To my surprise, in recent times I have found in numerous media channels, television, radio and print, quite a few allusions to a supposed “industry” based on the irrational and unconditional search for happiness .
Like any argument or current that is reduced to the absurd, it loses its foundation when we forget the true essence or reason for being of Positive Psychology, to establish derogatory analogies such as, for example, the fact of making certain publications on social networks of the Mr. Wonderful type or as a mockery of the “need” to have to go to a “motivational coach” to solve some kind of trivial issue.
After the numerous episodes of this kind of “attack” on a sector of psychotherapy or mental attention (since we should not forget that the etymological origin of the word therapy is related to the concept of attention), coming even from “colleague” sectors, which did not finish learning from the old paradigmatic battles between the behaviourists and the cognitivists or between the innatists and the environmentalists, among others (paradoxically, both confrontations led to the emergence of integrating paradigms).
Unfair criticism of Positive Psychology
I can understand that from ignorance or lack of knowledge, an endless number of disqualifications and criticisms, more or less destructive, can be made . But what I cannot understand is that there are professionals in psychology, who cling to their old paradigms and methodological currents, like shipwrecked people to the wreck, to defend their model or way of practicing the profession, as if this were the only one possible.
On the other hand, they are not so reluctant to embrace concepts such as “Learned helplessness”, which was developed by Professor Martin E.P. Seligman, to justify the development of depressions or other psychological disorders, this being one of the standards of positive psychology.
I understand that the medical model of psychodiagnosis continues to exert a notable influence on the way of understanding psychology for some. But, dear colleagues and curious people of diverse nature, the clinical psychopathological model does not explain the complete diversity of human behaviour, and that is why without the need to intervene in the prevention or rehabilitation of psychiatric pathologies, there is a field of psychological action that does not obey its rules.
A person who feels bad or is dissatisfied with the life they are leading , is obviously not ill. In fact, there are many people catalogued as sick or disturbed who raise many doubts in my mind about the reliability of the diagnostic system. If they knew the damage that can be caused to a person by feeling labelled for life, forming part of a “sack” or collective of pejorative connotations for their own health and consequent social adaptation, they would be more careful when it came to making the classifications.
The problem of overdiagnosis
Recently, I had the opportunity to learn more about Dr. Javier Alvarez’s opinion. This head of psychiatry at the Hospital de León is a champion of a movement called “New Psychiatry”, which postulates the inconsistencies and suspicions of a medical model probably influenced by another type of industry, but in this case a real industry. The pharmaceutical industry. It is curious the dizzying growth experienced by the main instrument of psychiatric classification and diagnosis (better known as DSM).
From its inception to date, the number of mental disorders has increased exponentially and their treatment has been entrusted as a priority to the employment and administration of psychotropic drugs . These are psychopharmaceuticals whose mission consists mainly of acting on the neurotransmitters in the brain that are “implicated” in the development of the disorder in question. The problem lies in the conviction and confidence that they give off the minimal knowledge that exists on the functioning of the mentioned neurotransmitters as a sufficient guarantee to experiment with these chemical drugs.
I don’t want to misinterpret this for myself, I’m not an anti-psychopharmacologist, or any other kind of treatment, but I do consider that we have developed a remarkable confidence in something that is still in its infancy and we have neglected and even ridiculed other ways of understanding the world of psychology and psychiatry, without finding so many daily examples of criticism of this. The smoke of the “charlatans” versus the “little magic pills” . And it’s not about this, but neither is it about that.
Each person is a world and in each world one type of intervention or another is required.
My problem is no bigger or smaller than yours.
It may not even be a problem.
But it’s mine and I decide how I want or need to approach it.