Reflections on the New Mad in America Withdrawal Directory and the “Mental Health” Vanguard


Earlier today, Matthew Cohen announced the launch of Mad in America’s directory of providers who support psychiatric drug withdrawal.  Many thanks to him for his hard work building the technology behind it!  The process of putting this directory together has been inspiring and encouraging, and I’d like to reflect a bit about my experiences with it.

First, I think it important to touch on what I see as two of the key principles lying at the heart of psychiatric drug withdrawal.  The first is that a person does not need a psychiatrist’s permission to come off psychiatric drugs (unless under court-ordered “treatment”, a crucial human rights issue that I must save for a different conversation); the second is that a person does not always require a psychiatrist (or, for some, a practitioner of any kind) to successfully withdraw from psychiatric drugs.  There are plenty of people out there who’ve successfully come off either on their own or with the support of friends and family.  At the end of the day, each person has a unique set of life circumstances that factor into the decision to come off— physical health, environmental stressors, access to support and community, financial resources, family and professional responsibilities, etc.— and the more educated about the effects of psych drugs and psych drug withdrawal a person can be, the better equipped he or she will be to successfully come off.  [For more on this, see my recent post about my experiences with coming off psychiatric drugs.]

Finding a psychiatrist who understands withdrawal and who supports a person’s right to come off is a huge benefit, of course— there are certainly folks like this in our directory— but at the end of the day, a psychiatrist is not the gatekeeper to a life free from psychiatric drugs.  During the many years I spent as a psychiatric patient, I was completely unaware of this.  Not only did I believe my psychiatrist had the final say on my meds, but I’d also completely forgotten that as a human being I owned my body and the inviolable right to decide what I did or didn’t put into it.  I see the process of coming off psychiatric drugs as a path to the reclamation of agency and ownership of self.  Practitioners are but a part of this process.

When it comes to the topic of psych drug withdrawal, there’s no doubt that talking about it, thinking about it, doing it, or supporting someone in doing it are seen as taboo.  Despite mounting evidence that long-term use (and, for many, short-term use) of psychotropic drugs creates physical disease, brain damage, cognitive dysfunction, and a 25-year early death, the overarching social narrative remains firmly wedded to the notion that coming off these drugs is, simply, unacceptable.  Dangerous.  Risky.  Harmful.  Irresponsible.  In other words, the risk of leaving someone with “untreated mental illness” outweighs any of the potential costs of psychotropic drug use.  We see this story play out in the media and in popular culture.  We see it told in police stations, courts of law, the prison system, and schools and universities.  We see it told, of course, in hospitals and clinics and doctors’ offices everywhere.  We see the story of the necessity of psychiatric drugs told at the dinner table, in parent-teacher conferences, and in front of the mirror.  It’s become as pervasive a story as any our society tells, a seemingly untouchable, unquestionable, capital-‘T’ Truth that no sane or rational person should ever think of challenging.

And yet, despite this powerful narrative that’s laid claim to nearly every nook and cranny of the social, political, economic, legal, and medical landscape, the status quo is being challenged, and change is happening.  It’s exciting to write those words— change is happening— because a few months ago, when I began the search for practitioners to include in our directory, I wasn’t convinced it was true.  I’m glad to say I’ve been proven wrong: without a doubt, there are people working inside the “mental health” system in non-traditional ways.  Some have practiced this way since the start of their careers, and others have left the traditional system after discovering it wasn’t working, instead, forging new paths away from the current “standard of care”— psychiatric drugs— and towards something different.  It is nothing short of courageous, and incredibly inspirational, to have encountered so many of these practitioners.  After doing due diligence on preexisting lists, scouring the internet for new leads, and reaching out to the community for connections, I’ve communicated with over seventy practitioners who do the work of supporting people as they come off, or reduce, psychiatric drugs.  The list will only continue to expand, as I have no doubt that there are many more practitioners out there who are committed to helping people come off— we just haven’t found them yet, or they us.  I look forward to the day in which a person in any city in the United States— one day, in any large city in the world— can come to this directory and find a practitioner who supports safe psychiatric drug withdrawal.

A mouthful of initials trails the names of those in our directory, including, in alphabetical order: ABIHM, ABPP, CPC, DO, L.Ac, LCSW, LMHC, LMHP, MA, MFT, MD, MS, MSW, ND, PhD, PsyD, R. Psych, RN, and ThD.  Indeed, the type of support provided varies throughout the list: some write prescriptions and taper; others use acupuncture, Reiki, and other healing modalities during a person’s withdrawal.  Some use nutrition and supplements, others homeopathy.  Many provide psychotherapy, counseling, or coaching for those in the midst of withdrawal.  Some of the practitioners in our directory have been trained in the traditional medical model, others outside of it.  Some are entirely against the medical model of “mental illness”, and others see merit in it.  At the end of the day, this list unifies a group of practitioners from very different backgrounds, with very different protocols, and very different belief systems, around a sole purpose: to support a person to come off or reduce psychiatric drugs.

During the process of building this list, I’ve made new connections with practitioner comrades and friends, tightened the bonds in pre-existing relationships, and learned a tremendous amount about the vast array of support that exists outside the traditional medical model.  (I should also add that several folks on the list are currently MIA bloggers!)  During my time as a “Bipolar” patient, I would have been truly lucky to have crossed paths with many of these people.  It’s filled my heart with a sense of hope to see this directory go up, and I believe more than ever before that despite the “mental health” system’s broken state, there are very good people who work within it, and who have the potential to make profound changes on the inside.

I’d like to share one of the most heartening moments for me during the practitioner search.  While poring through the Psychology Today website’s list of psychiatrists— most of whom are deeply enmeshed in the medical model of “mental illness” and in first-line psychotropic “treatment”— I stumbled across a psychiatrist’s profile that caught my eye.  He wrote about how, since residency, he had this intuitive sense that psychiatric drugs were not only unhelpful, but often times, hurtful to people.  He watched patients get on psychiatric drugs and get worse.  For years he was alone with this belief, which he kept close to his chest, until last year, when he came across Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic.  Reading it affirmed everything he’d felt in his gut, and gave him the courage to trust his instincts and follow his heart; he continued on alone, unaware that there was a community of fellow practitioners and other people who believed what he did.  He’d never heard of the Mad in America website, or the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP), or MindFreedom, until I reached out to him and he reached back.  We spoke on the phone for an hour or so and I sensed that an immense relief had been lifted from his shoulders as he discovered he was far from alone with his intuition.  I believe that there are more psychiatrists (and psychologists, social workers, nurses, and counselors) out there like this man; his strength in the face of what I can imagine is tremendous professional and social pushback is important to acknowledge.

