The other day I came across a blog post about a national mental health awareness movement called “We’re All a Little Crazy.” Numerous celebrities in sports and the performing arts lead this movement. Many stories are shared about personal experiences with mental illness, from bipolar disorder to PTSD through #SameHere and a sign language gesture which points one’s thumb towards oneself and the pinky toward another.
The concept behind this movement is to disarm the stigma of mental illness as being something foreign, weird, or outside of a “normal” existence. In fact, many, if not most of us, have at one time or another experienced some level of depression, anxiety, trauma, or loss that would put us, at least temporarily, somewhere on the continuum between mental health and mental illness. The emotional distress within that continuum obviously varies in intensity and manifestation, but to be not mentally well at some point within one’s lifetime is arguably a part of the human condition.
As mental health professionals, it should be especially incumbent upon us to be acutely aware of the additional burdens and pain caused by the stigmas placed on people with mental illness, particularly those that invite bullying or estrangement. Most importantly, we need to be in continuous check on ourselves as we may also fall into the elusive cracks of stigmatization (even if unintentional) of a person diagnosed as borderline, Schizoid-affective, or with Bipolar disorder who come with great vulnerability into our space for assistance and healing. By honoring their stories of struggles and accomplishments as significant and as ordinary as our own, we are welcoming them down a path to healing and recovery. After all, we’re all “a little crazy!”
Respect-Focused Therapy (RFT) is a foundation on which all modalities and techniques used in therapy can be strongly grounded, in order to produce sound, effective outcomes. This approach offers clients the opportunity to gain experiential understanding of being respected, possibly for the first time, from the therapeutic relationship and then be able to heal old wounds by creating more respect for self and others in the therapeutic process.