While it may look to most of the world that technology will play a huge roll in the future of mental illness treatment I would suggest in this field we should, in some ways, be going backwards and not forwards, back to grass roots humanity and away from diagnosis.
The answer to all mental illness is beyond all psychological concepts and technological advances. It is, in the most simple form, human connection. I am not talking about the concept of connection, but the experience that happens when we see the truth of who we are, and the innocence of what it means to experience being human, when we touch our spiritual essence, when we stop looking at people through complex psychological theory of diagnosis and labelling people. When we see our own humanity as well as our clients, we get to experience our untouchable, unbroken never lacking mental health.
A place where it is peaceful, regardless of our circumstances or status, a place where it is joyful and secure, and it has nothing to do with what we have accumulated or achieved, what if that was true, for everyone?
One of my mentors, a psychiatrist named Dr Bill Pettit, said on the podcast misunderstandings of mental health, that he had given 7000 lectures on mental illness in almost 50 years of practice, but not one on mental health. There is a such a focus on diagnosis and what is wrong with people that no one remembered to factor in training in mental well-being. In the field, we are trained in understanding things like:
- Diagnosis of personality disorders
- How medication deals with the dysregulation of chemicals in the brain
- How the past affects the present through complex theories
- Attachment theories of how we connect with others
- Cognitive theories on how the mind and thoughts really work
There is no training in how to experience more happiness, joy, contentment and security, or how we realise and experience our own innate mental health. Everyone suffering wants a little more of those things, they just don’t know where they come from, or how the system works, and innocently we have been pointing to theories of why, diagnosing peoples thought created realities and sending them off with the right tablets to fit their created condition.
Undoing the misunderstanding in the treatment of mental health
Moving forward and getting better results as practitioners, i.e. helping people have a happier, more content, grounded experience of life, freedom from addiction, anxiety and depression, requires seeing through the constructed illusion of mental illnesses.
Thomas R Insel MD who is an American neuroscientist and psychiatrist who led the National Institute of Mental Health from 2002 until November 2015, made the following quote in the Book of Woe:
“We are so embedded in this structure. We have spent so much time diagnosing mental disorders that we actually believe they are real. But there’s no reality. These are just constructs. There’s no reality to schizophrenia or depression. We might have to stop using terms like depression and schizophrenia, because they are getting in our way, confusing things.”
The problem comes when there are so many misunderstandings created through the multiple approaches of all psychological theories, if we were working on the premise that there was just 1 misunderstanding, helping people have a new experience of life may work a little differently, and more successfully.
Currently it looks like there has to be a cure or a solution for so many different diagnosis, that’s a lot of problems to solve, what if it was simpler than that?
So, what is the future of Mental Health and addiction Treatment?
I can’t see there being a meeting of the minds on whether solutions are humanistic, cognitive, psychoanalytical or behavioural in psychology as a whole but if we look to what is true for everyone, what is beyond our psychology, we may find some common ground.
“There is only 1 cause of all mental illness – chronic mental stress” – Dr William Pettit Jr
Chronic mental stress manifests itself in people as a by-product of individual genetics and of thought. Everyone reacts differently to their 'in the moment' thought about circumstances, some people have a stronger stress reaction than others. If you have been in a constant state of mental stress for a period of time, that the body is not designed for, things start to breakdown, like the nervous system, or the digestive system or psychological well-being, this is where mental illness starts.
The key fact here is that thought looks like reality, and in the moment people are always responding to their thought, not the circumstances around them, or as we say, the reality they think they live in. All circumstances are neutral then we make meaning out of them based on our state of mind, and our psychological conditioning.
Thought is the key underlying singular scientific principle as uncovered by Sydney Banks in 1973 that holds the answer to all mental health. In his enlightenment experience Syd saw through the creation of reality in the moment, and became free from suffering. Went on to teach all over the world, the connection between the psychological and spiritual nature of who we really are, highlighting the underpinnings of all psychology.
If we got past psychological diagnosis, disease concepts, and labels, there could be a great improvement in people’s well-being.
All you have considered is, could it be true?
As Thomas Insel said, all mental illness is a made-up concept, all theories are subjective at best, even if they are evidence based, doesn’t make them real, just means we agree with each other’s thinking about an illusion.
If 2 people are walking through the dessert in need of water, and one says to the other, hey you see that well over there, and they both see it, and head towards it, can they drink out of it? What if it was 10 people seeing it? Can they then drink out of it? No one can drink out of it because it’s not real, just because people agree with concepts doesn’t mean they exist.
What Syd Banks saw and what Thomas Insel is talking about is that there are no answers in the illusion, we are looking in the wrong place. We have developed a system of diagnosing people’s thinking, their constructed reality, which is a variable, not a constant state. Mental health is within everyone, it’s beyond the constructs, the answers are always within, the answers are always simple.
“Every human being is sitting in the middle of mental health – they just don't know it” – Syd Banks
Jason Shiers Dip.Psych MBACP is a Certified Transformative Coach & Certified Psychotherapist at UK addiction Treatment. Jason has been working with addictions and mental health for over 20 years in evolving ways. After his own recovery started 25 years ago in 12 steps, he had been searching for something different, following the path to a degree in transactional analysis. 3 years ago in a chance encounter, Jason found the work of Michael Neill, and after 3 days in LA and an exploration into the 3 principles as uncovered by Sydney Banks, life changed unrecognisably. Jason has been teaching and sharing the 3 principles in his work with addictions ever since.