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The Ethics Behind The “I Only Said” Series

The "I Only Said" series of therapeutic novels written by Dr. Celia Banting addresses many harrowing issues but does not seek to shock, sensationalize or glorify them in order to attract readers. The series' purpose is to help the reader cope with their problems and to avoid the extreme act of suicide, therefore the text places more emphasis upon the therapeutic interventions than the intricate details of any abuse the characters may have suffered. The text intends to show respect to all those who have endured the abuse or neglect described in each novel, and to depict the adolescent's plight responsibly. It is mindful of the fine line between accurately portraying the child's internal and familial experiences without reinforcing their negative and potentially dangerous behaviors. For example, when addressing Anorexia Nervosa (I Only Said I Wasn't Hungry) book 8, it describes the child's internal processes without giving descriptions of new behaviors that could promote anorexia. The text is careful to avoid absolutes that the reader may apply to their own situation. For example, should the text state that the character had lost eight pounds in a week, the reader could assume that someone with anorexia was expected to lose eight pounds a week, and should they fall short of that expectation, they would try harder to perfect their destructive behaviors. While research shows that negative family dynamics are implicated in adolescent suicide attempts, the "I Only Said" series does not support a "blame" culture. Indeed, as far as possible, elements of family therapy are included in the text in order to help the reader understand negative family dynamics, and the novels offer methods to effect change within the family.

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