Other people on this list include a psychologist who’s in the early stages of starting a weekly therapy group for people coming off psychiatric drugs; a therapist who’s had personal experience withdrawing from psych drugs and who uses that wisdom in practice; a doctor who’s devoted his career to writing about and doing psychiatric drug tapering; and a holistic psychiatrist who weaves nutrition, yoga, and spirituality into her practice.  As I said, those on this list come from different orientations and have different sets of values and principles.  It’s up to those who use the directory to determine who might be a right fit, and who might not be.

As Matthew mentioned in his announcement, Mad in America is reaching out to the community to help grow and cultivate this directory.  Currently, there are no practitioners outside of North America on our list, and there is far from full representation of all fifty American states.  Help us change this.  If you are a practitioner who does this work, or who knows colleagues who do this work, please let us know [see Matthew’s post for details on how to do this].  If you were tapered off of psychiatric drugs by a psychiatrist, or found therapeutic support in a non-prescribing practitioner while you were coming off, or sought the services of an acupuncturist, or a homeopath, or a holistic doctor, we’d like to hear about it.  It is so easy to get on psychiatric drugs, yet so difficult to find ways off.  Building off-ramps from the psychopharmaceutical highway will create more opportunities for those who seek it to find freedom from psychiatric drugs.

As pushback against the mainstream narrative of modern Psychiatry gains more and more of a foothold, I am confident that it will become less taboo— and, in fact, increasingly more acceptable and encouraged— to help people come off of psychiatric drugs.  The practitioners in this directory are the vanguard in this, leading the way towards a new future of “mental health care”, and I hope they inspire those still in the shadows to step out into the light and join this movement forwards.  They’ve certainly inspired me.


I’d like to thank Altostrata and Toby Watson for their hard work compiling practitioner lists, which they willingly shared with me, as well as Matthew Morrissey and others involved with building the MindFreedom list of alternative practitioners.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


  1. In 1998, I got introduced to the mental health system in Texas , thanks to a series of events that created a lot of stress in my life which overwhelmed me. Not knowing the symptoms I was experiencing were temporary ways my body was using to correct those symptoms, I became a victim of mental health and was hospitalized by court order in 1999 and spent over 52 days behind prison doors more frightening than if they had been a real prison.
    But my innate curiosity about what I was diagnosed with and the huge side effects of drugs led me to search the Internet for answers which confirmed that I did not have an incurable mental disease but was only the effects of my body functions which I had sorely abused.
    In 2002 after meeting with a herbalist with knowledge of diet and pH function, I gradually Found a strength to tell my mental health care givers I would be reducing my dose of 4 200 mg lithium slowly until I was completely off. This took around two years all the while I Continued to attend the county mental health clinic until i was severed because i was taking a spot they wanted for more critical patients or consumers as they called us.
    Learning that lithium was the only product that really worked, I learned that in nature, lithium naturally occurred in sea salts and minerals. DUH, had any of my doctors known that pH functions were critical to mental and physical homeostasis? A BIG NO is a great answer here. So I basically took myself off lithium because knowing that I had a very acidic pH was why lithium worked, I learned what foods would help me without the ingestion of toxic doses of lithium or zyprexia or valporic acid (depakote) or Zoloft . I learned that I was addicted to sugar and sugar producing grains. I learned that I had to reduce the amount of acid producing foods and use real minerals to heal my body. I learned I had to go back to preparing all my foods from scratch and forgo usage of packaged anything made to supposedly save cooking time.
    So here I am, now over 15 years out of that horrible diagnosis, to owning a massage therapy business and able to travel 3 times to Europe and healthy beyond my dreams.
    I would like to be a mentor in helping people come out of their meds by going holistic in foods, nutritionally without meditation to reduce the anxiety levels that can overwhelm me and other normal humans living stress filled lives.
    Call me one stubborn Polack, who wouldn’t accept the lies told me by those so-called experts whose only function was to promote psych drug usage and dumb me down so that I was no longer a functional human being able to care for myself. I am a SURVIVOR and proud of it.

  2. Another wonderful essay Laura, and I hope many in our community, who are struggling to come off med’s, find lots of useful information.

    Of course, as many here understand, I advocate a slightly different approach to self-regulation, one involving getter to know oneself, a little more intimately, through awareness of “unconscious” nervous systems activity. Although most here ignore my comments, perhaps due to my google friendly blog name? Some here, even suggest that words are the very stuff of our internal distress?

    Anyway, as Nelson Mandela points out, I do believe that education is key to recovery;

    To Know, Thy-Self?

    “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” _Nelson Mandela.

    Through the power of Self-Education, and Self-Exploration, we can come to know ourselves well, and free ourselves from the tyranny of Self-Doubt, poor Self-Regulation, and the curse of Mental-Illness.

    As a fellow Bipolar with 33 years experience, you may like to read my thoughts on;

    Bipolar Dis-Ease – Its Trauma Reenactment Urges?

    An overwhelming urge is seizing control of my limbs as I walk along the pavement. A large bus is rushing towards me, securing its passage through time just a few centimetres to my left side. I can’t believe how strong the physical urge is to step off the pavement and into its path.

    In a by now well practiced mindful observation of inner sensations, I let the urge and the moment pass, yet can’t really comprehend the reason. For the life of me I can’t rationalize this apparent desire for death, this involuntary urge, with an everyday psychological explanation. I’m shocked anew, at the very nature of my own subconscious motivations, and just how powerful they can be.

    All the learning, all my recently acquired knowledge about the subconscious stimulation involved in what’s happening to me right now, afford me no conscious control, in terms of prevention that is, with this reenactment of an original trauma. As I continue to drag myself along, feeling all the old familiar sensations of a depressive reaction, I can only take the opportunity to mindfully observe these overwhelmingly negative sensations. The weakness in my legs as I try to walk, a living example of the “freeze” reaction and a urgent desire for collapse.

    “Did I set myself up for this,” I wonder as I continue along, rehashing the phone conversation and its “shock” affect. Only thirty minutes previously I’d received news that a job application I’d been 95% certain of succeeding in, had gone to another. I’d gone numb with shock as the affable human resources person went through all the appropriate responses, while delivering his bad news. For a good twenty minutes my reaction continued in shock mode as I stayed within my thinking mind, disbelieving of reality as I tried to fend of awareness of its implications. “I’m trapped in poverty now, my stupid desire to understand stuff nobody wants to know about anyway, will be the ruin of me,” I tell myself as the noise of the passing bus recedes.

    I try to catch the double-bind though, aware that the thoughts are an avoidance of a felt-sense of what’s actually happening to me. I steal myself to really feel these sensations, as bad as they are, and not think. There’s an instant of sensation awareness that shocks me to the core, a violent collapse, a fall, falling straight down through the pavement in darkened despair, “or is it disappear?” I feel it in the pit of my stomach and my legs have gone to jelly as I struggle to stay with sensation awareness and not think. It happens in flash now, a confusing, crushing, drowning sensation that is instantly gone. Displaced by the automatic urge of my mind, in nature’s kind dissociation trick of “what was that?”

