Saturday, May 25, 2019

Comments by David Bates

Showing 423 of 423 comments.

  • Good commonsense would nice, if commonsense was not a cover-up of “how” we actually do, being human! That is, the existential nature of being in time. Or, reality beneath the commonsense delusion that we actually “know” ourselves because we can speak, read and write, words. Using our mind’s to regulation the unconscious nature of “Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self.” (Schore, 1995)

    As Mark Twain said, Sera. “When we realize that we are all mad, the mystery’s disappear and life stands explained.” While the explanation of life, as Being and Time, has been yielding its secrets to the emerging new science discipline of “psych-physiology,” while commonsense has continued with its dissociated “politics of experience,” not realizing that the politics of the personal, is all about the hidden nature of affect-regulation.

    Hence the war of words, in the current mental health debate, can be won by showing “how” the best way out, is through. Not from the “surface” perspective of what we do, but the internal context of how we are, human.

  • Just to explain again, in black & white, how I understand the vicarious sense of reality, I label my mind.

    FORMATIVE CAUSATION AND MORPHOGENESIS. Are 4 words from Rupert Sheldrake’s book, New Science of Life, which are relevant to my transformation of experiences, that mainstream psychiatry’s bio-medical view of my behaviour, saw as unmanageable without professional help and the long term use of medications. Although I noted, during my extensive research that much literature from science disciplines such as “psychophysiology” or research from Heartmath Institute, or the trauma related understanding of human experience, of people like Peter Levine and Bessel van der Kolk, cannot be found in so much of the pragmatic, treatment oriented literature of academic psychiatry, such as: The Recognition and Management of Early Psychosis. (McGorry, et al, 2012)

    Yet my medication free transformation, involving the experience of three affective psychoses or euphoric mania’s in 2010, 11 & 12, where managed using Levine’s understanding of how to discharge the energies, trapped within my body, by the uncompleted motor actions of traumatic experience. How to surrender to an innate capacity to self-heal overwhelming experiences. A charge and discharge understanding of nervous system function, and the morphogenesis of the mind, through the excitatory and inhibitory process of nerve cell activity. Subtle, involuntary activity within body-brain which can be sensed through the corresponding muscular tensions and vascular pressures, involved in respiratory sinus arrhythmia or high-frequency heart-rate variability.

    Which plays a primary role in regulation of energy exchange by synchronizing respiratory and cardiovascular processes during metabolic and behavioural change. With my self education about the impulsive nature of energy exchanges within my body, by adapting to a felt-thought sense of the internal landscape which creates my awareness of the external landscape, enabling the self-regulation of my behavioural change.

    With Sheldrake’s understanding of evolution, as habitual motion and spontaneous change, bringing me an awareness of the conception and evolution of my own life. Especially, the spontaneous change in my psychophysiology, which led to my first diagnosis of mental illness in 1980. Essentially because I was so self-ignorant of my own nature. The nature of the patterned relationship of my internal organs, mediated by my nervous system, and the formative causation of a sense of reality, I grew to call my mind.

    Best wishes to all,

    Batesy.

  • Thanks for this very timely & insightful essay on the dissociative nature of Western culture. As you say: Modern culture is highly dissociative, so I suggest that meditation and mindfulness training could fruitfully be built into psychiatric and therapeutic practice. This might prove to be especially important in work with so-called personality disorders and PTSD where patients often need help with fully experiencing the present moment in all its depth, freshness and novelty. (The trauma work of van der Kolk and Rothschild are my gold standards here.) In tandem with the memory reconsolidation work of Phelps et al., such a practice could prepare the ground for a quantum leap beyond early trauma and knee-jerk autonomic hyper-arousal which imprison victims in past images, visceral reactions and beliefs, destroying themselves and all those unfortunate enough to become trapped in their relational orbit.”

    I’ve finished an essay on my own journey, beyond my first “label” scizophrenia, in 1980. An essay which explores the evolution of my life & the formative causation & morophogenesis of my mind. Using R.D. Laing’s intuitive comment about the dissociative Paradox of Modernity; we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy. A heart based essay about the nature of “I am” & how as; “Lose your mind, to come into your senses.” -Fritz Pearls. Especially, the Sixth Sense of Infancy, which is lost to the rationalizing, adult mind. Ipso-Facto – “We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.” -R.D. Laing. Lost in the delusion that the words of public rhetoric, in the politics of our experience, is the reality of our motivation.

    An essay which explores the “simulation” of mindfulness practice in the Western world, after spending three years “immersed” in the largest Buddhist culture on earth. Hence I write:

    MINDFULNESS is a word that frustrated me enormously, before I spent time with Buddhist monks in Thailand. Having experienced the grounding exercises employed by many CBT therapists and others, using a Western version of Eastern rituals, which is largely a “simulated” version of ancient ritual, in my opinion. A version, which was, at times effective in calming the driven motivation of euphoric mania, giving me some sense of internal self regulation and the possibility that the metabolic energies involved, had some behaviour reorienting purpose. Yet I found it hopelessly inadequate for self regulating periods of major depression and the associated suicidal impulses to escape, overwhelming psychic pain. Until my full time exploration of ancient rituals and a compelling need to make the words of The Polyvagal Theory, flesh, changed my method of mindfulness practice to a mind-less, sensation awareness. Awareness of the muscular tensions and vascular pressures that underpin my thought process, like the tension always present in my tongue during my private ideation. The I-talk of internal self communication which is an aspect of the habitual formative causation of speech. A “felt-sense” (Gendlin, 1982) of self, employed in my self exploration journey, using Peter Levine’s “sensate” awareness of nervous system function, to resolve my life long issue of traumatized orienting responses. Specifically, through developing a felt-thought sense of my subconscious “neuroception” (Porges, 2011) of safety and security. Particularly, the internal sense of ontological security that traumatic experience had robbed me of, and a “treatment oriented,“ (McGorry et al, 2012) crisis intervention approach, simply re-enforced. Particularly, my first diagnosis of schizophrenia within 15 minutes of contact with a pharmacology oriented psychiatrist, who never mentioned the words, ontological insecurity or nervous system, during a three year period. While an ancient tradition of esoteric self exploration, brought an inner wisdom to mystical feelings during three episodes of euphoric mania, in 2010, 11, & 12. Made possible through a daily interaction with a Buddhist tradition of meditating on the Void of nonbeing, beneath the mind’s sense of duality. Which, as I have tried to indicate above, with Brian Massumi’s explanation of self-affectation, as the dual process of mind-body/body-mind, self-regulation.

    A body-mind awareness, which as you read these words, may bedoesn’t mean it disappears into the background. It means that it appears as the background against which the conscious thought stands out: its felt environment. The accompanying sensation encompasses the thought that detaches itself from it. Reading, however cerebral it may be, does not entirely think out sensation. It is not purified of it. A knitting of the brows or pursing of the lips is a self-referential action. Its sensation is a turning in on itself of the body’s activity, so that the action is not extended toward an object but knots at its point of emergence: rises and subsides into its own incipiency, in the same movement. The acts of attention performed during reading are forms of incipient action. (Massumi, 2002)”

    Interested readers may read more of my; 4 words: Nervous System, Mental Illness essay here:
    https://www.academia.edu/18666917/4_Words_Nervous_System_Mental_Illness

    As I have written here before, I write for the isolated, who have been re-traumatized by the pragmatic, time limited and treatment oriented approach of mainstream psychiatry. Writing that shows a black & white trail of experiential healing, using Peter Levine’s “sensate” awareness of “how” The Body Keeps the Score. And more importantly “how” to surrender to our “innate” capacity to heal overwhelming experiences. As I’ve just written elsewhere, I believe the true task of this community, is to show “how” the observations of all the people you mention above, are correct. For there is enough “developmental science” out there and particularly the “psycho-physiological” discoveries by people like Porges & McCarty, to bring a truly modern perspective to the ancient secrets of heart, written into the very clever, “esoteric/exoteric” narratives, on the human condition.

    Although, here on MIA, folks would have to loosen their “paternalistic” projections onto the nature of God, to discover the reality of a 3 letter word for Ultimate Reality, Within?

  • Thanks so much, Guy, for this timely reminder of Laing’s extraordinary “appetite” for being with people, and his experiential stand against the mind’s delusion that words, like schizophrenia” can actually describe the reality of human experience. A word that labelled my own lived experience, in 1980, which ironically, is the year of DSM III’s publication, as the tome which turned towards “statistics” as proof of evidence, rather than the quality of face to face, observation and heart-felt, inter-relationships.

    In my own journey towards a quality of life, beyond the mistrust of my own sensations, which medical diagnosis, instilled by way of the “paternal” veneration of family and friends, as well as myself, initially. The recent discoveries of the science field of “psycho-physiology” has brought a middle-path understanding to the quality observations of people like Laing and many others, who spent time looking a human behaviour, rather than machines. And while the current neuroscience research of people like Porges, Panksepp and Schore, is largely brain-centric and treatment-oriented, making the words of this research FLESH, has brought me an “in-the-flesh” sense of Ronnie’s conception of “ontological insecurity” in the behaviour of people, medically diagnosed as, in a “fever-type” (Porges, 2013) model of behaviour, having, schizophrenia.

    A model of conceptualization, which, in my humble opinion, rationalizes the behaviour of prescriptive medicine practice. Please consider these thoughts on my:

    Understanding of lived experience, which in my opinion compliments R.D. Laing’s conception of ontological insecurity, as my hidden motivation, organizing behaviors, variously diagnosed by others, as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder type 1. Diagnostic terms which rationalize the pragmatic behaviors of prescriptive medicine, in my humble opinion. A necessarily pragmatic approach to personal crisis intervention, which expediently ignores R.D. Laing’s warning that: We can see other people’s behavior, but not their experience. (Laing, 1990) A treatment oriented perception of others, which can not help, but ignore Allen Frances warning about seeing the other with a preconceived, expectation. An expectation which affective neuroscience is now explaining as the predictive role of the brain, in our perception of reality. Such as the predictive expectation, which perceived hypo-manic behavior, likely to become hyper-manic without a crisis intervention, that saw me deprived of my liberty in April 2007.

    ONTOLOGICAL INSECURITY Are 2 words I now understand as the habituated insecurity, that I managed to heal through the “felt-sense” development of increased “introception,” (Schore, 2003) through which I have gained a physiological awareness of how my innate “social engagement system” (Porges, 2011) is vulnerable to “affect dysregulation,” (Schore, 2003) after being primed by early life, traumatic experience. With my medication free selfregulation, resulting from an experiential integration of the words of The Polyvagal Theory. Which enabled a deeper understanding of “the mis-attuning social environment that triggers an intense arousal dysregulation,” (Schore, 2003) or “dissolution.” (Porges, 2011) An experience mediated by my nervous system’s “neurorception,” (Porges, 2011) of internal and external reality. A “psycho-physiological” model of human function which helped me to heal myself, after decades of trial and error failure, using a treatment oriented, crisis intervention model of human behavior. A phylogenetic perspective on human development and the ontological insecurity of nervous system dysregulation, based on the Jacksonian principle of dissolution:

    Jackson proposed that in the brain, higher (ie, phylogenetically newer) neural circuits inhibit lower (ie, phylogenetically older) neural circuits and ‘‘when the higher are suddenly rendered functionless, the lower rise in activity.’’ Although Jackson proposed dissolution to explain changes in brain function due to damage and illness, the polyvagal theory proposes a similar phylogenetically ordered hierarchical model to describe the sequence of autonomic response strategies to challenges.

    The model emphasizes phylogeny as an organizing principle and includes the following points: (1) there are well defined neural circuits to support social engagement behaviors and the defensive strategies of fight, flight, and freeze, (2) these neural circuits form a phylogenetically organized hierarchy, (3) without being dependent on conscious awareness the nervous system evaluates risk in the environment (i.e., neuroception) and regulates visceral state to support the expression of adaptive behavior to match a neuroception of safety, danger, or life threat. Functionally, when the environment is perceived as safe, two important features are expressed. First, bodily state is regulated in an efficient manner to promote growth and restoration (eg, visceral homeostasis).

    This is done through an increase in the influence of mammalian myelinated vagal motor pathways on the cardiac pacemaker that slows the heart, inhibits the fight–flight mechanisms of the sympathetic nervous system, dampens the stress response system of the HPA axis (eg, cortisol), and reduces inflammation by modulating immune reactions (eg, cytokines). Second, through the process of evolution, the brainstem nuclei that regulate the myelinated vagus became integrated with the nuclei that regulate the muscles of the face and head. This link results in the bidirectional coupling between spontaneous social engagement behaviors and bodily states. (Porges, 2011) ”

    A “sequence of autonomic response strategies to challenges,” which when felt through improved interceptive awareness of muscular tensions and vascular pressures, made the words of a “double-bind” (Bateson, 1956) and a “family projection process,” (Bowen, 1985) conceptions of schizophrenic behavior, flesh. My own inner double bind pattern, of involuntary and voluntary responses to our social world.

