The importance of empathic listening for making meaning of distress

This article by Robert Murphy has been re-published by Mad in the UK. It begins:

“Psychiatry has failed to provide a definitive explanatory framework for mental illnesses, despite more than a hundred years of scientific and medical research. Its failure results from its dependence on a biomedical model of human development, which purports to explain emotional distress as a biological malfunction.

It seems clear to me that a fundamental paradigm shift is required, away from focusing on the material body and the organic functions of the brain, and toward the existence and processes of the mind. This shift discounts the continuously futile search for a biological explanation and test for mental illness and challenges the biomedical validity of applying physical treatments to what is actually a state of mind.

The psychiatrist currently attempts to fit the content of their patient’s mind into a diagnostic framework, identifying ‘symptoms’ which are assumed to be objective. But, arguably, they would gain more understanding of their patient’s state of mind through listening to its content and working with them to make meaning of their ‘distress’. This method of support enhances the potential for mutual recognition of the reasons for the emotional and psychological ‘distress’, potentially signposting a clearer path to ‘recovery’ and mental health …”

You can read more from here.

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