    “A body memory?” Springs to mind triggering a stream of thoughts about my birth, “how did I survive it, those three days waiting for birth, is that the great mammalian trick of feigning death, was that the urge toward the bus, or was that the undirected fight/flight urge of trauma exit energy.” Yet I know from experience that there is no point in a reasoned analysis right now. Know too, that there will be days of this depressive reaction to come, as the energies of traumatic reenactment wash through my nervous systems. Know too, that there will come a time for calm reflection and the positive processing of such a seemingly negative experience. Know too, that I wont be crippled with months of depression and a dreadful sense of hopelessness and helplessness, now that I’m not as ignorant of my internal makeup, as I once was. Neither am I as afraid of my sensation experience as I once was, nor desirous of staying with the denial inherent in my cognitive capacities, even if I do think I’m fairly intelligent.

    I do understand the need to dismiss my writing, although perhaps a comment from a reader may entice you, even though you will only scan, for what you already know. Time is such a pressure, these days.

    Thomas Grinley MBA,CMQ/OEJune 19, 2013 at 5:26 AM
    Wow, the first two paragraphs perfectly capture what it feels like.

    Am I just seeking attention dear readers? Or have I come to understand Bipolar Disorder, even type 1, from the inside out?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

    • “As a fellow Bipolar with 33 years experience, you may like to read my thoughts…”


      In reply to your comment, to her, Laura can (and may) certainly speak for herself.

      I.e., surely, she doesn’t need me nor anyone else to speak on her behalf. (Considering her well proven ability to speak her mind clearly — eloquently and directly — through her blog posts, I have no doubt about that whatsoever.)

      So, about her, to you, I only say this: It seems to me that Laura has made *quite* plainly obvious (many times over, in the course of her blogging) that she thoroughly *rejects* that so-called “diagnosis” of “Bipolar” and any other psychiatric so-called “diagnosis” she might have received as a former so-called “patient” of psychiatry.

      Laura has, ultimately, found no use for psychiatry’s labels (IMO, wisely).

      Somehow you’ve missed that point — while clinging yourself to that silly moniker of yours (“Bipolar Batesy”).

      [Please, David, do not take it personally that I consider the name of your blog to be silly.]

      In your comment to Laura, you write, at last, “Am I just seeking attention dear readers? Or have I come to understand Bipolar Disorder, even type 1, from the inside out?” (David, in some ways, you remind me of a carnival barker.)

      Googling “bipolar disorder” one finds repeated speculations that ‘it’ is a more or less genetically inherited “illness”; and, countless highly ‘authoritative’ sources suggest that ‘it’ is represented by a unified set of ‘symptoms’; but, in all reality, each ‘case’ is entirely unique, unto itself.

      And, the only thing all such ‘cases’ have in common is that the presumed ‘sufferer’ experienced one or more periods of being seemingly troubled by supposedly ‘abnormal’ sorts of moodiness.

      The reasons for those moods can actually be *limitless* — as psychiatry’s “diagnostic” labels are anchored in ‘symptomolgy’ — not in causes — of presumed sufferings.


      “Criteria in DSM-IV are so sloppy that I often tell people I could diagnose a ham sandwich with bipolar disorder,” explains Niall McLaren, M.D. (psychiatrist).

      (That’s one of my favorite quotes by any psychiatrist — excerpted it from a comment that the unusually free-thinking psychiatrist, Dr Mclaren, left on his Youtube page a while back.)

      “Bipolar 1” is simply the label given to those individuals who shall not only somehow come to be labeled “bipolar” — but also become “hospitalized” for presumed associated reasons. (I presume you’re aware, “Bipolar 2” labeled individuals have not been “hospitalized”; usually, that means the “patient” hasn’t been identified as someone supposedly ‘psychotic’ — i.e., is not feared to be presenting a ‘full-blown’ “mania” and/or “depressive psychosis”.)

      Simply, the people labeled “Bipolar 1” are those *supposedly* “bipolar” people who’ve been, at some point, ‘committed’ (or, “sectioned”) — as “inpatients” of psychiatry — i.e., ‘recommended’ to a psychiatric ward (thus, medically detained/incarcerated) for presumably being ‘too high’ or ‘too low’ — presumably, to the point of their being *supposedly* “a danger to others or themselves” (and/or, to the point of their *supposedly* being ‘incapacitous’).

      They’ve, perhaps, experienced a seemingly ‘severe’ bout of ‘mania’ and/or ‘clinical depression’ which led to such “hospitalization”.

      As a result, many (or most) people labeled “Bipolar 1” have suffered “hospital” trauma, of various degrees and kinds; in fact, many have been made to feel utterly *overwhelmed* by so-called “treatments” meted out by “hospital” staff.

      So, there are, indeed, more sufferings associated with that label, than with a label of plain old “bipolar” (or, “bipolar NOS – ‘not otherwise specified’).

      But, in reality, “Bipolar 1” is a socio-political construct — representing largely psycho-social phenomena; and, to the extent that it may often involve ‘mood-altering’ biological processes, those processes need *not* be represented — from one ‘case’ to the next — by a unified set of causes; similarly, the feelings engendered and behaviors resulting are *not* universal, *not* unified; the label is just a kind of drag-net for many disparate ‘conditions’ of life, which are caused by a myriad of circumstances.

      At last, each person labeled that way has his/her own, personal reasons for winding up a subject of psychiatry.

      All are individuals…

      So, if you, David, are genuinely interested in helping those who’ve been labeled this way, you’ll do well, by them, to realize all this — and take it to heart — and *not* project your own experiences upon them.



      • P.S. — David, as I’m now reminded that the bulk of your comment to Laura features an excerpt from your your blogging, which focuses upon your having felt an urge to throw yourself in front of a bus, I add these thoughts:

        Though I disagree with you, in ways (obviously), I do quite appreciate your *some* of your blogging — and do believe that much of it can be helpful to readers.

        Moreover, I find many of your contributions via comments, to this website, to be positively creative — despite (and, maybe because) of this fact, that you refuse to be daunted by critics.

        IMO it’s *good* that someone (you) remind us to seek and know the would be *unconscious* motives for our own behaviors; and, so, for various reasons, truly, I feel you’re no less important to this movement than any other outspoken, valued contributor to this site.

        You are an integral member of this community IMO.

        So, please, whatever you do, take good care of yourself; don’t ever throw yourself in front of a bus.



        • Dear Jonah,

          Perhaps you may care to take a breath and FEEL how you thoughts are stimulating a positive physiological state within?

          Perhaps you are suffering from an understandable psychological blindness, as to how your mind “affects” your body, and how your body “affects” your mind?