    More of this, lived experience sense of ontological insecurity, can be read on academia.edu here: https://www.academia.edu/18666917/4_Words_Nervous_System_Mental_Illness

    An essay about lived experience and our social world, which is, in my humble opinion, in desperate need of more emotional honesty about our inner world and we actually do, being human. Thoughts, which I believe echo your own words Guy, when you write:

    This can only be done, as Laing once noted, in the spirit of live and let live. As in any relationship, when the chips are down, you take your chances, and I take mine, in the to and fro, wear and tear, of sharing my life with the community I am a part of, for better or for worse.

    Sincere regards,

    David Bates.

  • Regards the internal change that was the process of my un-learning, the delusion that I knew myself, simply because I’d grown to adulthood taking for granted this habituated process of thinking & speaking. I have just completed my latest attempt to articulate the lived experience of psychosis, from the perspective of R.D. Laing’s conception of ontological insecurity, explaining how I used Peter Levine’s “sensate” awareness approach, to make the words of recent neuroscience discovery, flesh. Specifically, professor Stephen Porges articulation of nervous system dissolution. Which I believe, brings a neuroscience confirmation of Ronnie’s “experiential” understanding of schizophrenia. Through his extraordinary “appetite” for being “with” people, compared to a “categorizing” aversion towards other people.

    May be read on academia.edu here: https://www.academia.edu/18666917/4_Words_Nervous_System_Mental_Illness

    An essay which explores the formative causation & morphogenesis of my mind. In the existential context of my personal evolution.

  • Sorry, time presses & typing excluded; which the existential psychiatrist “R.D. Laing” sums up, quiet intuitively, in his comment: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in infancy. The trance state illusion that words involve a solid sense of reality, rather than a vicarious sense of reality.

  • Dear Sera, you write: As best as I can tell, the disconnect comes from the fact that we’ve all been taught to think about people who’ve been given psychiatric diagnoses or who are acting ‘crazy’ or who are hospitalized because they’ve been deemed ‘out of control’ as other. When those parts of ourselves get so big and colorful as to lead to some such grand intervention, we seem to intentionally blind ourselves to their much more readily relatable roots – the points at which we could see ourselves reflected back.

    In fact, for some, I think that process of ‘othering’ is something of a survival skill because letting in the idea that ‘us’ is ‘them’ feels too dangerous. The idea that any of us is capable of getting to such an extreme place is too frightening to bear.” in the context of your en-titled promise: Crisis is (un)Learning.

    Which I agree with from the perspective of un-learning the sense that I knew myself, simply because I could speak, read and write the common words of our social communication. A process of unlearning this deluded sense of reality, which the existential psychiatrist sums up, quiet intuitively, in his comment: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in infancy. The trance state illusion that words involve a solid sense of reality, rather than a vicarious sense of reality.

    In everyday practice, the best way I can articulate my previous self-ignorance of a language based sense of self. Is that, before reading Alan N Schore’s landmark book “Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self,” in 2007, I knew more about the internal functioning of my motor car, than I knew about the internal function of my body-mind. Before 2007, I was lost in the double-bind paradox of my non-voluntary & voluntary responses to the reality of being. Taking my daily experience for granted, as I thought I saw an obvious reality, beyond my skin. While remaining comfortably numb, to the reality of “how” I do, seeing.

    Hence, my seemingly paradoxical comments here on MIA, as I try to turn a socio-political agenda towards the more profound question of what madness is, if it is not what the high priests of psychiatry, say it is. While my current medication free self-regulation, comes from unlearning a too “obvious” sense of “us & them” and through a broad reading education, coming to appreciate why, professor Jaak Panksepp suggests “we are all brothers and sisters under the skin.”

    While in terms of un-learning a paradoxical sense of material reality, you write:

    “I’ve been reminded many times recently how ‘crisis’ really does lead to (un)learning, and how it can, in fact, unite groups around common causes, bringing new relationships and illumination all around. I’ve seen that happen individually for people I know, and also for my community as a whole.

    (Shameless plug ahead) In fact, I’ve seen it up close and personal in the Greenfield, Massachusetts part of our RLC community as of late. Unfortunately, the threat of loss of a substantial portion of the RLC’s budget in that area rode in on the heels of a statewide threat of a similar nature that had only just been conquered.”

    This paradox of personal survival and spirituality, by which we are; caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender. -Jackson Browne. While, unlearning a sense of reality “out-there,” by appropriate education about reality within, can, in my experience, bring a depth of awareness, about the nature of our own “bio-energetic” economy. Especially, the systems of unconscious projection, by which we create the material survival needs of our social world.

    Why is it, that “the politics of experience,” has a habit of maintaining the status-qua? And are we, in this century, on the event horizon of understanding the formative causation and morphogenesis of our human mind? Which in terms of our personal evolution, requires knowledge of early life development and why “the attempt to regulate affect, is the driving force in human motivation” -Alan N Schore.

    The human paradox? As the experiential lessons of Zen Buddhism teach. Like when I was in Laos & asked a Buddhist monk about how I should understand reality? Bang! He hit me on the head, with wooden mallet. Lesson; you can only FEEL it. Which is the real secret to my medication free, self-regulation, the unlearning of a thought sense of my own reality and a re-orientation to feeling it.

  • Elizabeth Svoboda writes for Aeon. “The literature we choose to guide us should supply proven advice we can trust. But it should also, as Franz Kafka wrote, be ‘the axe for the frozen sea within us’, bludgeoning us in ways that awaken us to the extraordinary.”

    A frozen sea which Buddhist, experiential philosophy describes in one word, Void. Or that point at the bottom of the nervous system reactivity, described as flight/fight/freeze, when one manges, after much practice. to stop thinking. A point in time and space, which can spontaneously alter the habituated nature of one’s personal evolution, in my experience.

    While; Reading be More Effective than Medication or Therapy, if we, as Joseph Campbell advises, “read the right books by the right authors.” Books like The Polyvagal Theory, in which the explanation of our nervous system motivation, brings an inverted triangular, embodied awareness to Abraham Maslow’s, triangular hierarchy of human needs. While reading Stephen Porges alongside Peter Levine, brought me an embodied awareness of an innate capacity to heal overwhelming experience.

    While, in terms of our mind’s sense of duality, one may contemplate a dual “mind-body” process of “self-affectation” through the act of reading these very words. As Brain Massumi explains, of our constant embodied process of Movement, Affect, Sensation:

    There is no thought that is not accompanied by a physical sensation of effort or agitation (if only a knitting of the brows, a pursing of the lips, or a quickening of heartbeat). This sensation, which may be muscular (proprioceptive), tactile, or visceral is backgrounded. This doesn’t mean it disappears into the background. It means that it appears as the background against which the conscious thought stands out: its felt environment. The accompanying sensation encompasses the thought that detaches itself from it. Reading, however cerebral it may be, does not entirely think out sensation. It is not purified of it. A knitting of the brows or pursing of the lips is a self-referential action. Its sensation is a turning in on itself of the body’s activity, so that the action is not extended toward an object but knots at its point of emergence: rises and subsides into its own incipiency, in the same movement. The acts of attention performed during reading are forms of incipient action. (Massumi, 2002) Copied from: Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Post-Contemporary Interventions) Duke University Press. Kindle Edition.

    Through such “attention” to how our body creates our mind, we can transcend the delusion that we know ourselves, simply because we can speak, read and write, words.

  • Dear J Doe, you write “words can put vulnerable people at risk—not only to their sense of self-worth, their sense of self-knowledge.” A word formulation I agree with, although from the perspective that the words we use for social communication, is not the reality of our motivation. In fact, since acquiring the kind of knowledge which explains a hidden motivation beneath my skin, I’ve embraced R.D. Laing’s intuitive understanding of the paradox of modernity, in his comment: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.

    Embraced the false-self illusion, that I knew myself, simply because I could speak, read and write, words. Dissolved my normally adjusted ego sense-of-self, by making the words of recent neuroscience discovery, flesh. Which has allowed me to remain medication free, for eight years now. A making words flesh, journey of experiential self-exploration, which has brought me a visceral sense of Jaak Panksepp’s comment: we are all brothers and sisters under the skin. By of how our nervous systems mediate the internal relationships of our body’s major organs, and create our mind’s, subjective experience.

    An under the skin sense of reality, that can bring an embodied sense of limits of language and self-interested survival, to: A WAR OF WORDS: THE DSM AND DEPENDENCE, and the egoic war of words involved in posts and comments here on MIA. A language based delusion about human motivation, which sees the curious paradox of normal self-interested function, which ignores well formulated essays like this one.

    While Laing explained the self-interested illusions of his own profession by drawing attention to human behaviour and how we avoid examining our own, with a language of self-deception: I see you, and you see me. I experience you, and you experience me. I see your behaviour. You see my behaviour. But I do not and never have and never will see your experience of me. Just as you cannot “see” my experience of you. And Allen Frances sums up psychiatry’s behavioural dilemma with: psychiatric diagnoses is seeing something which exists, but with an expectation of what we see.

    A post hypnotic trance addiction to words, which Alexander Johnson sums up with: the delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature. The hidden nature,of our nervous system motivation, in my experience.

    You mention the words informed consent and I wonder how you feel about the informed consent around the dangers of smoking, and the paradox of normal behaviour, which ignores both written words and graphic visual images of smoking related disease?

    I wish you joy, in your journey towards non medicated self-regulation.

  • Hi Alex, thanks for kind words of support.

    In my own trial of the visionary mind, as Dr John Weir Perry suggests of the extreme sensory awareness that plagues the highly sensitive soul. I believe that 2040 will begin a species realization of what we are, in our journey towards wholeness, as one tribe, with an inevitable Cosmic destiny.

  • “Nevertheless, moral treatment’s outcomes in various centers and hospitals in Europe and America showed that psychosocial support, not medical techniques, was the most potent agent of healing.”

    While the latest science from the field of “psychophysiology” shows us the hidden agent of facial nerves and muscles, by which psychosocial support, affects the human heart. Although, one has to take a multi-disciplinary approach to research, in order to find such highly relevant literature, rather than just reading the material of particular self-interest.

    While in the context of that oft repeated phrase, these days, a continuum of human experience. I note the success of trails using the love molecule oxytocin, to revive the “social engagement system” (Porges, 2011) of people diagnosed as Autistic. While, as a continuum of human experience, perhaps all of us, could be diagnosed as suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder, as developmental neuroscience, now suggests of our early life experience. A continuum of human experience, described by R.D. Laing, as how: we are all in posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.

    I suspect that psychosocial sense of self, is heading towards a realization of this phenomena, as myopically focused brain research, continues to fail in its utopian quest for the cause of so-called mental illness. Hopefully, the devil of self-interest or banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt calls the bloody minded mediocrity of the average human being, will come to a profound realization, soon.

  • To oldhead, my first diagnosis of schizophrenia, was almost 36 years ago now, within 15 minutes of my first contact with doctors of the mind. Who’s crisis intervention motivation I understand, while lamenting the way self-interest plagues us all and blinds us to reality within. These days, I prefer professor Jaak Panksepp’s understanding of how, we are all brothers and sisters under the skin, to the vicarious sense of reality, we call our mind’s subjective experience. Specifically, the seductive sense that we actually know ourselves because we can speak, read and write words.

    Specifically, in this era of unprecedented material wealth, which paradoxically includes unprecedented, physical and mental ill heath. A paradox, many writers now label The Paradox of Modernity. Specifically, the everyday illusion of words, by which, as Allen Frances points out: Psychiatric diagnosis is seeing something which exists, but with an expectation of what we see.

    Hence, my own writing about resolving my birth trauma conditioned expectations of life, and my eight years of medication free self-regulation, describes the need to orient attention, by way of “felt-sense” internal exploration, of how my nervous system organizes my bio-energetic resources and energizes my thoughts. While, with all due respect, your responses to me, are covering up your inability to know yourself, from the inside-out. An inability, manifest in your reply: Those who have gone through extreme states (and there are plenty here at MIA) are aware of what they are.

    Again, please enlighten me, on what they are. And let me know how dystopian visions of the future, are simply a non-conscious projection, involving a profound lack of self-awareness, because as R.D. Laing pointed out: we are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy. The delusion that we know ourselves because we have been taught to speak, read and write words. Where though, is the taut sense of muscular tensions and vascular pressures that give rise to this process we call thinking.

    I look forward to your articulation of your own”in-the-flesh” experience of being human.

  • As I suspected, you cannot point me towards a post here on MIA, that explains how mental illness is not what psychiatrists say it is. Or how people get lost in the illusion that the everyday words we use for communication with self & others, is the reality of our motivation.

    Hence, the socio-political agenda will continue, going around and around its “us & them” Cartesian circle.

  • Hi Naas, I noted, that in your personal story, you cited Peter Levine’s work in healing trauma, and seemed to suggest that trauma plays a role in the historical journey of a family. While in the context of medication free sleep, my own journey to resolve birth trauma and give up my need for sleeping pills, during periods of intense excitement or mania.

