By reading this site, the reader acknowledges their personal respnsibility in choices for mental health for themselves and their children, and agrees that the AYCNP or anyone associated with this site, bears no responsibility for one's personal decisions in choices for mental health. Anyone coming off medication should do so gradually rather than abruptly, and under a doctor's supervision. Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide should seek support.
The Strengths Model: A Recovery-Oriented Approach to Mental Health Services Charles A. Rapp, Richard J. Goscha
The Strengths Model presents a compelling alternative to the traditional medical approach. An evidence-based approach to helping people with a psychiatric disability is more productive in helping to identify and achieve and maintain meaningful and important life goals. The strengths model has matured into a robust vision of mental health services. The Strengths Model is both a philosophy of practice and the book provides a specific set of tools and methods, which are designed to facilitate a recovery-oriented partnership between the client and professional.
The Ethics of Labeling in Mental Health
by Kristie Madsen, Peter Leech
The myths of mental illness are numerous and negatively affect the lives of patients on a regular basis. For this reason they demand exposure and rectification, and this book proposes the means to accomplish both. The focus of this book is the institution of professional mental health as it operates in America today, specifically addressing how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V), the primary resource used in the mental health profession, has influenced much larger social issues.
As examples reveal in the book reveal, in many instances the patients lives have been plagued by the designation of mental disorders that perhaps never existed.
The book challenges the mental health system to evolve beyond the (DSM-V) focus on pathology and develop a more humane method of addressing the functional needs of patients. International perspectives are presented, and specific steps are outlined for providing mental health services that adequately serve individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses.
Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health, by Elliot Valenstein
A detailed analysis (with proof) of how the pharmaceutical industry sold the medical field, over decades, on the idea of pharmaceutical treatment for psychiatric disorders. Valenstein provides ample logical reasoning on the idea that psychiatric disorders are not caused by a "chemical imbalance" and that the medical model, while convenient, is not accurate.
Beyond the Disease Model of Mental Disorders by Donald Kiesler
Kiesler's Beyond the Disease Model of Mental Disorder goes beyond recent volumes which argue that psychotropic medications are being overused and abused in contemporary mental health settings. Elliott Valenstein, for example, an emeritus professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan, recently argues that people should be highly suspicious of the claim that all mental illness is primarily a biochemical disorder. Valenstein's central point is that drugs do not attack the real cause of a disorder, since biochemical theories are an unproven hypothesis and probably a false one.
Kiesler highlights a message similar to that of Valenstein, who rejects the hypothesis that mental illness is primarily a biochemical disorder.
After a comprehensive review of the relevant scientific evidence, Kiesler concludes that henceforth the study of mental disorders must be guided by multicausal theories and research that systematically include an array of biological, psychological, and sociocultural causal factors. Kiesler adds that, in order for this to be accomplished, the mental health field and the public at large must first abandon the invalid monocausal biomedical (disease) model of mental disorder.
Living with Depression: why Biology and Biography Matter Along the Path to Hope and Healing by Debora Serani
This book "manages to explain depression in terms of human biology and experience without downplaying either aspect. Many times authors concentrate on one or the other, leaving the reader with the impression that only nature (or nurture) causes depression. These books then often purpose one type of solution (i.e. only medication or only talk therapy), leaving the reader only have-informed. The book also provides a discussion concerning stigma of those with mental health disorders. Review - NAMI Advocate, Fall 2011
Two Worlds of Childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R.
br Urie Bronfenbrenner
|Page updated: December 31, 2012
--------and the Bioecological Model of Mental Health
The Medical Model contrasted with Bronfenbrenner's more holistic approach
Urie Bronfenbrenner was a co-founder of the Head Start preschool program in the United States. He was a Cornell University professor one of the world's leading scholars in developmental psychology, child-rearing and human ecology. Bronfenbrenner emphasized the importance of the social environments in which children are raised and offers a holistic perspective on the development of human psychology, that takes into account many inter-related factors.
