Luddite Health Promotion

Writing for the Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network, Ed Lord says:

“… under the cover of a narrow definition of ‘Evidence Based Practice’, we find that we are stuck delivering standardised interventions to people reduced to numeric codes from diagnostic manuals.” 

“… As a mental health nurse I find myself at a certain nexus of regimes of knowledge, institutional practices and subjective experiences of mental distress. These forces shape who we are in our working lives and how we approach people experiencing mental distress. The things we focus on, the preoccupations of our practices and the techniques we employ are extremely contentious, as can be seen from numerous posts by others on this blog. The core of our practice, however, remains untouched by the many criticisms levelled at it (eg, Fanon, Laing, Cooper, Basaglia, Szasz, ‘Bifo’, Bentall, Moncrieff, etc, etc). The reason for this is that we are blinded to the necessary systemic critique by technocratic structures within which we are embedded. As numerous philosophers have suggested, we are operating within an iron cage (Weber) in a disenchanted culture in which our lifeworld has become colonised (Habermas) and technology has ‘enframed’ (Heidegger) the normal, the reasonable and the possible.

Thus as bio-medical psychiatry has come to the fore, under the cover of a narrow definition of “Evidence Based Practice”, we find that we are stuck delivering standardised interventions to people reduced to numeric codes from diagnostic manuals. Distress in a particular person, in a particular culture, in a particular time and in a particular place is reduced to a problem of individual mental hygiene abstracted from its context. Care in the modern world has been characterised as moving from “the sanctuary to the laboratory” (Peacock and Nolan 2000), and this is what we see in mental distress that is no longer an aesthetic and existential crisis, but a technical problem of neuro-chemistry and genes …”

Read more here.

Luddite Health Promotion
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