          You accused me of being foolish in the past, for labeling my blog Bipolar Disorder Batesy, did you stop to consider how the title is trying to score a higher ranking on google?

          Just like your efforts to out-rank me, here?

          Consider how the mental health system is so often paternalistic and condescending? Is that because, from an emotional systems view, that’s how so-called civilization works?

          Hence the neo-rationalist’s here will continue their psychological blindness, in their superior sense of an intelligent self & their same old same old, leadership.

          Perhaps you might ask an experienced Jungian about archetypes, Jonah?

          Always respectfully yours,


          • “…the neo-rationalist’s here will continue their psychological blindness, in their superior sense of an intelligent self & their same old same old, leadership.”


            What in the world are you talking about, in that respect? I am sincerely curious. (E.g., what is a “neo-rationalist” in your view.)

            Also, I wonder: Do you really feel you have ‘rank’ on this website? (You claim that I’ve made “efforts to out-rank” you here.)

            And, about Jungian archetypes, which one/s do you feel *you* are representing, by this point, in your MIA comments, I wonder?

            I am aware that, on another thread, the other day, you explained to Seth, that you are deliberately manifesting the ‘fool’ archetype, via your blog title. (You wrote on June 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm: “a blog with a fool’s title, although I do understand the nature of archetypes.) So, why do you care that I once called the title foolish?

            I can’t understand that; but, please, understand: I no longer think of it as foolish — but, rather, silly…

            (It’s an upgrade, IMHO.)

            Finally, about your writing to Robert Whitaker (on June 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm): “The heretic is disavowed as stupid, malicious, foolish, sloppy, insane, or evil and their opinion simply does not matter.”

            IMO, as you persistently knock the ‘leadership’ here, so I think you seem to enjoy playing the role of ‘heretic’ (but, that’s not necessarily a Jungian archetype).

            Does the ‘heretic’ have any rank?

            I don’t believe s/he does…



            Long P.S.(so many afterthoughts):

            David, you say to me, “Perhaps you are suffering from an understandable psychological blindness, as to how your mind “affects” your body, and how your body “affects” your mind?”

            Surely, you must realize, these sorts of replies, on your part (i.e., replies suggesting that others are blind to their own process) can seem a bit childish.

            Where do they get you, do you think?

            Emphatically, I say to you: In my view, they represent a purely *defensive* technique, on your part, that’s doing you no good whatsoever.

            IMO, all it will do in the long run is alienate you from those who might otherwise care to consider your view worth considering.

            Surely, you saw the comment from Ross (under Bruce Levine’s recent blog), explaining, about that technique, of yours: “…His usual response to criticism is to attempt to disarm the critic by psychologizing about the latter’s “unconscious” motivations, which Bates thinks he has a bead on.”


            Indeed, you are obviously behaving precisely as he describes.

            And, you have taken much offense now, at my comments, above; they were not meant to offend; again, I was just being directly honest — as I am now; so, it’s possible you will take offense at all this, that I’ve offered, too.

            (Note: IMO, though you say you don’t ever take offense, at my comments, sometimes you surely do. Hopefully, you won’t take offense at this one.)

            Really, David, IMO, for your own good, you should strive to totally avoid taking anything that I say about the “bipolar disorder” label personally.

            Just realize: You are the one and only person actively commenting on this site who embraces that label.

            So, you are going to find me being somewhat critical — especially when you claim to possess special ‘expertise’ on that so-called “diagnosis”.

            Just don’t take my criticisms on such matters personally.

            In fact, I suggest, as you’re directing me to Jungian thought, perhaps, you might review my comments, above, in light of my brief conversation with a Jungian therapist, here in MIA comments, a few months back…


            After you find the time to read that (really, I encourage you to take a week if necessary), you might look in a mirror and ask yourself: “Can I, perhaps, understand Jonah’s comments to me (above) as pertinent to his own personal history and as expressive of his strongly held convictions regarding psych-labels (as opposed to viewing them as a supposed challenge to my self-supposed ‘rank’)?”

            After all, I don’t believe you have ‘rank’ on this website — because IMO you do play ‘heretic’ here.

            Meanwhile, IMO, there are *ongoing* differences between you and I — all connected to our differing ways of addressing so-called ‘psychosis’; these differences may never be resolved; but, really, from my point of view, they are *not* personal differences; they are purely philosophical and political.

            In the past, I’ve offered a truce…

            Now, I do so again…

            And, we do have areas of agreement.

            E.g., I thought you might appreciate that one Youtube I recommended (the Sufi music set to poetry). It seemed to me possible you’d find it inspiring, as I do. Perhaps, you can tell me if I was wrong about that…

  3. Wonderful, high-hopeful post, Laura, thank you! I have half a dozen clients I will print this out for. Please think of me when you follow up on your second-paragraph parenthetical. I’ve spent over ten years as an attorney, primarily advocating for and representing individuals who are subject to court-ordered “treatment”. It is certainly a human rights issue, but it is also a serious public policy problem. In Illinois, hundreds of involuntary forensic “patients” cost taxpayers $800/day each – for what? They are only becoming more dangerous rather than less, to the extent that they’re not simply disabled from the drugs beyond any point where they can do anything at all. Modern psychiatry is the most destructive social phenomenon since the Inquisition.

    S. Randolph Kretchmar

  4. Laura,

    As always, your writing is so authentic and helpful. And thank you very much for producing this, and for all of the hard work you put into it. Thanks also to Altostrata, Toby Watson, Matthew Morrissey, Matthew Cohen, and of course Robert Whitaker for their contributions to this much needed directory.

    Dawn DelMonte

  5. Quote:

    “Not only did I believe my psychiatrist had the final say on my meds, but I’d also completely forgotten that as a human being I owned my body and the inviolable right to decide what I did or didn’t put into it.”

    My comment:

    Today we do not own our bodies, the forced psychiatry are allowed to force their psychiatric quackery into our bodies, deep into our brains, against our deepest will – which cause us much more pain and damage than this world understand, to put it mildly, and we have to live with painful delayed effects for years afterwards. But some day the world will understand: Forced psychiatry must be extremely strict forbidden, to put it mildly.

  6. Dear Jonah, in response to your confusion about psychological blindness and its imagined reason, from which I suggested the term neo-rationalist’s. Perhaps, in your haste to fix a bead on me, you missed my reference to previous wisdom on this webzine? I’ll post it again in bold type, to make easier for you to read;

    It seems obvious that when faced with the choice of allowing a realization that Jung either was singularly psychologically blind to the identity of his own benefactor Dionysus, or a realization that Jung deceptively hid the identity of the phallic maneater Dionysus– that Jung’s followers were in so much cognitive dissonance, were in such a bind that they unconsciously chose the third alternative. They went into a collective trance. Like the throng in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale, they couldn’t see the reality before their very eyes.

