Comments by Max McKay

Showing 8 of 8 comments.

  • Something to note is that the Humanistic Psychology movement, itself, remains somewhat elitist and exclusionary. Partly by choice and partly not.

    So many lived experience voices have no capacity to be heard or uplifted. The funding isn’t there. The support isn’t there. Partly that’s systemic. A lot of contributors to journals such as this are doing what they can. And, to be clear, many are survivors and have lived experience themselves.

    That said, the advocate and activist perspective remains direly unsupported. There aren’t jobs for this work. It’s damn near impossible to compete for philanthropic “mental health support” funds. And so on.

    I’m hoping contributors to journals such as this continue to fight THE SYSTEM ITSELF and provide more CAPACITY SUPPORT for critical, critiquing voices.

    Otherwise it just feels like yet another club speaking for people like me rather than with people like me.

  • I don’t know how to feel about this. Two conflicting thoughts..

    1) A person who has “been there” can sometimes absolutely be an asset and be hugely helpful to be effective in their work

    2) A LOT of therapists I know have extremely troublesome defensiveness triggers. The term “professional fragility” is rampant in this industry and they’re people with extremely limited capacity for being questions. The savior trait and need to care and so on.

    Also, as MIA readers know, therapists of all kinds (lived experience or not) are faced with immense indoctrination pressure toward ableist and problematic framings, concepts, and applied techniques that are oppressive, harmful, etc. All the things MIA has covered for years. I’d image that both lived experience and not are susceptible to this, though as a hypothesis those with lived experience might question and reject it more due to their personal experience versus someone with no prior experience to the topic matter.

  • It seems near impossible to get reliable data on how widespread the phenomena is. Among the issues include – five years ago I would’ve said I “believed in” the construction of mental illness my therapist was attempting to “cure”.

    At present, I now view those interactions as unintentionally abusive and traumatizing. Not out of direct malice. But out of buy-in to a core theory of mental health that is staggeringly flawed.

    Five years ago, that opinion wouldn’t show up in any survey I took, because I was never exposed to alternative viewpoints and had to spent years of work critically questioning existing theory, often while under extreme antagonism, to come to my own authentic conclusions.

  • The entire notion of psychotherapy is predicated on an assumption that the individual is empowered to self-effect change regarding their emotional distress.

    It is asinine that “therapy outcome” as a concept fails to account for, reference, and acknowledge external psychosocial factors, to the point of outright distorting objectively correct views of circumstance.

    Even when it does correctly acknowledge external circumstance, it often then tries to normalize and control suffering, rather than diagnosis some portion of emotional/cognitive pain as impossible to remove until external circumstance is changed (which often the individual has little to no individual power to do).

  • Robert, it sounds like maybe you’re feeling frustrated by the continued critiques and what some may call negativity? One thing my colleague and I are working on is a “yes and” approach to analyzing where we are. This is not an either/or discussion.

    Is is true that these programs were meaningful and did real good for people? Yes.


    Is it true that these changes have not yet achieved much larger in the way of larger system-wide reform? Also yes.

    Often it seems like resources and efforts are framed as having to choose one or the other. That doing the programs above comes at the expense of the efforts for larger reform. I view that as a partly false narrative. It becomes a problem when the efforts you’ve done (often through not fault of people like you) ARE framed as “major change” and “meaningful progress”.

    As you yourself say, they aren’t. They can, most accurately, be what’s mentioned above. Both immediately impactful to individual lives while also not helping people, including those individuals themselves, escape the larger systems that remain oppressive problems.

    It’s a narrative trap to suggest otherwise.

    Open to thoughts on this. We’re still tinkering with the “yes and” theory, but it feels very promising to me.

  • “the social drivers of suicide, including a stable income, a place to live, and meaningful work.”

    I would also add social connection to that list. Acceptance, genuine respect, ect. But that’s a topic unto itself. And feels like a bit of a nitpick. This article is SPOT ON about looking to external effects as contributing factors to mental distress. That point needs to keep being pushed. It’s not opinion, it’s fact.