Psychotherapy For The Nation

        Psychotherapy for the nation is an appropriate counter to “mass shootings”, no matter the settings. Moreover, like a sports team with a “full timeout”, the time allotment for the next iterative strategy is brief. We do not have time for many hundreds of politicians to “study”  the issues, create new positions and add unfathomable additional millions of dollars to the many millions already being spent on law enforcement teams and public health services. Simply adjust the strategies,  accountabilities, and redirect the existing manpower and funding. Now, if John D. commits a crime resulting in many casualties, it is likely that the incident will end with his death in short order, before or after a trial. Unfortunately, the following would also likely happen in this fictitious case.

  • The media will cover it briefly, dependent upon those involved, the media’s ability to credibly tie the incident to a broader agenda, the ratings generated, and other media opportunities.

  • The media will exploit the bereaved as tastefully as is possible.

  • If firearms were used, the social media will clamor with comments from people defending their Constitutional 2nd Amendments rights, but nobody will offer any new non-gun law related solutions.

  • No one will answer the public’s questions about the perpetrator’s access to the weapon(s) and ammunition. Nor will preventive solutions be offered.

  • Those responsible for securing the facility/scene at which the atrocity occurred will avoid the media and public questions.

  • There will be limited public reporting about the diagnosis, treatment, and followup if investigation identifies that the perpetrator had chronic or acute, significant underlying psychopathology. (A)

  • Nobody will report solutions we will adopt to prevent future occurrence of other (A)-influenced cases.

  • There will be limited public reporting about social services (provision and case followup) if the perpetrator’s criminal, limited skills/education, medical history, or other history suggest that he needed help to remain economically and otherwise functionally stable. (B) The absence of such information reflects both on specific cases and systems efficacy.

  • There will be no report of solutions to be brought to bear to prevent future occurrence of other (B)-influenced cases.

  • There will be very little acceptance of responsibility, blame, fault by those (people, agencies, organizations) most capable of engaging in intervention and prevention, in spite of the plethora of mudslinging. Fear of tort law will assure that all involved will say “It wasn’t my/our fault.”

   I once read of a case in which a frustrated, poor, homeless and hungry person, who sat against the wall of building in a small town’s business district. It was a cold, rainy day. He felt inadequately capable of competing in the job market and believed he could no longer make it via the bureaucratic, insensitive, inefficient, local public assistance offered to him. So, he arose and went inside. With a pointed index finger covered by his jacket, he feigned robbing the bank. He was immediately arrested, fortunately without being shot, and taken to jail, where he was processed, sent for a shower, received dry jail clothing, a cot and a meal.

    We are permeated with a host of physical, psychological, and ideological pathology, community leadership, education system, and social services ineffectiveness, financial status imbalance, and other misanthropy that when mixed with soil, concrete and other materials of choice, become the tenuous foundations of our society. This is our social infrastructure, on which we live, and from which we seek to mine our well-being. However, if you recall the proverbial reference to the “caged canary in a mine”, it serves to warn the miners if the air is becoming excessively toxic. In the case of long-term, low-level exposures, by the time the canary becomes ill or dies from breathing methane, the miners have also been chronically exposed.

    Fictional John D. is just one of our societal canaries. Of any age, most of our human canaries are: physically and/or mentally ill, possibly dying, are in a state of chronic disability, are underserved veterans, chronic welfare system participants, the very poorly educated, socially rejected, maybe uncared for, abused and discarded, deemed inadequate or obsolete by the market, victims of city management that is not concerned about their well-being, and the recurrently or chronically incarcerated. The goal of the miners is not to sicken or kill the canaries or themselves. As our society’s canaries are identified, the subsequent actions should address predisposing factors and prevent as many future cases as is possible. If we are best known by how we treat our least, we cannot ignore them, treating them ineptly or unjustly. Our society can be saved by attending to them.

    If you believe that someone else is responsible for all of this, what will happen? Who should address social infrastructure, health, stable ideology, core values, community relations, security, education, opportunities, the physical, the administrative and fiscal integrity of cities, communities and the nation, etc.)? Not just one person or agency, at which you may point fingers, saying “#metoo”. The responsible parties are you.

   We need a national psychotherapeutic intervention, more specifically, national Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a goal-oriented, hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. The national goal would be that of changing patterns of thinking, behavior, and processes that precipitate untoward future outcomes and impede the efficient resolution of existing challenges. We should also not overlook minor surgery, debriding pathological values, law, legislative procedures, adverse historical manners of doing business and related intervention as may be beneficial. ISG Health believes your good health matters.

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