Monday, February 11, 2008


First, take a look at this article.

Then, if you're the brainy type, take a crack at this book.

I love it. From a human interest blog in Self Magazine to hardcore psychiatric discourse, the message is the same: human beings need to feel their emotions.

Of course, we don't want to. We use distractions and defenses and addictions to stay away from feeling the pain. And what happens if we don't let ourselves feel the pain? More problems - physical, relational, emotional, even occupational can result. Scroll down a few blogs - I wrote my thoughts on the importance of emotional release a few months ago.

But here's what really strikes me about the issues mentioned in the article and book: if the crime is the avoidance of emotion, the accomplice is my very own mental health profession. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other therapists who encounter significant emotion in their patients and jump to medicate the problem. As if emotion is the problem.

In the case of true depression, medication is a valuable tool to help regulate neurotransmitters, elevate mood and help the afflicted become more receptive to psychotherapy. In the case of "normal" grief, stress, sadness, anger, anxiety, excess energy, low energy, self-esteem issues, relationship issues, life changes, etc., medication serves only to mask, inhibit or postpone a natural emotional process.

It makes me wonder why this is. Are the drug companies so powerful and influential that mental health professionals have been brainwashed into prescribing an antidote to every uncomfortable feeling? Does society preach a sermon of "feel no pain" as a desirable and achievable goal? Or are my fellow therapists uncomfortable sitting with emotion, so they medicate it to make their job less stressful? Or is it something else?


Leigh said...

Pain gets in the way of productivity -- don't you know we all must do our part for upping the GDP? :)

BTW nice post, the emotional boogeyman is big topic of discussion around our office.

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