Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Comments by outof

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  • What you went through was horrendous and I wish I could express the sorrow I feel that your trust had been shattered and in a state of such vulnerability it was shattered again.

    Psychedelic therapy is like where the ‘rubber hits the road’ for the trustworthiness empathy and emotional maturity of therapists. And the repeated reports of nightmares of untrustworthiness need to tell us something that can be less clear in more mundane settings. Where trauma is concerned it’s like the first rule of fight club. But for therapy it is ‘be trustworthy’. Second rule is ‘be trustworthy’ and so on.

    To be a therapist and to not even know what trustworthiness is and therefore, how to create necessary safety, in relationship. To be so lacking in true empathy and in maturity….. These failings in a therapist are a recipe for causing further harm, yet without even the empathy and maturity to know it.

    To me this is the message. It saddens me that you feel that psychedelic therapy should not be used to help those whose trust in other people has been badly broken because therapists can’t be trusted with the basics. This is tragedy.

    This is not rocket surgery, but the basics: trustworthiness, being safe and creating a safe space for another. These qualities are also the bedrock for creating any authentic relationship in any context. These non-healers failed at the entry-level.

    This is not an argument about psychedelics, for me that is a separate issue. What you are describing about their behaviour says a great deal about the dangerousness of psychotherapy in the wrong hands. These reports of untrustworthiness where such exquisite vulnerability is concerned need to be a lesson about character and trustworthiness in members of the ‘healing professions’ more generally.

    We keep seeking fault in the injured when ‘help’ doesn’t help while ignoring the humanity-health of the ‘helpers’. Trauma and psychological pain are about being human, so helping is intrinsically bound up in the quality of being human in response.

    This is like seeking medical treatment for a broken leg and the so-called professionals jumping on the injury.

    I’m so sorry.

  • If your gut feeling is located in your body and your sense of reason is located in your intellect then it is the tearing apart of these, en mass, as intellect stretches away from its obligation to “have a heart”


    The certitude of rationalism is false anyway, though we kid ourselves that the ‘tearing apart’ allows us to understand complexity more clearly. It just the bolsters the illusion of understanding and allows us to stand apart. This standing apart is dangerous. We understand less while imagining the opposite, and can enact cruelty while patting ourselves on the back.

    We need the wisdom of the heart.

  • Dogworld, Diaphonous Weeping, Steve, and Joshua.

    I feel what you are saying are aspects of my own feelings. All of them. Struggling to explain here. I hope you know what I mean.

    DW, I too believe we are equal, all human, and, from my own understanding of your previous comment, that the words that live inside us are truly only words, neutral in themselves as mere words, empowered or not inside us according to our own beliefs and feelings. And there is a real need to take responsibility for that. And also to see through a broad lens to not get bogged down in taking things personally. I thought about what you said then, and also after.

    Dogworld, I also agree, but want to add that humanity is between as well as within us. Sharing our stories, or just a few words of commonality can break down the barriers that can imprison us from our common humanity. At the same time, we can build internal fences from them, or grasp hold of them when we are lost and what we really need is to find own own compass and follow it even when our own path seems impenetrable.

    Humanity is our birthright, denial of it causes suffering and damage.

  • Max, I find this sad. All health professionals are also health consumers.

    I feel you feel forced to stand in two places at the same time, here. Yet if a professional has a hernia fixed, for example, there is no major conflict in being a patient, or in later returning to work as a health professional.

    Both professionals and patients know that physical health professionals access services for their bodies. And there is no whispering or derision, no changed boundaries at work. They can mention their own experience of surgery, or whatever, to patients when relevant, and feel that their practice and understanding are enhanced as a result of it. Many live with chronic conditions and have to alter work schedules as a result.

    What I’m trying to say is that there is no need to find a middle ground, and nor is there a special title, because every one of them knows they occupy this ground. At different times they are professional and patient, and the middle is simply any enhancement that one role might possibly offer the other.

    What I’m hearing, and I could be wrong.
    The patient-prejudice you experience hurts and undermines you, and it would be a relief to be able to lose it;
    And also there is guilt and artificial distance in the prejudice that those you work with suffer, and a sense of a need to bridge a vast gulf that secrecy seems to be a part of?

    You are the same person with the same set of experiences regardless of your previous patient status being known or not. It seems to me that what you are talking about is the effect of severe, wide-reaching and damaging bigotry.

  • Daiphanous Weeping,
    There is something that troubles me.

    I read Karin as saying she was oppressed by psychiatry and that in internalising its words, she unwittingly colluded in this.

    If I read you correctly, you are saying that it is not the words that oppress, but people, and that you have not felt oppressed by such words, that they have no inherent capacity to harm.

    Yet there can be no words without people. They are not neutral, people define and categorise with words. In this case the words are chosen and expressed by people considered to be authorities on human distress, and who society has invested with great deal of legal authority to coerce, and with moral authority to explain and treat such distress. Such words are not neutral to that authority, it is based in words.

    At the same time I felt a judgement in the idea that she was worrying about mere words while there is ‘real’ tragedy and oppression in the world. For example this line: ”The world has more than enough to deal with, what with needing to be feeding starving babies in Somalia than bothering about personally stigmatizing little ol me.”

    It seems to me the ”world” is quite capable of both.

    Most of medicine is concerned with far less critical problems than babies starving to death. Most of our everyday care and compassion is freely given to others with lesser claims and many of us would never be entitled to compassion if our pain and need of others had to meet such a high bar of importance.

    This was a personal account of overcoming suffering in which psychiatric words were personalised, not a narcissistic over-inflation and imagined personalisation. Words were used to define her. She wrote of the detrimental effects they had.

    I appreciate that you have not felt oppressed by your diagnosis, but there is a way that both of these approaches seem to express a negation of Karin’s experiences. An argument against her suffering and of her understanding of it.

    I don’t question your compassion and I value your perspective. It made me think. Most of all of how I use words and how I’m affected by others’ words. And about the nature of blame.

  • Thankyou for this well written piece.

    I have experienced this kind of therapy.

    I believe such therapies have enormous potential and equally great danger. I suspect this duality will always arise where the deep psyche is opened. It is time the sitter danger was addressed openly.

    My experience has simplified for me, a major problem in psychotherapy abuse. It is also a key ingredient in all psychological abuse imho. Its not an original idea, but here is what I’ve come to understand. It is the problem in which too many choose to Play Dolls with other humans. Can the therapist, (friend, lover, whatever) be a free space for another to unfold – or do they need that person to act out a scenario for their own benefit. It feels kind of simple to me now.

    There are roles in some situations to effect particular, and mutually agreed outcomes – like a haircut, and there are always boundaries, including in therapy.

    But can this person be human with another -authentically – or do they need to cast the other in a drama to allow themselves to be or do something they want for their own gratification.

    Psychedelic therapy can be a powerful ‘tell’ about the humanity-health of the sitter because the participant is often wide-open. The perfect candidate as a cast member in an unhealthy psychodrama, but also, for lovers of humanity, a unique unfoldment. A special time in which the sitter can be a safe experience of human with vulnerable, open, human.

    It is almost unbearably sad to me that so many people cannot be with another in joy and faith, are unable to be trustworthy. They can’t put aside their own agendas about themselves and their personal desires and fantasies, but instead need to direct a script in which they can act out their own fantasies with a human doll.