    Orwell famously affirmed this psychological axiom –’To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.’

    That’s why Perry’s patrician jaw dropped and I saw him for the first time at a loss for words when I spoke my Jungian blasphemy about the big secret hidden in plain sight. When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness. Perry became almost giddy–he kept repeating–”Of course Michael, yes, you are right, you are right–I never saw it, none of us did–oh, you must publish this, must publish this!” And so I am right now. see more of Michael’s heartfelt wisdom here:

    I understand how difficult it is to get this “felt” sense of one’s own nature and the meaning of this unusual term “affect” and how it relates to “affective psychosis,” as I suggested in previous comment to you;

    Can you think affect?

    No, you can only feel it!

    Its in your nervous system’s sensations

    See here:

    I understand too how difficult it is to grasp the following concept and how it relates to Michael’s wisdom his interpretation of Jung’s first dream, please consider again;

    We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

    Example: When Magellan’s fleet sailed around the tip of South America he stopped at a placed called Tierra del Fuego. Coming ashore he met some local natives who had come out to see the strange visitors. The ship’s historian documented that when Magellan came ashore the natives asked him how he had arrived. Magellan pointed out to his fully rigged sailing ships at anchor off the coast. None of the natives could see the ships. Because they had never seen ships before they had no reference point for them in their brains, and could literally not see them with their eyes. Therefore, it is to our advantage to expose our brains to varied stimulus so that the proper neuronal connections are forged. In this way we expand and enrich our ability to experience more of our environment in a meaningful way.”

    Again I suggest that we scan these symbols on screen here, unaware of our “neuroception,” and its subconscious activity, and as we scan, we can only take in, what we already know.

    As for the neo-rationalist’s and their well educated and well meaning leadership, perhaps an excerpt from a post about our knowledge economy, in which I use a very astute comment from a wise young man, our own David Ross, please consider;

    Knowledge Economy?
    Is PhD research into mental health about the livelihood of researchers, more so, than the mental health of other people?

    In a hierarchically structured society, which group of people does the knowledge economy serve?
    Like the money markets of the worlds stock exchanges, can knowledge be the basis of a real economy?

    “We’re in a knowledge economy and it is about being able to demonstrate that the most capable staff are on the books to give the best possible experience to students,”

    Professor Marshall added. But such capabilities could equally come from expertise gained outside the research degree track, she said. “I would argue it is about what’s fit for purpose.

    Different discipline areas will require different skill sets to deliver the best outcomes for students.” New universities are just as likely as those in the Russell Group of large research-intensive institutions to require academic staff to have PhDs or the equivalent relevant experience.

    UK universities are increasingly pushing for academic staff to hold PhDs, an investigation has revealed. Almost 30 per cent of the 113 universities that responded to a Freedom of Information request by Times Higher Education say they have aims or commitments to increase their proportion of academics with doctorates, whether by hiring new staff or by providing training for existing employees. See: Doctoral-level thinking: non-PhDs need not apply By Elizabeth Gibney.

    Does higher education provide more perceptive insights than real-life wisdom? Especially in Mental Health where PhD’s always cry, “we need more research?”
    Please consider this important message of hope in Mental Illness Recovery;

    “A Message of Hope in Mental Health Care: There IS an Alternative
    By Sophie Faught, MindFreedom International Communications Coordinator.

    In the previous MindFreedom blog, we presented some data from our Hope in Mental Health Care Survey (download the full survey summary here). This data showed that extremely negative prognoses and messages of hopelessness abound in mental health care. Often, these messages come directly from mental health providers. And very often, these messages turn out to be untrue.

    Across the board for every diagnosis, a majority of respondents to part two of the survey who had received a psychiatric diagnosis and were told by a mental health provider that recovery was impossible described themselves as “recovered” or “fully recovered” (equivalent to a ranking of 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point recovery scale).

    Furthermore, many individuals who were told by a mental health provider that they would need to be on medications “for the rest of their lives” are currently not taking psychiatric medications. A significant number of them have been off psychiatric medications for at least one year.

    We ask again: why send messages of hopelessness when they are so often untrue?

    Is the Knowledge Economy deeply conflicted, in the daily reality of Self-Preservation?
    Do we really need “experts” to teach us how to heal ourselves?

    Please consider another excerpt from MindFreedom’s message of HOPE

    “During one of my many hospitalizations during a dark and confused period a fellow patient whom I’d never seen before looked over at me, saw my distress and said to me “It all flows back to peace” and he shook his head emphasizing “yes it does”.

    Find the people who have got better and learn from them. We are living in a time when the road to recovery has been walked and marked and there are people living wanting to illuminate this for others.”

    An important comment followed:

    “This survey is not inconsistent with the Smith & Glass meta-analysis of 36 years ago (Smith, M. L., & Glass, G. V. (1977). Meta-analysis of psychotherapy outcome studies. American Psychologist,32,752-760). An individual’s expectations when coming in for help and the characteristics of the person(s) in the position of helping are far more important than counseling theory/technique. The great news, well at least from one point of view, is that years and years of formal training are not necessary to be an effective helper to someone experiencing distress/problems of life.

    When I look at the survey, I don’t see too many services/interventions requiring an MD, PhD, or Master’s Degree with independent licensure. We all have the capacity to be an effective support/help to someone else. We always have had. It has taken a truckload of money and messaging to convince so many that that is not the case anymore. _David Ross, M.Ed., LPCC. See here:

    Is there a MisConception about the true nature of Mental Illness & Civil Society?

    Do we all collude in this Perception of Civilization? We don’t have instincts and there is no predator/prey axis in human relationships? Well, maybe in “them?”
    The bad things in life are about others, not “I?”

    Consider the thoughts of a now famous PhD, Ram Dass;
    “In 1969, the beginning of March, I was at perhaps the highest point of my academic career. I had just returned from being a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley: I had been assured of a post that was being held for me at Harvard, if I got my publications in order. I held appointments in four departments at Harvard–the Social Relations Department, the Psychology department, the Graduate School of Education, and the Health Service (where I was a therapist); I had research contracts with Yale and Stanford. In a worldly sense, I was making great income and I was a collector of possessions.
    I had an apartment in Cambridge that was filled with antiques and I gave very charming dinner parties. I had a Mercedes-Benz sedan and a Triumph 500CC motorcycle and a Cessna 172 airplane and an MG sports car and a sailboat and a bicycle. I vacationed in the Caribbean where I did scuba-diving. I was living the way a successful bachelor professor is supposed to live in the American world of “he who makes it.”

    I wasn’t a genuine scholar, but I had gone through the whole academic trip. I had gotten my Ph.D.; I was writing books. I had research contracts. I taught courses in Human Motivation, Freudian Theory, Child Development. But what all this boils down to is that I was really a very good game player.
    My lecture notes were the ideas of other men, subtly presented, and my research was all within the Zeitgeist–all that which one was supposed to research about.

