Videos from the 2014 “Transforming Mad Science and Re-Imagining Mental Health Care” ISEPP/UCLA Conference

David Cohen
26
267

Sometime in late 2013, I began to work with the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry, Inc. (ISEPP) on its 2014 annual conference. Having just arrived at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs and benefiting from the support of an endowed chair, I thought of gathering critical thought leaders in mental health to share their ideas for system change in a joint ISEPP/UCLA event.

We identified nearly 40 individuals who had spent time and effort thinking about, communicating and enacting needed change in the mental health system. Each received an invitation to a conference on “transforming mad science and re-imagining mental health care.” It referred to compelling critiques and included this concept statement:

Mental health care could become more educational and make deliberate use of non-professionals and self-help, it could reject pseudo-science and conflicts of interests, grapple squarely with coercion, perhaps change its name to reflect the actual goals of helping psychosocially distressed people develop self-confident, self- and other-caring orientations to life. The obstacles and contradictions are daunting, but too few proposals of alternative arrangements and vocabularies exist to stir hearts and minds. This conference specifically asks you to envision new ideas and new practices, to flesh out your favorite alternative in whatever area concerns you.

We also included a summary of each invitee’s relevant work, as well as specific tailored questions evoking the significance and implications of their ideas for rethinking business-as-usual in mental health care. To each invitee we stipulated:

We’re allocating 30 minutes for each plenary presentation: not more than 10 minutes on the present situation, at least 20 minutes on its future: how does it look to you in detail, how do we get there, potential problems or unintended consequences? (Think of it as an extended TED talk.)

Almost everyone replied quickly but more than half declined, citing prior commitments, too-short allotted presentation time, or because, as a few put it, they had “never thought of the future” and “wouldn’t know what to say.”

Other invitees accepted enthusiastically. Eventually, they came from five countries representing education and psychiatric liberation (Bonnie Burstow, Laura Delano), psychiatry (Allen Frances, David Healy), medicine and methodology (Peter Gøtzsche), psychology (Pascal-Henri Keller, John Read), social work (Tomi Gomory, Shannon Hughes, Jeffrey Lacasse, myself), neuroscience and neurology (François Gonon, Jonathan Leo, Peter Whitehouse), journalism (Robert Whitaker), and philosophy (Keith Hoeller). All but two were current or former academics.

The joint ISEPP/UCLA conference was held in Los Angeles on November 14-16, 2014. I and others received consistent feedback from attendees of the conference’s success. MIA journalist Rob Wipond published an account the following week.

Today, ISEPP and the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs are delighted to bring you videos of 13 of the 15 invited plenary talks.* These smartly produced and edited videos range from 20 to 30 minutes in length and are freely available on www.TransformingMadScience.com

Each video is accompanied by a crisply written interview with the speaker, focusing on the goals of their work, challenges facing their profession, and how they evaluate any salient changes in mental health practice and research.

These stimulating talks brim with unusual analyses, insights and novel ways to look at old problems. Not surprisingly, they raise more questions than they answer. We are the fortunate audience to view the advanced guard’s effort to convey humane knowledge, values, caring passion and concern about the problems of madness and of the professions’ response to it.

Yet it’s fair to say that not all was delivered as was hoped for. In my view, that’s because it is very intimidating, perhaps even foolhardy, to outline a more-or-less concrete future, to step publicly into the unknown. Most invitees were more inclined to detail or deepen their well-founded critiques than propose uncertain scenarios — though nearly all offered some specific suggestions for reform or change, or embedded them deep inside their critiques. Other speakers daringly leapt into the abyss of future uncertainty, allowing us to peer into their vision and imagine new principles or systems of care, or the dissolution of current systems of “care.”

These videos are a historical record of the challenging and provocative thoughts of some critical thought leaders, and it is a deep pleasure to share with the public this portion of another successful ISEPP conference. I hope these videos serve to inform, inspire, promote dialogue, and better imagine what could be.

