A key issue in modern mental health treatment is victim culture. Patients are told to emphasize their past as what determines their present and future.
I’ve been asked by various patients when I don’t treat them with complete enabling as others do, “Do you believe in trauma?” I answer that yes, of course I do. I have extensive experience with foster children, mental hospital patients, resitdential treatment students, etc. Trauma does impact the development, the brain, etc. What I don’t believe in is the dogma that people who have faced difficulty should be pampered and labeled throughout their lives. I’ve taken the trust-based relationship intervention (TBRI) for traumatized people trainings and know all about it, but I also know it’s limits, parameters, and how it is misunderstood. Everyone must learn strong character and intellect despite disadvantage.
When working with troubled youth and trying to enforce standards and consequences for basic expectations, often the response from the therapist is something to the effect of, “well, you know, its just that they have so much trauma, that’s just how they are.” What a cop out! Trauma shouldn’t be a blanket excuse for bad behavior! Do some things trigger them? Sure. But that doesn’t mean they can say everything is a trigger, and delete all personal responsibility for their lives.
I know of a student who consistently got 4.0 grades. Her peers would often say “oh its just because you’re so smart, it comes easily to you”. Her reply was that no, she just works longer and harder than them! Some are naturally brighter in some areas than others, but we all must work.
When people “bring out their trauma” and label themselves as victims, when they participate in social events ‘celebrating’ their trauma, they quickly adopt the mindset that society owes them something, a free lunch, free entrance to a prestigious university, a welfare check, a public education, a grant, and the list goes on. All of these welfare items weaken the character of the recipient and lead to the downfall of civilization. Where charity is needed, it must come from other sources than government generally speaking.
We should not label anyone as anything other than a child of God. This holds true for “gays”, “blacks”, “disabled”, “abused”, “low socio-economic status”, etc.
We should understand that EVERYONE has handicaps, difficulties, and challenges. To not have challenges would thwart the plan of God. For some, those challenges can involve great wealth and circumstance so God can see what they will do with that time and resource. Failure to act well in your tests of life will determine the eternal reward or punishment upon your soul as determined at the just judgement bar of God. Christianity is not an escape from natural consequences, it is a program of rehabilitation with real and strict guidelines on necessary progress.