    In 1955 I had started doing therapy and my first therapy patient had turned me onto pot. I had not smoked regularly after that, but only sporadically, and I was quiet a heavy drinker. But this first patient had friends and they had friends and all of them became my patients. I became a “hip” therapist, for the hip community at Stanford. When I’d go to the parties, they’d all say “here comes the shrink” and I would sit in the corner looking superior. In addition, I had spent five years in psychoanalysis at a cool investment of something like $26,000.

    Before March 6th, which was the day I took Psylocybin, one of the psychedelics, I felt that the theories I was teaching in psychology didn’t make it, that the psychologists didn’t really have a grasp of the human condition, and that the theories I was teaching , which were theories of achievement and anxiety and defense mechanisms and so on, weren’t getting to the crux of the matter.”
    Excerpt from “Remember, Be Here Now” by Ram Dass.

    As for this comment Jonah;

    Just realize: You are the one and only person actively commenting on this site who embraces that label.

    How exactly do these “labels” the words, cause the sensations we experience, when suffering emotional distress? How does this happen inside you Jonah?

    Be well my friend,

    Best wishes,


    • David,

      Thanks very much for your reply (on June 24, 2013 at 4:10 am). Some of what you offer in it you’ve shared previously; however, some I’d never seen.

      E.g., you offer that link to Michael Cornwall’s April 26, 2012 blog post (“Jung’s First Dream, The Mad God Dionysus and a Madness Sanctuary called Diabasis”). That link is new to me.

      So far, I’ve only glanced at it.

      As it leads to a clearly seminal (quite thoughtful and lengthy) statement by the blogger — and to extended conversation, of comments –, I’ll need some time to get around to *carefully* studying it… and to, thereafter, considering whether or not I understand why you’re feeling such a strong need to refer me (and others) to it.

      I’ll post a further reply to you, here, within a few days.

      Thanks for your patience.



      • To the readers who have contemplated this thread and what I’m struggling to articulate in such a limited format as this, with my limited education and poor grammar. (please don’t autonomically, subconsciously judge me)

        Jonah, now helps to demonstrate that we can only be aware of what we currently know and our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

        Hence: The fantasies of your thought are not real. They are generated by your attachment, and therefore by your desire, your hate, your anger, your fear.

        The fantasies of your thought, are generated by yourself” _Buddha.

        We suffer because we mistake the fantasies of our mind for reality.

        It is fundamental, therefore, that we learn to distinguish between reality and the fantasies of our mind.

        There are two worlds:

        1. The world of the mind.
        2. The world of reality.

        The world of reality is real, the world of the mind isn’t real.

        Of the objects which present themselves to our consciuosness, in fact, some belong to the reality that surrounds us , while others belong to our mind – that is, to our memory. (the body/brain and its nervous stimulation).
        We tend to falsly believe that “both” kinds of mental objects are real, yet this is a false assumption based on our past, not the present reality, by which we are surrounded and unknowingly immersed in.
        Only the mental objects which belong to the surrounding environment are real, not those which belong to our memory ( the body/brain nervous energy of the past)

        Read more here:

        Yet the paradox of traumatic experience, is an escape, into the refuge of the mind, IMHO.

        Yet we need a through knowledge of our nervous systems, to understand this perspective, and how we orient in a defensive world;

        Its essentially about our tenth cranial nerve, also known as the wanderer, and absolutely nothing to do with Biblical mythology, of course. That would a silly reductionist, and un-educated worldview.

        Best wishes to all,

        David Bates.

        • David,

          Today I can (and will) find time to sit quietly, carefully studying that Michael Cornwall blog post (and the responding comments); I’ll do so after posting this comment — then, may take one more day (or two), considering all of it, letting it sift through at least one good night’s sleep, before replying (i.e., before replying to your initial comment of June 24, 2013 at 4:10 am).

          Meanwhile, regarding this more recent comment of yours (on June 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm), would you, please, give me a simple, clear, succinct answer to the following question:

          In your view, what is the *practical* value of that Stephen Porges paper, which you’ve shared (by way of offering that 2nd link, the PDF document)?

          I’ve done just a bit more than glanced at it, this morning, and I see that it’s such unabatingly academic/scientific material, ultimately, it’s really not at all the kind of writing that’s accessible to most people.

          It’s a talk given to psychophysiologists. One typically requires a scientific background, grounded in physiology, to read such papers, and I don’t have such a background; however, I can and do occasionally wade through papers like that, doing the best I can to make some sense of what I’m reading.


          I’ve read the initial “abstract” — as well as the “Summary and Conclusion” — and have done some minimal, further parsing of it’s first few paragraphs; I find it is just so very ‘thickly’ embedded with the unfamiliar jargon of highly trained specialists, it would be almost impossible for me to study it, from beginning to end, without taking extended breaks, every few paragraphs, going for walks — as that’s the best way to get my back into my body once I’ve become deeply absorbed in such heady material.

          I do get this much about the paper…

          It represents an address given in 1994.

          It offers a theory (which you refer to frequently, as the, “Polyvagal Perspective”).

          Here, as follows — in a nutshell — is an excerpted quotation from it, which offers the author’s summation, of why he feels called to offer it:

          “Throughout the history of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, psychophysiologists have been studying robust phenomena such as the autonomic components of the orienting reflex, often without explanatory neurophysiological models. This paper is in response to this need in providing a theoretical model based on the evolution of neural structures and the neural regulation of autonomic processes to explain several psychophysiological phenomena including orientation, attention and emotion.” (p. 303)

          It’s ‘only’ eighteen pages long. I should be able to (and, could probably) make some fairly developed sense of it all — after a day of sitting and sifting back and forth, through it… (and going for plenty of walks).

          Then, afterward, I’d decide what all it might mean to me, personally, to my life — and to the lives of others.

          I may do that, soon enough.

          But, what does it mean to you, David???

          Can you not say?

          You refer to it so frequently — and with such passionate conviction; I wish you could say what it is, that this paper does for you.

          Quite frankly, in the past year, I’ve ignored *many* of your comments, on this site, because they were so long, so riddled with quotes — and so peppered with more or less vague references to this ‘perspective’ which means nothing to me (as yet).

          I confronted you with this sense of mine, in my last comment to you, under David Healy’s most recent blog post.

          That was my comment on June 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm:

          Your answers were not at all clarifying, IMO.

          In fact, they were anything but what I was asking for…

          In fact, truly, now, I’m wondering if that’s not, perhaps, at least, half my ‘problem’ with your expressions.

          Often, I ask you to answer a question, to clarify what you mean, and you seem to want to expand into tangential realms.