    I used Peter’s book In an Unspoken Voice. To help me make the words of recent neuroscience discovery, flesh. Specifically, the words: the motor act is the cradle of the mind. By adopting a “felt-sense” of mind-less awareness of muscular tensions surrounding my heart. A practice enabling surrender to sleep, which I describe here: http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/p/recovery-method.html

    A mind-less meditation which has since brought awareness of the muscular tensions and vascular pressures which underpin my thinking processes. Like, the tension, always present within my tongue, during private ideation, which brought an awareness of how my thoughts are a preparation for speech. Beneath, my once taken for granted sense of my thoughts, as a just so, experience.

    Good luck with your journey, its a long and winding road, by which we cleanse the doors of perception, as William Blake & William James suggest.

  • Hi Michael, your post reminds me of an American legend’s heart-felt plea: We can’t go on together.
    With suspicious minds. And we can’t build our dreams. On suspicious minds. -Singer Elvis Presley. Writer: Francis Zambon. While your well chosen title remind’s me of McGilchrist’s suggestion, in his book The Master & His Emissary, about right & left hemisphere brain function, that our mind’s are now hostage to the image of our own creation and we’ve adopted the logic of the machine.

    The cause and an effect process going on inside the brain logic of technological conception, which ignores how the brain is energized by the body. While driven by an unconscious urge to belong, so many people simply affirm the consensus rhetoric, no matter how paradoxical or contradictory to the nature of our actual experience, such consensus rhetoric, is.

    And while I do understand the need for political activism, in pointing out the hypocrisy of a world view that “would blame its patients for so overwhelmingly choosing not to take the medications.” I continue to be dumbfounded by the lack of interest shown here on MIA, towards the game changing question: If mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it?

    To which I answer: Behavior, manifest by our nervous systems need to re-orient our non-conscious perceptions of reality. Our “neuroception” of reality, as professor Stephen Porges explains, in The Polyvagal Theory. While asking my American cousins to consider the affect of culture, in the context of an historical denial about the body and its role in creating the mind? Especially, in the context of where we are now, on humanity’s journey towards self-realization.

    With deep respect for the sanctity of human life, I ask readers here on MIA to contemplate their nation’s traumatic birth into modernity and peer through the veil of a self-fulfilling sense of fearful paranoia, by which this kind of “us & them” world view of humanity, arises. The same question I ask my fellow Australian’s to contemplate, as we inflict our Caucasian-centric views on refugees, while paving the road to hell, with our good intentions.

    I’ll end here with a paraphrase of the quote from C.S. Lewis:

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny subconsciously exercised for the good of its victim, may be the most oppressive to the honest perception of oneself.

    Love,

    David.

  • Ideology is the thinking we do to avoid being aware of our own reality. Ideology, creates an experience of resonance between people, that is similar to a love affair. Ideology, is the verbal expression of our attachment need. Ideology, is the “projection” of the systems inside us, that create the illusion of systems, out there.

    Ideology, is the need to regulate internal state, to mobilize our bio-energetic states of being. Yet, ideology, formed by constant thinking, prevents us from inhabiting The Power of Now & Self-Healing. Ideology, as constant “autonomic” thinking, prevents us from digesting the written word, at first sight. Because we become so possessed by ideological desire, that we function with an “expectation” of reality, because our ideological desire prevents us from feeling what we are seeing.

    Ideological desire, is produced by what Laing called ontological insecurity, which can now be understand through Stephen Porges discovery of our vagal function and nervous system “dissolution,” in the face of life challenge.

    IMHO and as I’ve stated here many times, there will be no change until we face reality within and the historical damage done by a Western perception of the body as a house of sin. Hence, in the developed world, there now one billion people officially obese, which from an Eastern perspective on Self-Awareness, suggests the rise in higher education has thickened our dissociation from our own reality.

    Hence, the socio-political agenda will simply go round and round this circle of dissociation, until we address the issue of self-interested survival & stop denying it. Because self-interested ideology will be met with equally self-righteous ideology. Please read Brian Massumi’s important work again, on HOW we read with a habitual mode of functioning, which has long forgotten how we learned to do this:

    “Reading, however cerebral it may be, does not entirely think out sensation. It is not purified of it. A knitting of the brows or pursing of the lips is a self-referential action. Its sensation is a turning in on itself of the body’s activity, so that the action is not extended toward an object but knots at its point of emergence: rises and subsides into its own incipiency, in the same movement. The acts of attention performed during reading are forms of incipient action. It was asserted in the last chapter that action and perception are reciprocals of each other.

    When we read, we do not see the individual letters and words. That is what learning to read is all about: learning to stop seeing the letters so you can see through them. Through the letters, we directly experience fleeting vision like sensations, inklings of sound, faint brushes of movement. The turning in on itself of the body.”

    Again IMHO, it would be far more productive for this movement to answer Dr Michael Cornwall’s potent question: If mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, what is it? Behavior, manifest by our nervous systems need to re-orient our non-conscious perceptions of reality. Our “neuroception” of reality, as professor Stephen Porges explains, in The Polyvagal Theory.

    Answering Micheal’s question, by pointing out the science that does explain how the body creates the mind, will be game changer, IMHO. While the reactive ideology will simply maintain the status-qua.

    You write: So, we’re all going to need to get a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I guess this blog is intended at least somewhat as a call to action to do just that.

    Tell me Sera, how do you do, being comfortable & uncomfortable and do you feel a sense that thought, spoken & written words, is the actual reality of your motivation? Know Thyself, was the ancients advice, perhaps because they knew the word was good, because it comes from the flesh, yet have fallen into a habit of sighting words without making them flesh? Habitual movements of the mind, just like habitual movements of the body?

    In the great guru tradition of self-awareness, the general state of the human condition is summed up by the word ignorance. The dwarf within, is another, more visual metaphor for self-ignorance. While interestingly, if you travel India, you may notice that Jesus is revered as a Guru, just like Buddha. Although, what could we learn from simply sitting on our Ass? Another word for Donkey, I believe.

    Best,

    David.

  • Do I hear the Politics of Experience? I wonder? In the socio-political agenda, here on MIA.

    I understand the need to feel a sense of belonging and the self-affectation of our self-defensive view of reality. Yet, in the context of modernity’s painfully obvious misogyny, let me ask readers to consider a view of reality, from two men, not afraid to challenge the obvious sense of reality, that plagues the worried well masses, we label “normal.” Please contemplate with a felt-sense of reality, the second-hand, vicarious illusions created by our mind & how, as R.D. Laing suggested: We are all in posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy.

    MIND: AS VIRTUAL REALITY.
    The mind’s Self-Affectation of Internal Regulation and a Vicarious (second hand) Sense of Reality. Please read Brian Massumi’s explanation of how the mind, is a virtual re-presentation, as McGilchrist puts it, of our, in the living moment, sense of reality:

    “Self-affectation. A term that should be understood in the double sense of the artificial construction of a self and of the suffusing of that self with affect. Here, there is no model. Only infolding and unfolding: self-referential transformation. The analog is process, self-referenced to its own variations. It resembles nothing outside itself. A topological image center literally makes the virtual appear, in felt thought. It is more apparitional than empirical. Sensation, always on arrival a transformative feeling of the outside, a feeling of thought, is the being of the analog. It is matter in analog mode. This is the analog in a sense close to the technical meaning, as a continuously variable impulse or momentum that can cross from one qualitatively different medium into another. Like electricity into sound waves. Or heat into pain. Or light waves into vision. Or vision into imagination. Or noise in the ear into music in the heart. Or outside coming in. Variable continuity across the qualitatively different: continuity of transformation. The analog impulse from one medium to another is what was termed in the last chapter a transduction. In sensation the thinking-feeling body is operating as a transducer. If sensation is the analog processing by body-matter of ongoing transformative forces, then foremost among them are forces of appearing as such: of coming into being, registering as becoming.

    The analog process of reading translates ascii code into figures of speech enveloping figures of thought, taken in its restrictive sense of conscious reflection. There is no thought that is not accompanied by a physical sensation of effort or agitation (if only a knitting of the brows, a pursing of the lips, or a quickening of heartbeat). This sensation, which may be muscular (proprioceptive), tactile, or visceral is backgrounded. This doesn’t mean it disappears into the background. It means that it appears as the background against which the conscious thought stands out: its felt environment. The accompanying sensation encompasses the thought that detaches itself from it. Reading, however cerebral it may be, does not entirely think out sensation. It is not purified of it. A knitting of the brows or pursing of the lips is a self-referential action. Its sensation is a turning in on itself of the body’s activity, so that the action is not extended toward an object but knots at its point of emergence: rises and subsides into its own incipiency, in the same movement. The acts of attention performed during reading are forms of incipient action. It was asserted in the last chapter that action and perception are reciprocals of each other. If, as Bergson argued, a perception is an incipient action, then reciprocally an action is an incipient perception. Enfolded in the muscular, tactile, and visceral sensations of attention are incipient perceptions. When we read, we do not see the individual letters and words. That is what learning to read is all about: learning to stop seeing the letters so you can see through them. Through the letters, we directly experience fleeting vision like sensations, inklings of sound, faint brushes of movement. The turning in on itself of the body, its self-referential short-circuiting of outward-projected activity, gives free rein to these incipient perceptions. In the experience of reading, conscious thought, sensation, and all the modalities of perception fold into and out of each other. “ -Brian Massumi

    Copied from: Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Post-Contemporary Interventions) Duke University Press. Kindle Edition.

    This is an example of the reading material which has helped me understand myself from the inside-out, and experientially confirm Dr John Weir Perry’s statement in his book Trail of the Visionary Mind, “psychosis is natures way of setting things right.”

    And while I truly understand you when write: Our efforts were founded on all sorts of great ideals and slogans like ‘nothing about us without us’, but all these years later we still seem to be searching for what that really means. Yet, in spite of all our struggles and convolutions along the way, it continues to boil down to essentially the same basic point, doesn’t it, -Sera.

    I beg you to consider the need to take the ideology out of the debate & offer practical solutions for the hundreds of thousands who suffer in isolation. The basic point that I’m trying to make here, is that the common-sense notion that we truly know ourselves because we cab speak, read and write words. Is, in existential terms, a delusion.

    Which why Hakomi therapists begin with the question “how do you do? How are you doing, you?” Before re-orienting the client towards sensation awareness of how their whole body, which has no separate parts, when one looks at reality with 100 times magnification, creates the experience we label, mind.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Kelly, you write:
    “According to Whitaker, when we look at the escalating rates of psychiatric medication treatment, we have to ask some important questions about its role in the escalating rates of mental health disability in this country (1 in 70 adults) and globally.

    He helps us to see:

    There is no validated science that supports any neurochemical explanation for any of the diagnosable mental illnesses, and such, medications acting on these chemical systems force the body to adapt.

    This adaptation are likely responsible for the data supporting poorer long-term outcomes in those who have been medicated than those who never were (but presented with the same symptoms) or who were tapered. In this way, a chronic state of symptoms even while medicated, and withdrawal when tapered leads to a psychic holding pen for many patients, potentially for the rest of their lives.”

    But are these statements the whole truth or half truths? For example, exactly how do we validate scientifically, the reality of human experience? And is it true to say that there is no science that supports the body’s adaptation processes? Developmental science which is increasingly uncovering the internal nature of adaptive function and showing why the research on brain processes, is quiet bizarrely myopic, as-if brain process is not energized by the body.

    When I made my first comments here on MIA, I suggested that Robert’s focus on medications was equally myopic and failed to ask the question of brings any individual to a doctor of the brain, for very first time, as I tried to argue for the autonomic nervous systems role in mental health, with its constant feedback from the body, especially the other major organs, heart, lung & stomach.

    What saddens me deeply about the ongoing “socio-political” focus of this webzine, is the failure to provide practical advice about HOW to self-regulate episodes of disrupting behaviour, which a treatment oriented view, reflexively perceives through the lens of symptoms. Rather than “bio-energetic” states of being, as you indicate at the end of your post.

    While, in my own need to understand episodes of what academic psychiatrists call affective psychosis, most commonly understood as mania. Self-education about the nervous organization of my lived experience, not only confirmed John Weir Perry’s comment: I really do feel “chronic schizophrenia” is
    created by society’s negative response to what is actually a perfectly natural and healthy process. Read more here: http://www.global-vision.org/papers/JWP.pdf

    A natural and healthy process, long described by Peter Levine and given much credence by The Polyvagal Theory, which did so much the confirm Bessel van der Kolk’s notions of how: The Body Keeps the Score, in the so-called symptoms of PTSD. A process of adaptation, long denied in socio-political history of our Western world.

    Interestingly, you write: Most of the time, when you sit and watch. When you try to look with curiosity, decisions are made for you and crises morph into new normals.

    This process of rebirth is often compared to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. The stark contrast between before and after, the dark dissolving transition, and the struggle into a grand new existence.”

