DSM: JC etc.

Marko Koskinen (marko@vapaus.net)
Sat, 10 Mar 2001 23:17:45 -0500

This discussion has really helped me to think about this issue. Here are
some of my thoughts so far.

First, I want to say that I really admire the work SVS has done. I
wouldn't be here wihtout them, so they have all my gratitude. I also
agree on most things about it. And I may agree with all aspects of it,
and that's what I'm trying to find out with this discussion.

There are some things people have been misunderstanding, at least I
think so. One thing is that I would want to create some kind of mental
health institution of the school. Well, that is not true. I am just
thinkin wheter there could be some ways to include students who cannot
behave nicely enough. And I'm thinking that the way could be to include
some kind of more visible and active therapeutic process. With this I
really don't mean any kind of procedure of which the student wouldn't
agree on. If the student really wants to be at the school, s/he might
agree on some "messing with his/her mind". In no occasion would I want
to "mess with someone's mind" without consent.

SVS bases it's philosophy on some presumptions about human nature.
According these presumptions are that some things are good for the
students and that some are not. And I'm just interested why cannot we
add one more presumption to the model? SVS doesn't currently make any
presumptions about feelings (If I've understood correctly) and this,
while understandable, is not a thing that couldn't be changed. Or is it?
Why aren't feelings included in SM? Why is there so much opposition
against "psychologizing"? Or have I misinterpreted?

One reason for this might be that mental health systems have
traditionally been regarded as coersive institutions, as they still
mostly are, but I think there are methods that are not coersive, but
rather liberating. Another reason might be that feelings easily come
between home and the school. With this I mean that if there's something
wrong at home and the students get help for this from the school, the
parents might think their privacy is threatened. Third issue might be
just simply that nobody feels competent to handle such things. If there
are other reasons, I would really like to hear them, because this is a
cruisal issue for me and I really want to figure out what's the best
alternative for us in Finland.

What comes to the rules, there wouldn't be any. Sure there would be
written "guidelines" and "suggestions" for procedures and unhoped
behavior decided by school meeting. These "guidelines" wouldn't be
enforced though. They would exist for people to know what kind of
behavior pisses people off and what kind of procedures are found out to
work well. If this kind of governance is anarchic, then so be it, but it
sounds rational and also functional in practice to me and I would
consider it less coersive. But to function, feelings would probably be
needed to think about and guidelines probably should be written. If
someone thinks this kind of system wouldn't work, I'm interested to hear
some examples of situations that it couldn't handle or that the
"rule-enforcing" system could handle better from the viewpoint of
personal freedom and social responsibility.

Also, the way the school meeting makes decisions, could possibly be
improved. Sorry, if I sound like I would like to put the whole model
totally anew, I'm not, I'm just trying to figure out ways to possibly
improve it. I was wondering about an alternative way of meeting. It
could go e.g. followingly:
   1) introduction for the issue being discussed about
   2) round of discussion so that everybody willing to speak would
announce themselves and everybody would get to say what they wanted to
   3) round of suggestions for the problem so that everybody having one
would announce themselves and everybody would get to say their
   4) discussion in pairs for (e.g.) 2 minutes about the suggestions
   5) vote for the suggestions
   6) if there wasn't an agreement, would go back to 2)
   7) repeat until unanimous decision reached

I think I've explained enough of the mediation process, but if there's
something to be added, please ask, or if there are some things that you
think wouldn't work, please tell me. And first of all, if there's
something about the philosophical framework that you don't understand or
agree to, I would like to hear that also.


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