Dec. 27, 2022

The hidden knowledge that will help you find the best therapists (and avoid harmful ones)

To be able to best advocate for yourself when seeing a mental health professional, it is essential that you have at least a base-level understanding of the different theoretical and philosophical approaches to understanding mental health, disorder, illness, distress, oppression, and abuse.


The dominant framework in most Western countries is the medical model – this model pathologizes the human experience. It attempts to explain away suffering and trauma by labeling certain behaviors (and personalities) as “disordered” or by saying symptoms are caused by chemical imbalances in our brains. There is just one problem with the medical model of mental health: it is just a theory. It is not proven. Most mental health professionals are fully aware of this; they don’t discuss it with patients.


In this episode, we discuss the other theoretical frameworks of mental health that are emerging with new research – primarily the “trauma-informed” framework - and why many believe this is a more effective (and much less harmful) way of approaching mental health treatment.


Together, we’ll explore all of the currently existing models of mental health:


■ The medical model

■ The social model

■ The biopsychosocial model

■ The trauma-informed model


Through the discussion, analysis, and critiques of each of these models, you will come away better informed and more prepared to advocate for yourself when seeking mental health care. This may also illuminate and validate why some individuals have felt worse after seeing a mental health provider who is 100% bought into the medical model.


Recommended resources:


■ The IG post by Dr. Jessica Taylor that inspired this episode

■ Article by Mad in America | “Researchers Critique the Medical Model”

■ YouTube video by Dr. James Davies | Mental Health, Capitalism & the Sedation of a Nation


Disclaimer: information contained in this podcast episode is for educational and peer-support purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional. 


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