There are people who ask me what do I do as part of the ‘recovery specialist’ identity that I carry. This is a brief on what assists with creating that specialization. My work in mental health is informed by three different branches of knowledge, or three different and now-overlapping domains.
The first of these is my experience of bipolar in disorder, which began from Nov 1992 (I was 20 years then) till Nov 2010. Experience does not automatically mean knowledge, but it when we experience something we gain many insights about it, which someone who is reading about it in a university department or for an exam does not. Experience of a long span of anything, and then putting that behind you, means it has gone into the past, due to something that you have done about it.
Nobody’s bipolar disorder can get better, if they do not make an effort for it. A good part of my effort is documented in scores of research articles I wrote about myself. Please check them out on academia dot edu, where you can find me by name- all articles can be freely downloaded and read/analyzed.
The second is I assist people with, in my counseling practice and help with many recoveries on a fairly regular basis.
The third part of my work is my Ph.D. research. In fact I have studied and analyzed three kinds of barriers due to which a majority of psychiatric patients do not recover from mental health issues.
Now this is the crux of the matter: I can understand ‘barriers to recovery’ in any person’s life fairly quickly. But helping them get over the barriers is not so easy because what I have learnt to see and identify is due to years of research, whereas helping someone is a different issue. Even if I were to explain the barriers most would find it tricky to comprehend because I talk from a philosophical and complex perspective!
As a result of these three sets of knowledge-s, which come from three different locations, and 27+ years of knowing psychosis, both from an insider & outsider’s perspective what I offer in counseling is unlike what another therapist can offer, for their knowledge is most often derived from books.
I offer the scope for people to understand themselves and be able to take charge of their lives, rather than letting some diagnosis lead them towards disability. This is the key difference in my work from other’s work. I do not need to tell anyone to take their medication, because I do not believe it works meaningfully, at least not in the long term.
In a nutshell: I support individuals and families towards (drug free personal) recovery, which means
(1) helping them going off psychiatric medication (this is usually not the focus initially)
(2) developing insight and wisdom to deal with life without having psychotic breakdowns, getting terrified of voices and anything alarming,
(3) reducing interpersonal conflict and inability to understand one another so that the person who is identified as ‘patient’ does not get aggravated, but empowered.