          Over the course of this past year, in MIA comments, you’ve referred frequently to the “Polyvagal Perspective” (right now, I am forgetting if you’ve ever capitalized it, that way?); in so many ways, you suggest that this particular ‘perspective’ is absolutely key…

          Under David Healy’s latest blog post, you wrote (in a comment, to Joanna Care, on June 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm),

          “…Has professor Stephen Porges uncovered the hidden biology of Sigmond Freud’s unconscious “Id?” And does “The Polyvagal Theory,” give us a view of the hidden roots of Affective Disorders like Bipolar? Does The Polyvagal Theory & the concept of a “neural,” subconscious perception, professor Porges has called “neuroception,” provide a casual link between mental disorders, many consider the truncated response of a natural, mammalian reaction to a sense of threat? Both external & internal? Is a misunderstood and “intellectually” denied, capacity of the autonomic nervous system, at the core of human disorders from Autism to Schizophrenia, including the many symptoms of PTSD & BPD?…”

          You follow that loaded question, with these following lines,

          “There is no common “awareness” of this “internal” reality. Therefore, we lack both the self-awareness and the language to really address the issue of “what mental illness is” even though we know psychiatry is wrong in its assumptions.”

          Apparently, in your view, this “Polyvagal Perspective” should be considered h-u-g-e-l-y significant (to say the least) — especially, concerning what you and others call “mental illness” — yes?

          (As you know, I am someone who does not believe in “mental illness” — except as a metaphor.)

          I think maybe the “polyvagal perspective” is what you are suggesting is the equivalent of Magellan’s fleet, being just off shore (and, yet, supposedly invisible to the rest of us, who are like supposedly ignorant ‘natives’)???

          But, it seems to me, that you are *unwilling* or *unable* to say what that perspective is exactly.

          Recently (on June 12, 2013 at 3:37 am), in one MIA comment you offered (to John Hogget), you wrote,

          “If [we] were to meet face to face, I could demonstrate the nature of the face-heart connection, and just why “the polyvagal perspective” changes everything.”

          And, to that suggestion, of the would be benefit, of meeting you, you added,

          “In the meantime, I guess we’ll carry on with social politics as usual, and protect the facade of our “rational” motivation.”

          Similarly, under Bruce Levine’s recent blog post, you say to me, at last (on June 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm),

          “In a face to face meeting, I could show the reality of your unconscious affect regulation. […] And until we meet face to face, you and I, will continue to go round and round the same old may pole, in a Cartesian circle…”

          David, I do genuinely wish to forward a friendly dialogue with you, here (not in person); quite truly, I do; and, no less, I care to be entirely direct with you — as I feel friendly gestures need be direct.

          (IMO, to maintain a measure of tact is fine — and good — but not at the expense of being

          So, I care to be direct — e.g., insisting that, I don’t care to go round in circles of any ‘Cartesian’ kind. Really, I don’t.

          If I can possibly *avoid* going round in circles, of the mind, I will…

          I will avoid that sort of dialogue, if possible.

          Hence (please forgive me if what I am going to say here might seem somehow less than friendly), now, I am simply presenting a hunch that I have, a ‘suspicion’ about why you talk about needing to meet face to face.

          I think maybe you don’t want to talk about what it is you do with people, face to face. I am guessing that you are deliberately hiding something, about your ‘therapeutic’ method/s.

          Of course, your reasons for doing so may be entirely innocent. You may have a technique that is best kept a novelty.

          In any case, I could be wrong about this; but, it seems you don’t want to talk or write about your methods, apparently.

          You have some way of seemingly ‘analyzing’ people’s emotions, in person, yes?

          I can imagine a few more reasons *why* you might not care to talk or write about the nature of such a practice; but, those are just my imaginings.

          I deliberately let them go now — as I much prefer to know (if possible) from you: Why don’t you share, about what it is you do with people (“do” — presumably, as a therapist — to ‘analyze’ their “affect”)?

          You wrote to me, under Bruce Levine’s latest blog, at last,

          “Can you think affect?

          No, you can only feel it!”

          David, of course, you may not want to share even that reasoning — of why you aren’t, to this point, openly sharing, in writing, what you do; and, you may just go on insisting that it can’t be verbalized; and, that may be that.

          But, I am surely wondering by this point.

          You’ve got me curious…

          And, I think to myself: ‘If all this mystery is just about his not being able to articulate a therapeutic process, in words, why not demonstrate what it’s about, in a Youtube video?’

          Would that be giving too much away, from your point of view, I wonder?

          Might the creating of a Youtube demo (to share what you do) be a possibility you’ve considered? I wonder…

          And, now, I am going to study Michael Cornwall’s April 26, 2012 blog post…

          (Will get back to you, with my take on that, within the next 48 hrs.)



          • Dear Jonah,

            The polyvagal perspective and my six year journey to find the science of human development, has allowed me to understand why my experience of so-called mental illness and psychosis, is not a brain disease.

            Jonah, in your haste to judge my comments, are you seeing with a presumed expectation, and not trying to perceive?

            You write;
            David, of course, you may not want to share even that reasoning — of why you aren’t, to this point, openly sharing, in writing, what you do; and, you may just go on insisting that it can’t be verbalized; and, that may be that.

            And IMO sanctify your psychological-blindness, because again your taken for granted rush to judgement, missed the reality of this;

            we can only be aware of what we currently know and our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

            Hence: The fantasies of your thought are not real. They are generated by your attachment, and therefore by your desire, your hate, your anger, your fear.

            The fantasies of your thought, are generated by yourself” _Buddha.

            We suffer because we mistake the fantasies of our mind for reality.

            It is fundamental, therefore, that we learn to distinguish between reality and the fantasies of our mind.

            There are two worlds:

            1. The world of the mind.
            2. The world of reality.

            The world of reality is real, the world of the mind isn’t real.

            Of the objects which present themselves to our consciuosness, in fact, some belong to the reality that surrounds us , while others belong to our mind – that is, to our memory. (the body/brain and its nervous stimulation).
            We tend to falsly believe that “both” kinds of mental objects are real, yet this is a false assumption based on our past, not the present reality, by which we are surrounded and unknowingly immersed in.
            Only the mental objects which belong to the surrounding environment are real, not those which belong to our memory ( the body/brain nervous energy of the past)

            I’ll repeat it again, so that the neo-rationalist’s, might begin to sense their subconscious processes, with a felt sense of reality within the lived NOW.

            we can only be aware of what we currently know and our immediate surroundings, life is not a thought, it’s an experience.

            Please consider how we get stuck in moment we can’t get out of, because we “judge” with an expectation from what we’ve been taught? Hence we suffer from psychological blindness as Michael puts it, in his brilliant essay.

            Of course, people have read his essay and paid him the stereotypical social compliments, but how many of us paused long enough to really perceive his lived wisdom and understand why he waited so long to publish this piece?