 

_______________________________________________

* Our budget only allowed the filming of the invited plenary speakers, but many other speakers made wonderful presentations at this ISEPP conference.

 

 

26 COMMENTS

  1. This looks great. Here are the 12 speakers and the titles of their pieces:

    Robert Whitaker – “The Barrier to Rethinking Psychiatry – The Guild Interests of the APA”

    Peter Gotzsche – “Psychiatric Drugs Should be Used Very Sparingly”

    Bonnie Burstow – “Grounded Utopianism – Piecing/ Peac-ing Our Way Together”

    David Cohen – “Self-Prescription and Self-Medication”

    Laura Delano – “Reclaiming Humanity – Building a Post-Psychiatry, Post Mental Health World”

    Bob Fancher – “Moral Competence and the Decline of Health”

    Allen Frances – “Finding a Middle Ground Between Psychiatry and Antipsychiatry”

    Tomi Gomory – “Demedicalized, Non-Coercieve Education for Mental Health”

    Francois Ganon – “The Neuroscience Discourse Actually Supports Withdrawing Most Mental Health Disorders from Medicine”

    David Healy – “Better to Die on Your Feet Than Live on Your Knees”

    Shannon Hughes – “Consumer Reporting of the Psychiatric Drug Experience”

    John Read – “Creating Evidence-Based, Effective and Humane Mental Health Services”

    ————-

    I haven’t yet watched through these, but like the sound of Cohen’s thinking about self-prescription and self-medication, Ganon’s piece about why neuroscience disqualifies DSM diagnoses as medical illnesses, and Laura Delano’s piece which will inevitably be very honest and positive.

    I wonder why Allen Frances is included here. He was one of the main people promoting overdiagnosis and overmedication. As soon as he got out of the APA, he turned around and became a critic of the system. He’s a hypocrite.

    The only weakness I see here is that these are all traditional academics / authority figures, except perhaps Laura Delano. Where are the sufferers / people’s voices? Why are interviews with more people who successfully recovered from psychosis or depression not talking about what worked for them?

    I would do more activism myself but don’t feel able to because I don’t want the people in my real world to know I once had mental health diagnoses and that I disagree with the current system.

    If anyone is reading this who fits the following description – presently employed in a regular non-self-employed job, past history of mental health diagnoses, and now a public activist for reform to the current mental health system, please comment on this post. I want to know how you did it without risking your reputation or job.

    I doubt anyone on MIA will respond. Almost all of those whose voices are heard are either mental health professionals or former mental health system users who are now retired, on disability, unemployed, or self-employed.

    I hope I am proven wrong.

    • @bpdtransformation,

      You bring up some very intriguing points, via your questions. I looked for the answer to :”why Allen Frances is included here” by watching his presentation, or as much of it as I could stomach. I can’t help running the data stores in my mind of his very pivotal role in creating most of what is cited as *the root of all evil* by the other speakers at this conference.

      In addition to what I had learned from a few very credible sources (Paula Caplan being the best example). I read the 86 page expert witness document written by Rothman, evidence of the marketing scheme that Frances and two colleagues manufactured as a lure to gain greater payoffs from J&J. Psychiatrists duped by pharma? Not so much. This gem of a document contains emails from Allen Frances to J&J execs, entered into the public record of the trial Texas v. J&J. A settlement was hastened by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen’s full day testimony (posted on 1boringoldman). This was more information than even I thought could ever become documented evidence. The bottom line, Allen Frances was key to propagating the very lies that he now has become adept at uncovering as “the mistakes ” of everyone, but him.

      Watching his forked tongue , smooth as silk delivery of a message that paints himself as a champion of reform and building bridges with the anti-psychiatry ilk, I was glad he was invited to this conference. If for no other reason than to show the difference between bogus psych labels and real pathology. Allen Frances could be the poster boy for “Mistakes were made but not by me”– if not for his making cognitive dissonance look more like psychosis.

