Emotion drives behavior and people seek out coaches, counselors, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists because they want to feel better. Replacing the broad generic terms of mental health & mental illness with the focused, solution-based terms of “Emotional Health and Emotional Fitness” is the absolute first step to mental health reform. This goes beyond stigma or political correctness. There are key reasons for this change, which will ultimately shape all reform put into place.
- Emotional Health tells people that how they feel is going to be the focus.
- Emotional Fitness tells the client the focus will be on feeling better.
- Emotional Fitness tells the client there is going to be a measurable outcome.
- Measurable outcomes enable a distinction between a psychological and physiological issue.
- Measurable outcomes will enable a definition for normal and give the practitioner and client clear objectives.
- Emotional Fitness will not lead to an illness or disease label for an aberrant emotion.
- Emotional Fitness will not lead to unnecessary and dangerous medications because the terms illness and disease are not used in reference to aberrant emotions.
Mental Illness is at best an ambiguous unfocused term and one, which enables the use of the term, disease. There has never been a more inappropriate use of the term disease than in the mental health industry. By its very definition, there cannot be a disease of a thought process and the thought process is the primary issue with the majority of people who are given and accept this label. This label is promoted and used for behavior disorders as an ever-widening net by the pharmaceutical industry.
Without any measurable physiological evidence, alcoholism was the first disorder to be given the disease label. The marketing has been so effective people who suffer from alcoholism will defend it as a disease. The question in regard to any disorder is does it require a thought process that leads to an emotion and behavior? If the answer to this is yes then one must question the use of the term disease.
How meaningful can any reform be if there is an insistence on sticking with antiquated unfocused terms, which represent the very foundation of what we are attempting to reform? The terms used absolutely must state the objective one is attempting to achieve.
If you are one of those, who believe the naming conventions of mental health and mental illness remain the same please state your case including how these terms help the client, how they help distinguish between a psychological and physiological issue, and how they establish a clear objective.