Saturday, September 30, 2017

How Human Rights are Different: Forced Treatment is...

Human Rights  A violation of rights and sometimes torture Medical/ Psychiatry  Often needed due impact of illness on rational capacities Mental Health Therapists  Acceptable to prevent harm to self or others Trauma- Informed Care  Often retraumatizing but sometimes a lesser of two evils
Not surprisingly, each of these four paradigms takes a different stance on forced 'treatment.'

1. Disease model psychiatry  

The medical model, seeing the issue as diseased brains and therefore diseased thinking, typically takes the position that forced treatment is important and needed due to the impact of 'illness' on rational capacities.

2. Conventional 'talk' therapy

Conventional talk therapy, seeing the issue as dysfunctional psychological and relational patterns, is fairly comfortably with forced treatment (preemptive detention) when there is concern for harm to self or others.

3. Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is largely ambivalent.  It recognizes the harm of force as potentially retraumatizing. But, it sometimes see involuntary detention as permissible if past trauma could be re-enacted in damaging ways to self or others.

4.  Human Rights 

The human rights paradigm alone speaks out with a resounding "NO"!  It recognizes diagnostic detention as violation of human rights and sometimes torture.  It opposes diagnostic detention a inherently discriminatory.  Laws are apply to a class of people based solely on diagnostic healthcare labels. The labels are assigned by healthcare providers in the course of doing a healthcare job, not a legal one. 

Healthcare providers are not the moral superiors of other human beings. They do no better than ordinary people at predicting future dangerousness.  Nor are they legal experts qualified to determine questions of fundamental rights.  Nor is the worldview of their profession the only legitimate paradigm for understanding human motivation and behavior. 

There is a system of courts and laws in place to determine when and whether someone is dangerous enough to others to lose their fundamental rights and which ones. These laws should apply the same standards across the board to all people regardless of healthcare status.

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