Forfeiting the Paradigm of Victimhood
Keywords:trauma, intentionality, mental states, expression, the mind, psychiatric intervention, psychiatric culture, language, attention, resilience
This paper is a philosophical meta-discussion of the current culture in psychiatry and psychotherapy that focuses on trauma as the source and predominant determinant of a large number of psychiatric complaints. Such a culture leads to increasing, rather the decreasing, the destructive role of traumatization and victimization throughout the life experiences of those affected, and (as culture) is exemplified by increasing calls by influential psychiatrists to expand the interpretative role of trauma to virtually all our experiences of social inadequacy and personal hurt. We argue here, from a philosophical and psychiatric point of view, that the transactions, semantics and affects that psychiatry and psychotherapy are concerned with in cases of trauma and victimhood are negatively affected by the culture of using trauma as an alibi and a kind of universal explanation of psychological dysfunctionality and suffering. We also argue that, contrary to the current culture of a sort of idolatry of trauma, more consistent and philosophically informed approaches to psychiatric and psychotherapeutic intervention, based on a different interpretation of less-than-radically adverse life experiences, might in fact reduce both the clinical occurrence of traumatization and the actual adverse impact of self-perceived victimization and traumatization on the prospects for achieving the goal of ‘the good life’.
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