The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy VIII: Embracing Shame and Guilt—Unraveling the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy VIII: Embracing Shame and Guilt—Unraveling the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Nagel assists us in yet another way regarding the world of construction. He writes about the meaning of words. The words “disease” and “disorder” are scary words with even scarier connotations. However, these are just words with meanings assigned to them. If that is the case, then who is to say that we can’t also change the meaning of words to fit ourselves. We can strip a word of all its fear and stigma. We can instead give it a meaning that better suits our unique issues and apply some optimism to the image surrounding words such as “disease” or “disorder”. Nagel indicates that one cannot understand a word by itself. Words must always be understood in their specific context. Thus, in order to understand a word, one needs to see or know its referent.

Putting the words “Mental Illness” or “Chronic Disease” together is pretty heavy, and some strong referents surround these words. Each of these are just separate words, but when you pair them together, they are definitely scary and overwhelming. Why can’t we change all the meanings, or even rearrange their order to better suit ourselves. We might even jumble up the words: Cryme Lidease? or Mntall Inlless? Not so scary now. Not so powerful now! Now it just seems silly and ridiculous.

Nagel also debates the merits of three different philosophical perspectives. The first is Dualism—meaning that the mind and body are entirely separate and interact with one another. The second philosophical perspective is Physicalism where the mind is embedded in the body. Nagel identifies the third perspective as the Dual Aspect Theory. The mind is physical, but the brain also has non-physical aspects. In order to have lived with and battled the physical and mental assault that disease can put on the mind and the body, we fully support the philosophy of Physicalism and all its virtues. While there might be some aspect of mind that is separate from body, the “battle ground” for addressing any disease is to be found in the intimate relationship between mind and body.


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About the Author

Lewis And MunzerChristy Lewis holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has counseled for a combined 17 years in several clinical and medical settings and has offered career/life coaching for an additional 10 years. Christy is also Board Certified in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback through BCIA, the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance organization. Prior to working in private practice settings, Christy worked in Psychiatric and Rehabilitation hospital settings. Additionally, she worked in career transition/outplacement settings helping clients with their career transition needs. Christy Lewis currently works and is the director at her own private practice setting, The Biofeedback, Education, & Training Center, PLLC, where she combines counseling with a variety of training modalities to individuals of all ages who need help with issues ranging from severe emotional turmoil to people who are working on taking their personal growth to a higher level. Specifically, she has extensive experience working with kids, teens, & adults who have anxiety, depression, ADHD, frustration/anger issues, behavioral issues, and pain management. Kendell Munzer was born in Peekskill NY in 1973. In 1997 she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Curry College. In 2002 she earned her M.A in Counseling from Mercy College. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Psychology at The Professional School of Psychology. Kendell works as a part time substitute teacher for the Charleston County School District. The majority of this work is spent working with behaviorally challenged students. She also works part time growing a local Kitchen and Bath business she and her husband have recently opened. Kendell has an extensive background as a Behavioral Specialist and has conducted many staff trainings and seminars. Presently she resides in Mt. Pleasant SC with her husband and two children. When Kendell isn’t at work she enjoys, photography, travelling, skiing, and spending quality time with her family.

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