Dr. Paterno affirms that all people are biological, social, and spiritual beings. He believes that all of these are relevant in assessing and responding to a person’s struggles. To ignore any of these facets of the personality, then, would be to ignore an essential facet of a person’s being, functioning, and suffering.
He adamantly denies the currently held myth that emotional disorders/problems are the result of genetically transmitted, biochemical imbalances. While he recognizes that biological factors are relevant to psychological/social/emotional problems, he sees “symptoms” as meaningful and purposeful, within the holistic context of the person. This means that almost all problems are essentially normal responses to abnormal situations.
Dr. Paterno denies that psychotropic medications are necessary, effective, or generally safe. Instead, he utilizes non-medical alternatives, which have been proven — in an ever-expanding body of research and also in his professional experience — to be largely more effective, safe, and humane.