      I had pondered his appearing so confident on the psychiatrists panel at the gala dinner celebrating the first MIA film festival last October–with not a clue emerging as to how he could even dare to attend a function where the majority of the audience knows exactly what he is famous for. But, watching him at this ISEPP conference, it hit me that when Bob Whitaker says *they believe their narrative* referring to the prominent psychiatrists who still operate as though their *belief* in the biological causes of *aberrant behavior* constitutes all the evidence needed to continue drugging people– from the cradle to the grave, while gleefully discovering more mental disorders, from their imaginations, including unimaginable concepts like *unmasking* serious mental illness by administering psych drugs. Adverse effects of their treatment are not to be counted amongst their beliefs.

      Why should we listen to Allen Frances speaking as though he discovered what he actually had carefully planned to execute? How else can the axiom by which so many psychiatrists pin their claim to fame, be demonstrated? Can you guess what this axiom is? Well, you won’t need to guess after watching Allen Frances. He is perfect for the part, having played a starring role in : “I believe it, therefore it is fact .” with the emphasis on, “I”.

      Seeing is believing.

      Your second question may become self evident in the context of the previous discussion about your first question . Psychiatric survivors are at risk, imo, playing straight to a hostile audience, which is not to say that all participants in this conference are hostile to the survivors message, but that the forum is not about seeking a better way, as much as it is about gauging how bad the current system is. The ISEPP is more like a support group for distraught mental health professionals, who are looking for validation and stronger material to guide their professional practices as they keep their fingers crossed that there will come a time when a better way will be more than a pipe dream. Messages conveyed by more than one guest speaker with lived experience would probably put them over the edge with feelings of guilt, helplessness or unremitting remorse for their affiliation with the MH system. You may note that only Bob Whitaker, an innocent journalist, author who has no connection to the MH system, suggests that it is those with lived experience that should be addressing this audience.

      I think that showing films produced by psychiatric survivors or those who believe in the paramount importance of their voices, might be a powerful first step. It would be, I think, just as overwhelming for those attending an ISEPP conference to hear and see the undiluted, uncensored, full impact of the system no on can seem to constrain, as it would be for Allen Frances to be forced to watch a *this is your life* re-enactment at the same conference.

      At tis time, I don’t see a benefit big enough to justify any of the risks psych survivors in your circumstances would face by becoming a vocal critic of the system that has probably not declared you, *cured*. I also think that it takes years sometimes to find and trust one’s own voice after having been robbed of it so brutally by “mental health clinical specialists”- Regardless of how a psychiatric survivor is actually surviving, financially speaking, his first obligation is reclaiming and honoring his own unique identity. In the process, I think it is inevitable that alliances with others whom you truly respect will be formed, and will in turn inform your decisions regarding public disclosure and/or public activism .

      My best advice is not to grand stand as a psychiatric survivor in Boston unless you are well connected and equally well protected. Laura Delano always humbly express appreciation for her good fortune. When she succeeds in realizing her vision, which resonates with many more than she probably realizes, it will be springtime for any psychiatric survivor who wants to “come out”.

      • I wish that I could clone you about 20 times and send you into the units of the state hospital where I work. You have such an exact and precise understanding of what goes on in the system and of what happens to people that i’s uncanny.

        I always look for your comments on anything that’s posted here. The people you worked with in the system were so very lucky to have you. It’s people like you, working in the system, who really contribute to the saving of lives. I can state this since I’m a ex-patient/survivor who works inside the system, a person who experienced the uncaring and brutal attitude of many of the nurses on the unit were I was held in the very hospital where I now work. There is very little, if any, healing to be had at the hands of many of the psychiatric nurses working in the system.

        • Stephen
          Amazing that you can work there ! Fortunately I have had 20 years experience with psych nurses and I can say that they were the ones who took patients into their private offices, gave them food and clothes, let them use the phone, let them vent and this was totally against county rules in the hospital. Must have been very different in years gone by. I miss those times.

