Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Words and actions

Today has been what I consider to be a productive day; I sorted out 'very important things', went for a 5k run, went to work, and went to a great yoga class this evening. Nothing of noteworthy excellence has taken place, but at the same time nothing disastrous has happened, therefore today has been good. Even better than good - it has been productive.

This evening, ITV showed an hour long documentary entitled 'OCD Ward', which of course I watched with great expectations. It didn't disappoint - the programme quite truthfully documented time in a specialised OCD ward in a London based hospital, demonstrating experiences of the patients, their families, and the ward staff. This subject is not only a personal interest, but also a professional one. I found it interesting to view how the therapists and psychiatrists worked therapeutically with their patients in order to help them best tackle their illness. What I found even more interesting was the way they interacted with their patients - it was a very behavioural approach, which of course it must be when working with a person with OCD, which has such prominent behavioural symptoms. But it was the way one psychiatrist in particular seemed ever so powerful and domineering with her patient. She informed him that because of his OCD, he was a worse person than he ever had been before; it made him the most imperfect he would ever be. In context, she was informing her patient that this isn't the desired way to live his life. But in a wider context, this comment followed his acknowledgement that he behaves as he does because he has a deep and regimented need to be perfect. If he is contaminated, he is an imperfect being, therefore he must avoid contamination in order to avoid being imperfect.

There are so many beneficial ways a therapist could work with this, none right or wrong. It all very much depends on the approach and modality of working. But to tell a client that their illness makes them even more imperfect than they fear they already are..? For me, perfection doesn't exist - as humans it is within our very nature that we are all imperfect beings. I wonder if by measuring a person's 'perfection' based upon their state of mental illness isn't just another way of communicating the message that it isn't OK to struggle?  I understand the necessity of the radical behavioural techniques in this kind of specific therapy, but words can be just as (if not more) powerful as actions.

1 comment:

  1. I think I am going to watch this on Iplayer! It sounds like it's worth a watch xx