February 24, 2009

Mythical & Magical Components to Their Particular Pathology

I have to admit that upon reading the initial five pages of Saleebey's (1996) Power in the People, triggered in me the biases based within me. Having said that, I must plow forward to prevail upon my fellow students and faculty, my insights as they pertain to my having faced the same dilemmas detailed within.

To say that the "ascendancy of psychopathology" has harmed society, and results in the denunciation of traumatized persons, and the condemnation of persons living a life of recovery has in some way has protracted from their quality of life further convicts and restricts the pathological person. We have a deeper understanding of pathology and the root causes. Although we can become ridged interpreters of taxons and imprint our biases upon the client, we have need of the nomenclature and characterization of symptomology to better assess for possible treatments and remedies.

What we have to realize is that while some if not all of this information has merit, it only colors the tool of terminology. The delivery of such information has a more persuasive power than the mere words themselves. Our inflections and diction indicate to the client our personal biases, points of contention and stereotypical views.

The mentally ill, or truly pathological person feels "crazy" without an intuitive identifying and inclusive group. The experience of "craziness" makes the client feel outside of everything, themselves included. Not knowing what ails the individual gives a mythical almost magical component to their particular pathology. We who have a mental illness invent imaginary conceptions and without interventions sometimes we cannot know the difference between them and reality.

Educating the client to their condition places a categorical identification and particular brand of symptomology, thus dissipating the air of mystical and mythical proportions, whereby reducing the unseen and unknown into a manageable and treatable condition. Further, the person having a new understanding of their mental illness, now knows that they are not alone. They can identify with others who have similar thinking patterns and behavior, normalizing themselves and affording them an adoption of kinship as prescribed by a set of inclusive categorical criterion. A movement within the Internet and chat rooms prevail and assails the notion that we become less than when adopting a designation of mental illness, what we find is a world outside of ourselves where the inclination to alienate dominates.

When we assume our diction, as related to our usage of words carries the power to oppress, we ignore the more powerful point of contention within the elucidation of said word. The contrasts not only include the choice of words in speech or writing, but in the manor of pronouncing the inflections of language. Our attitudes, biases, and prejudices give the teeth to denounce, condemn through a wholly base rhetoric and appeals from the practitioner who has yet to come to terms with their personal stuck points within their lives.

Several veins of contention run through Saleebey (1996). Adopting a strictly focused and central theme without a wider eclectic enunciation, elicits our own dogma while dragging us down to the level of oppressor. "[M]utually crafted constructs....may have the power to transform....[have a] capacity to devise....on intuition, tacit knowing, hunches, and conceptual risk taking" (Saleebey, 1996, p. 7). Upon hitting the proverbial wall of self, when assigned the task of assessing another, we must be aware of the state of our self identifying conditions, as they can become the device of further harm to the client.

Without the deeper understanding of the "tools of the trade," or the "mutually crafted constructs" as it relates to their humanity considerations of the client we run the risk of becoming an unemphatic practitioner. Without identifying the client's strengths and values, our personal biases and stereotypes we will fail to see the clients as they truly present themselves. Without achieving a balance of client and personal self interest we may deem the individual deserving of their plight.


  1. Well said, Scott. It's amazing how people will present with similar symptoms but in such different packages. Helping them to realize their "condition" and how to manage it, has helped so many that I have worked with, to feel some sense of control that they have not had prior to their beginning to understand what they are coping with. Otherwise, it is just something outside of themselves that controls them. The only labels I use are those that explain the person's symptomology. You are not PTSD, you have PTSD. Right?

  2. I want to add that I am a huge proponent of recovery! I believe that people have amazing capabilities and strengths to walk the journey of healing. I suppose if I did not, I might be one of those unempathetic practitioners that are mentioned above.

  3. Right on about the labeling the symptomology and treating the veteran!

    Knowing that you worry about how you can treat your soldiers and veterans and wanting to find the most up to date information shows that you are not one of those judgmental types of practitioners who propagate the stigma attached to receiving help.

    Our modern soldiers have a unique situation in these wars of today. We need a modern response to the after effects for our brave men and women who have served their country.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee