Stop Defending Yourselves

As trained mental health professionals and clinicians, we’re supposed to understand the importance of reflection, consider our biases, be open to another’s perspective, and, perhaps most importantly, listen. But when it comes to opening up to ideas or information that challenge your worldview or how you conduct your business, on the whole, you’re doing a pretty poor job with all of the above.

For instance, in an article that an Irish news source was brave enough to publish, a woman describes her experience of fighting back against the mental health system, the trauma she experienced through so-called ‘treatment’, the harm from diagnoses, and her own recovery journey supported by Intervoice and the Hearing Voices Movement.

Rather than listen, engage, and try to learn more, professionals flooded the comment section with threats to the editorial board. In addition to reactive defensiveness, most of the comments claimed that this article was a public health danger, and was irresponsible and “unbalanced” (apparently balanced means that every statement made by a person with a viewpoint other than the status quo must be followed or preceded by an ‘expert’ statement refuting the perspective).

This is standard practice — assuming that the “experts” must be right and any opposing perspective is ‘dangerous’ or ‘uninformed’. This would be an understandable concern if it were true. But do you ever consider the possibility that it just might not be?

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