Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dangers of labels that imply victimhood

"A medical label such as schizophrenia implies that a person is ill or diseased. Because no one can be blamed for becoming ill, a medical or psychiatric label implies that the person is not responsible for the condition.

However, it may very well be that those who are labelled as psychiatrically disturbed must take responsibility for their lives in order to get better.

When we take responsibility for our lives, we believe that we can exercise some degree of control over our fates rather than simply being victims of uncontrollable external forces. Individuals who feel a sense of control and responsibility for themselves should be able to tolerate more stress, frustration, and pain than those who feel like passive victims of external forces. Certainly a person who feels responsible or in control makes greater effort to alter negative conditions than one who does not.

Labels that imply that a person is not responsible may therefore increase risk that the person so labeled will feel like a passive victim. Thus labeling process may not only stigmatize the person but also lower tolerance for stress and make treatment more difficult."

-Kaplan, Saccuzzo: Psychological Testing,

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