Tag Archive: Practice


http://www.courtenay-young.co.uk/courtenay/articles/Phenomenological_Psychotherapy.pdf

This is an interesting and informative article found on the website of Courtenay Young, a psychotherapist in the UK.

Abstract
This paper looks at the practice of psychotherapy from a phenomenological approach, covering areas that are not usually within the more traditional ‘bio-psycho-social’ model, but also include economic, political, cultural, and environmental areas, and possibly several others. It further compares the more philosophical and pragmatic approach of a process-oriented practice of psychotherapy to the biomedical ‘treatment’ of psychiatry.
Keywords
Psychotherapy, Phenomenology, Psychiatry, Practice

It is an approach informed by people like R D Laing, Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others.  It is in favour of therapeutic communities like Soteria, founded by Leon Mosher.

I like the fact that he says he likes the writing of Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn, on mindfulness, as it is more poetical than some other writing, and that he is also on the board for the body and dance in psychotherapy.  It’s not all about words and science.

The article goes a lot into the philosophy of the approach and although it does use some long words, most of them are explained, and he gives several examples of people he has worked with.

There is a section in blue which lists and talks about the the groupings of “mental and behavioural disorders” (his quotes), found in the ICD-10, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is an international standard diagnostic classification for a wide variety of health conditions.  It is used as an example of how a phenomenological model is used in psychiatry.  It’s not very long, the article quickly gets back to its own subject of a phenomenological model for psychotherapy, saying that “phenomenology has come a lot further than when it was first proposed back at the beginning of the 20th century, and it is not just useful as a classification system”.

The article is 21 pages long so is a long read but, as I said, it is very interesting and informative, and you can download it.  I enjoyed it.  It gives a link to his website and his email address at the end.

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Old ‘Wives Tales

I spoke today to someone who turned out to have been a midwife before her present business.  I told her what had been happening to me in hospital, the forced treatments with PRN medication and the restraints, and I find this hard to believe since the practice is so widespread, but she told me that what happened to me is illegal, but that it happens all the time.  I don’t know if it is equally true for people on a Section 3 or not.  I know where this lady is, she will be there for the long term.

While we were talking I said to her that I had thought earlier, but had forgotten to put it in my post, that the question ‘can I help this person without putting them on drugs’ does not seem to be one of the questions on a psychiatrist’s check list.  I told her I was homeless and she asked me if I was in a hostel, I told her no, I had had problems at home but they had said the problems were just in my mind and had put me in hospital, and she seemed outraged.  I told her I thought I went too quickly and cynically to the political view of things, but she said she thought it was right, and when I said that they always said there is so much call for beds that they don’t keep people in unless they are really ill, she was skeptical about that as well.  In fact thinking about it, of course she should be.  I heard someone say that the psychiatrists are the front men for the drugs companies.  Of course this is right.  Jesus, help us.

She also said that the fact they have acronyms for things doesn’t make them legal.  But if all this really is illegal, how come they are getting away with it?  I can’t understand this.  She was adamant that it is political and not a health thing, and I said that I believed that as well, but that it was different hearing it from a professional.  Of course, though, many people in other branches of medicine have no time for psychiatry, but she said the practices are actually illegal, and this is a different professional perspective for me.  I hope she is right, because then there might be some hope of dealing with this.

While I am here I might as well say that no formal support or counselling is in place to help me deal with what happened yesterday with Kerry and the kicking.  They’ve basically said talk to us if you want to, but they know how I and some others feel about talking to them about anything and it seems to me there should be something solid and more formal with appointments in place.  I have had no support offered with this at all except informally, apart from the fact that a young student took the details of what had happened and said it was to my credit that I had handled it calmly and had come back to the staff.  But it was completely by chance that the woman who agreed to be a witness for me had been passing at all.  I don’t know what I would have done otherwise or how it would have been handled.  One of the other patients told me when I got back on the ward last night to be careful because she thought she was going to try and provoke me again.  No one has followed me up and asked how I am after it.  I think I am more alone in this than I should be.  I would have thought that in a situation like this other disciplines should have been involved as a matter of course.

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