Why is the Field of Psychotherapy Still Fractured into Different Approaches?

Psychotherapy is dominated by contradicting schools of thought, exhibits a gap between research and practice, and repackages old ideas rather than finding clinical consensus.

Micah Ingle, MA
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A recent article published in American Psychologist examines barriers to consensus clinical research and training among psychotherapists. Psychotherapists occupy many different schools of thought on how to best practice therapy. Additionally, there is a gap between research and actual clinical work, and new research and ideas often repackage older ones in an obsession with the “new.” Marvin R. Goldfried explores these challenges in-depth and offers solution-oriented commentary.

“From early on, the field of psychotherapy has been characterized by the proliferation of different schools of thought to explain how people change, starting with Freud’s followers’ splitting off to develop their own varying approaches. Moreover, in a survey of over 2,000 clinicians, it was found that the vast majority of them followed more than a single theoretical approach. This tendency toward proliferation has continued over the years, and a recent estimate is that there are now over 500 different schools of thought,” explains Dr. Marvin R. Goldfried.

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Psychotherapists have never fully agreed on a single approach to therapeutic practice. To this day, a therapist may practice a psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, or an integrative/eclectic form of therapy, among others. Additionally, there is a great deal of in-fighting between schools of thought, with waning and waxing claims about which is most effective.

Some researchers suggest that therapeutic modality is not as important as certain key factors, known as “common factors”: therapeutic alliance, empathy, expectations, cultural adaptation, and therapist differences. Others continue to debate whether psychotherapists should adopt a singular, evidence-based model.

The current article examines existing barriers to a scientific consensus about the therapeutic practice and offers commentary. Dr. Marvin R. Goldfried argues that there is an attachment to different schools of thought, that there is still a significant gap between clinical research and clinical practice, and that psychotherapy research often ignores older findings to promote what is “new.” These obstacles present a challenge to establishing a scientific psychotherapy paradigm. Dr. Goldfried believes that the field of psychotherapy is stuck in a “pre-paradigmatic” state and offers commentary on how these issues can be remedied. 

“In a survey of prominent therapists who were interested in having the field move away from having separate competing schools of therapy, the absence of a common language was indicated as one of the major obstacles in reaching a rapprochement. In addition, the respondents indicated that egocentric self-centered colleagues, the institutionalization of schools, short-sighted training programs, and inadequate research on the integration of the psychotherapies served as additional barriers.”

Dr. Goldfried lists three core problems in establishing a solid scientific core for therapeutic practice. The first problem is disagreement across theoretical orientations, which has been an issue for therapists since the beginning days of Freudian theory and its many offshoots and competing schools, such as behaviorism. Goldfried calls for a move from “theoretical orientations” to “principles of change.” He cites commonalities between psychodynamic and behavioral understandings of how an individual can become less overwhelmed by fearful circumstances through experience. Despite these schools’ differences, he argues for a “middle level of abstraction”—between theory and technique—which focuses on the common ground among the orientations.

“Thus, common principles, rather than the more abstract theoretical orientation or specific techniques, is where we may find consensus across schools of therapy. The specific intervention techniques may be thought of as methods of implementing a given principle. Moreover, some techniques may empirically be found to be more effective than others, depending on the nature of the clinical problem and characteristics of the client. Furthermore, as an alternative to a given school of thought, general principles of change may be used as a starting point for research, practice, and training.”

Goldfried notes five evidence-based principles which could unite different schools of thought: 

  • Promoting client expectation and motivation that therapy can help,
  • Establishing an optimal therapeutic alliance,
  • Facilitating client awareness of the factors associated with his or her difficulties,
  • Encouraging the client to engage in corrective experiences and
  • Emphasizing ongoing reality testing in the client’s life.

These principles, he argues, can constitute a bridge between different schools of therapeutic practice, bypassing higher-level theoretical differences and lower level technique-oriented differences.

The second problem Goldfried explores is the “gap between research and practice.” Many clinical researchers do not practice therapy, and many therapists do not keep up to date with the clinical literature. Goldfried suggests an integration of in-the-trenches clinical insights into the research process, allowing clinical experience to inform clinical research. Citing sociology, he notes the difference between “problem finders” and “problem solvers.” He argues that a closer relationship between the two is necessary, such that psychotherapists (problem solvers) be involved in clinical research and that a “two-way” orientation to the dissemination of scientific findings be established.

Many initiatives aim to achieve this goal, such as “practice research networks,” which emphasize collaboration between clinicians and researchers in formulating and conducting clinical research. Goldfried argues that these and similar movements are a necessary remedy. Also, he emphasizes the importance of scientist-practitioner training in graduate schools, with clinical professors serving as supervisors and models for this informed approach, rather than the patchwork of inconsistent levels of evidence-based training which exists currently.

The third problem that Goldfried highlights is the need to integrate past and current findings in psychotherapy research, rather than the exclusive obsession with “new” data. Science can mistakenly privilege novelty over consolidation and integration, as researchers search for the “next big thing.” Goldfried argues for an emphasis on new “knowledge” rather than new “approaches to treatment.” He suggests researchers focus on bottom-up, process-oriented findings related to what works in therapy, rather than who is right about clinical effectiveness, which serves to further separate different schools of orientation. This would be a move from “who” to “how.”

Goldfried suggests several practical options in bridging this gap. He states that the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative may assist here by emphasizing “translational research” focused on developing research for direct clinical utility. The RDoC also aspires to study “basic psychological processes as negative valence systems (e.g., anxiety, loss), positive valance systems (e.g., the expectancy of obtaining a reward, reward evaluation), and cognitive systems (e.g., working memory, performance monitoring). This can provide an orientation to a more bottom-up approach, compared to research conducted on preexisting notions of psychological disorders or entrenched theoretical constructs.

“Consequently, research that addresses more clinically relevant and focal dimensions such as emotional dysregulation, perfectionism, self-criticism, and the like have the potential for shifting our focus to cutting-edge information that has clear implications for what to treat with psychotherapy and the potentially effective ways to do it.”

Furthermore, Goldfried advises changes in editorial policy among psychology journals to reward integration as opposed to reinventing past insights, as well as suggesting something like a research search engine with a built-in “thesaurus” which would consolidate different languaging of similar phenomena, to better survey existing research literature.

Goldfried concludes, noting the uphill nature of the battle:

“Even with the suggestions for what might potentially help us remove these barriers, the reality is that these obstacles may not be easily overcome. There are many in the field who will continue to do what they had learned to do in the past and may be resistant to change. Real change may require changes in the graduate school curriculum, where new professionals can be trained to think about and work toward obtaining a consensus in the field.”

 

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Goldfried, M. R. (2019). Obtaining consensus in psychotherapy: What holds us back?. American Psychologist, 74(4), 484-496. (Link)

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Micah Ingle, MA
MIA Research News Team: Micah Ingle is a doctoral student in Psychology: Consciousness and Society at the University of West Georgia. He has published on therapeutic approaches centering the person-in-context, as opposed to the individualizing medical model, and on the characteristics of people high in empathy. His current interests include the intersection of sociopolitical/economic structures and mental health, individualism in psychology, gender, liberation psychology, and mythopoetic perspectives inspired by Jungian thought.