            Perhaps destiny, is about time and the unfolding of an eternal now?

            As I’ve said elsewhere on this webzine, do people believe that Michael was moved to make an incredibly generous comment to me, because he’s a fool, because he was being irrational?

            Or like wiser churchmen, does Michael perceive the nature of Faith.

            A sense of self, based more on belief than reason?

            Sometimes I wonder if the folks in this community believe their own rhetoric.

            Or have they misplaced their faith in their own nature, and become psychologically blinded by the light of imagined reason?

            Best wishes to all,


          • “The polyvagal perspective and my six year journey to find the science of human development, has allowed me to understand why my experience of so-called mental illness and psychosis, is not a brain disease.”


            Thank you for your reply.

            That’s a very powerful statement you’ve offered me, in reply to my query.

            (I am referring specifically to that one, opening sentence, of your comment, on June 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm — which I’ve place in quotes, above.)

            I find it very satisfying to read — for a number of reasons… not least of all this one: it says directly — in so few words — quite a lot about what the “polyvagal perspective” means to you; i.e., it’s helping me to understand exactly what you feel that paper by Porges does for you.

            (Of course, you realize, by this point, that: still, I don’t know what that ‘perspective’ is; for, nowhere have I found any clear definition of it; but, that’s OK, as I can study the paper when I have a free day to do so.)

            The middle of your comment (in bold print) is meaningful, too, IMO; however, as it is essentially an offering of advice, it’s *not* really at all what I was seeking; and, moreover, as it’s something you’ve repeated (numerous times), it’s not particularly inspiring to me.

            However, from your repeating it, I do get the message, that: David, you wish I had not speculated upon what I do not know from empirical experience.

            I’d assumed that you *might* be deliberately ‘hiding’ your method/s of evaluating people’s emotions, when meeting with them face-to-face.

            (I’d said, “I am guessing that you are deliberately hiding something, about your ‘therapeutic’ method/s.” That I’d added, “I could be wrong about this” does not matter to you, apparently. Simply, my speculation was incorrect, and you feel that it was wrong of me to speculate. So, OK, please forgive me.

            (Now, I suppose you are just plain unable to articulate how it is exactly that you analyze “unconscious” motivations in the “affect” of people whom you meet face to face.)

            Finally, your conclusion — like your opening sentence — is powerful, too (quite).

            Your conclusion is really worth highlighting in italics, IMO; you ask,

            …do people believe that Michael was moved to make an incredibly generous comment to me, because he’s a fool, because he was being irrational?

            Or like wiser churchmen, does Michael perceive the nature of Faith.

            A sense of self, based more on belief than reason?

            Sometimes I wonder if the folks in this community believe their own rhetoric.

            Or have they misplaced their faith in their own nature, and become psychologically blinded by the light of imagined reason?

            David, in those few sentences, it seems to me that you’re strongly suggesting you share a certain Faith, in common, with Michael.

            It seems to me that this Faith is, indeed, bolstered by the nod you’ve received from Michael, for you view him as wise man.

            (I, too, view him as a wise man; but, it would be inaccurate to say that I share his Faith, as you apparently share his Faith.)

            It seems to me, that your take on the “polyvagal perspective” also serves to bolster your Faith.

            And, ultimately, it seems to me, that: belief is more important to you than reason.

            If I am reading you incorrectly, in any way, you’ll hopefully let me know.

            Meanwhile, in any event, I assure you, that: Shaking (or even worse, undermining) anyone’s Faith is really the last thing I intend to do — most especially, if/when it is someone’s plainly *life-affirming* Faith.

            Michael’s Faith is indisputably life-affirming. (I have read the blog post and will read it again before commenting further upon it; it’s highly life-affirming — just as I’d expected it would be; for, this is not my first introduction to Micheal’s views.) I presume your Faith is no less life-affirming — because you are so unmistakeably admiring of his expressions.

            I have nothing more to say now…

            (Still, I am mulling over my sense of Michael’s April 26 blog post — and shall be doing so in the course of this night’s sleep, by way of reading it again, just prior to going to bed; let’s see what dreams may come of my having reread it then; undoubtedly, it’ll affect my dreams, as it is surely a momentous exposition, revealing much that I never before knew, of Jung.)

            I’ll post again within 36 hours…



          • David,

            I said I’d post within 36 hours. That was roughly 27 hours ago. This is that post; however, my mind has become distracted in ways — such that the mythic realm, which I’d intended to write about, seems at least momentarily out of reach.

            Michael Cornwall does an amazing job of exploring that realm, in that blog post you recommended. (I did reread it before going to sleep, last night — and did feel myself dreaming — but hardly recalled what I’d dreamed by the time I awoke.)

            I have a full day scheduled ahead.

            Will come back to this thread, within then next couple of days — and post at the bottom of the page.



  7. Dear Laura,

    Thank you for all the hard work you devoted to bringing this resource to life. I am excited to be able to share it with individuals and families through Mother Bear and other networks.

    Thanks also for your reminder that there are many pathways to healing, including tapering. Though I think it is extremely helpful to have a strong support network during this process, because medication and tapering side effects can be so powerful (and unanticipated), I appreciate your reminder that many different kinds of people can be supportive through this process. No one gateway.


    • Hi Jennifer, I liked your comment about tapering off and finding support from families and friends, although I wonder about individuals who are not fortunate enough to have such support.

      Having tapered slowly and done it cold turkey many times over my 27 year experience with so many different psychotropics, I found that an education into how my body/brain/mind functions, has been the most helpful approach for me.

      Although, after wading through the mind numbing jargon of neuroscience (a socially taboo subject for many here, I know), only the somatic approaches of people like Peter Levine, gave me the keys to know myself internally, and begin to undo past traumatic experience, and the many re- traumatization’s inflicted by trauma’s misunderstood internal dynamics, within mainstream psychiatry.

      Hence I write for those who are isolated by fear, and the bewildering experience of a post trauma life. IMO it is our general lack of self knowledge, in terms of how our body’s work, which sees such confusion about what trauma looks like, externally, and what is happening inside us, when we experience the nervous system sensations of its, awful affect.

      We can say the word trauma but does that mean we understand the substance of that label, that metaphor which is trying to encapsulate a world of pain and suffering? After 3 years in Thailand, practicing how to find the middle path of my own “in the now” experience, I find myself trying to walk a middle path here, between science knowledge and social need.

      I haven’t had time to check all the links yet, but I’m sure there will be links to trauma centers like;

      with Dr. van der Kolk, who is an internationally recognized leader in the field of psychological trauma. Who outraged the APA hierarchy (like many here do) with his paper; The Body keeps the Score.

      And of course I’m sure there is a reference to our own Laura Van Tosh and her wonderful articulation of a journey Towards Trauma Relief and Resolution

      Best wishes,