I’ve been watching a lot of Daniel Mackler recently, who was a therapist for over ten years. He claims that his views aren’t widely accepted among therapists, but I think they have a lot of value in them.

Daniel believes that many people diagnosed with mental illnesses are not really “ill” and that it always stems from suppressed childhood trauma. It struck me that even if untrue, many of his patients probably improved their condition because of this approach. It reminds me of the presumption of innocence, manifested as “innocent until proven guilty.” A legal fiction that is plainly untrue, however, serves as a useful guideline in the court.

The idea that every mental condition is helpful to be recovered from is false. However, the principle that everything is treatable stops the therapist from labelling someone with a diagnosis, claiming they’re untreatable, and moving to the next person. It encourages forming a deep and comprehensive understanding of how their patient came to be, and I believe it leads to a higher chance of recovery. On the patient’s side, it’s much nicer not to be labelled, categorised and told you’re inherently broken. I’m sure there have been a lot of people who’ve been through it and did not have the hope to try to improve as “it’s just how they are”.

I love this way of thinking, and I’d even take it a step further. Every awful person can be traced back to injustices enacted on them, likely when they were kids. Despite the past, I’d like to think (whether a kind of legal fiction or not) we can all ultimately become better people. :)