The Future of Peer Movement: A House Divided Cannot Stand

“A house divided cannot stand” Abraham Lincoln

They are familiar words that defined a period in this nations history that defined the future and course of world history. These words seem to be long but forgotten today in the peer movement.

We expect people to learn from our own history, our tormented past. We go as far as talking about our history so passionately in our very own communities to showcase the crimes inflicted upon us as examples to the world to witness and remember.

& yet we choose to put together into action a plan for OUR future because we cannot get past our differences: ourselves.

This is because who we are is what we do. We are a group of people that have professionalized the individual and cannot get past the very essence what makes us anything more than a mob of disorganized and angry people living in yesterday’s system.

Welcome to today peers. Welcome to Modernity in Mental Health. It is a critical time of ongoing reform and a time to challenge the harm still inflicted upon patients. We can either be apart of the solution and offer ourselves to the reform or allow the opportunity to speed up change to pass us by because of ego, anger, and indifference.

It begins with accepting our differences. We need to mourn and grieve the injustice of the past and heal as as an individual level and as a collective group of oppressed people no longer the victim of division and disunity. We espouse progress in fellow peers and yet we fail to organize because progress requires acceptance and trust of a system that betrayed us in the most violent and in humane ways.

This can either be the greatest period of growth for our movement or a time that sealed our fate as people whom lived only to tell a story and not make an example of the past a reality tomorrow. There is no reason a people whom have questioned reality throughout their struggle cannot make their darkest nightmares real for the world to see.

Let us trust each other. Let us re define diversity in the name of the peer movement. Let us change the world and make lived experience a gift and not a tragedy to ever be forgotten. Our memory, our legacy, will never be lived again.

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Max E. Guttman LCSW

Max Guttman is the owner of Recovery Now in New York. Max provides psychotherapy, complex case management, community consultation, and self-management skill-building groups. His approach is based on evidenced-based practices (EBP). Max earned a master’s degree in Social Work from Binghamton University. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a field instructor for both postgraduate and undergraduate students at Lehman College. He is also a social work supervisor and psychotherapist at Courtlandt Avenue Clinic in the South Bronx where he teaches students social work praxis in New York City. In addition to this responsibilities, he manages Mental Health Affairs, a mental health blog.

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