Supportive homes and communities

The social construction of mental illness

June 23rd, 2011 | Posted by vimhsadmin in people first media

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banner pfr“Mental illness”, diagnoses, and associated concepts are all social constructions, but the professions haven’t yet recognized it, psychologist says

Michael Walker is a psychologist working to implement the recovery model within the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. He also teaches postmodern consultation (formerly known as postmodern therapies). Michael says that the mental health profession has largely missed out on the evolution of the postmodern perspective and linguistic paradigm now prevalent in philosophy, history, the social sciences, literature, and art.

In an article called The Social Construction of Mental Illness and its Implications for the Recovery Model, Dr. Walker explains how, from the linguistic paradigm and postmodern perspective, we can see how language creates realities as opposed to “discovering” them. The paper suggests that what this means for the mental health profession is that “mental illness”, diagnoses, and associated concepts are all social constructions.

We speak with Michael Walker in an interview first broadcast June 23, 2011.  (27:26)

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