Societal responsibility

In this clip from training delivered to care workers in Sheffield (April 2013), Peter talks about societal responsibility in relation to hearing voices and different cultural perceptions on voice hearing.

I have spent time in Aboriginal cultures in Australia and the more time I spend with them the more enlightened I become.  Theirs is a very spiritual context, and one of the leaders of a township there said something very important to me and I will never forget it.  When I went mad, and I did go completely barking mad, everyone around me said ‘What has Peter done to send himself mad?’  Everybody blamed me, but in their culture when someone goes mad the whole township comes together to say ‘what have we done to send this person mad?’  There is a collective responsibility.  Without society there is no madness, society creates madness, the person behaves in a way that society doesn’t like so we exclude them from society while the people who have done the damage continue to be able to function,  We label people as schizophrenic or having a personality disorder – well what is a personality disorder? – it's a life trap. 

Because of life experiences a person will have a particular perception about the world.  Its society that has moulded that perception but society then rejects what it has created.  We need to look at the person’s experience of society – what has led them to services – everybody needs to be asked even if they choose not to disclose.  The average time it takes someone to disclose is 16 years – that’s a long time out of someones life. We need to ask people what brings them to services or we are colluding with the abusers of this world. 

Childhood trauma creates psychosis.  That trauma can come in various ways, drugs and alcohol in the home, physical or sexual abuse – a variety of victimizing experiences but 90% of people who hear voices have had a traumatic experience and we then focus on the 10% well what about the 10% well what about them?  Lets focus on the 90%  We don’t want to look at what society does to other people and society’s responsibility in relation to psychosis.  It's the non disclosure of trauma that leads to psychological issues – as Enseng said if you don’t talk about trauma then the brain will start to speak about it itself – through voices for example.  Its non disclosure that causes the problem so we need to tackle this early in children’s services. 

Robert Whitaker has totally destroyed the dopamine hypothesis.  Drug companies have tried to treat schizophrenia and voice hearing with anti-psychotic medication to reduce dopamine.  Robert Whitaker found that anti-psychotic medication actually raises dopamine it doesn’t reduce it.  As the body responds you grow more dopamine receptors. The longer you are on the medication the more schizophrenic you will become.  More importantly, you have been diagnosed on behavior with no regard to the thoughts and the feelings that are creating the behavior.  No engagement with the content of the voices that talk about the life events that created that behavior.  That’s the important thing but we are dominated by pharmaceutical companies, the only industry to gross more money is the arms industry – they have a vested interest in sustaining madness.  Lets look at what’s really going on for a person. 73% of people is psychiatric care have been abused as children, lets open that box – what is that fear – that hasn’t been able to get out?  Lets address the underlying trauma that society has created.  

What is recovery?
Societal responsibility