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Confirmation of a lifelong work in mental health

Hovedforedragsholder Lucy Johnstone på seminaret Hvordan forstår vi psykisk helse?

Picture: Main speaker Lucy Johnstone at the seminar: How do we understand mental health?

It’s all about humans.

It has always been that for Deborah Borgen, who has a tireless commitment to show people how unique they are – every single one of us – and the innate resources that lies within humans.

The foundation’s aim is therefore to strengthen and uplift the individual and realize the individual’s potential, using tools and techniques for self-help.

We want to contribute enabling the individual to handle their own life challenges and to an increased experience of life mastery. Everyone should have the opportunity to be seen, heard and understood – regardless of whether you are a child or adult, patient or relative, service user or therapist.

An alternative angle to the diagnostic model in mental health

As a foundation, we emphasize promoting good psychological and mental health in the population. We work with prevention, and at the same time give people who are struggling the help they need.

Deborah and Dorothee were therefore quite excited when they travelled to Kristiansand to attend a seminar called: How do we understand mental health?.

The main speaker was the British psychologist and author Lucy Johnstone. She presented «The Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF)», which is an alternative framework to the diagnostic model. The alternative framework has been launched by the British Psychological Society.

Going from «what’s wrong with you?» to «what happened to you?»

» – What we often refer to as «mental disorder» should rather be understood as responses in life situations, where one experience one’s «life conditions» as threatening, says professor at UiA, Tore Dag Bøe in an article at RVTS Sør with the headline: Do we need a new perspective on mental health?.

– The framework encourages exploring and understanding people’s emotional pain, despair, unusual experiences and problematic ways of behaving without the diagnostic view. We simply go from asking «What’s wrong with you?» to ask «What happened to you?» he says.»

The seminar gave hope – a major global breakthrough

For more than thirty years, Deborah has tried to change the way we think regarding our psychological and mental health. Scientists have stated that she is 50 years ahead of her time with this perspective. Therefore it’s not difficult to understand that the seminar first and foremost gave hope.

– For me personally, listening to Lucy Johnstone talk about the new global thinking was a great relief in many ways, Deborah says with joy in her heart.

– I have fought to be heard and to get DB-System® included as part of the treatment, both for healthcare personnel and for those who need help, ever since the program was finished in 2009, she says passionately. – In addition, we want it included in the education system at all levels – from kindergarten and all the way to higher education.

– Sometimes I have to say that I can get a little impatient, she smiles. Finally, with this new framework, changes might happen faster, and that gives me renewed hope.

A confirmation of a lifelong work

– At the same time, the new global framework is also a confirmation of a lifetime of work and what I have already taught people over a lifetime. We need to look at underlying causes («What’s happened to you?») and not just the symptoms («What’s wrong with you?»). Simultaneously, we must learn how we function mentally as human beings and what resources we have that enable us to handle not only life, but also trauma, and not sit as victims of our own lives.

– So for me this was a major breakthrough – that researchers now want this alternative way of thinking globally, says Deborah.

Dorothee adds: – Lucy Johnstone and her research on The Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF) describes in a good way what DB-system® is based on: we are the result of our learning, experiences, of the environment and surroundings where we grow up, and the strategies we have learned from our caregivers. But as I understand it, Deborah is taking it even further. Dorothee elaborates: – Not only does she take into account and look at what we bring with us, but include how we function naturally as human beings and what resources we have, and how we can change and deal with what we have experienced and what we encounter throughout life.

Alternative thinking put into a system

The work has started with finding different methods, because the framework says something about the thinking and is not a specific method.

This is where the foundation will fight to be an important contributor, because we understand that DB-System® puts the new global thinking into a system. This method has already three international published research articles. In addition, there are thousands of people who have learned the method, changed their traumas and lead themselves through life’s many challenges in a good way.

More people with a new perspective

With more than 500 participants at the seminar, it became very clear that there are many people who understand that the current way of thinking doesn’t lead to major changes.

– And not least, part of the Norwegian professional community has also opened for a new approach, says Dorothee.

– I know how important it is to get DB-System® into society. In addition to giving me an understanding of why I have the behavior or symptoms I have («What has happened to me?») it, as I mentioned earlier, goes deeper and also gives me tools to deal with it – help for self-help.

– The fact that so many people participated and opened their eyes to the fact that we need a new perspective gives, as Deborah says, HOPE for the future, concludes Dorothee.

A Survivor with a system that others can use

As part of the studies for the new framework, researchers have interviewed what they call Survivors. Survivors are people who have not only survived a trauma or moved on, but they have also survived «the system». They’ve had to create strategies to survive, without getting the help they needed.

– As a Survivor, as the new framework calls me, I have become an expert on my own traumas. In addition, I have created a system that others can use on their own, says Deborah.

– In the future, it will be important to give people a tool to handle their own feelings and experiences, a lesson about how we function mentally, and how we can understand our mental processes with cause and effect/symptom.

This is the work we focus on at the Deborah Borgen’s Foundation, where we also work with public health prevention.

And if the foundation didn’t already have a fighting spirit, we can confirm that it has now been further strengthened. With renewed hope and motivation, we will continue to work purposefully for what we believe in and what we see works.

We want to be ahead, because this new framework confirms DB-System®. It also shows that we are at the forefront and have the method that puts the new framework in place.

We are looking for courageous supporters

For our work, we need courageous supporters. Supporters who dare to step forward and show that we have the solution for an alternative to treatment in mental health and substance abuse, and how we can rethink psychological and mental health.

We have to learn this way of thinking at an early age, which is why the upbringing and education of children and young people is one of the matters of our heart.

Links that provide more information about The Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF):

Videos from the seminar in Kristiansand

Lucy Johnstone: Beyond the mental health paradigm

The British Psychological Society: Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF)

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