57 COMMENTS

  1. My experience with “psychotherapists” is they do share a belief system. They believe in defaming people with the DSM “bible” stigmatizations, they demand people be neurotoxic poisoned with the psychiatric drugs, and they deny and cover up child abuse and rape on a massive societal scale. And the latter has been the primary actual societal function of the psychological industry for over a century.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo

    But covering up child abuse and rape is also the primary actual societal function of the psychiatrists, and all DSM believers, by DSM design.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    Perhaps our “mental health” workers should all decide to get out of the child abuse and rape covering up business, since covering up child abuse is criminal behavior? And since the “mental health” and social workers’ systemic aiding, abetting, and empowering of the pedophiles is destroying our country, and all of Western civilization.

    https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT

    https://community.healthimpactnews.com/topic/4576/america-1-in-child-sex-trafficking-and-pedophilia-cps-and-foster-care-are-the-pipelines

  2. Micah,

    Thank you for this article. I think the idea of coming up with Principles of Change has potential, especially if the “corrective experiences” include the trauma therapies like Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy which help patients integrate and resolve trauma by enabling their bodies to release the energy that was trapped in the body and to complete the orienting and defensive responses that were truncated and cut off at the time of the trauma.

    We have to be careful with the use of “evidence-based practice”. If by “evidence-based”, we mean practices which are supported by research which uses manualized, strictly controlled therapeutic protocols, many useful approaches which involve moment-to-moment adjustments based on what is going on in the session and which involve helping patients have experiences which couldn’t be manualized or strictly controlled are going to be left out. As psychologist Louis Wynne says, “Psychotherapy is not an experimental variable”.

    Also, I don’t think the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) is going to be very useful in this effort. The NIMH is still focused on finding the physiological substrates and explanation for mental illnesses. It is spending 80 percent of its $1.3 billion annual budget on studying the brain and interventions at the level of the brain, i.e. psychiatric drugs, electroshock and other psychosurgeries. That is a tragic waste of resources that is not likely to help human beings very much in the foreseeable future. NIMH should be spending much more money on studying the mind, emotions, intentions, perceptions and behavior of human beings. It should be using phenomenology, i,e. the study of human experience, to study psychotherapeutic approaches which help patients learn how to use their thoughts, feelings, intentions, perception and behavior to live more the way they want to live, to love the way they want to love and express themselves the way they want to express themselves. That the NIMH is wasting so much money should be anathema to psychotherapists. Those who are leaders in the Psychotherapy Project should be raising hell about it. Here is how Thomas Insel, Executive Director of NIMH for 13 years, put it: “I spent 13 years at NIMH really pushing on the neuroscience and genetics of mental disorders, and when I look back on that I realize that while I think I succeeded at getting lots of really cool papers published by cool scientists at fairly large costs – I think $20 billion – I don’t think we moved the needle in reducing suicide, reducing hospitalizations, improving recovery for the tens of millions of people who have mental illness.” The new RdOC approach that NIMH is pursuing is not going to make any appreciable difference in this tragedy.

    • Al, you wrote,
      “trauma therapies like Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy which help patients integrate and resolve trauma by enabling their bodies to release the energy that was trapped in the body and to complete the orienting and defensive responses that were truncated and cut off at the time of the trauma.”

      This is a style of therapy. Are we not just theorizing that “energy was trapped in the body”?
      If we theorize, there is a possibility of it hurting a client, no?
      Possibly those “defenses” that the client uses are what is holding them up?
      It all sounds lovely, as if the theory is something sound. I find myself and others much to complicated to dare to have a theory or practice one.
      I touch on it, simply out of curiosity.

    • Hello Al Galves, you write this with what seems to be a clear understanding of mechanism:
      “Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy which help patients integrate and resolve trauma by enabling their bodies to release the energy that was trapped in the body and to complete the orienting and defensive responses that were truncated and cut off at the time of the trauma.”

      Are there one or two articles or papers or authors you can point me to to read a bit more? I am looking for informed guidance through the list that a Google search brings up. Who/what should I read?

      The idea makes sense to me in that in the experience of hearing voices I use a simple NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) technique to identify/interrupt the point at which my monitoring system “Orients my defense responses” to a ‘problem’ that voices have presented – and then to control my response to ‘completion’. The ‘problem’ may be as mild as distraction from what I am doing, or frustration at incessant pestering or as an extreme example, fear in response to a threat voices have made. These are all physical responses to information in context… for which there is no ‘good’ path to the completion of that state of defensive readiness. What I want to do is obliterate voices with a baseball bat (the path that will soothe me or complete the defense) to prevent it happening again, ever – it’s just that I can’t reach them. Because I can’t reach them or walk away from voices (The Catch 22)… the alternative courses of action require me to stifle natural responses in some way. And since voices keep pestering, frustration builds up – along with the chemistry that creates the emotion ‘frustrated’ – which cannot be ‘released’ by an available information/cognitive outcome or state. That defensive readiness becomes chronic stress.

      The NLP technique is interrupt/replace and I do simply interrupt the process very early and replace my train of thought with something that I control to mitigate the problem, going so far as to pre-empt voices so that I certainly easily avoid a fear response (the extreme). Irritation at distraction is less easily solved.

      I go a couple of steps further in preventive mode to mitigate the problem:
      – I the in the moment technique (interrupt/replace) to mitigate the extent of pointless ‘defense readiness chemistry’ that isn’t converted by physical activity of fight/flight (?presumably the ‘trapping’). I am very well practiced at replacing the flow of information with something amusing to create ‘good’ chemistry – I ‘complete’ the flow by turning the story around to something that ‘soothes’ and play games with it.
      – I condition my body using breathing exercises for just a few minutes a day (in practice breathing a little differently quickly becomes a habit) which changes the threshold of irritation at which I actively interrupt
      – I scope out the one or two events in my day that really matter and play them through in my mind in the shower in the morning so that what voices have to say about those events is pre-emptively made irrelevant (i.e. I create the conditions in which voice chatter is less likely to become a nuisance or problem AND in which each event is more likely to have a successful outcome)

      I am still left with the irritation of a ‘spoiler effect’ – voices just being a nuisance – it may seem like a minor residual effect, but when you ask yourself “Do I have to tolerate this for another thirty years?”, a ‘yes’ answer is not a “good” path to completion. This is not a problem in a single event, but every two to three weeks or so the inability to properly take action against VOICES catches up.

      Again, I just make a pre-emptive habit of venting anger deliberately by walking outside, yelling at voices and coming back in to carry on as usual. It may seem silly – but it seems obvious to me that unless I find a way to dispose of that ‘defensive readiness’ pre-emptively, it will spill over onto something else in my day… about 2-3 weeks after my last venting, lol. I am so predictable.

