Sunday, September 26, 2021

Comments by Rufus May

Showing 10 of 10 comments.

  • Thanks for sharing all these diverse perspectives. I agree that you need a whole bunch of different strategies to deal with power. I have lied for example when I trained as a psychologist, I chose not to mention I had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia at the age 18. I became more honest when I got to a stronger power position where I thought I would not be so vulnerable to discrimination for having been crazy.

    The empathy/understanding others needs tool is just one strategy. I know if I really hurt I have to focus on giving myself understanding (or getting it from others) and perhaps at some later point I can try and understand what was driving the other person. But I am not saying others should do this. I aint ‘shoulding’ on anyone! For a bit of light relief check out Matt Harvey’s story about Empath Man; the super hero who disarms robbers with his person centred arsenal!

  • Thanks Ron, glad you have found some of these ideas helpful. As you mention at times I have found NVC helpful to help people empathise and negotiate with their violent and dangerous voices. Its also helped me encourage workers to rather than seeeing behaviour as illness, to see it as driven by understandable feelings and needs. As to the more critical posts, I find the distance created by the internet means debate is often less respectful than it would be if we were face to face. I prefer dialogue to debate and this seems harder to achieve on the internet. I would like to clarify however, I am not asking people to understand or empathise with their oppressors. I am saying when I am trying to help someone come off medication, I have found it helpful to think about the needs driving the over-protective behaviour of mental health professionals who are reluctant to work collaboratively. This has helped me support people to negotiate being able to manage extreme states off medication.

  • There’s a lot to say about using empathy with people who are in power who may be acting coercively or violently. I still think we need to name violence and or abuse. I still think there is a role for campaigning, activism, anger and speaking out. I personally think that forcing people to take medication against their will is highly problematic and an infringement of people’s human rights. At times, however, I have found that, to help someone get more freedom within the mental health system, empathy skills are useful to employ – even with people we see as being in opposition to our values.

    In this vein, I would like us to move towards a restorative justice approach to all harmful behaviour. However trying to understand what motivates behaviour we disagree with does not mean we are excusing it or supporting it. But to help people navigate these systems we do often need diplomacy skills. Ive found NVC gives me tools to do this but I recognise that its just one way to promote understanding approaches.

  • In relation to the Nutter picture (which I have coincedentally just replaced with a more recent photo). It was done for a photo shoot for a magasine I edited back in 2007. I think the photographer (it was his idea) wanted to play with people’s prejudices, the labels we put on each other. So it was a kind of reclaiming of the word ‘nutter’ which as you say is a slang word for a mad person. Thanks for posting the link there’s a lot of good stuff out there. And different frameworks and languages appeal to different people. So its good have choices. For example I met someone on Twitter who preferred something called ‘Clean talk’ to NVC.

  • Thanks for the positive feedback. Thanks Ron for your warm welcoming words. I appreciate everybody’s reflections. Faith, the wildebeast thats a great example of welcoming the unwelcome guest. And yes we also need to balance that wiht connecting with the rain on the window our posture, our breath. I love Peace is every step by Thich Nhat Hanh too.

  • ‘Give me a mind not colonised and Ill show you a soul that can breathe’ Renee McCallister. Thanks for these comments I think a big part of healing is acceptance, so i think if we can create accepting community this creates liberating possibilities. We need to keep dialoguing and learning form each others perspectives. Any helpful idea or strategy can become problematic as we see in talk about ‘recovery’. So we do need to keep challenging each other and finding ways to listen to what needs are being ignored.

  • I aggree the hearing voices movement is not perfect. There were things I wanted at the Cardiff conference that were not there. For example more spaces for reflection for dialoue and being. I want us to make conferences less didactic and more interactive. I am part of a group called Evolving Minds which again is not perfect but we do try and hear each others different perspectives on wellbeing and living in a crazy world. And they are very interactive spaces. We meet monthly and are organising a retreat on meditation and extreme experiences. I did go to survivor meetings in the 90s and learned a lot from them. Maybe we were not at the same meetings! But i am learning from people of all ages and backgrounds. I do appreciate your scepticism of a corporate approach to recovery and share your concerns about its potential to exclude and suppress.

  • I am interested in building healing community with others and as you say there are many obstacles. We live in deeply unequal societies, which are individualistic, and encourage people to be passive consumers. There is also a lot of resources invested in policing people with authoritarian paternalistic practices. We need to come together not as survivors but as people, interested in doing that work to free each other up to live more harmoniously and fruitfully. its a nice critique you offer of recovery stories and there is a danger they become another product and form another rigid hierarchy. I think we need to keep challenging each other to be real, and to learn to be with vulnerability not suppress it. Hearing aggressive voices can be tremendously difficult. It sems to me they are made more difficult if we try only to suppress them. We are finding if in stead of shunning them if we find ways to face them and come to terms with the griefs they point towards they do change and become more peaceable. Of course this needs human resources and we need to build those resources which can be very difficult if we are isolated as som amny people are. I think is helpful to celebrate when people become more confident and flourish. It can be very inspiring for others who may have thought they were stuck forever. At the same time we need to acknowledge how each persons journey is unique and there is no correct pace of healing. In the UK outcomes are constantly being measured and this must create a huge pressure to see people’s lives as commodities that neeed to make a profit.

    I think we should see healing less as the sole responsibility of the individual, I am more interested in giving the responsibility as much if not more to the community around the person. We all need to change to help someone gain greater freedom in their life. My life progressed significantly when people began to trust me and give me responsibilities. Without that happening I would have stayed misunderstood and dependent.

  • I think we need to move away from ‘them and us’ thinking. I have found that no matter how mad someone seems, if you can create the right support systems and community around them, the madness starts to make sense. It is our fear of madness that makes people madder. The community changing and accepting diverse emotions and states of mind is an important part of this work. We can all experience confusion and I believe we need others to help us navigate it. I have found this in my own experiences of navigating powerful mind states. But I dont think because I have had these experiences that makes me superior in my abilities to help others or to recognise that they are going through. I think anybody that realy wants to listen open mindedly and deeply can be a uge resource in assisting others to navigate a confusing and often cruel world.