When all this ACC carry on about Sensitive Claims kicked off in 2009, and I started this blog, I had no idea that three years later I’d still be banging on about the problems and difficulties claimants and professionals encounter.
I’ve become one of those people who have become embattled with ACC, albeit for a much different reason and with none of the consequences experienced by many claimants.
Stories that have begun to break about Bronwyn Pullar that suggest she has been fighting for ten years. There are also many, many others who don’t have such powerful friends.
And this reaction to the ACC has been of interest to me as a psychotherapist, and I believe in many ways unique to the ACC. So what is it about ACC that means that people fight and keep fighting with them?
Part of any successful therapy is to help people, particularly survivors of abuse, neglect and mis-treatment in childhood, construct a cohesive and believable narrative that explains their current struggles, difficulties and responses. Despite what ACC’s experts sometimes represent to clients and what elements of our culture also promulgates, our past wounds and trauma do have a lasting effect.
Many of us might take this sense of our past and our present being integrated and “making sense” for granted. We can validate ourselves, and as a result our present experience of ourselves also makes sense.
To not have that experience: to not be able to understand ourselves and our feelings, to feel as if they are invalid, random, scary and make no sense is as good a definition as I’ve ever come across of what feeling “crazy” actually feels like.
It’s also an understandable and predictable outcome of abuse. Abuse is invalidating by it’s very nature: the abuser acts in way that makes it clear that “your pain and suffering makes no difference to me”.
This is why I have welcomed the resignation of Dr. Smith. Not because of any feelings towards him as a person, or as an MP, or even his politics.
To me I was hugely relieved because for the first time it is beginning to feel like what myself and many, many others have been saying makes sense, that there is something fundamentally wrong with how the ACC operates and they are failing in their social contract with all New Zealander’s.
And it is also why I support the growing call for a full and independent enquiry into the ACC, by Green party MP Kevin Hague and others. A full review of this nature offers the promise of actually validating the many people who have been fighting and protesting the ACC for many years, not because we are obsessed, crazy, or damaged. But because there is actually something wrong.
To validate and take these concerns seriously, and moreover to actually start fixing the culture of denial and address the accusations of corruption would do more for many peoples recovery than any professional ever could.
It would also mean that many people, including Bronwyn Pullar, could actually get on with their lives.