    And ask you and others here on MIA to consider the current epidemic of mental illness diagnosis, as the process by which humanity as a whole, is undergoing a transition into a species self-realization, beyond the traumatic birth of modernity, which has led to the current paradox of unprecedented material wealth, with rising physical and mental ill health. Which, in many Eastern societies, is viewed as an historical loss of internal self-awareness, due to the rise of an intellectual sense of self, which cannot “feel” the vicarious sense of reality, created by an unquestioning use of language and image labelling words.

    As I wrote on the facebook page for: Esalen Institute- Compassionately Responding to People in Extreme States Weekend Workshop. November 20-22

    Its certainly been a mighty struggle to make the words of neuroscience discovery flesh & give up the everyday illusion of words & the sense that I knew myself, simply because I can speak, read and write words. A struggle to “cleanse the doors of perception,” as William Blake and William James advise, by feeling within, just how: the delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature. -Alexander Johnson. Our own, internal nature and our unique, yet often self-defeating capacity for adaptation.

  • Love the notion of a mad economy that is giving birth to R. D. Laing’s prophecy: If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable Age of Darkness… They will see that what was considered ‘schizophrenic’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break into our all-too-closed minds.

    Which reminds me of my first dream of a world without money, after a fervent prayer to God, to give me a sign and show me what I should do with my life. Of course I didn’t expect a 3 decade involvement with the paternalistic modus operandi, of the developed world’s mental health systems and the delusion by which we exalt language above nature, to flow from that life challenging moment of fervent prayer.

    Especially, the effort involved in understanding, in both body and mind, what R.D. Laing meant by: We are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy. The self-deceiving seduction involved in words of communication with Self and Others (another of Laing’s insightful books) IS the reality of our motivation. A fleshy sense of self, which wonders if Mother Nature views us all, as terrorists, these days?

    Keep up the great work Karen, although I do wonder about normalizing, recovery?

  • Dear Ron, you write “But it’s not true that the BPS report fails to include mention of terrible experiences – it includes for example mention of a sense of one’s blood being poisoned, of going to hell, of “the worst feeling I’ve ever felt.” Which I understand from lived experience, even though my very first experience of what academic psychiatrist’s call an affective-psychosis or mania, felt wonderful and I experienced no fear of my own sensations, until the powerful tranquillization AFFECT, of a chemical straitjacket began to manifest as the subjective experience of an internalized sense of threat.

    Which, in hindsight, was a manifest sense of the existential issue that had plagued my lived experience, since the trauma of my forceps delivered birth. While, since my experience-dependant resolution of 3 episodes of mania or affective-psychosis, during 3 years spent, immersed in a Buddhist culture, I have asked psychiatrist’s why they take this “psychosis is always a bad experience” concept for granted?

    “Is an observation bias, driven by sub-conscious self-interest,” I ask them. “Does it rationalize your own behaviour and the needs of prescriptive medicine,” I ask. And have you seen video footage of doctor’s lamenting their dilemma of posturing a sense of knowing, that patients demand?

    “I’m expected to know what the problem is and know how to fix it,” one young doctor explains, on youtube, before adding “its part of my training.”

    While a cultural tradition in the East, asks us to contemplate, with a “mind-less” sense of being, described by Tolle as The Power of Now. The delusion involved in the sense that we know ourselves, simply because we can speak, read and write, words. A perspective on lived-experience, which can bring a balanced understanding of psychosis, between one’s body & one’s mind.

  • Michael concludes:”I hope that our society doesn’t persist in the fear-induced reaction that forces people in our communities who are experiencing extreme states to experience violations of their human rights as well.” It will.” writes Seth.

    Unless, we are experiencing the event horizon of R.D. Laing’s prophecy? That through the experience of quiet ordinary people diagnosed with schizophrenia, the light will begin to break into our all too closed mind’s? Closed by way of life’s experience and the vicarious impressions of reality, as it is, which we are raised to label, mind? Because, in my experience of recovery, we are all, as Ronnie described, in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy. Or, as Alexander B Johnson puts it: The delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature. Our own nature, in my experience of exploring the “self-affectation” process involved in the experience of delusion, which, experientially confirmed for me, personally. John Weir Perry’s statement: psychosis is natures way of setting things right.

    Although, it was a mighty struggle to give up my illusion that I knew myself simply because I can speak, read and write, words. And are words, but surface image labels of reality? As-if, the word schizophrenia, contains the reality of lived-experience. And while the world’s leading psychiatrist’s continue to fight (with words) over whether Bipolar Disorder & Schizophrenia, can be described as the experience of affective & non-affective psychosis, Allen Francis asks us to contemplate, with a mind-less sense of Tolle’s The Power of Now, how: Man is the labelling animal, we can’t stop ourselves from putting a label on everything in sight.

    And as much as I love my brother in arms, Michael Cornwall, I beg you comrade, to feel the internal nature of projection, by which the American psyche, in my humble opinion, is trapped within a taken for granted sense of “us & them.” To paraphrase Australia’s newly minted Prime Minister’s suggestion about our public debate on nuclear energy, we have to take the ideology out the politics of experience and explore the practical realities involved in how we understand, the nature of being human.

    As always, much love,

    David.

  • Dear James, you write: we often speak of stigma, as if it is almost a living, breathing organism itself that flows throughout our land. But of course, we all know that stigma is really an intricate composite of individual experiences and reactions over time, each that presses an individual into difficult, uncomfortable decisions and circumstances.

    I found the ” living, breathing organism itself that flows throughout our land,” more accurate than the “knowing” labels that follow. Which is to say, the notion that we do know the reality of our actual experience, which is, as you say, that of a breathing orgamism, by the words/labels we have learned to use in communication with our fellow beings, are anything more than a symbolized sense of our own reality. From my own struggle to understand my abnormal experience from the inside-out, giving-up the educated sense that reality, especially my own, is a cognitive construct, has involved, not word/label recognotion but “stimulus” recognition and confronting the trauma fuelled impulse to escape into the dissociation of mind, which denys our actual nature.

    Life begins with cognitive capacity but not cognitive function and I had to relearn the introceptive capacity which “normals” take for granted, in that gift of forgetting that has fuelled our success as a spicies. Resulting in a 21st century, 1st world, normal adult function which is in denial of its subconscious motivation, as we increasingly use language skills to aid survival.

    How will the labelling dillema be resolved when it involves a false paradigm of everday perception, so concisely pointed out by millenia of sage experience? Like R.D. Laing’s intuitive: we are all in posthypnotic trance induced in infancy. While Buddha suggests: words do not describe reality, only experience unveils truth.

    In my opinion the current feeding frenzy of medical diagnosis, will be seen in hindsight, as nature correcting our flight into exoteric sense-ability, which now needs to follow the circular nature of reality, back to an esoteric sense-ability.

  • Sorry for the typo’s. The suggestion that reading is a consumatory act, comes from: Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader. by Sedgwick & Frank. A good introduction the the visceral nature of human development, from pre-birth to adulthood and the now missing term “unconscious” which is apparently, “so last century.” According to some of the bright young wits at ISPS-Int.

    Yet, I seem to remember, during Gestalt training, that Fritz Pearls understood this visceral digestion of the word and how important it is to NOT simply sight words and end up like Mr Meeks in the movie Cloud Atlas. Parroting “I know, I know!” Mind you! The ancient’s did say that the meek will inherit the earth.

    While my current girlfriend keeps laughing at me, with: Davis Bates. David Bates. David Bates. How do you like them labels? How do you feel about me verbalizing & stigmatizing you, in this way?

    She smiles & winks, while she tells me she knows, I am, more than a bunch of words. While I smile back, doing my best to invoke a sense of her knowing that she’s exquistitly, drop dead gorgeous and way beyond anything my innsecure & impotent words might convey.

    While Monty Python knew best, that our innate reality is more of a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Say no more! Time to re-visiit the unspoken voice of the body & realize the clinical illusions, in our bio-medical, (a quick fix pill, for every ill) throughly modernistic, sense-of self .

    Yet alas, I am a society outsider confronting an insider game, of paternalistic rank & status. Please dis-regard my wordy meandering’s & my self-educated sense of self-revelation.

  • FEELS like spring is in the air, in the somewhat United Kingdom. While our good King David, the honest male Doctor sets out his metaphorical tale of a another, new beginning. What we need is true reason, not this treason of psuedo-science fostered on my loyal subjects by those who pofess insider knowledge of the truth, about our common mental health.

    While here in the survival stakes of everday survival (racing metaphors, so beloved of World Wide Royalty) we compete to see who will be the material winners & losers. And as the material girls all know, its a material world & the reality of male presence is simply nor enough. Don’t you get that feeling sometimes, that Charles Dickens had a gender bias? “You want MORE!” My dear Olive Oil. Sorry, I digress.

    I guess, I’m wondering whether the well known use of rich visual metaphors, in the movies, might help us to transcend the Paternalism engendered social matrix & the illusions . . . delusions that language describes our actual experience. For example, why does the consensus mainstream accept the term “mental illness,” with its paradoxical sense of “its all about my head and my body is not involved in this experience.” Where is the VISCERAL sense of reality, in a term meant only for communication betweencommon self’s, while confusing said self’s that RHETORIC is reality?

    Can we, for the sake of our children’s children’s children, be honest about HOW language covers-up the visceral nature of our common reality, “as-if” (Damasio, 1994) “words describe reality.” -Buddha.
    Can we “notice how we fail to notice,” (Laing, 1967) that life is a progression of habitual behaviour, like the habitual greet & meet social reflexes of “hi how are you.” Which includes the “triangles” (Bowen, 1996) of talking about otherness, to modulate the raw energies of a heart-centered reality, in being here, now.

    Perhaps King David the honest male doctor will propose a new mental health caregory in his new Magna Carta? Vocational Illusion Disorder, springs to mind as I remember the sage advice. “In the great race of life, you should always bet on self-interest.” And will there be space for Queen’s in this new charter? A move beyond our misogynistic sense of reality, where insecure men feel the need of power? Yet of course, as Billy Shakespeare pointed out, earth bound time, in our survival oriented sense of here & now, is somewhat deluded, Horatio!

    Perhaps, readers may contemplate the reality of another springtime & King David:
    Springtime in Jerusalem – II Samuel 11:
    Now it was at the turning of the year, at the time of kings/messengers going-forth,
    that David sent Yo’av and his servants with him, and all Israel. They laid waste to the Children of Ammon and besieged Rabba, while David stayed in Jerusalem.

    Act I. David and Batsheva
    Scene 1- David sees a woman
    2 Now it was around the time of sunset that David arose from his lying-place/couch and
    went walking on the roof of the king’s house, and he looked at a woman washing herself – from on the roof. The woman was very good-looking!

    In the sense of context is everything, that many suggest is illusive and fleeting. This ancient narritive about the human condition and HOW the heart so often rules the head. Brings a sense of context & perspective to David Healy’s effort to use metaphor in its role of points to deeper truths which defy objective reason. In fact, imo, it is only by escaping the mind numbing, self-objectifying logic of modernity, that we can bring a new sense-ability to our common need to see through the illusions of our “medical model” of human behaviour. BEHAVIOUR being a word that shifts the context of mental health perception, away from the “bio-medical sense of self, ushered in by DSM-III” -David Healy.

    Please consider the context shifting perception of modernist critique of the 195o’s movie “David & Bathsheba,” starring the all-American hero, Gregory Peck. And as Roxane Gay (the, Bad Feminist) discussed on a recent Aussie show labelled One-plus One, why do we crave Hero’s? Which, here on MIA, may resonate with readers of Robert’s book’s & the motif by which one’s own life may be subconsciously, acted-out? Please consider the interesting (to the ever fleeting mind) catergories of critique, for the ancient, ever present, David the hero, story:

    The Enigmatic Batsheva and the Male Gaze: Gendered Readings:
    The Men Face Off and the Men Coverup:
    Impeachment for King David –Bathsheva Gate and Watergate:

    Read more here: http://www.haggadahsrus.com/PDF/DavidAvigailBatsheva.pdf

    The interview with Roxane Gay & her sense of chilhood trauma & our common craving for heroic others, can be seen here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/programs/one-plus-one/

    The main point, I’m trying to write here, is that words, particularily written words, give a false sense of reality, in an era when survival involves the manipulation of words and we all tend towards a too literal interpreatation, falling into a sense og adult function, described so accurately by Ronnie Laing: “we are all in a posthypnotic trance, induced in infancy.”

    As you read these words, can you contemplate the VISCERAL nature of your “consumatory” act? A contemplative act which brought me a deeper sense of my internal “affect regulation & origins of self.” A visceral sense of my own reality, wherin, I understand my “mind” as the product of a “dissapative-system,” whereby I gain the paradigm shift into modernity’s exploration of Chaos Theory and HOW it applies to the subconscious progression of our nutured behaviour. Nurtured by the Social Matrix, which fancy’s itself to BE the “projective-indentification” of external objects.

