In June I will be embarking on a journey to help people start to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in their lives. While I know that countless psychologists, psychiatrists, self-help gurus and life coaches have tried to find the most effective methods for helping people with these problems, I have devised a different way of conceptualizing and offering a new approach to these so-called “illnesses.”
Whether it be a self-help book, TV psychologist, personal therapist, clinical psychologist, family doctor, or psychiatrist, what I have found time and time again is that there is a disconnect between what is effective treatment for these issues with respect to both personal value systems and ethics. What I mean by this is that (a) everyone is different; and that, (b) not all therapies or approaches are suitable or effective considering these differences. Furthermore, many of these devised therapies have failed to provide evidence that they do indeed work or that they are in any way effective or even beneficial – they are often misrepresented or grossly inflated, but the average person could be largely unaware of these shortcomings.
In my research I have found that the mental health landscape is a vast mine field of theories, regurgitations, rhetoric, and in some cases, self-serving claims designed to sell an idea, product, or (in the worst case) a pharmaceutical. I believe that the reason there are so many of these remedies and “cures” is because there is a massive need for these services, which then drives a market for mental health remedies. Sadly, most of these treatments fail and leave the person exasperated and no further ahead than before treatment. But I am not selling a therapy, instead I hope to educate and unearth the pros and cons of all the existing therapies to promote a more individual and, perhaps, truthful way to conquer these problems.
Noticing the complexity of information surrounding the various theories of stress, anxiety, and depression; the problems in the way we talk about it as a society; and the obscurity of the underlying treatment designs and overall effectiveness of various treatments, I have decided to put my training as a medical ethicist to task. By combining my background in psychology, neuroscience, religious studies, medical ethics and law with my own personal journey to conquer stress and anxiety, I have found what I think to be a better way to approach these issues – an ethical way to design a treatment regimen or lifestyle that is consistent to your personal value system and life.
Quite often people do not fully understand the best explanations for their stress or stress-related illness. They have not necessarily conducted extensive research into what stress is or how they can reduce it effectively. The same goes for anxiety and depression – some of us have a basic understanding, but often our knowledge is incomplete or misguided. Because of this, the stressed person often develops coping mechanisms that actually cause more stress and perpetuate a trajectory of “same old – same old”. What my approach offers is a way to think about stress, identify it, and to mitigate it ethically – to find the best ways to treat your own stress given all of the methods devised by psychology, modern medicine, and religion and to customize your own method based on what works best for you.
By sorting out what is “ethical” for oneself, the person is empowered to live by their own standards and to heal stress, anxiety, and depression on their own terms, and by doing so, learn how and why they fell into the deep and unforgiving stress chasm in the first place. The ethical method sorts out fact from fiction and helps people understand that there is no “quick fix” and that the best way to conquer stress, anxiety, and depression actually requires a comprehensive strategy. This strategy is not necessarily existent in psychiatry or clinical psychology, but it actually exists within you – the individual. The ethical approach demonstrates that you can control your thoughts, your feelings, and your life on your own terms based on education and principle.
I’m offering one-day seminars on the ethical way through stress, anxiety, and depression in various Canadian cities, and I will soon will be offering these seminars worldwide. I feel it is time for a new look into how we ought to conquer these problems and help people to help themselves. The central pedagogy in my seminar is that education and ethics/personal value systems can work wonders in achieving freedom from these negative emotions and mental states. If we’ve always tried the same thing and got the same results, then we can expect the same conclusions; it is time for a new method – an ethical one.
P. Allen B.A. M.A.