A social worker whom I am very fond of, said to me recently;
'If all of my 90 clients met one another, half of them wouldn't need me.'
My first reaction to this was confusion.
Thinking; 'but some people require professional help' and 'people in counselling need structured assistance'
Those ideas however subsided as I greeted a new question;
'How powerful is human connection and relationship?'
As a social worker she claimed that her work is centred in relationship and the key to helping many of those in need lies in relationship.
In a profession screaming for a biomedical approach and evidence-based therapies, connection still has a place. A very important place.
Carl Rogers stated;
'In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?'
Sometimes the mental health system is very disrespectful towards human qualities.
It occasionally disregards uniqueness, humanness, creativity and resilience.
This broad dehumanising framework however does contain some health professionals who recognise the human in a client.
They are the people who warm the cold constraints of the system.
Who recognise the rich resourcefulness of those declared to be helpless.
Who understand that every person has something to give.
And allow those who have previously only received a rigid diagnosises and labels to feel human, valued and respected.
Those few people in the system are what change lives and make a difference.
And although there are many, many criticisms to be made about the mental health system, it doesn’t mean there is no hope.
Because there are counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists out there who truly care for people and know they are much more then an illness or a problem.
They are people. People with skill, beauty, creativity, capability, resilience and strength.
Anorexia doesn’t eat you alive.
It convinces you that you are dead,
And then proceeds to kill you.
There is nothing beautiful about anorexia.
There is nothing safe about it.
To those who advocate it,
Please do not encourage it.
It is maintained through lies,
And as its tricks are shared and spread,
It continues to destroy lives.
Never believe that you or others can’t get well,
And never stop fighting,
Because there is a world outside guilt, pain and obsession;
And it tastes incredible.
You can make an addiction, an eating disorder, abuse you have experienced, a substance, a mental illness or a drug become your identity.
But in no way does it convey the total sum of who you are. When you play into displaying yourself as a label or as an illness it can never adequately communicate who you are.
Your identity is not entirely about your flaws and your imperfections, it is much more multi-dimensional then that. It is about remembering you are not composed of a single story of sadness.
You are so much more.