In his conclusion to the Future of Mental Health interview series in Psychology Today, exuberantly prolific psychotherapist and creativity guru Eric Maisel, lays out a manifesto for a “mental health revolution:
Our current mental health paradigm, dominated by a flawed pseudo-medical model and by the indiscriminate use of chemical interventions, ought to be rejected.…New helping alternatives can be the place where good science, humanist values, and a genuine desire to help others come together for the betterment of our species.
His wide-ranging series introduces 110 “innovators and alternative helpers from around the world…committed to non-traditional ways of helping individuals suffering from emotional and mental distress.”
Among them are Institute Director, Lois Holzman; Director of Clinical Training, Christine LaCerva; and faculty trainer and psychiatrist Hugh Polk, linked below:
On Social Therapy / Lois Holzman
I’m uncomfortable with the term ‘individual emotional and mental health,’ because it reduces the incredibly complex relational activity of emotionality to the individual’s mental apparatus. But to play along with the mental health language game, the relationship between individual emotional health and our basic nature as social creatures is this: an individual’s emotions are no less social for being experienced, in our culture, as individual.
On Environments for Emotional Development / Christine LaCerva
Therapists and patients in social therapy groups work together to develop our capacities to live life creatively and to investigate the conceptual frameworks that inform how we think and how we have come to feel the way we do…As for psychiatric medications, I think in general mental health professionals can move too quickly to prescribe. I prefer to create new kinds of conversations that deconstruct and creatively reconstruct a variety of activities in group therapy and outside of it that can support the person’s ongoing development.
On Psychiatry and Social Therapy / Hugh Polk
What does it mean, for example, when someone says, ‘I’m depressed?’ Is depression a thing that’s located somewhere within the individual? Is it the private possession of the person who ‘has’ it? Or is it, perhaps, something that we do rather than something that we have? Could we, the group, perform ‘your’ depression, or ‘mine,’ as a group? It turns out that the collective asking of such questions is developmental.