      • Al… I have found your website, so skip the question about who I should read, lol.
        And… I have only now realized the significance of your use of the word “orienting” and how important it is in establishing a path to completion of the defense. And prevention of the next attack.

        It sits at the center of the problem with ‘voices’:
        – located out of reach, invisible… and from whom we cannot escape (from which we form beliefs about what/who they are)
        – acting to interfere and intervene: observing/spying, commenting on, commanding, disagreeing and all manner of other disrespectful behaviors whilst asserting knowledge that they have that we do not…. all forms of establishing ‘power’ in a relationship (from which we make inferences about voice capability)
        – escalating that experience of being ‘observed’ into omniscience and omnipotence, positions from which claims of intervention in our world (i.e. an ‘alternative’ reality in which we humans do not have control) seem more credible. (From which we make inferences about voice intent/intention).

        Little wonder that our defenses are “oriented” towards ‘voices’ and ‘trapped’ in a Catch 22 situation where no ‘completing’ or soothing action addresses the origin (or orientation of the source).

        I am busy writing this up – thank you for that language.

        • Greg,

          Sensorimotor Psychotherapy was developed by Pat Ogden and people around her. It comes out of the work of Ron Kurtz, a little-known psychotherapist who wrote what I think is the best book I know of on psychotherapy: “Body-centered psychotherapy: The Hakomi approach”. Reading books by Pat Ogden will give one a good grounding in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, especially her latest one entitled “Sensorimotor Psychotherapy”. That is a monster work with lots of detail and practical methodology.

        • Hi Al,
          Yes I know HVN – I lived in New York for some time and was very active in the hearing voices community as a trained Hearing Voices support group facilitator. I have met Marius Romme and I have co-presented with Jacqui Dillon in NYC. It was at HVN Support Groups in NYC for two years that I had the opportunity to test my own models for understanding the experience – which is based on a functional model of mind – I see we share a passion for the idea that we need to understand mind first, then brain. I am writing up something on this idea and will share it with you at the email address you have given above, in a few weeks. You might find it interesting since we have a clear overlap in thinking. I have twenty plus hours of video on YouTube in which I talk about how phenomenology shapes experience. I have shaped the strategies that I use as tools that anyone can learn to use and organize them in a recovery framework that creates the conditions for success.

          Thanks for pointing me to Pat Ogden – I will definitely read up on Sensorimotor Therapy.

    • Al Galves’ comment ” (We) should be spending much more money on studying the mind, emotions, intentions, perceptions and behavior of human beings. It should be using phenomenology, i,e. the study of human experience, to study psychotherapeutic approaches which help patients learn how to use their thoughts, feelings, intentions, perception and behavior to live more the way they want to live, to love the way they want to love and express themselves the way they want to express themselves” could well be an advertisement for the practice of NLP.

      I see many parallels in concept, thinking and even language. I guess there are many, many overlaps between ‘psychological approaches’, more commonalities than Goldfried’s list of five seems to suggest:
      Promoting client expectation and motivation that therapy can help,
      Establishing an optimal therapeutic alliance,
      Facilitating client awareness of the factors associated with his or her difficulties,
      Encouraging the client to engage in corrective experiences and
      Emphasizing ongoing reality testing in the client’s life.

      These are about process, not psychological theory, or theory of how the mind works, supported by physiology.

      We seem to be doing something back to front – if we understand mind, we might make better sense of the physiology that creates mind, rather than working from physiology and brain structure to try and understand distress… which is a natural (not disordered or dysfunctional) process of mind.

      • Greg, you write “We seem to be doing something back to front – if we understand mind, we might make better sense of the physiology that creates mind, rather than working from physiology and brain structure to try and understand distress… which is a natural (not disordered or dysfunctional) process of mind.” I totally and wholeheartedly agree with this.

  3. Thank you for the article.
    It is of interest that name calling goes on about colleagues as “egocentric”, “self centered”.
    Perhaps there would be little gap if therapy itself was not research. Often clients don’t feel connection to any certain style, or the therapist, and I think it has a LOT to do with the therapist trying to follow a certain style, by either following clinical research, or flying by the seat of his pants.
    I think they should focus a lot less on “language” and interpretations thereof.
    People like to work with a therapist, but the therapist has to be careful not to drag his theoretical or researched approaches into it, without a grain of salt.
    Every parent wants to impart their gathered wisdom to their kids as “truth”. Every friend wants to impart their wisdom to a friend in need.
    Often it is not relative to the listener, and much depends on delivery.
    I found that my kids have gathered more wisdom than I have.
    Therapists should have innate understandings of themselves, life, and the possibility of themselves being completely wrong.
    I think often, the client themselves become an object in a research kind of way.
    I have felt it like an intrusion by a stranger. As soon as I feel that set of beliefs about how I should or could be, and that the therapists theories are correct, therein is a gap.
    I think therapists borrow from psychiatry too much. Perhaps that is part of the problem.
    Don’t do so much theory, a bit more mensch.

    • “Therapists should have innate understandings of themselves, life, and the possibility of themselves being completely wrong.”

      You said a mouthful there! Success of “therapy” of any type has a lot more to do with the qualities and attitudes of the therapist than what “school” they subscribe to. In my experience, the very best counselors have no commitment to any particular approach, and do instead whatever works for their client. But such therapists are rarer than hen’s teeth!

      • Yes Steve,

        I suppose I am too aware that I am one big fruitcake going to another fruitcake to learn. I get my intelligence or lack of it insulted quite easily.
        I am quite aware of my state and aware that I am not aware. It is when I meet someone else, and I come to a fear that they are not aware that they are not aware. LOL.
        I guess that is part of the reason I found it most cathartic to talk to a crow, we both assumed that neither one of us understood the other, not that I should assume what the crow thinks.
        I realize that humans seem to have great difficulty communicating, I still have not figured out why this is so. I mean all is well if I get someone’s drift, but mostly we are off on our own little spaceships. Or perhaps it’s me.
        And you know, perhaps it’s the same within other animals. Maybe all the honking, chirping and growling is not so perfect.
        I always wondered why Eckhart said that ducks were peaceful. Because I study nature, and don’t get an impression that it’s utopia as long as there is plenty of safety and food. I have no clue if one duck is unhappy due to it’s placement.
        Perhaps we go about it all wrong?
        Why not the idea that it’s miserable to be happy? Run with that perhaps, reverse psychology. I shall write a book I think, “Loving your misery” “how to be the perfect curmudgeon and be crazy happy” 🙂
        I mean instead of a lifelong search for something in all the wrong places, and knowing that the problem lies within and without and an ugly realization that ultimately living is my responsibility, or so the “not playing the victim” school rule goes.
        That rule is well and good, it still has no answers for those unable to understand, such as the little kids.
        And I regret that on websites, where adults gather to listen to themselves, there is an absence of reality, which is also about the kids here now, and coming along, who are growing into some ADHD or OPD, ABC, DFG, XYZ, just because some crazy azzed cretin entitled from the get go, entitled by his accidental, incidental ‘choices’, to try his neuropsychiatry on Johnny.
        Anywho, it’s scary.
        And yeah, I’m still just little myself. Arrested development and all that, yet with grown up decisions I am supposed to make with few giving me slack.
        Well, I guess my kids give me a lot of slack.

