Please read my answer, edit grammar and make sure the idea is clear (add a short quote).Question:
Pages 55-58 of the Power Threat Meaning Framework puts forth the idea that what is considered
mental health and mental disorder is a social construct. This means that our internal mental
experiences, and the nature of the behavior that we express, are given meaning by a culture. In
some cultures, certain conditions are pathologized and others are perfectly
acceptable. Experience and behavior find meaning within the context of cultural norms and
attitudes. Use those pages from our reading, or use other scholarly literature, to reflect on mental
health and mental illness as a social construct. Share your thoughts in a post of 350-400 words.
Support others by reflecting on the posts of at least two other students and commenting on them.
Use citations to support your ideas as needed.
Reading The Power Thread Meaning Framework has touched me on a personal level. As I wrote
in the introduction assignment, my life has been affected by other people’s mental illness. I was
influenced by my dad’s addiction to women, my mom’s addiction to my dad, and my ex’s
addiction to prescription pills. Being around addicts was the main hurdle in my life, which
brought me to my knees. My constant need to excel, please, and fix others was embedded in me.
It was all a secret, the hidden elephant in the room. The shame surrounded by secretive behaviors
were immense. As I went on my own healing journey and stopped concentrating on the addict,
my life got better.
As many who struggle with mental illness do need psychiatric prescriptions, I witnessed how one
can easily abuse it. I believe that the real epidemic in the world is the growing number of
prescribing psychiatric medications and abusing them. Unlike any other profession, after visiting
the psychiatrist for only fifteen minutes, anyone, including children, can leave the office with a
prescription. Two months ago, a sixteen years old boy in my daughter’s class overdozed. I am not
implying that no one should use any type of prescribed psychotropic medications, but that this
reflects social constructionism. What is now common in the western world has become this way
because we see it as “normal.”” knowledge is not fundamentally dependent on empirical validity
but is rather sustained by social processes., Gergen (1985
I remember my mother-in-law trying to convince me in many conversations that my exhusband, her son, is mentally ill and needs these pills, almost encouraging his opioids. At the
same time, I came from a culture where it was utterly taboo, especially in my circles, the Israeli
Intelligent. Today it is different even in Israel, unfortunately, as we are a western rapidly
As I was searching, I found this interesting meme for Social constructionism, which is also
how social media creates behaviors norms.
accepts there are competing views of the world across time and space (epistemological
relativism). It assumes that human beings take both into account and then exercise
“judgmental rationality’ in order to decide what is fair and true about the world they
inhabit (Bhaskar, 1986).
Critical realism thus treads a middle philosophical path between positivism on one side
and radical constructionism on the other. It accepts positivism’s view of an external
mind-independent reality but rejects the idea that universal lawful relationships will be
discovered in human science, because human life is an open not a closed system. While
the roots of positivism may be traced back to the Greek philosopher Parmenides (see
above) critical realism reflects the rather different tradition originating with Heraclitus,
who argued that the world and everything in it are indeed real but that ‘a man cannot step
into the same river twice for fresh waters ever arise about him’ (Stanford Encyclopaedia of
Philosophy, 2015, np). In this view, reality is characterised by change and flow but the river
does have a shaping bed to it. This implies the need to explore reality cautiously, asking,
for example what happens contingently rather than universally; what underlying structures
might account for this happening and not that; and what made the man of Heraclitus’
example step into the river then and not another time. The implication is that human
agency is also part of reality. Critical realism also rejects positivism’s attempts separate facts
from values, arguing instead that all human activity, including scientific activity, is interest
driven; there is no neutral or ‘disinterested’ bird’s eye view in psychology or any other
Terms like ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘depression’ are rejected by critical realists as being
ontologically and empirically unfounded. Nonetheless it is accepted that some people do
hear voices, hold ideas that make no sense to others or are profoundly sad. In other words
the ‘reality’ we try to understand here is not a ‘mental disorder’ called ‘schizophrenia?
or depression’, but the specific experiences that are considered odd by others or are
distressing to the self (Boyle, 2002a; Pilgrim, 2015b; Pilgrim & Bentall, 1999). However, this
does not imply a straightforward acceptance of “abnormality’ because in relation to what
is or is not problematic, critical realism concurs with more radical constructionists. In the
example of hearing voices, an alternative to seeing it as a symptom of a ‘mental disorder’
would be to see humans as having a widely distributed capacity to experience imaginary
events as real; to see the expression of this capacity as shaped by experiences, particularly
ones that are extreme or traumatic, and also by social and cultural context; to see whether
it is personally distressing as a matter of subjective meaning for a voice hearer shaped
by social context, and to see whether it is disturbing to others and what they do about it,
again as a matter of meaning and social context. All of this highlights complex, interacting
processes – universal, contextual and personal – in our attempts to understand causes and
Critical realism has much in common with the perspective known as material- discursive
(Lafrance, 2009; Stoppard, 2000; Ussher, 2011; Yardley, 1997) which emphasises the
inextricable links amongst the social, political, material and discursive aspects of our lives.
Both approaches assume that through using varied methods of research, we can build up
a picture of the real world and its impact on us, albeit tentatively and always giving due
weight to contingent causes and discursively produced meanings (Pilgrim, 2015b).
The British Psychological Society, January 2018
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