|⇦|| Episode #653 - The Biopsychosocial Approach
(Understanding The Growth Of Child Development Disorders)
|⌚ Sun 12 May 2013 ☻Gabor Maté|
Download Hour1 Download Hour2Following on from last week, another show on a very important but commercially sidelined scientific backwater. Dr. Gabor Maté combines personal testimony, anecdotal evidence and a lot of scientific research to tell a story of child development very different to the one pedalled by institutions such as the Drug Industry, the criminal justice system or other profiteers of human disfunctionality. Increasing ill health, Maté suggests, is a natural response to an increasingly sick society.
Using ADHD as a template, Maté reinterprets a bunch of childhood "developmental disorders" using the biopsychosocial approach, which emphasizes that people cannot be understood as lone individuals, that understanding their health requires examining psychological and social factors — especially their relationships with others. As usual, Maté does not overlook systemic pressures such as the for-profit criminal justice system's drive to incarcerate ever more people, or the medical system's tendency to pathologize ever more people. He reveals the 'gold standard' of genetic determinism studies — adopted identical twin studies — to be far more problematic than generally admitted by the genetic determinists, and tells of his own circumstances as an ADHD sufferer who unwittingly passed on ADHD to his children by his workaholism.Maté echoes the importance of unconditional love from parent to child which Alfie Kohn was the first to stress on this show, but his analysis goes further, detailing a set of physiological processes which explain it. Like Kohn, he cautions against behaviorist approaches to try to control children. Methods such as 'timeouts' to punish bad behavior end up actually promoting it, he explains, since such punishment damages kids' relationships with their primary care giver, elevating levels of stress hormones such as cortisole and thus stunting kids' emotional development and diminishing their ability to self-regulate. Children's natural response to stress which are effective short term coping strategies, can become permanent traits rather than temporary states unless their stress is alleviated. Maté explains the explosion of childhood developmental disorders in North America in the last half century or so as symptoms of the increasing stresses on parents by an increasingly dysfunctional society.
For more details on epigenetics, listen to episode 527..
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