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Photo: Cornell University News Service. 9/26/05. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept05/Bronfenbrenner.ssl.html
The Medical Model is Inadequate to Address Mental Health Disorders and Difficulties
The simplistic idea that mental illness is a chemical imbalance is similar to the Hindu caste system. Although the cast system is discredited and illegal, the practice persists. The same can be said for the idea that mental illness is a chemical imbalance. The medical model is spoken about in college psychology and psychiatric textbooks as being simplistic and unrealistic, and yet many still subscribe to the idea and base their mental health treatment on the foundation of the medical model.
The obvious next step to the medical model, is that if mental illness is nothing more than a chemical imbalance, then treating mental illness is nothing more than identifying, or labeling
a mental illness and prescribing the appropriate
to alleviate the chemical imbalance
. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There are scores, hundreds of interconnecting factors and variables that are involved in any type of mental illness. Why the emphasis on finding the right chemical mix by prescribing drugs? Because it is convenient, the treating physician never has to leave his desk, and it is less expensive and less time consuming than getting to the roots of the problems.
Works of Urie Bronfenbrenner
Bronfenbrenner was co-author or editor of more than 300 articles and chapters and 14 books, most notably "Two Worlds of Childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R.," "The State of Americans," "The Ecology of Human Development" and "Making Human Beings Human." His writings were widely translated, and his students and colleagues number among today's most internationally influential developmental psychologists.
"Perhaps more than any other single individual, Urie Bronfenbrenner changed America's approach to child rearing and created a new interdisciplinary scholarly field, which he defined as the ecology of human development" stated Cornell President Hunter R. Rawlings.
(Cornell University News Service, September 26, 2005).
Children and Family and Mental Health
especially need to be aware of the many factors involved in the personality development of children, as well as the factors involved in children's behavior, and their difficulties in school. Bronfenbrenner's model
of child psychology gives a much more plausible explanation and context from which to consider children's psychological difficulties than does the medical model.
Urie Bronfenbrenner has been an influential development psychologist in the past three decades. He was the co-founder of the nationwide Head Start preschool program. Bronfenbrenner taught that the family is the filter through which the larger society influences child development. The family should serve as a buffer against harmful elements in the culture at-large. When family life is damaging or emotionally hurtful, then that can lead to a host of diagnosable psychological of psychiatric problems in
teens, or which can manifest itself in adult life.
Distinguishing Between Microsystems and Macrosystems
Bronfenbrenner distinguishes between microsystems, which would include settings that a child has in direct personal experience, and which contribute to the shaping of his personality, the family, a day-care center or
school, a job setting (for a teenager), and exosystems, which also affect the child's environment and hence the development of his or her personality. This would include the parents' work and workplace, as one example.
Also the macrosystem in which the child lives influences both his behavior and personal growth, the neighborhood in which the family lives, the ethnic identity of the family, and the larger culture in which the entire system exists, are part of this macrosystem.
So we see that there is a complex set of relationships that affect a child's behavior, personality, and adjustment. Most research involving
children and psychological difficulties examine only small pieces of the total ecological system. So that much of what is learned is "piecemeal rather than systemic." (Bee, H.; Boyd, D., 2007; pp. 363,364).
A biological/medical model of children's psychological difficulties, then, is very short-sighted. It fails to take into consideration all of the many factors that influence a child's personality or to push them off to the side as if they were only of secondary importance. Biology, genetics, are one small part of the complete picture. In a hundred piece puzzle, biology and genetics might be two pieces in the puzzle. This is what most
psychiatrists have been trained in, that most funding for research and clinical studies have concentrated on, that is pharmaceutical research, partly because the most money to be made (from pharmaceutical companies) can be found in research dedicated to making new pharmaceuticals and genetic research.
This chart demonstrates that there are many factors in one's mental health. Oversimplistic formulas such as the Medical Model, work against long-term gains in mental health for the individual and entire populations.
