Brief introduction: I am currently involved in looking at the effectiveness of medical treatment guidelines in occupational injuries as part of my graduate work in public health at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. In my "past life," I practiced adult ambulatory medicine in Santa Cruz, CA.
The episode occurred in a context in which I was seeking to liberate myself from the idea that I had to be a clinician just like my dad. The liberation did work, but at a price. My major complaint is against the medical model that was imposed on the situation by my psychiatrists. In order to know for sure that my father (who died when I was 15) would bless me even if I were not a clinician, I needed to know that God the Father would bless me. And this created, shall we say, considerable inner dissonance regarding how to obtain evidence that God even existed, much less that He cared about the fortunes of His creatures.
I survived because I found people, including one psychiatrist, who would help reframe my experiences in non-pathological terms. THe medical model worked like a hex on my recovery and re-orientation process. I knew that the process had an inner intelligence and was there for a purpose, but my doctors said that my insistence on this point was a form of denial of illness.
Now, it seems to me that Ericksonians ought to be involved deeply in the reframing of such experiences. After all, the psychologists are the natural enemies of the psychiatrists, are they not? But many non-medical practitioners are deferential to the medical clinicians when it comes to "major mental illnesses with biological bases." Now, my claim is that sometimes mania has a structure, and is not nearly as "disordered" as we are led to believe. There is meaning and purpose to its symptoms; I claim to know this because I had every symptom in the DSM, and each one served a purpose and had a positive intention. It is the genius of Ericksonan approaches to distinguish the expression from the intention of any problematic behavior.
One thing I want to see is for the DSM-IV-R or the DSM-V to include "Religious or Spiritual Problem" in the differential diagnosis of Manic Episode. Is there any support in the Ericksonian community for such an undertaking?
It might help if I mentioned that I was exposed to many of Erickson's ideas through trainings (including Jeff Zeig, Steve Gilligan, Paul Csrter, and others), and that is part of why I completely trusted my own psychotic process to accomplish something useful, even when I recognized that it was getting pretty freaky.
So why not invade the medical territory of "biologically based mental illnesses," Ericksonians? You know things that medical psychiatrists do not!
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