      • That’s a great way to put it, Al. We have to be willing to not know and to sit with the person we’re helping and feel their discomfort and pain and despair and not run away from it. Even if we don’t know how to help, knowing that we’re willing to confront the situation with them and NOT try to “make them better” in and of itself is the core of actual helpfulness. And if a possible solution then DOES emerge, both know that it’s a real possibility rather than something you cooked up to make yourself feel better.

      • Yep Al,
        It’s difficult for people to connect. It could be as simple as pheromones lol.
        Perhaps we should start using smelly chemicals to create an atmosphere.
        I never understood the office element.
        I know they tried over time to simulate a home environment, and perhaps people could bring their own blankets or pillows lol.
        But you understand? It’s like, I don’t want an appointment to “talk”. I think myself as well as others, well we go off on tangents where we are introspective, possibly filled with grandiose ideas, or a sourpuss angry mood, and to really get people, we would have to see them in their element, maybe canoeing, gardening, engrossed in martyr ideas what have you.
        Of course that is not possible, the wallet is not made for that and people have other things to do.
        I often think we are “stuck”. I mean society is. I think it’s about too much talk and too little action, but we were told that talk and meds were the answer.
        And I am guilty of no action and all talk, but hey, a shrink gets to talk with no action and gets paid for it. 🙂

  4. What I find fascinating is that in the entire article, getting feedback or information from the actual clients is never mentioned once. Perhaps that’s the real reason clinicians can’t get together – they’re aiming as usual at the wrong target.

    Maybe we start with asking clients what or whom they find helpful, then find out what those people do that the clients find of value. Nah, too simple and effective…

  5. “So in order to be a good psychologist, they need to be antipsychiatry. But I didn’t see that mentioned, either.”
    Anomie, so true

    As of late I have a ‘need’ to seek out a person. I don’t want to use the word “therapist”.
    I have looked at countless sites and profiles. I have typed into google every phrase word and combination I can think of, one of them being “anti-psychiatry”.
    It is fascinating as to what is NOT out there lol.
    I have called a few, and only have a few questions for them. I interview via phone. One can distinguish much from voice, tone, the tiny hesitations.
    I encountered a few anti-psychiatry, yet there were other aspects to the things they said that simply made it uninviting.
    The darn egos of ours. Mine and theirs, not a good mix.

    It is akin to finding someone as marriage/partnership material.

    • I think it is much easier to describe and work with the idea of mental “wellness” than it is to think in the language of distress or illness. We would be better off using the services of a life coach than a therapist, particularly one who is trained in neuro linguistic programming (NLP) which specifically puts the emphasis on solutions – on achieving desirable outcomes by working WITH the mind. It seems to me that therapy puts the focus on a problem, defined in many ‘plausible’ (vs evidence based) hypotheses… without an understanding of the mechanism (vs therapeutic relationship) for solving the problem.

      NLP actually uses a model of the functional mind to help people recognize the flow of information in the mind with techniques to interrupt and change the flow of information to create better experiences and outcomes. It builds self confidence and improves one’s attitude to and relationship with the world.

      Even the five factors that Godfried identifies as having potential to unite across theories apply to life coaching (though are not sufficient in my opinion).

      Wellness has the advantage of being holistic and focusing on the big picture – it is amazing how many ‘problems of distress’ can simply vanish in the reframing of problem/solution that sets one off on a completely different path or tack.

    • “It is akin to finding someone as marriage/partnership material.”

      Actually, I think you have made a very good point. Finding someone you’re compatible enough with to like their company and trust their judgements/wisdom is a monumental task, and not one that can be accomplished with just a phone screening aside from weeding out the truly bad apples.

      But in our insurance based system, finding someone you can afford to see and whom you mesh well enough with to really form a therapeutic relationship is Herculean, and rather unlikely.

      The people who have helped me most were not involved directly with the mental health system. When I was younger, the actual helpers included a catholic priest (I’m not even catholic!) and an art therapist.

      The idea that most people in need of help are also able to effectively shop around for that help is a very privileged concept!

  6. I can’t disagree with a word. Anyone who is any good as a counselor/therapist that I’ve ever known is totally opposed to the DSM and the psychiatric worldview. Not all are actively antipschiatry, but they all recognize that the idea of “mental disorders” and “disorders of the brain” are crap.

  7. We have about 40-50 years of research on what the common factors in successful therapy are. Researcher/practitioners like Dave miller, Barry Duncan, and Andrew Solovey have done great research, based on client feedback, regarding common factors that predict successful therapy results. They tackle issues such as the Dodo effect and how to adapt therapy approaches to the uniqueness of the client. It is sad that the field is addicted to “selling” particular modes of therapy, rather than wrestling, as these guys have, with what works.

    • Well, they based their research on client feedback! No wonder no one pays attention – who cares what the CLIENTS think helps? We’d rather engage in mutual pseudoscientific banter about stuff we don’t understand, rather than actually asking the end user what s/he thinks. Then we might actually have to CHANGE what we do!

  8. Any “therpeutic practice” or “modality” is a limited program because it does not take into account unique differences in people in a positive and validating way. That unique difference, so often feared, condemned, and marginalized, is our truth and our power. Client and therapist are mirrors of one another, that’s always a good starting point.

    There is no formula for personal growth and raising awareness. Every human being on the planet has their own process for this, and life brings us opportunities daily to grow in patience, trust, clarity, compassion, and personal power, on our own terms. We all have the capacity to be our own guide, healer, teacher, etc. It’s a matter of tapping into that inner power, owning it outright, and engaging it daily. This is a transformative self-healing practice which empowers one for life and can be paid forward in a variety of ways to create positive social change at the core.

    • Hi Alex – There are principles of change that will challenge the statement “There is no formula for personal growth and raising awareness”. Having done work in both life coaching and leadership coaching, there are models that frame a process of personal growth (based on behavioral and change management theories) that frame a process of enacting changes that are subsequently confirmed as progress – because they have been defined as the progress a person seeks. As in psychotherapy, there are ‘too many’ models for coaching and picking one that fits client need is often more about choosing a coach who ‘resonates’, which can mean trust, approach, reputation or any number of things. In practice the match up of client to process/theory is not a one to one relationship – there are many alternatives for one client.

      In therapy- the problems are more often defined in predetermined frameworks, a diagnostic of the as is, in the language of the therapist. In coaching, the ‘problem’ is reframed as an opportunity in the language of the client. In both, the framing of the objectives has some bearing on the theory / practice applied, I hope.

  9. I tend to give so-called “psychotherapy” a pass a compared to psychiatry, primarily because it is not a term with any consistent meaning, and unlike psychiatry, “psychotherapists” do not uniformly postulate the existence of “mental disease.” Sometimes people can and do benefit from counseling labeled “psychotherapy” without being psychiatrically labeled, and some of those who practice under its banner are people of integrity, intelligence and compassion. Such people don’t focus so much on the “therapy” aspect of the term, and understand that the comparison to actual physical therapy is metaphorical. For this reason I tend to roll my eyes at the semantics of the term, but otherwise don’t make a big deal of it.