          • Margie

            I was trained as a hospital chaplain, both in psych and medical hospital settings. I did part of my clinical pastoral training in a huge psych “hospital” in New Orleans. This was in 1972, right before the huge influx of drugs into the system. Staff, including psych nurses, actually sat down and listened to people. But those days are long gone.

            In the state “hospital” where I was once held there are a few nurses who actually listen to the “patients” but most of them won’t even leave the nurse’s station or the med station to go onto the floor of the units. They’ve been trained to believe that people only manipulate and lie so there’s really no point in listening to people to begin with.

            The good old days where staff actually interacted with the “patients” are long gone and I fear that we will never ever see them again. I don’t believe that my “hospital” is the exception to the rule and that most places are like this. It was like this in the private “hospital” where I was held until they could send me to the state “hospital”.

      • We have a saying, if you can excuse the editorial “we”, “If you don’t have a piece of paper from Harvard, you grunt.”

        Obviously, as psychiatric survivors, looking at the presentations presented primarily by mental health professionals, we have a long way to go before even a supposedly progressive and “good intention-ed” organization like ISEPP has any more than a token use for us. All talk of “ethics” and “morals” aside.

        I thought Laura’s presentation (via Video) very well done, and she points, within it, to some of those changes that need to be seen. I would imagine though, as well, systemic change of the sort you are referring to must start at home, too, that is, at ISEPP, and to say that ISEPP has a long ways to go is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealing with the power/powerless voice/voiceless disparities we encounter in (and out, apparently) of the mental health system.

        Hopefully, your organization will be able to find uses for others of us as time progresses. I personally think such use makes much sense in terms of ethical soundness as well. The person, after all, who practices not what he or she preaches is a hypocrite.

      • As I thought, no one who is a working adult psychiatric survivor advocating publicly under their real name answered this post. A sad silence.

        Because of regular people not speaking out due to fear of stigma, job loss, or reprisals from other societal forces, many agents of for change are thereby silenced. The mental health professionals on this site, in my view, could be said in a way to speak from a less potentially powerful position than psychiatric survivors, since they haven’t experienced the abuse and recovered themselves – although some of them are one and the same.

        I don’t read anything by Allen Frances anymore as I equate his name with the worst in self-delusion and hypocrisy. He could at least start by admitting that for many years he spoke about psych diagnoses as if they really were valid and reliable, and still does to some degree.

        More films made by and for psychiatric survivors would be a great step. Such people would have to have the ability to speak honestly and courageously despite potential losses based on their coming out. Laura Delano is like this, but it must be noted that she is not a person with a regular job with a private company or government agency, at least not to my knowledge. Rather, she works with groups and individuals in the mental health field who already support her viewpoint, thus has less to lose. Thus what she does involves less risk.

        Therefore, there is no one among the 12 speakers on this list who are psych survivors in a regular, privatized or traditional governmental non-mental health field. I wonder though how much the risk actually is. I will have to do some research to see whether others have advocated for change and incurred losses at jobs or in social organizations due to coming out. At the moment few examples are obvious of people even trying.

        And finances are important; they allow me to have my own house, to go to therapy, to travel, to be secure. I am a survivor and an opportunist; I take whatever I can get, do whatever it takes to survive, and now that I am able to work I have to keep my ability to do that safe as much as possible.

    • “I want to know how you did it without risking your reputation or job.”

      I’d be interested in knowing this, too–not because I have any desire to work in the mainstream, but because I’d wonder how this is possible. I’m self-employed and I love it, prefer it to anything. Being my own boss after all those years of feeling controlled is Heaven on Earth.

      What I found, once my film was out there and I had started speaking about all the abuse publicly, as an activist, that I had no value for the mental health field, through their eyes. Of course not, I’d want to change everything. That had been my field originally, until I discovered what it was really about, I went deep in with that. Especially since I won a legal action, I was especially branded.

