When are we MOST Ill?

More convinced than ever that Afrikan people cannot and should not be forced to rely on Eurocentric psychotherapy! I wrote my dissertation on how it seriously distorts Afrikan familial relationships and now I have even more empirical evidence first hand. One of my best friends has PTSD and bipolar depression, stemming from a lifetime of physical, mental and spiritual abuse. With God’s help we were able to get her into a regular medicinal regimen, provide a counselor in whom she has confidence, a psychiatrist, and a lot of other infrastructure help which was needed because she has limited financial resources. Admittedly, all of this has enabled her to graduate from college, to complete a documentary film, to work on a book manuscript, to join the church of Christ and generally, to develop a more positive outlook on the idea of a “future.” Admittedly also, her symptoms, which have ranged from manic hyperactivity, to crushing depression, to cyclical nightmares, to suicidal ideation, and so on have to some extent been lessened and moderated. But I believe at an insidious and potentially fatal (sociocultural) cost. The counselor uses a series of Eurocentric psychological methodologies built on the foundation of individualism and the work of Viktor Frankl (whom the former worships), a Eurojewish Holocaust survivor. It basically tries to replace the oppression, repression, and domination one has experienced at the hands of psychopaths and sociopaths with an ego driven assertion of the individual and a focus on individual choice. It seems moderately effective and is laudable for taking people away from pain. But yet, it gives them a red herring as a replacement. Despite its spiritual VENEER, it is not spiritual. God and the fact that one’s purpose and mission is rooted in God and ancestors and deities is not part of it. This is a complete negation of the Afrikan sociopsychological foundational principle that “I am because WE are and WE are because I am.” It reminds me in many ways of Eurocentric feminism which seeks also to escape real oppression by promoting the female as individual ego apart from the collective and you often find Eurocentric psychotherapy (particularly therapy involving gendered situations) hand in hand with it.So I have watched my friend go from pain and suffering all the time to some degree of greater confidence and comfort (good). At the same time my friend, in my estimation, is increasingly alienated from the idea that she remains interdependent with others. She is to be left in the realm of her own choices, her own intellect, to become a new “self-made” woman and adult. But the very idea of “self-made” social actor is offensive to Afrikan thinking and impracticable in a real social context. At least an AFRIKAN one, which may be the point. Where I reject this rubbish is the very idea that others helping you, disciplining you, structuring your choices, and so on is the root of human oppression. The oppression is, in a real sense, being dependent on the WRONG PEOPLE to do so. It’s not that sacrificing your will for something higher or someone else’s interests is inherently wrong (if it was altruism would not be possible and there would have been no say Dr. King), but rather that you must develop the capacity to discern predators who would abuse you when you do so and it is God and spirituality alone that gives one the power of discernment. One cannot mentally or physically read the innermost “heart” of mankind. I am watching my friend go from a person vulnerable to psychopaths to a person who has so many protective barriers that you can’t reach out to her at all and that is being presented to her therapeutically as “healing.” And this has reinforced her lack of interest and inability to commit to a relationship, to marriage, to motherhood, to anything that we really have to have in the community if we are to survive. I am worried that I am going to end up going from an Afrikan friend who was in need of real help and support to a Eurocentric friend who doesn’t need help anymore but doesn’t want the very interactions that make her human, those having been defined for her as destructive and the variables causing her pain. Before “therapy” (indoctrination), my hugs for example, were welcome comforts from a world of pain. After it, they are intrusions, or dangerous or creepy or evidence of patriarchal domination and denying them described as “healing.” I fear for my friend, but I fear for many more. We have to stop letting our oppressors be our counselors and we can only do that if more of our people go into psychology and counseling and be there for our people in times of mental health crisis. Outside of economics and education, I believe there is no more important issue than our collective, as well as individual mental health. We have to do the best we can right now, but we must groom a generation of future psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors who come from our worldview, lest psychotherapy continue to get operationalized as a type of Eurocentric cognitive incarceration.

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