed with a mental illness, although it may be completely true that being able to see how you’re in control of your own emotions, and that you can’t change the stuff around you, and as is stated here: “Choice Theory involves shifting from an external control psychology, the belief that our behavior (thoughts, feelings, actions and to a certain extent our physiology) is determined by outside forces, such as luck, circumstances and other people, to an internal control psychology, knowing we always have choices and understanding that we direct and are responsible for our choices and resulting consequences.” when you are dealing with people who never have been given the legroom to know how they feel, to start telling them they are responsible for what happens in their life this could be missing a whole step. I think you have to be able to know how you feel, I think you need to have the matrix of reflexes to engage with your own feelings before you can start knowing how to make decisions for yourself. Imagine telling a person who has never been allowed to express how they feel, that their very feelings of distress, anger, anxiety, sadness, all the rest, that they are there because of choices they’ve made, and that they are in control. In the meantime they may not even know why they feel that way, they may not have the reflexes to identify what it is that causes those feelings because every time they tried to express those feelings they were met with such a response that they disassociated, and so their whole response to begin with is to subconsciously push those feelings away to such an extent there’s no bridge to where they came from, or why they were there. What is it going to do to such a person to tell them they are in control of feelings, that depends on the choices they make, while that might yet again be another occurrence of those feelings being seen as something to avoid, to judge, to want to get rid of?

    Just as forgiveness in a complete form can be getting out of a situation and then not judging the people you needed to get away from, trusting the Universe, enjoying life rather than looking to get badges for staying in the situation and being “forgiving,” feelings that are “bad” or that you don’t want could simply be feelings that you need to allow, because they’re there for a reason. Having a formula to make someone happy and have good mental wellness when that becomes yet another example of “this feeling is there because of my own choices, it’s my fault etc.” when in reality someone may not even know why they feel that feeling, they have had to disassociate from making such connections their whole life, and telling them it’s their own choices that they have such feelings, when the real choices that they never have been allowed to make remain beyond their matrix of understanding, this could only cause more stress in their life. They don’t know why they feel that way, they don’t know why the feeling is there, they need to feel that feeling just to gain insight into what they have been disassociating from their whole life, and the feeling is once again analyzed in a way to isolate it as on object to want or not to want rather than it’s just allowed, which would make room for the perspective that’s needed.

    I’m sure that: Choice Theory Psychology has helped many people, and that it does wonderful things. But sometimes a feeling just has to be felt, and sometimes it’s better not to talk at all about good or bad mental wellness, because saying a person has bad mental wellness implies that they need to change or gives them a formula to change rather than being allowed to feel and express what’s just waiting to give them some insights that only such feelings can. Without looking to avoid them, to change them, to judge them as good or bad.

    You don’t push happiness away. Why would someone judge other feelings before knowing what they express?

  5. Hi Nancy,
    Yes strange why this vile attack on Robert Whitaker is on your blog. Mr. Whitaker is a well-respected investigative health reporter, a humanitarian and person of integrity. However it’s coming from a psychiatrist who is obviously desperate to protect his fragile ego, relevance and lucrative turf so it should not be a surprise.

    I appreciate much of what you have written and your good intentions but for this to be helpful it has to be available BEFORE a person tangles with psychiatry and is harmed by the spurious DSM labels and drugs.

    “that they know who to reach out to” – that’s the most critical component for someone to improve their state of mind and situation in life. Psychiatry is NOT the place to reach out to for ‘help’. There are some psychiatrists with good intentions, but psychiatry has proven to be a most detrimental place one could reach out to.

    My brother was an electrical engineer, athletic, talented musician and father of two little boys when he saw a psychiatrist for ‘help’ with divorce depression. I foolishly believed (at that time) he was getting knowledgeable/specialized ‘help’ to sort out his emotions and a path forward. Instead I was worried to see his physical health and cognition decline until he could no longer work. It was a shock to realize the only ‘help’ he got was drugs and also subjected to ECT. One night he died in his sleep at the age of 40 and his autopsy concludes his body was not properly metabolizing the drugs and a fatal level built up in his liver and caused his death. Yet the psychiatrist watched his health go downhill without questioning anything, just kept prescribing. So many have been harmed or killed yet the status quo remains.

  6. “Big Pharma’s marketing practices do improperly shape physicians’ prescribing habits and do play down the dearth of long-term data on impact and safety.”

    So, physicians are not able to look past the “marketing practices” of big pharma when making decisions about prescribing? Big pharma is tricking them?

    Well, that doesn’t surprise me. I’ll always remember the good-looking sales reps who showed up in psychiatry waiting rooms in the 90s. Well dressed, smiling, and armed with plenty of swag emblazoned with names like Prozac and Wellbutrin and Abilify, and often bearing free samples of whatever new drug they were hawking.

