I came across a recorded talk by Jacqui Dillon, chair of the Hearing Voices Network in the UK, speaking at the UCC conference ‘Critical Perspectives and Creative Responses to Experiences of Trauma and Distress’ on ‘The Personal is Political‘
She is a sharp and witty storyteller, and she also touches on the horror of a mental health system that still way too often responds to trauma survivors by telling them they have an illness in their brain that has nothing to do with what happened to them.
I agree with most of what she says, though I would like to see her more clearly acknowledge the way people’s attempts to survive trauma can inadvertently cause them serious problems. (In CBT, we might call these “over-developed coping strategies.) I agree with Jacqui that we should be acknowledging that these responses are people’s attempts to cope, so we shouldn’t just see them as “part of an illness” but I think we have to balance that with also noticing that what once was helping with coping may now be disabling.
Anyway, I hope some of you listen to this presentation and let me know what you think!