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Sophie F's picture

Blaming the patient

Mind-When All Else Fails, Blame the Patient... 

This article elucidates some interesting ways in which mental health practitioners conceive of "mental illness." Namely, how the therapist's own "story" about the patient can be limited in some ways. And, as such, the therapist may feel that a patient's "failure" to respond to a particular treatment is the fault of the patient and not a shortcoming of the therapy, or a story told by the therapist that might be too narrowly focused. Additionally, this article touches on the idea that often with depression, in particular, there is a tendency to view the feelings of the depressed person as the cause of depression rather than as an effect. Perhaps, as a society, we often blame people with "mental illness" rather than attempt to understand their story and how certain behaviors stem from stories we tell ourselves, without knowing, perhaps, that other equally "reasonable" stories would do just fine as alternatives... It seems, too, a serious shortcoming in medicine as a whole, often, that blame must lie with the patient when the end goal of "recovery" is not achieved linearly. The patient was "non-compliant" or "treatment-resistant" as the case may be... This seems, to me, to be a set of stories, a line of thinking, which has no benefit for the patient (and may in fact be detrimental).


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