Monday, August 1, 2022

The Reality of Interdependence (and why it matters for counseling)

Today's post is a progress update on my efforts to built a counter-argument to a category of mental health advice and approaches that attempt to, in various ways...

"encourage independence and self-regulation"

Credit to livedexperiencecounselor on Instagram for the wording of that last line (see this post for reference). Fantastic account I recommend following.

If you're looking for a specific example of this, I can point to a popular mental health advice meme that declares "your trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility". Brian Peck, who runs the Room to Thrive religious trauma recovery Facebook community, wrote an excellent counterpoint analysis as to why he finds that advice problematic. I fully agree with his stance, and think he's working toward countering the same broad concept I'm working on here.

I'm still working on a full and complete rebuttal (and wow can that work be a slog at times), but did have at least one part of the critique I'm ready to share and feel confident about. We might call this effort "in defense of interdependence and why that matters for therapy and counseling." And a section of that defense will likely include this...

The following are two observations about the human condition, and life in modern society, that seems essentially unquestionable and objectively true.

1) We are, as newborns and children, unable to self-educate and unable to survive without early assistance

2) The vast majority of social systems worldwide are based on a foundation of specialization. They operate through developing human laborers who will not be able to operate or survive as individuals if wholly cut off from society.

Point #1 seems basically self-evident, but nonetheless important. And Point #2 might come with reactions of "is this good or bad". I'm not yet ready to speak to value judgements on that observation just yet. Obvious points that will likely come up include the economic theory of division of labor (specialization), the role of money in human interaction, and a multitude of other important theories and concepts across the social and biological sciences. Like I said, this is a big effort here. 

At this point thought, I'm proud of at least pulling out the two points above. Regardless of what else will bubble up as part of this analysis, the two statements above seems objectively true. And will very likely serve as important building blocks for the eventual larger discussion on the topic of modern counseling so often encouraging independence and self-regulation. And why I continue to have numerous objections to that approach. 

Also, as always, a disclaimer that this is work in progress. The points above might be able to be stated more clearly. Maybe there's something in those statements that seems objectionable. Always open to open-minded debate, keeping an eye on the goal of establishing an objective, agreeable set of principles to work from as part of building a more effective model of mental health theory and aide. 

No comments:

Post a Comment