A question that I need to consider in the context of this article: Is the Medical Model of Treatment Defining and Keeping You in a “Box”?
In my experience, I have learned a hard lesson many times. The lesson is that people can not give me what they themselves do not possess. Does not mean that they are inadequate or bad people. It is just that I wind up frustrated when I seek to get what I need from them.
I have heard this experience is likened to going to a hardware store looking to find bread. Hardware stores do not have bread, no matter how many times I may go looking and hoping to find bread in a hardware store.
In my experience, I liken the medical model of treating patients to a hardware store. The likening is related to beyond the diagnosis and treatment. The medical model many times focuses on the diagnosis and prognosis, instead of on hope.
What the patient/individual/consumer may be told is that they may never be able to do…, because of the diagnosis or prognosis. In my experience, I have found that the medical model tends to put individuals in “boxes” by associating them with a diagnosis’ — a statement or a conclusion, and/or by a prognosis’ — what is or is not going to happen in the future.
After such a diagnosis is made, the individual may start to identify themselves with the diagnosis or prognosis. In July of 2013, I wrote a 2 Part series, Traumatic Brain Injury, Labeling Theory and Societal Stigmatization to explore the impact of such a “box”. Once a diagnosis or prognosis is made, a label is given to the individual.
Once the label is assigned to the individual, the individual may find themselves identifying with the diagnosis and prognosis. Many times the label is associated with societal biases and prejudices. These limiting biases, prejudices and stigmatization’s serve to reinforce to the individual that they are limited because of the diagnosis /prognosis.
If the individual buys into the judgment and stigmatization associated with the diagnosis and prognosis, the individual may find themselves identifying with the label. Unconsciously, the individual may then find themselves internalizing and justifying the judgment and stigmatization brought on to them by the diagnosis, prognosis, and subsequent label.
“Such labeling and stereotyping lead to a stigmatization of the individual. Through my studies and experience as a counselor, I have seen the negative impact that such labeling and stigmatization has upon the individual. In my experience, as noted; once a determination, diagnosis or label is given or assigned to the individual, the determination, diagnosis or label many times – consciously or unconsciously — becomes the identity of the individual. I have also noted that as the individual adopts the identity of the label as their identity they unknowingly become vulnerable to being victimized by the identity of the label by believing in the stigmatization. The internalization of the label and stigmatization then makes the individual susceptible to being controlled.” From my article, Traumatic Brain Injury, Labeling Theory and Societal Stigmatization
The impact of a diagnosis, prognosis, label and subsequent societal stigmatization can lead the individual to believe that they are intended to remain in the “box”. The “box” in turn creates a dependency upon the medical model to treat the diagnosis and prognosis. The medical model and societal stigmatization set the individual up to believe that there is little hope outside of the “box”. As a bi-product of the medical model and societal stigmatization, secondary gains and secondary dependencies evolve. Because of these secondary gains and dependencies, the individual may feel trapped within the “box”. Societal judgment and stigmatization of the label then perpetuate a continued need and dependency upon the medical model. In collusion, little hope exists.
In my experience, I have seen the impact of secondary gains and secondary dependencies. Secondary gains and secondary dependencies perpetuate, limit and discourage the individual’s ambition to explore and live beyond the confines of the “box”, created by the medical model. In my experience, I have seen how the medical model — through the diagnosis, prognosis, and subsequent labeling process — undermines the individuals drive to look for solutions beyond the “box”. Once labeled and stigmatized, the individual becomes conditioned to believe that they are limited because of the diagnosis, prognosis, and stigmatization. With such conditioning, the individual may find themselves relating to themselves and to their “world”, through a “BOX” mentality.
Although you and I may have been given a diagnosis and a prognosis, we are not the diagnosis or the prognosis. Although we may have been given a label, because of a diagnosis or a prognosis, we do not have to be limited by a societal stigmatization. Although a diagnosis, prognosis or a stigmatization may have been given or placed on us, they do not have to define our existence. Although a medical model and a societal stigmatization may have placed you and I in a “box”, we do not have to remain in any “box”. Secondary gains and secondary dependencies no longer have to be our lot in life. You and I were created to be so much more than a diagnosis, a prognosis or a label. We were created to live outside and beyond the confines of any “box”.
We were created to live in hope.
“Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it.” Zig Ziglar
I would invite you to read the article series Traumatic Brain Injury, Labeling Theory and Societal Stigmatization by clicking on this link: Traumatic Brain Injury, Labeling Theory and Societal Stigmatization. In the event that you learn more effectively through listening and watching, please click on this link: Traumatic Brain Injury, Labeling Theory and Societal Stigmatization Part 1 Video Presentation
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