    However, there are many who portray themselves as “psychotherapists” who are hand-in-glove with psychiatry, and see themselves as part of the medical milieu. I believe some can even prescribe drugs. (Anyone know more about this?) They take the “medical model” labels as serious “diagnoses” and in general uphold the worst of psychiatry in a slightly different guise.

    For this reason, just as MIA is gradually learning to put quotation marks around “mental illness,” we should start weaning ourselves from the notion of “psychotherapy.” Personal counseling, no matter how useful, is not “therapy” in any literal sense, and while reasonable people can understand the term as a figure of speech, it will nonetheless continue to be exploited by psychiatry and psychiatrically-centered “psychotherapists.” I appreciate poetic speech as much as anyone but, push-come-to-shove, one’s mind is not subject to “therapy” any more than it is to “treatment”; you can’t give a mind a massage.

    • The problem with any of these is that they overwork the brain and keep it in a state of chronic rumination with only a vague sense of present time, at best. This, in turn, keeps things status quo, like a hamster wheel–aka the matrix. Peace of mind and freedom from the matrix go hand in hand, one follows the other.

    • I absolutely agree. As a clinical social worker for 35 years, and an ex-psychiatric patient from my teen years, I’ve come to think of “counseling” or “therapy” as consulting – trying to put our heads together, combining what the clients (I don’t care for the term “patient”) knows about themselves with whatever i have learned that might be helpful to them. The client ultimately needs to be the judge of whether or not I’m helpful, so in order to be helpful they need to “counsel” me about them. DSM labels are of no value in this process.

    • There are at least two states in which psychologists can gain prescribing privileges: Louisiana and New Mexico. There may be more now. I live in New Mexico. In order to get prescribing privileges psychologists have to go through a pretty rigorous training program including an internship with a primary care physician. According to one prescribing psychologist I know, practically all prescribing psychologist turn into junior psychiatrists – seeing patients for 15 minutes and doing nothing more than symptoms checklists and prescriptions.

    • Checking into the etymology of “psychotherapy”. “psyche” means soul, mind, spirit. The first entry for “therapy” is “medical treatment of disease” which is way too medical model for me. But the word comes from the Greek word “therapeuein” which means “attend, do service, take care of”.

      So “psychotherapy” can mean attending to or taking care of the soul. Sounds pretty good to me. The problem is not with the word but with what some people, who use the word to describe what they do, are doing.

      By the way, I recommend Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore.

      • Al Galves wrote: “By the way, I recommend Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore.”

        An interesting book but I do think he overly recommends the use of WD40.

        Greek etymologies are problematic.

        All ancient Greek concepts, of things like healing, and soul and suchlike, are a world apart from what we think they mean. It takes a tremendous effort and self-sacrifice to even begin to try and understand these ancient concepts. And no matter, the best you could hope for is a respected scholarly opinion, and by no means finality.

        In its earliest times psychotherapy was unashamedly the practice of change through hypnotism. All hypnotism is self-hypnotism so those astute at deceiving themselves could boast longlasting results. Most couldn’t, and would require regular assisted top-ups. And so the birth of a new profession.

        There is no such thing as a soul. Taking care of the soul is thus a dreadfully mistaken pursuit or claim to make about one’s uses of hypnotic techniques including the power of suggestion and persuasion. Via the very real brain-based human super-power humbly known as the imagination.

        Psychotherapy as a hypnotic-suggestive engagement with the brain’s power of imagination is so much more realistic and honest and not a need for a soul within sniffing distance. Not that anyone up to this point in mostly cringeworthy human history has so much as snatched the merest whiff of a soul…

        There is nothing fundamentally different between the concept of a soul in sickness and a brain made ill through chemical imbalance. Both are deceptively simplyfying narratives for unimaginably more complex neurological events. Of which we know so little it is dreadful to mention it. So what we do is, we pump it full of air, and give it fancy names and if we hold on tight enough and generate enough wind we can up-up-and-away with the best of them.

        The great thing about souls is that they do not exist, no-one has one, no-one has ever gained one, or lost one, and no-one has ever observed one, and no-one has ever made any meaningful sensible description of what a soul even is. This makes it a very useful term for people of a particular delusion to court the attention and trust of others, that quite enjoy the idea of having a soul, but fall to pieces as soon as they are asked to give some indication of what it is they are so stricken by.

        “It’s, like… a blinding white light that kinda clenches in my heart and-” “Please stop. That’s more than enough.”

        Of course (well, of course!) in the real world I’d get a smack in the face, or worse, for saying this by someone who believed they had a soul, or even someone standing up for the right of others to have something imaginary that other people must not question. Soul, for some, is no more than a synonym for rock-and-roll, or the effect rock music has on them when they look at themselves in dimly lit mirrors, or for being flooded with natural highs, such as dopamine, adrenalin, and opioids.

        Soul for many people simply means, not dead yet.

        I write all this to indicate that a beautiful, interesting thing about psychotherapy is that it is in deep need of psychotherapy. I suppose once psychotherapy has successfully completed its healing journey, it might then be ready to take on the befuddled generations. Or perhaps it would simply vanish. And be replaced by things like The Wise OK Boomer in the Village… The Classic unread Novel serialised by Netflix… carefully selected and edited Proverbs quotes inside Greetings Cards… and friendship unsullied in any way shape or form by technology.

        That last one made me laugh.

        Happy Christmas.

          • “Everyone is broken and without soul.”

            To me that implies suffering, that’s the feeling I get from reading this statement. So do you think we’re doomed? Or is there anything at all that can bring hope for making this world a better place in which to live, so that people don’t go around feeling “broken,” but instead, inspired and motivated to create a more appealing, safe, and supportive social and world environment?

          • Not drawn to the woo, despite unending woo-ness, dreamy disparate non-cohering. Yes, there’s considerable literature, self-proclaimers and entertainers purporting to elucidate the absurdo-wooniverse. Deepens the absurdity.

            All accusations of pseudoscience aimed at modern psychiatry can equally be aimed at New Age dreamy dogma and I see no merit in swapping out pseudoscience for pseudo-woo-ness.

            People do have the basic right to decide which false claims are made about their experiences. If they haven’t broken any law. No-one must impose their woo upon the woo-able. May the people of the woo be free to wish-think their woo as they choose. And may the people of the non-woo remain wholly unwooed.

            To ensure against succumbing to the debasing wonderment of tormenting wooness AKA psychosis, I re-read and read again about cognitive biases and delusions of reference and traumatic brain injuries in children and its deleterious impact on cognitive development and kite-high functioning. Such reminders hold the doctors and the injectors and the cops and the magistrates and the petty beaurocrats and the woo-wand wielding wizards at bay. Yet the hex persists. The woo goes on. It’s an old song.

            Happy Christmas.