      While it frustrated me initially, I discovered that I had the tools to put something together, myself, and that’s when I decided to get advanced training and I did a hospital internship with a medical intuit (who loved my story of healing, she had no bias whatsoever, thought I championed my cause well), and then set up my practice.

      After that, the opportunity to make a film came, and I jumped at it. No money, no previous film making experience, just determination, something I wanted to say really badly, and a lot of faith and trust. The universe did not disappoint, and what I needed came to me.

      Since then, I’ve been creating one thing after another, really grateful that I had been blackballed by the mental health community, because it forced me to trust in my own vision and process, and it led me on my path of truth, which is humbling and totally fulfilling.

      So I don’t have that regular weekly employment thing going on any longer, although I do have a 17 year retail management career under my belt, from which I retired before starting graduate school. I tried, as a social worker in voc rehab, but I ended up suing them for discrimination.

      I found it impossible to speak out and stay employed in my field, but at the same time, I am so, so grateful for my new direction that came as a result of their stigma, discrimination, and fear. Now, I can live my truth. Before all this, I’d have had no idea what that meant. Now I see that it’s everything.

      • Oh yeah, and I was hired by directors too, as an actor. Everyone knew my story, I made no secret about it. But most people simply did not care about that, and in fact, they thought it was all really interesting, what they knew about me and my activism, and how this all came about.

        The ONLY community that had any issue with my history and factored that in on all counts, was the mental health community, including the advocacy and activism world, and I’m serious about that.

        I have trouble no trouble whatsoever navigating the world on my sleeve. However, the mental health world is an entirely different matter, in this regard. It’s just so obvious that the stigma and discrimination starts and ends with the mental health field. Insanity.

        • Thanks, bpd, and it’s true what you say, the responses to this film have been eye-opening for me, and it certainly supports the premise of the film, so I know it is truth, which is extremely gratifying.

          It was embraced by a lot of people and the screenings were riveting. A lot of people in and out of the system really loved it and felt it was both groundbreaking and timeless, which is why I had been invited to present it to the Dept of Health & Human Services and an audience of over 100. After that, I was offered a series of workshops.

          Then guess what happened? Management nixed it all because they knew I was critical of the system and it would alienate their funders. I was told this directly. I was also made privy to how these grants work, so that’s when I discovered the truth about how professional advocacy works.

          Mostly, though, thanks to the film, because of the invitations I got initially, it guided me to my life transformation, so to me, it’s kind of a magic film. And to still be relevant and alive 4 years after having completed it is the best validation of all.

          I was also invited to submit it to MIA film fest and then it was not accepted, after all. I asked for feedback continually, because I was a bit surprised by this, I thought it would add to the discussion, this present time perspective, the voice of survivors. Plus, it was purely my self-advocacy, the only way I could get my voice heard. But I could never get the feedback. So, really I’m not sure what I’m doing here!

          • Correction: I want to say more accurately–the voiceS of survivors. We we bring together diversity in perspectives, but all from the survivors’ narratives, exclusively. We are not of one voice, but instead, a choir of voices. I believe we provide harmony in our film, from this diversity. This is what I am advocating, and it seems what is most challenging to achieve in this ‘movement.’

          • Alex,
            Surely your film is one that should be seen more than once and I’m going to watch it again . I didn’t know it was not accepted at the MIA film fest but I couldn’t afford to go to it anyway . Maybe if you resubmit it next time they may accept it. Definitely your experience and viewpoint is needed here at MIA . BTW someone is asking you a question at Sera Davidow’s last blog in case you haven’t seen it.
            Best Wishes
            Fred

          • Alex, does this film have a title, and can it be accessed online? If it can’t be accessed online, can it be ordered? I’m just not sure what film you guys are referring to, and I’d like to know more about it. I’d like, in fact, to see it for myself if possible.

          • Here you go, Voices That Heal–

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtDGxJWmj5w

            Fyi, ‘stigma’ is the central theme, but I feel it goes deeper than that, and re-claims it from the politics of it all. I believe we apply it with relevance. Plus, this was the theme for the speaker bureau, so it was the only way I could have gotten away with using their platform to get these voices heard.

