I hope you enjoy the site. For many people, the material here will challenge the way you see the world and, I hope, the way you see mental health.
For the last 50 years or so psychology has been dominated by the cognitive-behaviorism and psychiatry has been dominated by the bio-medical and pharmaceutical philosophies of mental health.
What this means is that our cultural understanding of mental illness has been “externally oriented.”
From the bio-medical perspective Depression is a chemical imbalance that can best be addressed by chemical intervention, while from a cognitive-behavioral perspective, depression is the result of “incorrect thinking processes” or “dysfunctional environmental rewards” and contingencies.
In the last 20 years however we have come to see the limitations of these ways of conceptualizing mental illness: the chemical-imbalance theory has been completely discredited (and was never empirically supported in the first place), the side effects of medications take their toll on the body and the mind in often unpleasant ways.
Addiction and withdrawal symptoms when trying to come off some of these medical regimes can be worse than the initial condition the drug was supposed to be fixing. Similarly, cognitive behavior therapies have limited effectiveness and for all but a few conditions (e.g., simple phobias) tend to focus on coping and living with your mental health condition rather than curing it.
The last 20 years has also seen to other important developments in psychology.
One is the introduction and integration of mindfulness as a popular intervention for all kinds of societies ills, including mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
The other is the gradual but definite acceptance of emotional intelligence as an independent and important part of living a successful personal and professional life.
This is where the Bio-Emotive framework (and a few other emotionally oriented therapies) comes in, emphasizing the emotional and inter-personal dimensions in our short and long term mental health.
We have suddenly, after decades of external and environmental emphasis, being allowed to have interior experiences as causal factors in our mental health! This is a very exciting time we are living in, and I look forward to the emotional maturation of our culture as it integrates these new ideas and ways of being into its child-rearing, its school system, and our working lives.
All the best!
Dr Douglas J Tataryn