RE: [xmca] RE: mental health

From: Achilles Delari Junior <achilles_delari who-is-at>
Date: Sat Jul 12 2008 - 17:19:50 PDT

Thank you, very much.
I didn't know CCA's work, it's very important.
I'm interested in "dramatization" and "social
roles psychology" (Vygotsky, 1929/2000
"Concret human pscyhology" [1929's manuscript]).
Your studies about "Art and feelings and the
relationship with development" are very important
to me as well. Do you suggest any GPPL's
publication in this field?
Umuarama, July 2008.
> From: mktostes who-is-at> To: xmca who-is-at> Subject: Re: [xmca] RE: mental health> Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 11:36:55 -0300> > Very interesting topic!> I certailny agree with the question of changing our social 'milieu' to > improve people's mental health and we could list lots of situations. From > personal experience, as my daughter is a little different from most people > and, at the same time, not diagnosed with any disease (she is anti-social, a > little depressive, she says she's bipolar, etc.), we feel the pressure of > others, especially family, who think she has to act and do the same things > others do, the same way others do. Well...> Now, thinking of mental health, health problems and art. I just remembered > that there is a group in Brazil at Unicamp in the Linguistics department, > working in conjunction with the Neurology department (I don't know if > Achilles knows their work) who work with aphasic people. It's called Centro > de Convivencia de Afasicos (CCA). They rely on Luria's work and, taking an > enunciative-discursive approach, they have meetings with the group once a > week and they have a dramatization session. CCA is a place for interaction > among aphasic and non-aphasic people (family, researchers and therapeuts). > It's a reaction to the exclusion these people feel in society and they try > to promote effective language use and action and routine activities.> > You can check it out (in Portuguese, though) at> >> > Art and feelings and the relationship with development has also been the > concern of our research group (GPPL) in the Education faculty.> > Best,> > Karin Quast> > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Peter Smagorinsky" <>> To: "'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'" <>> Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2008 10:12 AM> Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: mental health> > > Achilles, again I speak largely from experience here. I think that there's a> balance between attending to the neuroatypical issues (autism, bipolar> disorder, etc.) and attending to what's more strictly on the outside (other> people's attitudes, the social arrangement of material surroundings that> channel thinking about difference--see, e.g., accommodations for physically> handicapped people).> > What we argue in the book excerpt, and what Leslie argues, is that it's> vitally important to create mediational contexts that both contribute to new> settings (when there are wheelchair ramps, being wheelchair-bound appears to> all to be less of a handicap) and new ways for people to think about> themselves; or as some research suggests (see Damasio in our review below),> new ways for the brain to encode perceptions.> > This is not to say that some conditions do not require additional attention.> I take a medication for anxiety, and many people I know take antipsychotics,> depression medications, and so on. Undoubtedly there's some overprescription> of such meds, but many of us are glad to have the option.> > One thing seems certain: We need more research in this area, so I strongly> encourage you to extend your investigation! Best,Peter> > > > -----Original Message-----> From: [] On> Behalf Of Achilles Delari Junior> Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 7:36 PM> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity> Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: mental health> > > Thank you, very much Peter...> > "Cook (2004) argues that relying simply on medication and counseling> is inadequate; that a broader environmental change that enables an> understanding and tolerance of difference, and gives young people> tools for managing their difference, is essential to helping young people> construct positive lives for themselves and in turn contribute to a more> humane society."> > It's a beautiful and deep contribution. I really agree with this> orientation.> But, let me ask you: don't you think that could exist a subtle distinction> between (a) "tolerance of difference related to inclusive education" and> (b) "(self)tolerance of mental pain"? I think about my own experience:> there are several moments in which I don't only accept my different> (dysfunctional) process, but desire overcome/master it... There are four> hyperbolic semiotic process that I recognize (and struggle with) in BAD> (bipolar affective disorder): {paranoia<->megalomania} (mania) X> (depression) {self-moralist<->suicide ideation}. And I know that if social> others learn to comprehend and accept these different semiotic ways of> means world and my own experience, changing "social situation" by> inter-mental mediation, my own personal sense for this process can be> transformed. But, even so, a paranoid delirium not always can be only> accepted. If we could understand cultural-historical genetical roots of> mental pain, can we do something to not only accept it, but even> overcome/replace its dysfunctional social/personal consequences?> Here, ariseesthe problem of "psykhotekhnika" again, an approach that> not only explains psychic process as function of social relations, but> socially> (and deliberately) constructs it too.> > Personally talking, seems to be not too easy to me to engage myself> in social relations that could actually produce important functional> (and structural-dynamical) changes in my life - even more, since I> haven't control about multiple social and biological determinations.> Things seems turns better or worse more in a casual than a determinist> way. But, by epistemological principles and with an emotional need to hope,> I know that social formation of mind is open to co-construction/> inter-constitution/co-existence (sobytie). Along the years, Vygotsky's> claims> (to create new psychology and new means to make people's life better)> make me take this problem of psychology applied to mental health as a kind> of personal and professional challenge to my own mental (cognitive/> affective)> resources. (but sorry about my "ecogentric language" here, righ now, i will> control me better in future)> > Oh, sure. One more operational question. Let me ask: is this "dissertation> of Leslie Cook" ("who looked at young women with depressive disorders> and the mediational means they use to make sense of their lives")> available in any digital midia?> > Thank you very much, for this opportunity of inter-constitution. I must> organize my reading tasks now, there are very important contributions of all> > you here.> > Achilles> Umuarama, July, 11 2008.