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To get ideas for a new logo for BehaveNet I viewed a dozen or so Web sites related to behavioral health care, mostly a variety of providers running the spectrum from psychotherapists of all kinds to drug rehab residential facilities.You can probably guess what I found: birds and butterflies, flowers and trees, waves and water, brains and molecules, happy, fulfilled appearing people, some with their arms in the air, and a variety of abstract shapes. You can probably imagine the marketing people pushing positive images depicting happiness and light, growth and fulfillment. Avoid reference to pain and suffering, failure and defeat. Avoid reference to reality. Talk about issues instead of symptoms and dysfunction.
I wonder to what extent this approach to marketing reflects the fact that most of us prefer to work with low risk patients, the worried well. And who could blame us? We want to help, but who wants to (or can afford to) accept responsibility for the too numerous horrible outcomes? Certainly not our society, always looking to blame the professional when someone who may suffer from a mental illness does something shocking.
To survive we may strive to shun the people who need our help most, even if only by the subtle means of attracting cases that allow us to sleep at night.
I hope the disclaimers will suffice to keep the judges and juries from holding BehaveNet responsible for bad outcomes. So when I started the logo design process I said no birds or butterflies, no smiling faces or flowers, and I mentioned Mr. Loughner. We pursue serious professions, and the serious problems exist. I welcome suggestions.