Valerie Rice | July 17, 2021
I am terribly sorry for my absence, I have been sick. And with that I want to talk about a trend I am watching unfold across various social media platforms, and that is the enlightenment of the mental health field. Yes, I know, it seems a strange thing to say. But I think it is essential that we take to task everyone who upholds a system that is not designed as benign or universal and we make it such. So what am I on about? I am ranting about the idea that “mental health” is written and prescribed by middle to upper class white men. And I myself have been guilty of this problem. Because journaling is fine and all, but not really helpful to someone who is feeling oppressed.
A Brief History
I rarely touch on the development of psychology, psychiatry, and social work (yes, sister science and coconspirator, I am talking to you) but I think we really should. Historically speaking these sciences were male dominated. Not just were they designed to focus on the self actualization of men, but they were created around the desires and experiences of white men with money. Think Freud, Jung, and Pavlov. It was pretty recently that women came to dominate these fields, what with it being a “softer science” and even now most of us are white. Luckily, diversity is starting to be taken seriously, and intersectionality is being given the reins. There are many people getting their required education for the sole purpose of changing the system. And it can’t be happening soon enough. Why? Because most of this crap is just gaslighting for anyone who is NOT a cis/het white guy with money. Let me show you.
Let’s make an example…CBT
It is no secret that I hate this modality, okay? I always have. It really is just trying to gaslight yourself out of your rage against the situation. And more. Now if you think about it, the whole concept is a nice, neat, tidy little theory that works if you have power, privilege, and no real threat to your life. Who actually has that kind of position? Well, it isn’t the poor, or the people who deal with oppression, or anyone of color, or….do you see where intersectionality needs to come into play? Sometimes we need to feel things. Sometimes we need to think. We NEED these thoughts and feelings for actions. Journaling and soothing is not going to help us process, or enact change, or better the situation. It WILL, however, gaslight us into an endless cycle of abuse of power. It will also make us feel super miserable in the long run because what is going on around us is absolutely not okay but it convinces us that the problem is on us, alone, as dissatisfied individuals and how we think. So no thanks.
Yes, I am attacking you now. The majority of social work is just class warfare and disproportionately affects minority populations. What? It isn’t about saving the children? Nope dude, absolutely not. It is about taking a different, and often unrealistic, view on parenting and forcing it on poor people. The social worker then steals children and pays someone else to care for them when the actual “problems” could be solved by the parents with…wait for it….money. Yeah. Poverty is the primary problem, something social work does not help with, but is willing to give a middle class family to imprison another person’s child. Now, full stop, there are a few cases out of a hundred where there is a legitimate need. But they are FEW. The bulk of cases in the system involve parents who are tired, working constantly, and simply are not able to make ends meet so they lose their children to people with more money. That’s a system issue, not a personal one, and the state acts as if it is a moral one. So…fuck those guys…but not much different than the colonization of psychology and mindfulness. We all need to do better.
I just wanted to share a little perspective today. We spend so much time working to be broke, and feeling miserable about it, that we can’t take a step back and realize that the problem may not be us. It might actually be the system. If your therapist is not working out, find a new one, one who is not old school. If your job isn’t paying you enough, it isn’t you at all. It’s capitalism. If your neighbor loses their children, it is probably because they are poor, not failing, so be supportive. In fact, if we could all just pull together and be a bit more of a community, that would be great. Community is what we are missing most in our society. Until next time, Be Well!