    It is, in my humble opinion, the social matrix nurturing of a taken for granted, analogous sense-of-self, which is maintaining the medical model of madness, because this false sense of “i am my mind” reality, so fears the visceral nature of experienced sensation, that we avoid the challenge of knowing what madness is. A challenge which, when viewed in the context of life-development, rather than half-way down the track (more racing metaphor) of a taken for granted sense of adult function. Brings a more nuanced sense of one’s own reality and the sage advice that “the boy is father to the man, as the girl is mother to the woman.”

    In 2007 I got lucky, in the reality of chaos, chance & circumstance which Eleanor Longden alludes to in her good foftune, in meeting Pat Braken. I went from trying to self-regulate with magic bullets, to a magic word, AFFECT. Which was the “key” to my, then decade long desire, to understand my lived experience, from the inside-out. Inside my multi-organic function, where the Sun don’t shine & words don’t matter. Where Goethe’s green snake & Alan Watts green room, can be felt as the clever anciant narritives of our human story. Like in the movie Cloud Atlas & Sonmi-451’s feminine gusie as our craved for, saviour hero.

    Hmm! 451. Is that a clever, esoteric allusion to our tenth cranial nerve & its role in creating the verb?

    “I am not genomed to alter reality,” exclaimes our heroine. In this very clever re-telling of a Christ Consciousness story. While the willy Zachery wants to cog the survival game, as he begs the other heroine from the future, to provide him insight into why we suffer & keep making the same mistakes.

    In July, I note that Robert & other heroic others will be attending an Esalen Institute workshop, entitled: The value of psychotic experience. Although it seems to be looking towards a Laingian approach, which may, inadvertantly aviod hearing voices like Alan Watts, who attend this same workshop & presented with Ronnie, many years ago. While I hope, those in attendence can explore the deeper sense of Laing’s profoundly intuitive sense of our word deluuded sense of reality. In a Western educated world, lost in its paternal injunction against the visceral power of touch.

    IMO Its our Paternal Model of human function which now needs transcending, if we are to address the current epidemic of so-called mental illness & the feeding frenzy of over diagnosis. I’m sure, all my brothers & sisters of the user fratenity will recognize the PATERNALISM at the HEART of the labelling, mental health system. Although, its much more difficult to turn the mirror-neurons around & COG, as willy old Zachery says, one’s own labelling system, within.

    Sincere regards to all,

    David Bates.

  • Dear uprising,

    You write: You have a lot of interesting ideas to share, but unsolicited psychoanalysis is rude and it feels oppressive to read.

    Do you really believe that in world where toddlers are dying from the insanity of our current bio-medical sense-of-self. We should be too concerned about bruising a few ego’s and appearing to rude?

    This perception and call for civil discourse, is what keeps this webzine stuck with nothing more than endless, middle-class intellectual masturbation, imho. And the global mental health debate is stuck in a Cartesian circle of well-meaning rationalizations, because we refuse to address the nature of being human.

    In terms of your well-intentioned comment on my behaviour, you may wish to contemplate how, the road to hell is paved with…….

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • “I’m just saying that expanding our sense of inner resourcefulness while tapping into more profound creativity is what best prepares for any change, especially when institutional funding s so under the gun now. Sometimes, we just don’t have a choice, so it’s best not only to have a plan B, but to believe in it.” -Alex.

    “I feel a bit like you’re comparing apples and oranges (as they say). ” -Sera

    In my humble opinion, what Alex is trying to do here Sera, is take you beneath your “obvious” sense of reality, towards a self-realization that the vital resources needed in this mental health debate, are within all of us. Which is why the internet can, by providing the expertise of lived-experience, short-circuit the need of funding to very large degree.

    The respite houses, can be cyber-housing, in line with the reality that “isolation” is the most common outcome for people who undergo nature’s initiation into the mystery of being. Sounds & feels like Woo. I know, yet this, I feel, is where we are at, in the emerging nature of our Solar (Christ) Consciousness.

  • “Science is not always a set of answers to questions, a collection of hard-won facts about how the world works. Sometimes the scientific method spans decades, centuries even, every study a drop in a bucket that might never be filled. It’s hard to know how close emotion researchers are to a solution, or if there even is one. “Philosophically, it’s arguable that ‘experience’ is not anything intrinsically measurable,” Fridlund writes. “This may make it forever off-limits to science.”

    Robert Whitaker may wish to “contemplate” (felt-sense) this view of science and its modern day mythology, when he confidently endorses the science of a “super-sensitivity” affect from neuroleptic compounds. While even though he acknowledges the original meaning of neuroleptic: “take hold” (lepsis) of the central nervous system to suppress …, he fails to see HOW my repeated mention of our autonomic nervous system, fits into John Weir Perry’s understanding of psychosis, as “natures way of setting things right.”

    While, like the author of this article, Robert begins in the middle of the “epidemic problem” never once having the courage to question what brings any individual before a prescribing medical vacation, for the very first time. Perhaps, that because he suffers from the vocational world view of his own profession, which has never let reality stand in the way of a well “sold” story?

    I urge readers to investigate further the source of wisdom in this article about our guiding motion & e-motion sense of survival. And explore Ekman’s mentor Silvan Tomkins, as I have tried to articulate here:

    “Its an ability we learn in the first years of childhood, in what the developmental experts call the practicing phase of life, the first three years. We learn so much, and promptly forget the learning, as our brain creates patterns of expectation which become our unconscious motivation, or motor-vation, as I’ve come to understand. The primary processes of unconscious expectation, which guide us through life. This is the main reason why fundamental change is so difficult to achieve, until we find a way of bringing the unconscious motivation into conscious awareness, and begin to dissolve old habitual patterns. Its also why traditional talk therapy is so limited for serious mental anguish, and why the mad behavior of psychosis is so misinterpreted and misunderstood by our rational mind. Let me share an explanation of primary process and how my constant reading and re-reading over the past five years has fueled a steady organic process of natural transformation, including four episodes of euphoric “state,” psychosis. Reading people like Murray Bowen, Jaak Panksepp, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Ekman, Allan Schore, Stephen Porges and Peter Levine in a short list of the most important contributors to my slow, yet steady paradigm shift in self-awareness and self-definition. Examples;

    “Emotions, the Higher Cerebral Processes & this Sense of Self:

    Evolutionarily, the brain mechanisms for language were designed for social interactions, not for the conduct of science. Indeed, words give us a special ability to deceive each other. There are many reasons to believe that animal behavior will lie to us less than human words. This dilemma is especially acute when it comes to our hidden feelings that we normally share only through complex personal and cultural display rules.”(Panksepp, 1998).”

    You can read more of this, from the inside-out understanding of the “nature” of psychosis here:

    http://born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-12_16.html

    The title Born2Psychosis is chosen deliberately, to ask readers to question their attachment driven acceptance of a consensus reality, which now inhabits an existential, mass-delusion.

    Sincere regards to all,

    David Bates.

  • This post in many ways, describes the non-conscious nature of our “attachment” driven behaviours, with the basic assumption that we can only be “rescued” by others. Here I use the term rescued in the context of my therapist training, where the women in the group struggled with “not rushing in to rescue,” finding this natural urge difficult to let go of, in the face of another’s suffering.

    Its also an attachment drive, by which most adults get their sense of adult function, in our “paternalistic” rank & status society, which suffers from lack of insight into our subconscious, emotional projection process. Which, considering the changing “technological” times, may suggest that the internet is the best resource for support, providing the correct “insightful” information on how to “self-regulate” episodes of e-motive disruption, can be provided.

    While on global scale, I think the key words in your post are “lack insight,” in an era of a survival economy masquerading as community & society, where all the average citizen knows about their heart & brain, are the “words” heart & brain. Which, to me at least, speaks to the “existential” purpose of psychosis & the current epidemic of mental illness, in our so-called 1st world societies.

    Which from a spiritual perspective on how the bone headed denial of our own reality, has always driven the hyper-sensitives crazy, speaks to this communities role in Global change, as we face the challenges created by our own (humanity’s) self-ignorance. For example; from a Christian perspective of that famous musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” where the question is “critically” asked about why Jesus did not appear in an age of mass communication. takes on a very different perspective, in terms of a rising Christ (Solar) Consciousness.

    For, if we take the time to look beyond the headline debate of the “fourth estate,” (the media) their is a science discipline rising, which is articulating a middle-path between psychiatry & psychology, that is bringing the practical reality of the Biblical Resurrection, into view. With its “insights” into organism function, and how our body, which includes our brain, creates our mind.

    An example of which is my own resolution in relative “isolation” experience, after three decades of using medical definitions to try to understand my behaviors, as the lived-experience of the symptoms of my schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder diagnoses.

    Which came from broadening my personal knowledge base and changing my habitual attitude to all the subtle and not so subtle sensations within my body. Which essentially involves sensing voluntary/involuntary muscular tensions, and associated vascular pressures and spontaneous or withheld breathing. With a felt-sense awareness of the pressure/tension sensations of cerebral blood flow, in my various states of mind.

    A desire to understand the unconscious roots of my experiences, beyond a consensus normality, which has NO insight into the unconscious roots of its behavioural e-motivation.

    I urge members of this community to look beyond an “obvious” sense of reality, which history has always shown to be based on a self-protective ILLUSION. While I believe that the current science research on holistic organism function, which is beginning to highlight the heart, as the engine, or center of our systemic organism function, will see a shift in human perception, as significant as Galileo’s realization that the Sun is at the center of our Solar System.

    A self-realization that will bring us back to nature and see us finally understand the purpose of life. As the Universe evolved into a form which will save itself from entropy. An historic pressure for self-realization, in terms of normal self-protective ego-function which is painfully lacking a true self-awareness, still stuck in a simplistic survival mode of function. While urge readers to contemplate the real-time meaning of the current rise in stress related dysfunction, in terms of R.D. Laing’s intuitive understanding of our normal perception of what constitutes SANITY:

    “True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality… and through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer.” — R.D. Laing

    No other human experience dissolves the normal ego adaptation, like the experience of so-called mental illness. And practitioners of prescriptive medicine need, imo, to contemplate their behaviour in terms of a basic survival economy, which is emotionally sick and profoundly lacking in true self-awareness.

  • Thank you Alex,

    Its not easy to stand outside the attachment driven illusions of a consensus reality, within any group of like-minded individuals. Particularly when the subject of the consensus is mental health, which as you rightly point out, is about energy.

    It is staggering, the extent to which both psychology & psychiatry ignore the burgeoning new science disciplines, which are exploring the bio-energetic nature of our internal structure & function. While it is this internal reality of being, which can make sense of why Dr John Weir Perry suggested psychosis is natures way of setting things right. And how R.D. Laing’s comment on our post infancy trance like illusions, is fundamentally correct.

    As Allan Schore points out: Bioenergetic conceptualisations thus need to be implanted into the central core of psychoanalytic and psychological theory, a position they now occupy in physics, chemistry, and biology. Thermodynamics are not only the essence of biodynamic, they are also the essence of neurodynamics, and therefore of psychodynamics.

    Which is why I try to point others in our community, towards the developmental science, that will answer Dr Michael Cornwall’s potent question, in terms of our global mental health debate, “if mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it.” An adaptive process, involving the bio-energetic nature of the relationship between our heads & our hearts. An adaptive process expressed far more poetically by a famous writer and victim of our confusion about the nature of being human:

    I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am. ―Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

    Warm regards,

    David.

  • Interesting that authors call for “humility” while pointing out, how the report is formulated by “a group of eminent clinical psychologists.” My point here, being that in an era of self-preservation, gained through the use of cognitive function, clinical psychologists may suffer form what McGorry et al, in their psychiatric formulations on the experience we label psychosis, call “the clinicians illusions.”Which Allen Francis formulates more concisely as: Psychiatric diagnosis is seeing something that exists, but with a pattern shaped by what we expect to see.

    My point here being: cognitive capacity is an experience-dependant evolution of being, which suffers from the dichotomy of taking immediate experience for granted. More specifically, in context of our PARADOX OF MODERNITY, we mature towards an adult consensus reality, having long forgotten HOW life begins, not with cognitive capacity, but motion & e-motion, to secure our survival.While in New York later this month, the IPSP conference will swamped by horde of emotional adolescents, demonstrating no capacity to FEEL how their body creates their experience of mind.

    They will do so, because, as a current aspirant for the top political job, here in Australia, so frankly pointed out, “in great race of life, you can always bet on self-interest.” While I make no apologies for labelling people emotionally adolescent, and ask readers to contemplate Billy Joel’s poetic description of our apparently “healthy psychological boundaries,” as little more than pretty faces, so willing and able to tell pretty lies. I ask middle class academics to consider that their well formulated “affect-regulating” responses to any sense of otherness, is based on the need to dampen the vitality affects of our primary process, e-motivation. With our common-sense psychological functionality, more of dissociation from the reality of being, than an embrace of it.

