Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Outside In Approach: Build Foundations First in Mental Health
We can look at most of the problems in the world right now and see that any action taken in regards to them is reactionary. We see a problem, identify the symptoms of the problem, and resolve the symptoms. This is how mental health problems are being attacked, in a reactionary way. Rather than taking the time to fix the core issues of each person, the system uses methods of resolving and medicating symptoms one at a time, while the person is still 'broken' on the inside.
Think about a large building you know of that is structurally sound right now. Now imagine a large earthquake hit the area and the building has incurred damages. You could begin fixing the exterior problems one at a time, or you can take a closer look at the foundation. If the foundation of the building has taken extensive damage and cannot be repaired, why would you bother wasting time on the exterior issues?
When I deal with a client struggling with mental health issues, I can easily see the symptoms because they are right there on the surface. And yes, the symptoms are indicators of certain underlying issues and have much merit in trying to identify the bigger problem, but if all I am going to find is a broken foundation underneath, then I am only wasting both of our time trying to ease one symptom at a time.
My job is to assess, stabilize, identify, and then either counsel or refer. If the foundation of the person is fixable with their strength and my skills, then I will help that person begin to rebuild their foundation so that all other help will become positive and forward movement. If the person's foundation needs a lot regression into their past, I refer them to someone in my network with the skill set needed to dig deep, and begin repairing the cracks.
In order for the counselors, doctors, spiritual guides, and 'helpers' of the world to truly turn this mental health epidemic around is to begin focusing on the foundation first, and not just the easier-to-identify symptoms. Yes you will have to dig deeper and put in more effort, but when you start helping others to truly rebuild from the inside out, you will finally get the results you are looking for,
Let's face it, most people who get into the 'helping' fields of study have done so because of some suffering they have endured, and go forward with the intent of helping ease the suffering of others. It is the most basic of our human instincts, but most people have lost this sense.
If you have not figured it out yet, when I talk about the foundation of a person I am referring to their 'true self'. You can call it your soul or spirit if you like, but either way it is still the same thing, who you truly are!
The world and society have molded us into beings who have created 'filters' for so many things. We rarely get to have a truly honest day because honesty is not the same as being 'tactful', and if you want to be truly honest all day, most people will not be able to exist around you for long. The problem is that every time we create a societal filter, we block our true self a little more, and our ego grows larger.
If you are a helper and looking for the best way to help others, look for the true self in others and start there. Breathe life into another person's inner being and you will begin to see positive results right away. Build the foundation first so the whole thing will not topple later. Look for the good in people even when it is hard to see, that is who they truly are and who they wish they could be.