          • Thank you for sharing this link, Alex. I think I had to go through that really angry period in order to even be open to this but it’s definitely beginning to resonate on a stronger frequency.

            I finally watched your documentary, too, and really loved it. Great job giving voice to the effected and harmed. Please continue to share the link. The persistence paid off.

          • RR and KS, responding to you both individually in this one post—

            KS, first, thank you so much for watching Voices That Heal and for this affirming and very encouraging comment. I did make this 9 years ago and wondered if it would still have an impact, so I’m really so grateful to read this. It’s amazing to me that it continues to be relevant, we certainly do need to continue using our voices without apology!

            And indeed, I hear you regarding how deep anger can limit our openness, I think that’s a natural human mechanism. Before I went through my second crisis (which is what guided me to finally ditch the psych drugs and, ultimately, the entire mh industry, in favor of soul work), I’d always been peripherally interested in this stuff, but it wasn’t front and center for me, just something interesting to consider and explore. I was a working stiff, 17 years in retail, taking my “meds” dutifully, and living life on Earth purely. My family is total academia, this is complete bullshit to them, so it was not in the slightest part of my upbringing, and in fact, it was demeaned rather aggressively, having nothing to do with me. It was just their way of thinking, which I happened to not internalize, thank goodness!

            But once I started waking up to the ills brought on by psychiatry and the like, I HAD to find a path to save my life, and little by little this opened up to me. However, even now that I (and also my partner, we integrate this together as we go from day to day) live by this paradigm and have for a while, I can still go through periods of resentment which will just hit me, like a post-traumatic stress response, and even I will start to question this, but it is short-lived.

            Seems that is a part of the process, from what I’ve gathered, it is layers of awakening to different aspects of ourselves, like soul retrieval. I do sometimes look up as though I am speaking to God and ask out loud, “Why do you make life on this planet so f-ing hard???”

            And if I’m particularly reeling from something, I can easily spend 10 or so minutes wondering if I’m dreaming and perhaps I’m wrong about all of this, just more kool-aid or something like that, and all the learning and integrating I’ve done goes flying out the window for that brief period of time, and I am fully in doubt on every level. But for only 10 minutes, mind you, it does pass quickly now, and then I realize what energy had hit me, and why, and to where it was guiding me, to some healing or insight or integrative process. We are such multi-dimensional humans! Not linear in the slightest.

            So I do find it all so very interesting, like a puzzle or crop circle type thing, and that keeps my chin up during those times because I’m so actively engaged with my process of soul evolution.

            And when I get the clarity from the soul perspective, there is no better feeling that I know, because for that moment, everything makes sense and just being in the moment is enough and I am perceiving my abundance on all sides, pure crystal clarity. I try to keep that feeling going for as long as I can, see what unfolds from that. Then, of course, I’ll get knocked off by something again, such is life, and I’ll feel the wounded human all over again, and then comes the next series of healings, integrations, and insights, and it can happen pretty quickly now as the self-healing program kicks in.

            It’s a fabulous process, I think, really game-changing, and I’m certainly open to sharing any info I can with you that would be helpful to you at this time. I think it’s a fascinating exploration and way more practical than people realize. Otherwise, it would just more academic nonsense without any practical application, merely theoretical or wishful thinking.

            The power in this is that it really can be applied on a completely practical down to Earth level, just takes some practice and adjusting to new perspectives. Although the stigma toward spirituality and things like soul growth can certainly impeded this integration. We all awaken in our own time, cannot force that whatsover.

            However, very honestly, I just don’t know any other way forward, I think status quo has run its course. Everything has a low ceiling on it. And it’s getting lower as the old systems crumble before our very eyes, that’s what I’m seeing happen, at least. I think there is new information in these realms from which we’ll all benefit, infinite possibilities to explore here.

            RR, I hear you and I hear this often, totally respect it. You say, “May the people of the woo be free to wish-think their woo as they choose. And may the people of the non-woo remain wholly unwooed,” and I think that’s fair enough (although the phrase “wish-think” is not exactly neutral, but regardless, I’ll take it as “to each their own,” which works for me). I’m certainly not going to argue with you about your beliefs, so I wouldn’t impose mine onto you as I wouldn’t want you or anyone attempting to impose your/their beliefs onto me. We’re all entitled to what we know and how we perceive things, I think that goes without saying. Also to learn and grow at our own pace.

            I do happen to believe in the soul, to me that is everything. I think soul is everywhere, it’s our universal connector. If you don’t, that’s fine, I don’t expect everyone to believe what I do, I’m totally aware of our diversity on this planet.

            I, personally, experience the soul every day of my life now. There are many ways of perceiving it IF AND ONLY IF one is open to it. Reality always begins with imagination, we need that in order to create it, and in turn, to create within it. I think imagination is essential, and our most powerful tool for manifesting.

            I do, however, think that there are always new things to learn, that’s never-ending. So who knows? One day you might remember this dialogue in a new light, or something I say in my response to kindredspirit might spark a new thought. Then again, maybe not, and that would be your path. So agreeing to disagree, respectfully, works for me.

            Merry Christmas and/or Happy Hanukkah to you both, and to all who are reading this! May we find peace in our hearts and minds as we continue to drive these remarkable changes through our human will, to know justice and to thrive in well-being. That is my prayer for this season and the New Year.

    • I agree. Come on, OldHead. Kick out one group of shrinks just to embrace another? Seems to me Dr. Tweedledee is a lot like Dr. Tweedledum, despite one having majored in psychiatry, and the other having majored in psychiatry. There are exceptions, of course, but the exceptions remain exceptions.

    • Maybe not, “oldhead”, maybe you really can’t “massage a mind”, but you can certainly give yourself a brain massage. i find when I give myself a brain massage, that I feel a great sense of calm, peace of mind, and healing. It’s very soothing. And I’m pretty sure, ‘oldhead”, that you have no idea how to do a brain massage….

  10. I’m surprised that some don’t see the absolute harm that psychotherapy can do in 1 to 1 unsupervised meetings, week after week. In this concocted game of transference/countertransference, the insidious damage done most often does not show up until after such negative projections have been embedded and dependence has been created or at least attempted. I think it’s the same all over this entire industry and causing all of this mayhem–the invisible vampirism that takes place, siphoning clients of all they’ve got, the fuel for the entire “mental health industry.”

    I’d say it’s mostly unconscious because that is the training, education, and the norm. We do need a new normal, however, which implies waking up to how we’ve been programmed and assess how this has turned out. Just look around…

  11. rasselas.redux

    To equate what goes on in the mind or soul (I see them as synonyms) with “neurological events” is a huge mistake and is leading to the massive amount of harm that is being done by biospychiatry. Neurological events occur in the brain. We have learned quite a bit about the brain. But we have no idea (I am including all of neuroscience in that “we) about the relationship between the brain and the mind. The mind is the vastly powerful and facile faculty which we use to live our lives and do everything we do – build, create, problem-solve, understand, dance, relate, ski, play tennis, make art and love, compose music. We have no idea about the differences that occur in brain function when we do any of those things. Even though we have been studying it for 100’s of years, we have very little idea about how memory works or where it resides. We have no idea about how I am able to move my arm at precisely the count of 3. We have no idea about what happens when a human being has an insight that enables him or her to live more effectively.

