Care over Cure
If we take an honest look around us, we partake in a lot of actions that help us to endure the distress of the systems we form part of.
An individual in an abusive situation may be told he or she needs to attend to their mental health. Whether we address this idea of working towards mental health by medicating the individual’s symptoms of distress (anxiety and/or depression) or we approach his or her distress seemingly more holistically and we indicate sleep, a good diet and exercise in the name of self-care, we may be missing the one thing, the only thing that is can actually eliminate the distress: this person needs to exit the environment in which he or she is being abused.
We may keep the symptoms of his or her distress at bay with medical approaches or wellness approaches but if we fail to remove the cause of the distress, we will forever be simply keeping the symptoms at may.
In the same way, we may look around us and be able to see the many ways in which we are simply coping with our distress without ever addressing the cause of the distress which may be a family system, a schooling system, a workplace system.
Very much like medicine, the legal system often offers us a potential ‘cure’ without every addressing the genesis of the breach.
ADR systems, precisely those that are discursive like Mediation, can help us to co-create systems of care that may help us to eliminate or reduce the extent to which all our current systems manifest great distress and therefore have us normalising inconsequential, at best, and wholly destructive at worst, attempts at cure.
Care over Cure
[i] With thanks and apologies to Charles Dickens
[ii] For previous blogs: ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN THE TIME OF COVID 19 | ADR Network SA (adr-networksa.co.za) and ADR, HUMAN RIGHTS AND COVID-19 | ADR Network SA (adr-networksa.co.za) and LOCKDOWN-RELATED DISPUTES AND THE ROLE OF ADR | ADR Network SA (adr-networksa.co.za)
[iii] Kenneth Cloke, ‘Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy’