I’ve been a practicing psychotherapist for 20 years. During that time I have become more disturbed and distrustful of traditional mental health diagnostics and treatment. I’m also seeing the insurance and medical industries ruin wellness care in America and turn it into sick care. I have been participating in these systems for quite some time (12 years now, out of a total of 20 in practice), and no longer trust the modern medical care system. I’m transitioning out of the system, as quickly as possible.
Even people at the heads of agencies who’ve worked on creating the DSMV, (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, version 5) our diagnostic system for mental health, agree that it needs an entirely different basis for diagnosing. The current diagnosing is based on symptom clusters, not a thorough understanding of the brain. Other than diagnoses such as Bipolar, Schizophrenia and its related diagnoses, and psychoses, there’s very little brain science in diagnosing.
There’s another problem with psychotherapy and counseling in general: you can’t solve problems caused by the ego by just modifying the ego. Yes, it’s helpful to notice where your ego-patterns came from, whether you’re recognizing them or they’re in the shadows and hidden and they get revealed in session work. So, making the unconscious into something conscious is helpful. The problem is, once it’s conscious, if you cling to it as your “identity” you will still suffer. What I’ve noticed is that the mind tends to create an identity around having ‘problems’ or being a ‘problem’ so, once you solve one ego problem, you’ll create another one in order to have what you’ve been taught is an identity.
However, when you see through the ego, which is a simple narrative that isn’t the whole truth or even most of the truth about who you are, you can find an identity that’s deeper and truer than ego: Awareness and the uniqueness of your individual body-mind. Then, you’re not just stuck manipulating the words in your head about who you are to try to change yourself. And, the words in your head about who you are, aren’t YOU! It would be like listening to a bunch of leaves rustling on the surface of the ocean and mistaking the rustling sounds (the human version of rustling sounds is words) for the reality of the ocean itself. The rustling noises don’t define the reality of the ocean, and the words you use to define yourself (ego) don’t define the reality of YOU.
Defending behavior patterns, habits, familiar feelings, and ways of dealing with problems, simply because your mind tells you a story about them being ‘you’ is ultimately useless. The real story of ending suffering was and is found in the mystical traditions of the world, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or others. There is an Awareness that is not mediated by words, and finding this Awareness within is actually the key to ending all unnecessary suffering. Beyond that, there is a necessary acceptance of human limitations: physical pain, restrictions of all kinds, and ultimately death.
So, after 20 years of doing ego-oriented work, with diagnoses from the various DSM versions, I’m moving to something better. I can help you identify the Awareness that you are underneath the words, thoughts, emotions and sensations, and then help you identify AS that Awareness. Then, you will be able to go deeper than the ego and actually eliminate the root of your unnecessary suffering.