    While in terms of betting on self-interest, academic turf-wars, are the business as usual name of the game, in our 21st century urban landscapes of an economy masquerading as society. A masquerade which is based on our Western cultural history of viewing the body as a House of Sin. With the industrial revolution and rise of a “subject – object” attitude of mind, responsible for our current era of Material Wealth & Poverty of Self-Awareness. While in New York, the emotional system of a self-interested gathering, will feel much excitement and that something is really happening man!

    Yet” as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls,” somehow, some way, the things “appear” to change the more they ………. For as Joseph Campbell points out in his book “The Inner Reaches of Outer Space,” our human anatomy has not changed in the last 40,000 years, let alone the last 4000. And in New York, ISPS professionals will continue to utter the psychological delusion, that we are all different, with nothing more than “subjective” evidence, to affirm their affect-regulating needs.

    I urge ordinary members of the survivor community to go beyond the “appearance” of this rank & status eminence, and involve themselves in a self-education effort, made possible by our age of technology, which will take society beyond taken a for granted sense of worship, (the reverence of our parental, emotional systems of society) towards a sense of individual self-worthship. While the self-interest of professional groups can be clearly seen in their tendency for “self-citing” behaviour. With this report being no different form research behaviours in the early intervention for psychosis, approach to anomalous experiences. While another eminent psychologist, explains how the rise of neo-Kraepelian psychiatry, was based on the self-interest of any groups natural survival instinct & how a group consensus is reached:

    ” The Kraepelinian dichotomy: Emil Kraepelin’s view that psychotic disorders could be conceptualized as naturally-occurring disease entities which could largely be differentiated into dementia praecox and manic-depressive psychosis, has had a huge impact on twentieth-century psychiatry. The rise of neo-Kraepelinian psychiatry in the 1960s and 1970s contributed to the construction of DSM-III, in which the Kraepelinian dichotomy between schizophrenia and psychotic affective disorders became embedded in psychiatric classification. (Greene, 2007) An essay which points out how the attachment driven urge of group behaviour tends to be self-citing: The neo-Kraeplinians, although not connected in any official way, worked together to promote their approach. Blashfield (1982) described this informal network with their common beliefs, methodologies and research interests as an ‘invisible college’: there was a tendency among this group to produce papers which actively reinforced one another’s findings. (Greene, 2007)”

    While my comment is written in the spirit of Willelm Reich’s important insight that: “everyone is right in some way,” it is merely a matter of knowing “how.” (Reich, 1973) A view which understands all words as nothing more than labels, and would see the “chemical imbalance” metaphor as semi-accurate description of how our body creates our mind. With the great existential challenge of our age, being, imo, the need to resurrect the body, from the nightmare of history, which weighs so heavily on our Western educated souls. To which end I include an excerpt from my own existential journey, to understand my psychoses, from the inside-out:

    “With my existential challenge exploring the paradox of a taken for granted sense-of-self lacking knowledge of internal structure and brain-nervous system function. Lacking knowledge of the thermodynamic nature of organism organization, and the level of dissociation involved in a mind-body split in functional awareness. With an experiential focus on how: The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation. (Schore, 2003) A self-exploration of my affective states of consciousness creating a “sensate” (Levine, 2010) awareness of the “thermodynamic,” (Schore, 2003) “primary process” (Panksepp, 2004) nature of dissociation, compared to secondary process conceptualizations stating: Dissociation can be understood as a psychological survival strategy that enables us to endure overwhelming pain and fear. (Longden, 2013)”

    My 30,000 word formulation on the lived-experience of psychoses, can be read here:
    https://www.academia.edu/8013843/Psychosis_Affective_States_of_Consciousness_and_Nervous_System_Dysregulation

    While my experiential understanding of just how much, my mind fears the sensations of my body, and how my mind is fundamentally, a dissociation from the nature of being alive. Seeks to cause a stir in the taken for granted ego-functioning of middle class intellectualism. Asking the owner of this webzine to consider how his need for civil discourse, on a subject that so e-motive in nature, has created little more than a window for intellectual masturbation?

    Intellectual masturbation, which is in deep denial of our common need to self-regulate the subconscious processes of our common “primary-process affective consciousness.” (Panksepp, 2004)

    Sincere regards to all,

    David Bates.

  • Sounds like a strategy hoping for a positive outcome, Ted.

    Yet will this display of the movements real-life numbers and its overstated view of itself as “MindFreedom International,” have a negative outcome? Will it demonstrate a handful of people, with a need of subconscious “affect-regulation,” in order to feel strong and carry on the good fight, in face of an overwhelming majority attitude of indifference.

    The kind of existential indifference which underpins professional C.A.R.E. in our mental health facilities, which Mary O’Hagan points out, is the real-life attitude of COVER. ARSE. RETAIN. EMPLOYMENT.

    While one of long term advocates form a clear eyed perception in out mental health debate points out:
    “Discover and Recover on February 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm said:
    I’ve been an active reader and participant of MIA for almost 5 years, and I have to say, “What movement?” I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I see no movement on this site.”

    While I humbly suggest that the real-life issue in our common experience of mental dis¬ease and the current “treatment oriented” vocational attitude, is not just a human rights issue, but the meaning of being human, issue. A deeper perspective which will see R.D. Laing’s intuitive prophecy come true in this century, as the boi-medical perception of schizophrenia continues is inherent denial of the human condition.

    I would readers of our community to begin to notice, as Laing suggested, how we fail to notice, that we fail to notice, how we habitually cherry pick phrases from people like Laing, to satisfy our subconscious need for what developmental science refers to as “Affect Regulation & the Origins of The Self.” For in my humble opinion, the key to a survivor led breakthrough in mental health, is the accuracy of Laing’s:

    “We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in infancy.” Because:

    The delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature:- making language the expositor of nature, instead of making nature the expositor of language. -Alexander B Johnson

    With our taken for granted adult functionality, having long forgotten our birth and the motion & e-motion, nature of being human.

    Sincere regards,

    David Bates.

  • Dear Peter

    KNOW THYSELF is ancient wisdom advice that most within our predominately Patriarchal, Misogynistic, Caucasian developed, educated societies, assume to be from Ancient Greece. That well known phenomena of HOW the winners get to shape our sense of how we got here, in this 21st century A.D. While a well travelled and experienced sense of that concise advice, comes to understand that it most likely stems from ancient Temples now buried under an ocean of sand, in the Sahara desert.

    While ‘what is he on about’ will grip your obvious sense of reality, as you read this comment with the dichotomy of being human. The taken for grantedness of our actual experience. Specifically, HOW we forget our own life history and take our adult capacity for the spoken, written and read word, completely for granted. With no real memory of how our body created the “sensation” experience we label mind, in the process of our emerging functionality, as members of a survival economy, masquerading as society.

    As you write of securing your place in this survival economy, “I was collecting data for my PhD,” and imo, developing a vocational world-view that “we’re inevitably discussing an illness, a disease.” While from the world-view shaped by actual experience, I would urge you to “pause” and contemplate your subconscious, survival oriented rationale, as you justify your own behavioural needs.

    While from this vocational world-view perspective, I urge you to consider why, in the literature of a “treatment oriented” attitude to psychosis, there is no referential material, citing the latest view from “developmental science?” And why in the current early intervention attitude to first episode psychosis, there is a “paradoxical” view that dismisses earlier formulations of a “double-bind” theory relating to the family dynamic as a crucible of madness. While simultaneously pointing out that Expressed Emotion within the emotional dynamic a psychotic patient returns to, is a most accurate indicator of relapse.

    Again I would urge you to pause and contemplate the “thermodynamic,” internal nature of how the constant reciprocal influences between your body-brain create your taken for granted experience of mind. While urging members of the survivor community to help the survival vocations of psychology & psychiatry to face the reality of our historical journey to becoming human. For as the great American writer Jean Houston points out, we are not yet fully human, still closer to the animals than the angels, in our subconsciously motivated survival behaviors.

    A view of our common “existential” reality, to which I include an excerpt from my own existential resolution of psychosis, in terms of making sense of Dr John Weir Perry’s view that psychosis “is nature’s way of setting things right.” From my academic paper: Psychosis: Affective States of Consciousness & Nervous System Dysregulation:

    “In 2007, I began a self-education process to understand the structure and thermodynamic functioning of my nervous system processes, and the non-conscious stimulation of my manic-depressive experiences. Including a continuous reading and re-reading of relevant literature like “The Polyvagal Theory” (Porges, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001a, 2003, 2007, 2011) which articulates the discovery of “an integrated social engagement system,” (Porges 2001) and an adaptive perspective on psychiatric disorders:

    The Polyvagal Theory provides a perspective to demystify features of clinical disorders. The theory provides principles to organize previously assumed disparate symptoms observed in several psychiatric disorders (i.e., a compromise in the function of the Social Engagement System). Moreover, by explaining features of disorders from an adaptive perspective, interventions may be designed that trigger the neural circuits that will promote spontaneous social engagement behaviors and dampen the expression of defensive strategies that disrupt social interactions. (Porges, 2009)

    Leading me towards an experiential integration of developmental science knowledge, which has changed a self-defensive, treatment oriented perception of my genetic predisposition to experiencing manic-depression. Towards “a phylogenetic interpretation of the neural mechanisms mediating the behavioral and physiological features associated with stress and several psychiatric disorders.” (Porges, 2004) A shift in personal focus, towards understanding the “phylogeny of the autonomic nervous system,” (Porges, 2004) which brought a non-pathologic context to why “despite family, twin and adoption studies revealing a high genetic liability, with a point estimation of 81%, single major-effect genes have not been detected and the precise molecular aetiology of psychosis currently remains unknown.” (McGorry et al, 2012) Hence, my experiential research, has explored a dichotomy in the descriptive language used to define assumptions of brain pathology, and the nervous ease and “dis-ease” (Frances, 2013) of my lived-experience. A dichotomy evidenced by my pharmacological treatment resistance, with a long history of delusional experience, occurring both on and off antipsychotic medications. A long history of various medical diagnoses, hospitalizations, intolerable medication side-effects and no breakthroughs in the promise of genetic research, so painfully frustrating to my quality of life aspirations. A dichotomy of lived experience and diagnostic definition, which persisted until appropriate education enabled an awareness of my nervous system function, and the psycho-physiological content & context of an experience, historically labelled psychotic. Which, in the phenomenology of non-conscious organism function, and how “thermodynamics are not only the essence of biodynamic, they are also the essence of neurodynamics, and therefore of psychodynamics,” (Schore, 2003) views all descriptive language terms as the insubstantial labels, of our “affect” driven images of consciousness.”

    This excerpt is included knowing that you cannot afford to consider such a view, in our current urban landscapes, of an economy masquerading as society, and that you need to keep voicing the public rhetoric, that justify’s prescriptive medicine practices and seeks funding for resources. A common dilemma that posses both sides of the “psychiatry anti-psychiatry” argument here on MIA, with the mask of consciousness “cloaking” funding opportunities, with the rhetoric of serving others.

    We need more research! We need more treatment approaches!

    All perfectly understandable in the common context of survival, and our historical denial of the body as a Temple of Being. within our predominately Patriarchal, Misogynistic, Caucasian developed, educated societies.

    Sincere regards,

    David Bates.

  • Hi Steve, its a good thesis, although I question the extent to which you stay within a conceptual framework, which does not, from my lived experience, provide the practical solutions to a self-regulation of psychophysiological distress.

    Although you mention the natural perspective of our body’d major organs, you seem to be endorsing the current misconception that our mind, is all about what happens within the brain?
    Even in Bessel Van der Kolk’s wonderful book about our susceptibility to trauma induced PTSD, he describes the brain as “the engine” of our humanity, whereas, from my own experiential resolution of spontaneous psychoses, I have found my heart to be the engine of all that I am. And the key to a practical self-regulation of our varied states of consciousness.

    As professor Stephen Porges points out, what is missing in our global mental health debate are the reciprocal influences between body & brain, which create our human consciousness. While the work of McCarty et al, at HeartMath is producing a new paradigm of understanding about our heart-brain connects, which is complimenting the kind of developmental science perspective, advocated by people like Allan N Schore.

    In terms of the practical reality of HOW my body creates my mind, and how I learned to master psychosis, the “organs” perspective you mention at beginning of your thesis, I describe like so: my resolution experience, after three decades of using medical definitions to try to understand my behaviors, as the lived-experience of the symptoms of my schi!ophrenia and bipolar affective disorder diagnoses. Came from broadening my personal knowledge base and changing my habitual attitude to all the subtle and not so subtle sensations within my body. Which essentially involves sensing voluntary/involuntary muscular tensions, and associated vascular pressures and spontaneous or withheld breathing. With a felt-sense awareness of the pressure/tension sensations of cerebral blood flow, in my various states of mind.

