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Manuscript Monday: The Myth of Normal

On this weeks Manuscript Monday Kara recommends "The Myth of Normal" by Gabor Maté & Daniel Maté.

In their book, The Myth of Normal, Gabor Maté & Daniel Maté look at the societal construct of "normal" and challenge it by re-labeling mental health diseases as understandable responses to life's stresses. They take a bio-psycho-social perspective and reframe mental health issues as complex interplays between a human being's biology, psychology, emotions, environment, and societal context. Departing from common medical perceptions, the authors believe that poor mental health, addictions, and diseases are not pathologies, but appropriate responses to traumas and stress. Maté & Maté critique society for stigmatizing individuals and groups of people who do not fit within the definition of "normal," especially those who are struggling with their mental health, and present a compelling argument about how the Western industrialized world's normalization of socioeconomic inequalities, stressful work environments, and broken relationships contribute towards mental health issues, diseases, and addictions; in fact, the authors make a case for inclusive, holistic, and integrative health and wellness approaches. The main point they are conveying to readers is this: “A society that fails to value communality — our need to belong, to care for one another, and to feel caring energy flowing toward us — is a society facing away from the essence of what it means to be human” (Maté & Maté, 2023). This book is an essential read for anyone working in the mental health, social services, allied health, and/or medical industry, and is an insightful read for anyone wishing to learn more about relationship attachments, authenticity, whole self vs fractured self, stress, illness, disease, trauma, healing, human development, health, and toxic culture.


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