The Urbanmonks Thinktank instigates brainstorms, discussions and experiments that focus on understanding the relationship between culture and emotional health. This thinktank is an alternative school of sorts, where the lectures are brief and questions posed are many. The goal is to teach the art and skill of cultural observation with the goal of helping to encourage fresh cultural growth with an emphasis on emotional health. (Note, fresh cultural growth often includes some revivals, too.)
The Urbanmonks Thinktank does intend to help design the next generation of our methods for responding to anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorder.
Two hundred years ago, depression was called melancholia and hysteria and was treated with alcohol.
A hundred years ago, the Freudian revolution was in motion, and talk therapy began.
Fifty years ago, prescription medication began to be widely used as a tool to help calm the increasingly widespread anxiety and depression.
In the year 2014, in the United States, our current model of mental health: try and fix the individual, through therapy and medicine.
Fixing the individual to fit the culture is essential, life-saving work. But we are addressing only one side of the problem. What if we were to propose diagnosing the culture?
We have been trying to fix the seed, but we must consider - how to fix the soil.
My general evaluation up to this point: It is troubling how common it is to be emotionally injured in this culture. It bears repeating that therapy and medicine have provided outstanding support for the individual. But at some point, when the challenges become so common to so many of us, we need to step back, way back, and think of the seed and the soil and understand that we can change the health of that soil. It is a pretty empowering notion.
We are on the brink of a great transformation in how we approach anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorder. Up to this point we have focused on fixing the individual - through talk therapy and medication. While this has been tremendous, important work, we are now at a point where we must shift from solely diagnosing the individual to diagnosing the culture.
But what does that mean - how do we begin to diagnose the culture?
This question is the focus of the Urbanmonks Thinktank.