    I would like to have been a fly on the wall in those meetings. Did the sales reps coach the physicians on what to say to patients when recommending a new drug? It was so casual back then, the salad days of SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics — no talk of withdrawals, brain damage or akathisia. No black box warnings. I remember this one psychiatrist who I saw for 6 years until he sent me on to an ECT Dr. He used to say, “I’ve had good luck with ______,” whenever prescribing a new drug. So pleasantly vague and comforting and yet unscientific, maybe even illogical. Is it luck we need, doctor? I dared not ask. I just filled the prescriptions, swallowed the pills and kept hoping for good luck as I lost any grip on functioning and my “biologically based mental illness” got more severe.

    • There is more than a “dearth of long-term data on impact and safety.” There is PLENTY of long-term data saying that the impact and safety profile of these drugs is questionable at the VERY most optimistic. I’m not OK buying into this “more long-term studies are needed.” The studies we have are more than sufficient to call the use of these agents into question, particularly the blithe way they are prescribed so broadly with little to no standards of care. It is the job of the doctors and the medical community to prove they ARE safe, and they have failed to do so. No one should have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that they are dangerous!

      • Agreed, there is no dearth of long term data. There is plenty of long term data including what to me is the most relevant and accurate data: Self-reported experiences of individuals who were prescribed the drugs in various doses and combinations ever since the drugs came on the market in the 80s. Those experiences are shared everywhere across the internet, from this website to websites like surviving antidepressants and inner compass. The drugs were tested on the population for the last 40 years, so there is a very large sample size. Pro psychiatry people will dismiss these narratives as anecdotal, but the people who have been prescribed the drugs, who have taken them in various combinations over years or decades, these are the people with the first hand knowledge. Not something they read about in a drugmakers’ pamphlet or an APA conference. Not something that a psychiatrist “observes” during a 15 minute medication check and writes about in his notes, if he even keeps notes because not all of them do, and probably chalks up to the patient’s inherent mental illness anyway.

        Honestly, I think you can’t win a debate with most people who advocate for psychiatry because it’s a group that has already demonstrated an allergy to logical thinking. I just took a look at the depression screening quiz that used to be put in front of me every few weeks when I was in and out of the psych ward and IOP. It makes me laugh because there are questions about feeling guilty, feeling like I’m “less than” other people, feeling like I might be punished or I am being punished, feeling that I am not interested in things and I don’t look as good as I used to. All of these things were made worse by the treatment I was enduring. Unfortunately no one noticed. They just kept writing in my records that I was non-compliant and non-responsive.

        • It sounds like literal torture! I have also noticed that whatever “treatment” is being provided, there is no requirement that it actually improve the client’s condition, either by the client’s report or any of their subjective “screenings” that are supposed to be objective. If things get worse, it’s raise the dosage or try a new “treatment.” And then they say you are “treatment resistant” if their shit doesn’t work, rather than saying, “Well, I guess our shit didn’t work this time.” And if you somehow get better in some way despite all of this nonsense, they are the first to step up and give their wonderful drugs all the credit. No, logical reasoning doesn’t seem to be in much supply.

    • KateL,
      Drugs reps are some of the most highly-trained salespeople out there. They actually go out of their way to ‘research’ the personalities and lifestyles of the doctors on their drop-in list. They scout out their vulnerabilities and where to complement them, because the seduction of doctors is a drug rep’s specialty. And it’s no accident that the sales reps are good looking. It’s a real schmooze city.

      I once read a book on subliminal seduction. And according to the authors, physicians are the most susceptible, because physicians are typically the most cut off from their feelings, due to both the doctor’s inborn personality (big ego), and the unsympathetic training (med school) they subject themselves to.

  7. One of the worst things about the “mental health system” is it that people don’t have a choice as to whether or not they’re labeled. And being labeled means being stigmatized. No choice there.

    And these harmful, stigmatizing, bullshit “labels”, which are “chosen” by some asshole “professional”, stay on people’s medical records for life, which can create all kinds of havoc and injustice. No choice there, either.

    I personally have never liked labels, diagnostic or otherwise. To me they’re all a huge pain in the ass, even ones like ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’, because even these are too connected to the crap I didn’t ‘choose’ to endure — and ‘choose’ to forget.

      • Define ‘blithely’:

        – Lacking or showing a lack of due concern, casual, ‘spoke with blithe indifference to the true situation’

        – Heedless, lacking due thought and consideration

        – A disregard for the rights of others

        – Ignorance and indifference

        I can’t think of a better word to describe the mental health industry.

      • And for those people who ‘choose’ to make a living off blithely labeling others (psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.), I’ve got plenty of ‘choice’ labels FOR THEM, the only difference being my labels for them, however crude, are ENTIRELY ACCURATE —

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