    While a more detailed explanation and referential material can be found here:

    Psychosis: Affective States of Consciousness & Nervous System Dysregulation

    ABSTRACT: With 34 years of lived experience, I present a middle path bridging psychology and psychiatry, based on research and discoveries in developmental science. An experiential understanding of psychosis, as a thermodynamic, psychosomatic process. Enabled by developing an embodied awareness of the “affect” driven nature of nervous system activity and the “role of visceral state and visceral afferent feedback on the global functioning of the brain,” (Porges, 2011) during episodes of affective psychosis. Since 2007, my normal and abnormal states of mind have been explored with an improving sense of the “bidirectional influences between peripheral physiological state and the brain circuits related to affective processes.” (Porges, 2009) A model of experience based on: The Polyvagal Theory (Porges, 2011) and the discovery of “an integrated social engagement system,” (Porges 2001) vulnerable to “affect dysregulation.” (Schore, 2003) A phylogenetic perspective on “A Traumagenic Neurodevelopmental Model,” (Read et al, 2001) with an understanding of traumatic experience and “the mis-attuning social environment that triggers an intense arousal dysregulation.” (Schore, 2003) With 7 years of experiential research focusing on “the primacy of affect” (McGilchrist, 2010) and the “primary process emotional/affective states,” (Panksepp, 2004) of my “innate affect” (Tomkins, 1995) driven imagery of consciousness, during episodes of “affective psychosis.” (McGorry et al, 2012)

    https://www.academia.edu/8013843/Psychosis_Affective_States_of_Consciousness_and_Nervous_System_Dysregulation

  • Speaking As A Survivor Researcher, I have to say that the last place I’d want to be is inside the mainstream priesthood, in modernity’s tower’s of babel. Where from my perspective of trying to expereintially understand my altered states of consciousness, I’d be corralled into affirming what is already known and actively discouraged from thinking outside the mainstream square.

    I’m reminded of classroom incident where my constant questions of the esteemed professor, was met with increasing anger. At which I voiced my defence of simply needing to understand. Which brought one those pregnant with possibility moments, when the professor shouted at me:

    ‘Your not here to understand, your here to learn how to pass an examination.’

    Sadly, because we accept our current landscape of an economy masquerading as a society, truthful moment was allowed to pass without inquiry, because the remuneration aim, is the name of the game.

    As a self-educated survivor I would encourage others to realize that they are, if on government benefits, in a unique position to explore “the tree of life,” as the kabbalists suggest, from the twin perspectives of knowledge and internal sensations. Which in my opinion will transform our understanding of human mental health, in the coming century.

    The epidemic of mental illness, may be happening now, not because of the influence of commercial power, but because, in terms of our historical journey as a sentient species, this is HOW we become more conscious, more fully human. An historical perspective that endorses R.D. Laing’s intuitive understanding that through the suffering of quite ordinary people labelled schizophrenic, not those of armchair comfortable middle class rank & status, the light will begin to break into our all-to-closed-minds.

    It is in this context of a need for true self-awareness that I write papers and upload them the free download site of Academia.edu with a lived experience perspective our vocation shaped worldviews: My Mad Behavior: Brain Disease or Adaptive Dis~Ease?

    A medical vocation, cloaks our mainstream perception of madness, not in words of understanding human behavior, but in the need of a public rhetoric that justifies a treatment methodology and attracts resource funding. A personal view from lived experience, which seeks to help broaden discussion about, The Paradox of Modernity.7 The paradox of an era of rising material wealth and rising physical and mental ill health, within the worlds most developed societies. Which from the perspective of the Buddhist society where I spent three years, experientially self-healing my mad behavior, seems to be created by a Poverty of Self-Awareness. A paradox of modernity which I humbly suggest, needs a serious inner contemplation of the existential notion that:

    We are all in a posthypnotic trance induced in early infancy. -R.D. Laing

    Because for me personally, Laing’s seemingly strange statement, speaks directly to the paradox of my previous faith in treatment oriented rhetoric and why I experienced psychoses, whether on or off medications. Contemplating this existential paradox, spoke directly to my conscious assumption that my ability to sight words and remember them, was synonymous with personal self-awareness. With Laing’s intuitive sense reflecting Buddha’s statement: words do not describe reality, only experience shows us truth. With my own inner contemplation exploring how an habitual fixation on sight and sound in our modern urban environments, creates an imbalance in sensory perception.

    Read more here: https://www.academia.edu/11296675/My_Mad_Behavior_Brain_Disease_or_Adaptive_Dis_Ease

  • Dear Monica,

    You write: sounds like crazy woo…but it’s my experience and it’s happening. It seems to be happening to others I communicate with as well…I sometimes think of the bible quote: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

    Which reminds me of the sense of oneness & Biblical metaphor that springs intuitively to mind whenever I undergo a spontaneous experience of the rapture! An experience I often made the mistake of reports to mental health professionals who, in their economic need to survive, dismissed it as psychotic.

    Yet, as I’ve commented below, I have the strong feeling that we are, in fact, involved in an historical shift in human self-awareness which will see us make natural sense of the hidden green language (as the esoteric’s put it) in the Biblical narrative. Mystical mountains and interior caves, being the obvious way that the great mystery of our cosmic reality, is cloaked in images of external reality.

    With my own sense of oneness echoing the Biblical sense of I am, so poetically expressed by a well known victim of psychiatric confusion about the human condition: I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am. ―Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

    While on that famous mystical mountain attained by Moses, a dialogue with Ultimate Reality (God) brought forth a famous quotation about humanity’s exodus from Africa:

    Moses at the Burning Bush
    …13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” 15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.…

    The question being, is the current day confluence of spirituality & science, bringing the prophecy of the resurrection (how the body creates the mind) into sight? With an implicit understanding of HOW we are the Universe evolved into a form which is perceiving and acting upon itself.

    The purpose of life resolved, with the secure sense that our children’s children’s children, will go on to populate our Milky Way Galaxy. While in terms of suffering the profound mental dis¬ease labelled as illness, Carl Jung points out in The Red Book, how we have always suffered for the sake of the future.

    If you are familiar with the rituals of the Christian Palm Sunday, I am suggesting that there is much about our internal nature, hidden in the narrative of an obvious sense of external reality. “They took of their cloaks,” suggesting a laying down of the veil of consciousness?

    Warm regards,

    David Bates.

  • Another good essay CHAYA, in our common need to clarify what is actually happening, beyond the headline seeking debates.

    A long time ago, a character created to personify the story of the human condition, suggested we stay in love with each other and not worship false idols. While modern science, in studying human development from the inside-out, suggests that the REAL human economy is within us. That is the innate vitality affects which create health, happiness and a bonded feeling of safety, so vital for our children’s hearts to bloom.

    In shifts the mental health debate towards a sense of a “continuum of human experience,” should we confront the paradox that our human anatomy has not changed in the last 40,000 years, let alone the last 4,000, while we all exhibit the delusional impression, that the changing objects of modernity, have created a change inside us? As Jimi Hendrix famously said “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will be transformed.”

    That transformation is happening right now, as we face the reality of our urban landscapes of survival economies, masquerading as society. With groups like Psychiatric Survivor Entrepreneurs for a mutually supportive environment, involved in a shift in our common perception of what society will look like in 22nd century A.D.

    Imagine, health and happiness being felt as more valuable commodities, than the objects of survival we consider essential to quality of life? IMO there is a realization coming, involving the level of self-ignorance that we simply take for granted, as the dichotomy of being human. All of us reaching our common adulthood, having long forgotten the early experience of life, which wasn’t defined so much by sight, sound and language. But by the NATURE of being alive, that we all have in common, beyond our competitive needs for the false object resource’s, of health & happiness.

    As a Psychiatric Survivor Entrepreneur, I see my own task, as articulating my sense of a looming generational change, as science and spirituality converge, to further illuminate the darkness of our habitually taken for granted, human behaviors. Hoping to broaden discussion about, The Paradox of Modernity.7 In which, material wealth and a poverty of self-awareness, is creating a pressure for human self-realization, which will see an intuitive prophecy realized:

    If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable age of Darkness. They will presumably be able to savor the irony of the situation with more amusement than we can extract from it. The laugh’s on us. They will see that what we call ‘schizophrenia’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds. -R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience

    Warm regards

    David Bates.

  • Good article Chaya. It seems to indicate that we all share a common dilemma of poor self-awareness, when it comes to HOW we make choices. A dichotomy of being human, that is marked by a profound split in mind-body awareness?.

    Reading what you write: The individuals and families I work with are moving more and more into an expanded awareness of the “Self” in self-determination; it is inherent in aspiring to come off psych drugs, this desire to be more inclusive in our sense of self.

    I’m reminded of my own struggle to expand my sense of self, beyond my taken for granted self-ignorance, when all I understood about my brain & heart, were the “words” brain & heart. It was painful to admit to myself, that for most of my adult life, I knew more about how my motor car functions, than how I function.

    While, in reading the shift towards discussion of our common experience of SELF, here on MIA, I’m heartened by sense of movement in the right direction. The “individual” efforts by those of us with lived experience are sorely needed, in our “vocation” shaped rhetoric of human understanding.

    Certainly, in my own individual efforts to make sense of Dr John Weir Perry’s understanding that psychosis is “natures way of putting things right.” Going through it, in order to allow my nervous system to self-heal a trauma induced wound. Involved turning away from the avoidance approach of a medical vocation’s, limited intervention/treatment understanding of psychotic experience.

    While beyond the public rhetoric & taken for granted “politics of experience,” my experiential triumph over the inherent psychotic projections that we all suffer, has brought as sense that the current epidemic of mental illness, in our so-called developed societies, has an inherent purpose in our still emerging, common humanity.

    Dare I say, that it feels like the final battle between our heads & our hearts, for a clear eyed perception of heaven. The heaven that has always been, right in front of our eyes. A comment that comes from the broadening of my personal knowledge base, with a reading education into the latest “developmental neuroscience.” Science knowledge which is peculiarly absent from the literature of psychiatry, with its vocational interest in time constrained, prescriptive medicine, behaviours. As, like all vocational world-views, the profession rationalizes its own behavioural needs, imo.

    While on a personal level, it was the painful truth of my own rationalizations, which I was forced to face up to, in finally allowing the subconscious processes of my psychophysiological self, to heal the wounds of life’s experience. TRUTH & its much needed intervention in our current politics of experience, which always reminds me of Jack Nicholson in the movie A Few Good Men: You can’t handle …….

    For as Bertram Karon points out, we don’t really want to know about schizophrenia & psychosis, because of what such “knowing” will teach us about the human condition.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Interesting blog Michael.

    Which seems, from afar, to spell out the fearful divisions within the American psyche. The taken for granted sense of “us & them” which so defines America’s politics of experience, which from a Buddhist landscape, appears to be a desire for cognitive constructs invoking a sense of victory, rather than enlightenment. One wonders if God weeps for the illusions of self-awareness, inherent in a Caucasian mind-body split, ruling over the heart of America’s, national, sense of self.

    HOW to go beyond the easy headlines (cognitive function) invoking a need to feel strong and feel the impulse of self-protective function, that will transcend the psychotic delusions of a survival economy masquerading as a society? HOW to be honest with each other and admit that in the great race of life, we can always bet on self-interest.

    HOW to go beyond the “pretty faces that tell pretty lies,” as Billy Joel puts it in his song HONESTY. HOW to deepen our combined sense of self, beyond the self-defensive psychotic adjustments to reality, that we all exhibit in our taken for granted behaviours and perceptions of reality.

    For as you state in our blogger profile:
    “I want this blog and the discussion it generates to help deepen our understanding of the mystery of madness and to help us learn ways to lovingly do self care when we are mad, and how to lovingly respond to others when they are mad.”

    Is this blog post a loving response to T.M. Luhrmann’s madness, Michael? Are you helping to deepen our understanding of the mystery, Michael? Are you helping people to make sense of Dr John Weir Perry’s lived-experience perception that psychosis is “natures way of setting things right.”

    I understand the rhetoric and the socio-political argument. But do you believe that such affect-raising labels/words do anything other than keep America’s mental health debate stuck in a Cartesian circle? A Cartesian circle created, imo, by our individual & group needs of regulating the bio-energetic nature of being human, The heart-centered impulse to our impassioned pleas for sanity, in this age of darkness and its increasingly self-objectifying language of science based illusions, about the human condition and the mystery of life’s purpose.

    I ask readers to contemplate the reality that we are not yet fully human and all our PROJECTIONS onto external reality, are created by internal processes which are essentially PSYCHOTIC in nature. And that all group behaviour, whether it be a group labelled psychiatry or anti-psychiatry, is based on basic-assumptions that are essentially about binding and bonding needs. An understanding that may be contemplated from a reading of Bion’s formulations on groups:

    “Bion on Groups:
    Bion’s major work, “Experiences in Groups,” was published in 1961. His starting point in groups, was the work of Melanie Klein and the mechanisms she ascribed to the earliest phases of mental life, mechanisms that involve psychotic defenses. These psychotic defenses persist in the life of all normal individuals to a greater or lesser extent, but they are especially characteristic of groups, and revealed in the “basic assumption” that binds the group together.