            Fred, Thanks for the vote of confidence. I’m done with submitting it anywhere, that was not a pleasant experience, to be perfectly honest. It did get picked up by Culture Unplugged for two of their film festivals and is archived there, which is extremely gratifying because I didn’t even go to them, they saw it on YouTube and contacted me. I enjoy having it on YouTube so anyone can access it, and it can be shared easily.

            Thanks also for the heads up on the other blog. I had not seen this and will check it out now.

          • Fred and all, have you seen the trailer to our new film? Callled Dreamcatchers Follies: Music for the Ages. A band I play with performs for residents of an assisted living facility, it’s fun stuff, and totally in the healing realm. My film partner, with whom I made VTH, are co-producing, directing, and editing this. Nice to be focused on music and joy for a change! Check it out–

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khwFWx75m94

          • People love to talk about themselves, don’t they? I can understand your movie not being approved for the film festival. I wouldn’t show this sort of thing either. I can remember this sort of confessional event being put on by a local MHA for mental health day, or whatever. I don’t see those kind of things as particularly helpful, although perhaps they might prove harmful in one way or another.

            First, this belief in “mental illness” that is so fundamentally a part of your film, I don’t share. Second, such a belief is the kind of thing that puts and keeps people on debilitating psych-drugs. If, in other words, you’re looking for sympathy, look elsewhere. There are, as they say, “Professionals for that kind thing.” Etc. Etc.

            “Stigma” is one thing, but self-“stigma”, please, count me out. I would prefer a film featuring psychiatric survivors, if enough of them could be said to exist anymore. A mental patient (i.e. psychiatric non-survivor) film, nope, I’m not so interested in that sort of thing. Mental patient, the career option, doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.

            People with mental disorders

            Empirical research on stigma associated with mental disorders, pointed to a surprising attitude of the general public. Those who were told that mental disorders had a genetic basis were more prone to increase their social distance from the mentally ill, and also to assume that the ill were dangerous individuals, in contrast with those members of the general public who were told that the illnesses could be explained by social and environment factors. Furthermore, those informed of the genetic basis were also more likely to stigmatize the entire family of the ill. Although the specific social categories that become stigmatized can vary over time and place, the three basic forms of stigma (physical deformity, poor personal traits, and tribal outgroup status) are found in most cultures and eras, leading some researchers to hypothesize that the tendency to stigmatize may have evolutionary roots.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_stigma

            If it’s not genetic, in other words, it must be psycho-social and, therefore, potentially ephemeral. Mental patient, the career option, is a way for our country once again to head into major economic turmoil, and eventual collapse. Some psychiatrist says, “You’ve got a ‘major mental disorder’.” Perhaps it would be better to take such pronouncements with a grain of salt. As they say about other upsets of one sort or another in life, “Get over it.”

          • My goodness, Frank, a little respect for people isn’t too much to ask, is it? Or perhaps it is. That’s why there is no dialogue here, there is no heart. This is not a safe space, sorry to say.

          • Perhaps I spoke too soon, Alex. I’m still watching the movie. I see that it includes much that I wasn’t expecting and, so, yes, maybe I was a little rash. You aren’t the usual pill peddling mental health professional. Thank you for that. I don’t want to prejudice your movie. Let me finish watching it, and we will see what I think. Sorry if I spoke too soon.

          • And furthermore, if your attitude and lack of sensitivity and empathy is representative of this community, then I cannot endorse MIA in any way shape or form. I may as well be talking to someone in the mental health system. It’s quite disheartening.

          • Ok, I appreciate the retraction. I reacted emotionally, too. I guess we all have our triggers around here! Who doesn’t?