    If we want to help people live their lives as they want to live them, we will help them use their minds, emotions, intentions, perceptions and behavior to do that. Neurology will not help them do that. Psychotherapy will. To think that studying the brain or neurology will help people live their lives in satisfying ways is to labor under the yolk of scientism – an exaggerated faith in the efficacy of the methods of natural science to understand social and psychological phenomena, solve pressing human problems and provide a comprehensive, unified understanding of the meaning of the cosmos.”

    • Al Galves wrote: “To equate what goes on in the mind or soul (I see them as synonyms) with “neurological events” is a huge mistake […] we have no idea […] about the relationship between the brain and the mind.”

      It’s interesting that you consider the terms mind and soul as synonyms. Some do, many don’t. My approach is that if you are referring to something non-supernatural you’d do well to dispense with the supernatural language. Puts a lot of confusion to bed.

      Besides, you’re overstating the progress of knowledge, or lack of it. We know that there is a generative relationship between the brain and what we come to experience as a mind. Many of the seeming functions of the mind are known to be localised in the brain. When there are damages to the brain those localised functions will diminish or disappear. I agree that we’re not yet at the point where we can confidently, accurately treat the brain to heal the mind. Besides, many of the ailments of a mind are social experiences.

      Club hammers have long been favoured by humans seeking something curative to bang against their skulls and these tried and tested methods of overcomingness continue to prove overall popular and seemingly usefulizing. Alcohol has long been the number one club hammer in the toolkit, and pharmacologists, in their zeal for new club hammers, have gifted and cursed the human race with many more.

      Are club hammers better than talking to someone trusted and full of wonderful lifestyle thought-space thinky-dinky ideas?

      Sometimes yes, club hammers are best. Without a doubt.

      “To think that studying the brain or neurology will help people live their lives in satisfying ways is to labor under the yolk of scientism – an exaggerated faith in the efficacy of the methods of natural science to understand social and psychological phenomena, solve pressing human problems and provide a comprehensive, unified understanding of the meaning of the cosmos.”

      At no point have I implied that neurology is able to solve peoples’ day-to-day problems.

      Psychotherpy was at its most honest in its earliest days. Then it was unabashed about using hypnotism and suggestive persuasion techniques to bring about supposed “change” in its clients. Most clients would be struck by short-termist intangibility, and, in their subtle foggy confusion, and subtle buzzy aliveness, would keep going back for more. Every profession desires a clientelle that attains the imperceptible, indescribable need for more.

      Hypnotism by the by is a very short-term outcome. Uncanny that hypnotism, very often, even when institituted by an experienced hypnotist, very often ends in the hypnotist also succumbing to hypnotism, and that they too need the client to top-up their hypnotic states. Mutuality or, in extremis, shared psychosis.

      There appears to be no substantive evidence that psychotherapy is transforming the world. This, despite the world never having been counselled as much as it is now. There is more psychotherapy dished out now than at any other point in human history. And what a sorry state of being the world of humanity is in. What a sorry state indeed.

      Now do I discount personal testimony? I am terrified by personal testimony about anything. The intensity of cognitive biases contained in such witness statements can seriously threaten my equanimity, if I haven’t taken all necessary precautions prior to the encounter.

      I wish you a variably emotioned New Year, and fingers crossed you are still alive by the end of it.

  12. I wrote: “Everyone is broken and without soul.”

    Alex wrote: “To me that implies suffering, that’s the feeling I get from reading this statement. So do you think we’re doomed? Or is there anything at all that can bring hope for making this world a better place in which to live, so that people don’t go around feeling “broken,” but instead, inspired and motivated to create a more appealing, safe, and supportive social and world environment?”

    Human brokenness isn’t a feeling. It’s an individual and collective state of being. Not sure how anyone sincere about making the world a better place can do so without coming to terms with individual and collective human brokenness. Maybe that’s not entirely honest of me. I probably do know how people go forwards with such conceits with seemingly little awareness of how they are adding to the problem.

    Without coming clean about individual and collective human brokenness, the very inspirations you evoke to “create a more appealing, safe, and supportive social and world environment” cannot and will not be attained. Denying universal human brokenness is to leave much of the problem hidden and obscured, adumbrated.

    It’s no use starting out on any project of global enhancement heavily laden with denial and self-delusion. The world is a big place, comprised of small places, and there are local quirks that conflict and contradict. In some places actions to a better world would be felt locally as oppressive and denying, and in other places those self-same actions towards a better world would be intuited as helpful, locally.

    You asked, “Do you think we’re doomed?” and that *feels* like a loaded question, playing on the idea that you are the holder of positivity and I am the holder of negativity, when in fact such energies ebb and flow in everyone.

    Do I think we are doomed? You and I are doomed. I suspect you know that we each will die and that that will be the end of it and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Is the human race doomed? My answer to that is contained in my comments about human brokenness.

    I wish you a variably emotioned New Year, and fingers crossed you are still alive by the end of it. At the end of each year I appreciate how I’ve yet again managed to overstay my welcome on this sorry, despicable, beautiful planet, and I somehow sneak through into another year under the cover of darkness and the rubbernecking of fireworks, which shower down toxic chemicals on those gawping, broken people beneath them.

    • If I’m adding to the problem, the universe will reflect this back to me unambiguously. So far, that’s not even nearly the case, evidenced in my own life and relationships, and all the feedback I get with my work with others. I accept constant feedback, to make sure we are on track together and I am not taking anything for granted. Mutual authentic mirroring is vital to core healing.

      I do work every day on myself, change from day to day, to actually embody change. And I am aware of what I put into the collective, that’s my responsbility, to have that awareness, if I am, indeed, sincere in my desire to support radcal change in the world, toward heart and spirit consciousness. That is light.

      And I do walk my talk, it’s kind of my trademark with all that know me well, I make a point of it and I do catch myself when I am in dissonance with myself and work to amend that. Otherwise, I would not know transformational healing, that would be impossible. I’m also human and have my way less than perfect moments, who doesn’t? We all do the best we can and hopefully grow as we go, in all humility. But I believe as we get older, we have many opportunities to refine our focus. So anything we practice for a while, we become better at it, including living life.

      Of course I’ve come to terms with our collective “brokenness,” I went through the system, myself, exhaustively, wearing all kinds of hats and learning different perspectives of this from my experience. I also live consciously in the world, my head is not in the sand. I know more sad, angry, fearful people than not. I know that state of being-ness from within myself at one time, and to me it does have feelings attached to it, and what it feels to me is really bad, terrible in fact, and exhausting. It’s all anxiety, purely.

      Although, I honestly don’t see any individual at all as broken, in fact, simply “in progress,” as are we all. Society is broken because it cannot support its own people, but that’s a question of embedded programs and corrupt norms based on a lot of lies we’ve been fed and blatant manipulation of our psyches.

