I am becoming more and more concerned about the medication of some children and young people. This is not meant to be an attack on the medical profession who I believe do a magnificent job with limited resources. I do, however, fear for our youth. I think, as a society, we suffer from label-itis. We feel the need or are required to give people a classification, a pigeon hole.. a box. When I was young there were kids with problems, challenging children and 'that little bugger Hodgson who never listens'. Would I have been given ritalin or some other behaviour controller? Perhaps, thankfully it wasn't available. And be clear, I am not anti-drug, but I am anti 'lack of communication' and I am VERY pro- therapy, family therapy and looking at the whole issue instead of medicating one part of the problem. If a child or young person is acting out, surely our first step as professionals should be to explore the why first. Then step back and explore the broader picture? I think Eric Berne had great insight in his book, Games People Play and I believe that the dynamics and roles played by a family need to be explored to understand and evolve.
I guess what I am trying to promote is a nine pronged method of treating an issue.
Step 1- Explore issue with person presenting (teacher, parent, concerned other)
Step 2- Explore issue with person who is allegedly (yes ALLEGEDLY) having the issue
Step 3- Explore issue with connected individuals e.g. family members
Step 4- Reflect and feedback to all
Step 5- Explore options with all
Step 6- Consider individual, group or family treatment options
Step 7- Agree on way foraward
Step 8- Review progress REGULARLY
Step 9- Keep accurate records to develop valid insight into the situations
But then again, when you consider the time and effort this would take, perhaps it is just easier to give him a pill. Somehow I don't and I don't believe many of you do.