The Bioecological Model is More Consistent with the Facts
The biological/medical model of psychiatry/psychology is for those mental health professionals who choose a more expedient approach at the expense of really solving the problems presented to them. We need to look seriously at our approach to mental health difficulties as more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with these disorders. We want to succeed, and to help children to succeed as well. The Bioecological Model of mental health proposed by Urie Bronfenbrenner, is much more consistent with the facts, more broad in its viewpoint, and helps to explain the many factors that are involved with mental health disorders than the medical model.
It is the difference between examining one piece of the bark of a tree, when the forest is sick, and being above the forest in a helicopter, and getting the whole picture. True, the tree may be sick, the bark may be falling off, but we have to ask why? We can treat the tree with fungicide, but perhaps preventable is causing the forest to be sick. Maybe the new damn upstream is draining the forest of water. Or maybe the new factory is polluting the air and leading to acid rain. Fungicide and pesticide is merely covering up the problem. Bronfenbrenner takes multi-faceted aspects of mental health into consideration in his bioecological model.
Mental Health - Looking at the whole forest, not just one tree.
References and Resources - Urie Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological Model page
1. Lang, Susan, (September 26, 2005). Urie Bronfenbrenner, father of Head Start program and pre-eminent 'human ecologist,' dies at age 88. Cornell University News Service.
2. SOME PRINCIPLES OF THE ECOLOGY OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT - From the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner, PhD. Octonto County University.
3. Urie Bronfenbrenner: ECOLOGICAL THEORY. Emory University Division of Educational Studies. http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/302/302bron.PDF
Resources from Urie Bronfenbrenner
1. Bronfenbrenner, U. (2004). Making Human Beings Human: Bioecological Perspectives on
2. Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (1998).The ecology of developmental processes. In W.
Damon (Series Ed.) & R. M. Lerner (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1:
3. Theoretical models of human development (pp. 993-1028).New York: Wiley.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development. Cambridge: Harvard
Pages Related to Urie Bronfenbrenner, Bioecological Model of Mental Health
Psychiatric Labeling - The Medical Model of Mental Health and Psychiatric Labeling
Mental Illness Genetics - Mental Illness It is not purely biological or genetic as some assert. It is a combination of Environmental, social, and socio-cultural factors, combined with Genetic Pre-Disposition.
Psychiatry History Moral Management - Successful non-pharmaceutical treatment of mental illness in the 19th century.
George Albee, Ph.D. - A social viewpoint of mental health disorders rather than medical model from former president of the American Psychological Association (APA)
Warnings about Mental Health Treatment - A Closer Look at Psychopharmacology - Let the Buyer Beware! by Louis Kirby, MA
Books by Urie Bronfenbrenner
Making Human Beings Human: Bioecological Perspectives on Human Development, by
Making Human Beings Human is a landmark collection that traces and summarizes Urie Bronfenbrenner's thoughts on the bioecological theory of human development and recommends avenues for future research. The majority of the twenty-three retrospective articles were written by Bronfenbrenner, while some were written with colleagues over the course of six decades. The book’s articles document the domain of inquiry that has emerged gradually over many years and has now acquired a title of its own - the bioecological theory of human development. Making Human Beings Human is a culminating work by a prominent figure in the field of human development and will help to shape the future of the field.
The State of Americans: This Generation and the Next , by Urie Bronfenbrenner, Peter D McClelland, Stephen Ceci, Phyllis Moen, Elaine Wethington
A group of social science researchers compiles statistics on crime, the economy, changing family structure, poverty, education, changing attitudes, and other issues facing America today.
The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design
The book's purpose - to offer a new theoretical perspective for research in human development. Bronfenbrenner achieves this goal superbly. . . The synthesis offered in this book is unique...The effect is a perspective on the field of human development that is exciting in its possibilities...This is a usable and practical book...a powerful teaching text...It conveys masterfully the mystery and excitement of scientific investigation. --Contemporary Psychology