Are we prepared to question the status quo of the mental health industry?

Are we prepared to question the status quo of the mental health industry?

Are we prepared to question the status quo of the mental health industry?

Anyone working within the mental health industry would have at least once in their career questioned if the practices, therapies and theories that we have developed are truly working for our clients.

Ill-mental health rates across the board are still on the rise[1] and more practitioners are saying that our therapies and practices are either not working or only offering basic management and/or temporary relief of symptoms.[2][3] Surely, now more than ever is the time to ask the question – are our practices truly serving?

Evidence based practice has risen to an almost elite status within our industry and any practice or modality that has not yet been funded to develop an ‘evidence base’ is often disregarded, dismissed, mocked and/or shut down. What we often forget however, is that most of our current practices, theories and therapies at some point in their development never had any evidence to support them – in fact they were started by people who looked around and simply asked the question – is there more? This question led them to trial, explore, create, discover and innovate new ways of working in the name of offering something that supported their clients.

Although we now embrace the work of these early pioneers, would we, in our present climate, hold them in the same regard that we currently do, if they were challenging the systems of today? Would we be open to their ideas, consider their possibilities and listen to the feedback from their clients, or would we label them quacks, rebels and/or dangerous practitioners and members of our society? There would be no ‘evidence base’ for their practices after all, so what would our governing bodies, academics and even ourselves as practitioners do with them? It is well worth considering.

We face an interesting dilemma in our current times: many are questioning if our current practices are working but in our current culture, with its stranglehold of evidence-based practice, there are limits to what we can do about it.

Do we keep repeating the same old practices and ways of working or do we consider the possibility that there might be more . . . innovating and exploring?

Developing an evidence base for our practice is important and a necessary part of our work as it’s important for us to know what supports and what does not. However, when we start to close our doors to other possibilities and hone our focus on a reduced picture, unfortunately we risk missing what the bigger picture has to offer.

When we close off doors to new possibilities and new ways of working, we ultimately close off doors to new ways of being – something that is very needed in our climate of ever increasing mental health issues.

  • Are we settling for bronze when we could be having gold?
  • Are we prepared to ask the questions and begin to innovate and explore new ways of working?

It’s only the mental health and wellbeing of humanity that is waiting . . .


  • [1]

    Pearce, L. (2017). Mental Illness Is Still On The Rise In Australian Youth, Study Shows. Huffington Post Australia. Retrieved 6 September 2017, from

  • [2]

    Burkeman, O. (2017). Why CBT is falling out of favour. The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2017, from

  • [3]

    Curtis, T. (2017). Relief strategies – the failings of our mental health industry | Unimed Living. Unimed Living. Retrieved 6 September 2017, from

Filed under

Mental healthCounselingEvidence-basedReductionismHumanity

  • Photography: Leonne Sharkey, Bachelor of Communications

    For Leonne photography is about relationships, reflection and light. She is constantly amazed by the way a photo can show us all we need to know.