Written by Victor Camille Lebouthillier
Look around and consider the pace of change and innovation in so many different areas of human enterprise: aerospace, bioscience, surgical procedures, computers, how we educate, communication, and, yes, even the pace of producing and sharing information. Everything is advancing at a breakneck speed.
Why then is the way we prevent and treat mental health not advancing at the same incredible speed? Is it because the 1 in 5 people, who struggle with their mental health, are such an enormous burden? Is the system so overloaded that no one has time to think of new approaches or innovations? Or, is it because the allopathic system, that consumes 87% of the healthcare budget, is such a big white elephant that turning toward more new and innovative directions is like turning a cruise ship around in a small bay?
THE MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT PROTOCOL
Consider the #1 protocol for someone in the Western society seeking help for a mental health struggle. You go to your medical doctor, who has had minimal training in mental health. As a result, they have only one tool in their toolbox. The physician will spend an average fifteen minutes listening to your challenge before prescribing medication. Although meds can help people, in, the many cases medication only treats the symptoms. One doctor recently said to me: “The pharmaceutical industry has failed us miserably when it comes to mental health. They promised us medication could work, but, in most cases, it doesn’t. Nobody seems to know what to do about it”
The second protocol people take to overcome their mental health struggle is to seek a psychotherapist. They often do so through a company benefit program. The majority of folk don’t have access to any benefits and so don’t have this option.
For those who are able to access this support, the therapist is trained to drill down to the underlying source of the challenge. They work with the client to unpack, understand and learn how to produce healthier beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and perception of themselves and the people around them. Although this procedure is the best one for overcoming their struggle, the challenge is often that it’s treating a level 5 problem with a level 2 solution. In other words, the typical treatment model consists of one hour per week. This is simply not enough. Imagine suffering from depression all through your sixteen awake hours each day of the week and going to see a therapist every Monday for just one hour. Therapy is like dribbling a ball up a hill…it must be a consistent effort or the ball will roll back down and you’ll have to start over again. Many great things can be accomplished in one hour, but for the average person this is just not enough time.
UNDERSTANDING CORE DRIVERS – TELL US HOW TO OVERCOME A MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLE
The ACE study is helping us understand the Western world’s worst health crisis, yet it remains little known. The major finding in the Center for Disease Control’s ACE [Adverse Childhood Experiences] study wasn’t so much enlightening, as it was confirming. Although our intuition isn’t always accurate, in this case the longitudinal study confirmed what most of us suspect: a person’s adverse childhood experiences can make him/her more susceptible to the negative consequences of stress and more prone to having mental health struggles. ACEs are abuses children experience and they fall into the following categories:
- Emotional Abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Verbal Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Children are born perfectly loving, playful, and genuine. However, parents teach their children what Carl Rogers called conditions of worth. These are standards of behavior that children must follow in order to receive love and avoid criticism. Eventually these standards become internalized into what Eric Berne called a life script. A life script reflects an unconscious set of instructions for living life. These unconscious beliefs, or guidelines, can be completely arbitrary or even downright false. Many of them are irrational and unnecessarily limiting. The key to freedom is to become aware of our irrational and limiting thoughts. This awareness is being able to replace them with healthy thoughts, emotions and perceptions towards ourselves and how we perceive other’s perceptions of us.
HOW TO OVERCOME A MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLE:
Because we now know that large regions of the brain are capable of neuroplasticity, we know that it’s possible to change the unhealthy thoughts and emotional functions that these ACEs established in us. To be successful, however, in this treatment process, the correct treatment plan implemented over a sufficient period of time is required. The Alive for Wellness Centre developed a treatment model with a mandate to determine exactly how much time and effort it takes to help a person learn new, sustainable ways to manage their psychological functions so that they can overcome a mental health struggle. Our work with a sample size of over 1200 people taught us that the amount time and effort can be different for different people. It also became apparent that change is very slow. This time to change is likely limited by the brain’s pace of change. Although slow to change, the fact that the brain can change offers significant hope to those who score high on readiness to change measures and who are ready to step up to the plate to go through a healing process.
EXAMPLES OF CHANGE:
Trudy, who had been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, attended our one month inpatient program. She then went home and continued with our three month After Care program. According to our analyses, Trudy achieved 35% success in her four pre-determined mental health goals. This may not seem significant to some, but to Trudy it meant that 3.5 times out of 10 she was able to exhibit new behaviours and manage her thoughts, emotions, and relationship dynamics. She then went on to full recovery in the next 13 months.
John, on the other hand, required a six-month process to achieve a 35% success towards his goals. Still, there are people who experience their full level of success much more quickly than Trudy or John.
This just goes to show that people are individuals and they need their treatment tailored toward their individuality.
ADVANCEMENT IS HAPPENING
Empirical evidence tells us that people can overcome a mental health struggle using various new micro models that have been developed, but the change in functioning brought by these therapeutic models is just not big enough to be noticed. The challenge for these new models is the gap between what they promise to deliver and what folk most need. The fastest way to close this gap is to say to each of those people, who believe that their mental health struggle is a life sentence: “OVERCOMING A MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLE IS POSSIBLE WITH THE CORRECT TREATMENT. “
To learn more visit www.aliveforwellness.com
Watch Intro video on home page at : www.aliveforwellness.com
Read about The multi strategy approach : http://www.aliveforwellness.life/overcome-a-mental-health-struggle/overcoming-mental-health-struggles-requires-multi-strategy-approach-using-advanced-behavioral-sciences/