Disorder is a funny word. For most people, including “professionals”, it conjures a sense of illness — of being broken. If we can just find that nasty bug and treat it with just the right medication, we can fix the illness and make it go away.
The reality, of course, is far more complex. Disorder merely indicates that a person is having symptoms — some atypical experiences — and that these symptoms are causing distress and interfering with function. But to dive headfirst into these symptoms and simply attempt to eradicate them without exploring them first would be like treating hyperventilation by choking someone to death. The goal should be to understand first, treat second. To realize that “Mental Disorders” are not like having a virus, but rather the effect of numerous, ever-changing traits in a person’s psyche that have come together in a troublesome way. To help the client grow into something more, not beat them into something less.
Daniel Kahneman is a Princeton University psychologist and 2003 Nobel Prize recipient for his founding of Behavioral Economics. His practical application of Decision-Making Theory to naturalistic human behaviors, both volitional and automatic, has established the emergent field of Microeconomics to ordinary life circumstances. His “riddle of experience vs. memory,” provides a fascinating empirical example of the wide disparity between our actual experience of trauma as virtual unrelated to the story we tell others and ourselves about...read more