> > From:> To:> Subject: RE: [xmca] RE:> mental health> Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 15:24:52 -0400> > Achilles asks: > Can> we really creat semiotical means to produce better mental health to people?> Or this kind of a goal is a mistake like possible Vygotsky´s or perhaps some> Vygotsky's followers' mistakes about 'social engeneering'?> > I would say> YES to the first question. I'll take a shortcut and paste something in below> from a book I've coauthored about The Discourse of Character Education> (Erlbaum, 2005, with Joel Taxel). It draws on the dissertation of Leslie> Cook, who looked at young women with depressive disorders and the> mediational means they use to make sense of their lives. My apologies for> the length of the following excerpt.> > > Mental Health and Character> Education> We have briefly expressed our concern that the issue of mental> health is virtually absent from discussions about character education. Yet> many students who come to school with a mental health problems are treated> as discipline problems of the sort measured as indexes of low character in> the proposals we have studied. We believe that it is important for any> character education initiative to recognize and account for mental health in> its conception of good character, both for those with nonnormative makeups> and those with whom they interact.> Mental health is the elephant in the> character education closet. The World Health Organization (2001) reports> that about 7.5 million children in the U. S.-12% of all children under> 18-have mental disorders, nearly half of which lead to serious disability.> Jamison (1997) found that 20% of high school students had seriously> considered committing suicide during the year prior to his study, with most> having drawn up a suicide plan; suicide is the #3 cause of death of> teenagers between 15 and 19 years of age, often following from a depressive> disorder. Yet most parents and teachers feel that mental health issues are> poorly addressed in schools (Dowling & Pound, 1994; Rappaport & Carolla,> 1999), many teachers have little understanding of how to recognize or> respond to students with mental health problems (Madison, 1996), and only> recently has mental health been identified as a reason to develop an> Individual Education Plan (IEP) for students.> These widespread> misunderstandings have resulted in many such students being regarded as> troublesome or lacking character in schools. Yet, as reporter Anne Imse> (1999) wrote following the Columbine school shooting tragedy, > Even teens> as dangerously troubled as Eric Harris stand a good chance of slipping> through the cracks in Jefferson County and across Colorado, failing to get> badly needed mental health care. There are serious roadblocks to getting> treatment for sick kids [including]> . State prohibitions against law> enforcement agencies telling schools about a problem kid unless there's a> conviction; > . Schools worrying about being saddled with psychiatric bills> if they recommend treatment, or even being sued; > . Not enough money> earmarked for counselors and counseling for the state's youth. > So, even> though Jefferson County school officials have become more sensitive to kids'> mental states . . . they remain hamstrung about arranging treatment. "We> have no place to go with them," said Clark Bencomo, a counselor at Green> Mountain High School. "All we can do is suspend or expel." "We are> oftentimes reduced to putting a kid in a place where they're safe, but it's> not the right program," added Kay Cessna, intervention services director for> Jefferson County schools. "There are not enough places." [One parent of a> child with disabilities complained], "They don't have the time, the> manpower, and they don't get it."> ( > Cook (2004)> finds this problem occurring in other states as well, reporting that> students with mental health problems are often put in special education> programs or disciplined when they act out, either as a consequence of their> makeup (e.g., a child with Tourette's syndrome's involuntary profanity) or> in response to the taunting they face from their peers.> Yet a mental health> professional would surely argue that the problem is not a lack of character> and the solution is not to punish students with mental health problems.> Rather, a broader understanding of mental health among students and> faculty-the sort of attention to climate we found in the states from the> Upper Midwest-would contribute to a more sympathetic and less punitive> environment for such students in school. Indeed, Damasio (1994) argues in> his somatic-marker theory against the classic Cartesian mind/body binary,> instead positing that brain and body are integrally related not just to one> another but to the environment. A change in the environment, he finds, may> contribute to changes in how a person processes new information (cf. Luria,> 1979; Pert, 1997); that is, in response to developments in the surroundings,> the brain will encode perceptions in new kinds of ways. > Conceivably, then,> changes in school climate can contribute to the emotional well-being of> students whose mental makeup falls outside the normal range. The therapy for> such students is still widely debated. While medication and counseling have> benefited many with nonnormative makeups in their relationships with others,> the medical model has been criticized because it assumes that a normative> mental state is best for all. This criticism frequently comes up in debates> about whether medications for Attention Deficit Disorder are prescribed too> often for any students who have difficulty focusing in school. Some argue> that prescribing such medications is designed more to increase the comfort> levels of those around such students than to help those students> themselves.> The jury is still out concerning the question of whether people> with such diagnoses are sick and in need of medicine. Cook (2004) argues> that relying simply on medication and counseling is inadequate; that a> broader environmental change that enables an understanding and tolerance of> difference, and gives young people tools for managing their difference, is> essential to helping young people construct positive lives for themselves> and in turn contribute to a more humane society. Taking a punitive approach> to difference, she argues, is regressive and only makes life more fragile> for those characterized as different and more emotionally and cognitively> unhealthy for those who surround them.> >> _______________________________________________> xmca mailing list>>>> _________________________________________________________________> Conheça o Windows Live Spaces, a rede de relacionamentos do Messenger!>> _______> xmca mailing list>>> > _______________________________________________> xmca mailing list>> > > _______________________________________________> xmca mailing list>>
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Received on Sat Jul 12 17:20 PDT 2008

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