      The important thing is to define ourselves, though. If someone tells me they are broken and they don’t want any argument about it, then I wouldn’t argue. But I would feel strongly compelled to explore that belief, were this a client. That’s where healing is, to my mind, so if that is objectionable to a person, then they would not be my client. I’d always be at odds with the perception that they are “broken.” I just can’t get myself to see individuals that way. So I guess there is some paradox here, which is good, I’d expect this. Maybe there’s new info on the horizon here, that’s usually what paradox indicates.

      I’ve worked on this, to create a better inner reality for myself, and it has translated outside of myself. I can only hope for those ripples to continue, but it is up to each individual how they address, respond to, and deal with anything. I don’t believe in “right” vs. “wrong” here, it’s a matter of where we are and what choices we can perceive. People walk in their own skin, not that of others. I can only do my part in my own life, intending to be as kind, supportive, self-caring, and authentic as I know how, and to speak my truth as clearly, directly, and transparently as possible.

      I don’t consider the reality of “death” as “being doomed.” What I mean by doomed is asking about whether or not you–or anyone–believe that life can at all become a pleasant, safe, joyful and creative experience as opposed to the toxic mess it is now. I believe in energy transformation, not everyone does or understands this. Been part of my studies and work in the world for over 15 years now, and I apply this every day. I asked it sincerely, although my phrasing may have been cliched so I apologize if I came across as flippant, certainly not my intention.

      However, if the world is divided up between those who have hope and optimism, despite how reality is at present, and those who do not, I would like to know, I think that’s important information, to know that truth about where people stand. I feel no judgment here whatsoever, it’s simply a discernment in beliefs, and I think it matters as far as energy goes. What we believe in our hearts is what drives our thinking, and all of this does make a difference in outcome of reality, I’m sure of this.

      Still, your truth is clear, powerful and strong, and I absolutely respect it and you for speaking it, so I, for one, am glad you are on the planet. Otherwise, this dialogue would not be happening, and I’m enjoying it and learning a lot from it. We’re going deep here and I’m feeling more clarity as we go. Perhaps others are reading and getting some new information for themselves that is helpful to their process.

      You are so right that negativity and positivity ebb and flow, the light and shadow of life and humanity. That’s our wholeness, right there. We cannot create without contrast, it all matters and has value to our evolution. I go into negative states at times, that is human, and I address it head on, as I do, doing inner work and seeing where my thinking is at that moment, and how to change it, and then what actions I might be able to take to improve the situation. For me, that’s vital to my consistent well-being and I want to feel my own power in this, not powerless to society. That creates too much anxiety, and we can overcome this. That would be the whole point of activism, to my mind.

      But overall, indeed, I live in a positive light. That way, I do not feel or perecieve myself to be broken, I would not identify with that state of being, as I once would have, wondering if I’d ever feel differently, fearing I would not ever feel whole again. And at one very dark time in my life, I was convinced I was permamently damaged goods, feeling completely dehumanized and hopelessly damaged by psych drugs and the horrific withdrawal, and I took self-sabotaging action. Having barely survived this gave me hope. I had visions in my near-death experience, information, which I followed up on and it all has served me miraculously well.

      That was 18 years ago, and today I am an entirely different person with a grounded and balanced life, and back to feeling love, and understanding things on such a deeper level now, I can’t even conceive of wanting to die before having lived the best life I possible could, toward fulfillment. I love the challenge now, and figuring out how to get through obstacles and finding new pathways of hope and possibilities. I believe that is never-ending, so much to learn!

      I am the same spirit I’ve been throughout my life, I know my sense of self, but I’m a very different human being now that I am in life with new and simplified neural pathways, a vastly strengthened nervous system, and new light in my physical cells, all due to having learned how to transform energy with our will and heart consciousness.

      I would really enjoy seeing more of this in the world, this kind of transformational healing, but it’s not easy based on how it requires us to be flexible in our beliefs. For me, it was either that or die a broken man, and I spent some time teetering between these two potential outcomes, where one was far more desirable and appealing than what I was most fearing at that time. But the fear was intense, and the shrink’s messages to me were way less than encouraging, more like damning me. Took years to heal from that experience, alone, and to see myself in a much, much better light. No anxiety there, just the pure nature of being human.

      That is the journey of transformation. It’s exactly what I teach, based on how I went from hopelessness to new possibilities to certainty to knowingness to loving my life. I had given up hope at one time that this would ever happen, but thankfully I was 100% wrong and life has changed dramatically for the better thanks to new perspectives, new tools, and a new way of being. And I’m standing my ground firmly on that truth!

      • Broken minds, broken hearts
        broken faces, broken art
        broken trust, broken dreams
        broken roads, broken streams
        broken rivers, broken trees
        broken kingdoms of birds and fish and bees
        broken chains, broken and lost and freed

        broken hopes, broken faiths
        broken leaders, broken graith
        broken families, broken homes
        broken children, broken moms
        broken fathers, broken roles
        broken windows, broken souls
        broken chains, broken and lost and freed

        broken connections, broken spines
        broken commitments, broken times
        broken sex, broken love
        broken feelings, broken wings of the dove
        broken Laws, broken Wars
        brokenness the theme connecting it all
        broken chains, broken and lost and freed

        you are broken, and I am too
        we are broken and theres nothing we can do
        we deny, we decry, we avoid and castigate
        we hide away from the brokenness thats innate

        broken concepts, broken mirrors
        broken heroes, broken fiends
        universal brokenness is the connecting theme
        broken days, broken nights
        broken kindness, broken spite
        broken zeal, broken gruel
        broken chains that relinquish the fool

        broken dreamers, broken visions
        broken thinkers, think broken thoughts
        broken revolutionaries wanna break whats broke
        broken conservative wanna keep whats broke
        but broken people, through and though,
        what can they gain but to break it all anew

        my broken heart, your broken ego
        my broken life, your broken boasts
        my broken smallness, your broken illusions of grandeur
        my broken happiness and your broken self-assured

        nothing left, but broken smiles
        no where to go under broken skies
        broken air breathed in broken lungs
        broken food chain, broken gums
        all is broken, it’s there to see
        any claim to being unbroken is broken’s epitome!

      • Yes life is a journey, constant transformation. We can only relate our own experiences which might or might not be ‘helpful’ to someone else.
        The places I felt most broken are the places where I was told that I possessed the ability to become “whole”, just like them, or that I was broken.
        In between everyone’s opinion lie our own realities.

        Ever been to funerals where people are sad that the person who died, died unfulfilled? A sad broken man? I always thought people were lucky to be able to create those thoughts over a passing of life.
        I have under a hundred years. Most are wasted on thinking, not my own only, mind you.
        I can convince almost anyone that it is foolish to educate me on realities, yet I cannot convince a shrink. The tools for enlightenment is given to a few, the rest are just bumping along in the darkness.

        I love Manuel on “Fawlty Towers”……”I know nothing”, says Manuel.

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