Spiritual Emergency: Crisis or Transformation?
A spiritual emergency is a crisis during which experiences are so intense that they temporarily disrupt the sense of self. Mislabeling them as pathological symptoms may be damaging to further spiritual development as well as to the individual's psychological and physiological well-being.
Initial Trial of Ayahuasca for Depression Shows Promising Results
Ayahuasca found to be effective in treating moderate to severe depression in low-income population.
A Doctor Cures His Bipolar Diagnosis Without Psychiatry: Review of ‘I’
I details what happened to Jeffrey Fidel when he quit psychiatric drugs and embraced an alternative, non-medical healing approach — a set of philosophical and spiritual teachings known as the Tao Te Ching and Hua Hu Ching.
Snapshots of Spring: Journeying Off Psych Meds After 20 Years of Compliance
My prayer to be taken out of my misery was answered, just not the way I used to envision. I managed to escape the system and here I am in the same lifetime, alive and well. I’m slowly getting acquainted with this new setup and am eternally grateful for yet another opportunity at life, which I hope does not slip through my fingers.
The Orthodox believe that we are all mentally ill due to sin and that the Orthodox Church is the hospital for the soul, the psychiatric hospital with God being our Psychiatrist, the Physician of our souls. Orthodox belief regarding the human psyche may appear to be pure madness, even delusional, from the perspective of modern western medical science.
Spiritual Texts in the Psych Ward
With current self-publishing capabilities, there’s little that can stop anyone with the slightest messianic complex from actualizing their potential as a prophet—except perhaps the tactics psychiatry employs: forced drugging, locking people up and limiting their abilities to communicate with the rest of the world.
How Love Can Reformat Our Lives
I say this about myself and everyone I have known in my life and work: No matter how overwhelmed and desperate we feel, recovery and growth depend on becoming open to loving and being loved, and seeming miracles occur when individuals change their life in recognition of these truths. Love wipes the slate clean.
Pathways to Enhance Well-Being: Free Resource on Alternative Wellness Practices
This week we e-release a new free booklet, Pathways to Enhance Well-Being. Its creation began with my colleague Linda Lentini sharing with me some of the barriers she experienced as she moved towards bringing alternative approaches such as meditation and breath practices into state psychiatric institutions.
When Will We Wake? Reflections on Suicide and Psychotropic Medications
What are we doing to our people? What life have we created for our youth? I want to believe that those struggling individuals for whom life became unbearable under the influence of medication cocktails have not died in vain. I have chosen to see their action as both a sacrifice and statement to all of us.
Mindfulness and Complex Trauma: The Rewards and the Risks
What media hype and those selling mindfulness don’t tell you is that mindfulness is a process that can radically transform you, and it’s not always safe, nor is it easy or straightforward. We make it safer by being aware of the risks and learning to listen to our own bodies about when it is or isn’t okay for us. No one else actually knows.
Are Emotional Disorders Really Disorders of Love?
Could the whole array of psychiatric diagnostic categories, to the extent that they have any validity at all, be expressions of the failure to love and to accept love? Do successful psychotherapies really work by means of the therapist’s ability to encourage people to experience love through how positively he or she relates to them?
A Healing Journey: Leaving Psychiatry Behind
The world calls what was "wrong" with me "bipolar." I prefer the notion that I went through a birth process to become the healer that I am today. I can't be silent because I know there are people like I was who are trapped and may not realize it yet. When they begin to see the prison bars that surround them, I want to be there for them as others were for me.
I Was God: And You Were A Figment Of My Imagination
The drugs combined with my desire to know how life worked and what made a human broke down all past social conditioning of my individual self. I realized I was God. So was everyone else and I shared with anyone who would listen, but found no one who could understand or navigate the territory. There was little internet to speak of then and no Google to find others who experienced life as I was, so I voyaged on my own as best I could.
Envisioning Psychiatric Drug Freedom
Psychiatric meds can shut down the emotions and consciousness enough to make it possible to tolerate dynamics that would inspire rage or surges of empowered activity without the meds. It can be helpful to look closely at these blocks and start to create a map to freedom, understanding that it is a complex process that involves not only the physiology of the body of the individual taking meds, but the architecture of the social system around that person.
The Shamanic View of Mental Illness
From UPLIFT: In the shamanic view, emotional distress and psychosis signal a spiritual awakening or emergence, not a pathology. Western cultures can learn a great...
Every Sufi Master Is, in a Sense, a Freudian Psychotherapist
In this piece for Aeon, Sam Haselby explores the parallels and intersections between Freudian psychoanalysis and Islamic mysticism. "The affinities between mystical Islam and Freudian thought...
Existential Therapy Assists Patients Withdrawing From Psychiatric Drugs
Confronting existential anxiety through “Basal Exposure Therapy” shows promising results in people withdrawing from psychotropic drugs.
My Encounter with the University of Minnesota’s Psychiatric Department
The voice came to me for three nights in a row, and changed me at my core. I believe my voice was, and is, the voice of G-d, of love. But one devoted friend, an influential physician at the University of Minnesota, felt strongly that I had “lost it” and tried to persuade me to see his psychiatry buddy at the university.
Medicine Can Soothe a Troubled Mind, but Not Without Costs
From The New York Times: In a new book, Blue Dreams, psychologist and patient Lauren Slater critiques the drug-based model of psychiatric care, debunking the chemical...
McMindfulness: Buddhism as Sold to You by Neoliberals
From The Conversation: Removed from their ethical and contextual roots, mindfulness-based practices are increasingly being used to reinforce the individualist ideals of capitalist societies. "Indeed mindfulness-based practices...
I Almost Got Hit by a Lightning Bolt
I am so thankful that my brain healed from the damage caused by psychiatric medications. Most importantly, finding my purpose in life and living an authentic life helped to ground me and prevent further psychosis. Psychosis is the psyche’s cry for transformation and healing. When one listens to the call, one is brought from darkness to light.
In Praise of William James
In this piece for The New York Times, John Williams praises the work of philosopher William James, who played an important role in studying and...
The Science of the Mind and the Science of the Brain
In this piece for The Lion's Roar, the Dalai Lama discusses some of the shortcomings of contemporary scientific methodology in understanding consciousness — primarily...
When Minds Crack, The Light Might Get In: A Spiritual Perspective on Madness
You can’t go back to mundane ways of seeing the world after very dark things happen. Trauma cracks open a hole in our lives and in our minds, throwing us into the zone where we face the big spiritual questions. Bad ideas can get in when things open up like that. But it’s also possible that something new and positive can get in.
Human Connection is the Antidote to a Culture of Isolation
We need to burn through some darkness before we collectively see the light. The light is a palpable shift toward reaching for human connection; toward opening our hearts and our minds and intentionally focusing on the positive future that wants to emerge.