            Anyway, I look forward to hearing your perspective when you’ve gotten to the end of it. I appreciate honest feedback, but please keep in mind that this was my heart and soul, not at all easy to do. I was IN the system and got OFF all drugs. I do natural healing, and I hate the system and psychiatry. I’ve moved way forward and it’s all behind me. I’m here to share what I’ve learned for the benefit of others, that’s all. I thought people knew that about me by now, but I don’t mind repeating it if it clarifies my purpose for being here.

          • Sorry about my previous post, Alex. You are right about the need for respect and sensitivity. I shouldn’t have been so callous. I watched the movie through, and my feelings are somewhat too mixed for me to comment a great deal on it. It had good points, and it had bad points. I certainly don’t want you to blame MIA for my initial reaction. I’m not MIA. I certainly wasn’t trying to stifle dialogue, and so, please, don’t feel put off by what I said.

          • Alright, I understand you reacted rashly and I do appreciate your acknowledgment here. I put that caveat because I’ve read your views on stigma and I know how you feel about that.

            What you say is par for the course for this particular audience (MIA). I’ve gotten some unilateral praise on it from a few, but mostly it is what you are saying, a mixed bag. So in a way, that does seem to be the dominant energy around here. Which is fine, I always appreciate candor. I’m glad there’s at least partly a resonance.

            The film has had a variety of audiences (first cut was 2011, this is a 2014 slight re-edit), and fortunately for my ego, all have been extremely favorable—all except for the mental health system clinicians, and MIA staff and film jury. That’s pretty clear cut. Most reviews have been highly favorable. So, take from that what you will. I have my own feelings and perception about this.

            Aside from it bringing some truth to light in my family, when nothing else would, and creating some much needed family healing, this film changed my life dramatically for the better to speak my truth this way, and to offer a platform for others to do the same. I sent an e-blast to the speaker bureau, and these are the folks that responded. We did not coordinate, everyone is speaking their truth, from their space and time in life and experience. It’s all real time.

            I don’t know how to respond when there is any judgment placed at all on the film, or on what any of us say (right vs wrong, good vs bad, etc). I thought it was neutral, just us sharing for the purpose of encouraging others to speak their truths and own their healing.

            Many people have said, “This is light.” That would be my intention, to bring light, from our heart’s truth. Does that make any sense at all to people on this website? I may be speaking a different language, I don’t know.

            For me, the film is about the human heart and spirit, and my hope is that people hear and see it this way, from their heart, a celebration of the human spirit, as we stand on our own two feet owning our lives with enthusiasm, after all we’ve been through. My intention was for it to be an example of hope and courage. To me, this is a powerful indicator of healing.

            Thanks for watching and commenting, Frank. Much appreciated.

          • And, I was on disability at the time, in mega-expensive San Francisco, and I managed to get this done by the skin of my teeth, with no resources of which to speak. So I think it’s a good example of what we can achieve when we focus and trust.

  2. Let’s all please keep in mind that when we are sharing our personal information we are making ourselves vulnerable in order to heal ourselves and to encourage others and share what we know, think, and feel. And so many of us do this as a voluntary community service, there is no $$ involved.

    For me, it’s a choice to participate, because I think it’s important and I’ve learned my fair share in the process which I know is of value to others. If you don’t like it, I take no offense, and there is no reason to dialogue, unless you want to have one for clarity or perhaps to see if we can have a meeting of the minds. But I’m no longer doing this for myself, this is my volunteer work. My life is full, I’m not looking for anything here, other than to share. If it’s not a safe and reasonably pleasant experience, then there is no reason for me to be draining my energy as such.

    Healing is very hard work, and there is no payment received for doing that particular work. We have to rely on the kindness and generosity of the universe, which I do, and it never lets me down. People, however, are a different matter, I find myself constantly disappointed. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

    I do wish an awakening would occur around all this, of one kind or another. How can we find that delicate balance between truth and empathy? Somewhere along the line, we just have to own our stuff, and quit dumping it on others. It’s hard to make changes, but what else to do? Otherwise, it’s just a downward spiral, of this I’m certain.