    Generally, “basic assumptions” are about the affects of “anxiety, fear, hate and love.” Specifically, by a “basic assumption,” Bion means an assumption such as “the group exists for fight or flight,” or the group depends on a leader, or the group has hope based on a belief that through it a new messiah or solution will emerge. How thoroughly such an assumption holds varies, but a basic-assumption always exists.” -Teresa Brennan. The Transmission of Affect

    I’m sure you will read this comment in the spirit of its intention, Michael. Even as it raises, heart energized, innate affects, like pain, anger and rage.

    Love,

    David.

  • TIME certainly presses our behaviour and perceptions.

    Like the time constrained behaviour of prescriptive medicine practice and our ability to critique the reality of experience.

    All my attempts to label the oceanic sensation of oneness, during moments of euphoric joy, with sporadic flashes of being immersed within an Ultimate Reality, as both Western & Eastern mystics, alternatively label God.

    Were cast aside in the inevitable needs of survival within modernity’s urban landscapes, where an “economy of survival” masquerades as community and civil society.

    “Why do you insist on contemplating the existential nature of being human, instead of getting on with life & being normal!”

    My family & friends would chastise.

    And yet: – The ability to see the deeper connections to things that seem unrelated on the surface.

    – The ability to organize meaningful content out of so many seemingly disconnected ideas.

    May allow the “sensitives” to bring our common humanity beyond its inherent denial, of its own reality and understand the deeper connections within our body’s, that create our ideas and our cognitive illusion that world is made of words.

    With a sensation focus on our internal nature bringing a realization of how:

    The delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature:- making language the expositor of nature, instead of making nature the expositor of language. -Alexander B Johnson

    Will the “sensitives” of lived-experience be able to bring an “embodied” awareness of the “illusions” inherent in our Western educated sense of a highly judgemental, labelling sense of normality and confirm Lacan’s insight that the common ego is hollow. Based, not on a true “deeper” sense of self, but a constant judgement of any sense of otherness, flowing from the heart’s “orienting & defensive” impulses?

    So glad you are contemplating your own sensitive nature & just how you are made of Star Dust, Sera.

    Is there room for Spirituality in this MIA faith in Science’s “subject to object” orientation, of subjective inquiry?

  • The UNCONSCIOUS IMO is your body & our inherent subconscious “structural violence” is our mind’s fearful denial of its own creator. In a paradox of modernity, where all the average person knows about their own internal structure & function, are WORDS.

    Hence this highly insightful statement about our common-sense illusions, in the global mental health debate:

    “The delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature:- making language the expositor of nature,
    instead of making nature the expositor of language. Alexander B Johnson

    In my expertise by lived experience, our common sense dependence on sight, sound and our recognition of words, has created an unnatural perception about the roots of human behaviour and biological disease.

    For example; do know about your own development within the womb & do you know that your heart has its own nervous system, which is intimately involved in your subconscious orienting/attention processes? Have you read or heard of developmental science perspective’s on psychiatric disorders, and their references to our autonomic nervous system?

    For, in the context of my comments here & Richard & Timothy’s essay’s, our subconscious need for “affect-regulation” in our universal needs of self-regulation, is “driving” the cognitive constructs of a political argument.

    While Timothy’s use of the word Mark, holds an interesting parallel to words Sin. For as Tolle points out in his book “A New Earth,” The original meaning of the word sin, in Greek & Hebrew, is mark. And to commit a sin was to miss the mark, to miss the point of life. Which we all do, in this current “paradoxical modernity” by assuming the world is made of words.

    Interestingly though, right here on MIA, some bloggers are turn towards the inner nature of reality, with suggestions that we can only FEEL our way out of mental distress, by focusing on the internal sensations of our body. For as one the great champions of the anti-psychiatry movement (an association he did not condone) R.D. Laing pointed out:

    “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”

    My own resolution of spontaneous psychoses, whether on or off neuroleptic medications, came from broadening my knowledge base and beginning to notice HOW I habitually failed to notice, the internal structure & functionality, of my body-mind & HOW I do, being me.

    How do you do, being you, barrab?

  • Hi MIG,

    I understand where your coming from, my point is that structural violence comes from our still, overwhelmingly UNCONSCIOUS, behavioural motivation. Particularly in Western educated world, with no history of developing “embodied” self-awareness.

    Therefore, the debate is stuck in a Cartesian circle, because we don’t know how to make words incarnate, (take their meaning into the flesh) and we simply confuse our ability to speak, hear & write words, with self-awareness.

    Hence, we see the political classes in all our democracies, increasingly confused about the difference between rhetoric & reality. While individually, we demonstrate no capacity to feel how we all rationalize our behavioural needs.

    Which in the primary process reality of being in any given moment of time, is a need to regulate AFFECT. Which is why academic psychiatry labels psychosis as affective & non-affective, although that confusion is beginning to resolve itself. As the dissociated perception of paranoid schizophrenia, as a non-affective psychosis, is being accepted as a syndrome of dysfunctional behaviour, energized by innate terror.

    Since my first comments here on MIA, I have suggested that nothing will change until we recognize how the hidden nature of our evolved function, and that the human rights aspect of the debate here needs to recognize that the epidemic of mental illness, involves a historical movement towards accepting what the human species is.

    Both Timothy & Richard’s essay’s demonstrate how we manage to talk all around the core issue of what lies at the root of individual, family, community & societal function. IMO its the dichotomy of being human, in how we simply take our experience for granted and end up, as Einstein pointed out, just sensing an “obvious” reality, and not inquiring any further. With great PARADOX of the recovery movement, an assumption the NORMAL is good.

  • Feels very much like a battle cry piece, Richard? Pitched perfectly to an “us vs them” choir who feel dis-empowered.

    But, “what will you do when the war is over, tender comrade?” -Billy Brag.

    This need for revolution which projects subconscious, internal systems of projection onto the external environment, while remaining blindly “unaware” of how the ego’s self-defensive, unconscious creation by the hearts polarizing “affect-system,” relationship with the brain, creates a cognitive illusion of knowing. The perceptual dichotomy of being human. Immersed, as we are, in an ocean of e-motive reactivity, in my experience.

    You write: “Now do not misunderstand me, I am not advocating that we just put our heads down and narrowly (or blindly) fight the daily battles against psychiatric abuse. No, we must adopt a political strategy of walking on two legs of struggle. That is, while fighting the particular daily battles we must always link these specific fights to the broader issues of systemic and ‘structural violence’ within the larger economic and political system.”

    While Dr John Weir Perry, suggests that understanding schizophrenia, requires a perception of our “systems of projection,” which are denied in “normal” human behaviour. And C. G. Jung suggested that although such human experiences as war, are presumed to be an external reality phenomena, war is produced by interpersonal psychic phenomena.

    My perception of Timothy Kelly’s essay, was of an attempt to broaden the debate about societal function in our Paradox of Modernity. A paradox, which from my own experiential resolution of spontaneous psychoses, and an embodied understanding of why Perry suggested that psychosis: is natures way of putting things right. Is a paradox of self-ignorance, in our common assumption that behaviour “fixated” on sight, sound and our capacity to “label” reality, is synonymous with true self-awareness.

    Kelly’s important discussion point, needs in my opinion, to be considered in the context of survival, in an Economy masquerading as Society. Where people will survive by whatever resources are available, and the providers of those resources will deny the conflict of interest, in meeting the resource needs of their own survival.

    So, “what will you do, tender comrade, when the war is over” and your external perception of injustice, no longer energizes your internal juices and the polar nature of your unconscious, affect-system?

    Jungian/Langian therapist’s would relate affect-system with affect/image and the processes of three global states of vigilance, that Jaak Panksepp describes as SWP (slow wave sleep) REM (rapid eye movement dreaming) and Waking state consciousness. While the wonderful American writer Jean Houston suggests, we are still undergoing the process of becoming, human. And the English writer Rupert Sheldrake suggests that “evolution/revolution” is primarily a process of habit. An existential view, which suggests that POWER is primarily a force of habit. But when does this habituated human process begin and how much of the process is available to our waking state consciousness?

    How much, is our taken for granted “politics of experience,” a product of unconscious Projection?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • There that wonderful moment in the movie “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson spills the beans on normality’s avoidance of truth. “You can’t……….”

    While during the Vietnam war, smart heads in the CIA created “plausible deniability,” knowing that most people will accept lies, in an immediate need to self-regulate internal homoeostasis.

    “Deception is the art of Plausibility,” was the catch phrase used to give voice to the propaganda industry, that such an innate human need creates.

    But is there a “basic assumption” that such deceiving behaviour only applies to THEM?

    Last week I spent two days in company of mental health professionals, who demonstrated no lived-experience capacity to FEEL how they rationalize their own behavioural needs. No capacity for understanding a “continuum of human experience,” in their fixated belief that the surface image labels, we call words, can describe the phenomena of our actual experience.

    I’m hopeful that the search for a deeper sense of “meaning & purpose,” advocated by the author, will lead to a realization breakthrough, this century, as the reality of lived experience, continues to disprove the “conceptual” sense of reality, so many career academics, cling to. Even in spite of “paradoxical” nature of their public rhetoric.

    While I fear that the conferences put together by people like Eric, will be highly selective in the choice of lived-experience individuals, invited to participate.

  • This is a truly wonderful essay on the experience of “the self” Sara.

    The phenomenology of our actual experience of being human, which gets lost in our common assumption, that the everyday language we use for communication, is capable of communicating our reality, even to ourselves.

    Especially, when we are pressured by our need of attachment to endorse the consensus reality of our group. I was struck mostly by your sense of these phenomena of experience as: When they enter my world, it’s as if they are amplified especially for my benefit (or torture).

    With the term “amplified” having particular meaning in my own journey towards self-healing, self-regulation, after almost three decades of trying to explain away the phenomena of my spontaneous, by psychoses, by endorsing the bio-medical language of our mainstream consensus.

    In educating myself about the “adaptive” nature of my nervous system and synthesising knowledge from an inter-disciplinary approach to the phenomenology of experience, I developed an embodied awareness of how my innate affect-system, acts as an amplifying mechanism, for orienting my mind’s attention to the phenomena of internal & external reality.

    From such a perspective, the phenomena list you explain here, is your world. While I agree with you 100% that trauma and innate sensitivity, lie at the root of what, mainstream, group, consensus reality, needs to label a mental illness. Because we are not yet ready to accept the human condition for what it is.

    The Universe evolved into a form which is perceiving and acting upon itself. While from my experiential perspective, the issue of what madness experience is, beyond the bio-medical, fever-type model, will see R.D. Laing’s prophecy come true, in this century:

    “If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable age of Darkness. They will presumably be able to savor the irony of the situation with more amusement than we can extract from it. The laugh’s on us. They will see that what we call ‘schizophrenia’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds.” -R.D. Laing

    Warm regards,

    David Bates

  • Hi TIP,

    I agree with every word you wrote. While you mention, perhaps the most important single word term in the whole mental health debate.

    HONESTY. Of which Billy Joel has a great and insightful song, that mentions those pretty faces, all to willing to tell pretty lies. Although psychologist’s prefer to rationalize this self-protective feature of our normal behaviour, as an expression of “healthy boundaries.”

    While in great talk between Will Hall & Mary Olsen on Madness Radio. When asked whether she thought the “open-dialogue” approach to first episode psychosis, can become acceptable to mainstream America. She uses the word “honesty” in an important cultural context. Noting that in Finland, people seemed to able to be more emotionally honest in the circular questioning of family members.

    While in my own self-healing of decades of spontaneous psychoses, (psychosis being an image label of the surface impression of a human experience) being immersed within a different culture, was vital to my capacity to tolerate the mind annihilating sensations of “terror” which lay at the root of my “prepsychotic personality.” -John Weir Perry

    Spending three years in the largest Buddhist society in the world, was crucial to my desire to understand my experience from the inside-out, because I found myself in a culture with more “embodied” sense of self. A culture, that does not have the “automatic” good/bad axis of subconscious judgement, that I experience within my native Caucasian culture.

    While in terms of honesty, I spent two days last week, in the company of mental health professionals, with no life experience capacity, to acknowledge “how” they were rationalizing the behavioural needs of a vocation stuck in the “time” limited paradigm of prescriptive medicine.

  • Hi David,

    Coming from a lived-experience and Buddhist perspective, I would suggest that we can “trust” our actual experience, once we learn to let-go of our self-protective attachment to a conceptual sense of reality. Which in experience involves questioning the “paradox” within my taken for granted, habitual behaviours, including NOT noticing how my body creates my mind.

    A difficult reorganization of my sense of self, immersed as I am, in a cultural climate that pressures me daily, to assume I am my mind. Yet, having won my struggle with what prescriptive modern medicine believes was a serious mental illness, produced by a disease process. I now understand belief-systems, as largely a rationalization of behaviour.

    While, in terms of moving towards understanding Schizophrenia and Psychosis, as a Continuum of Human Experience. Dr John Weir Perry’s observation that we need to understand our subconscious “systems of projection,” brings our common humanity, into “conceptual” debates about what works for the “other.”

    With a turn inwards, towards one own experience of sensation and how our body creates our mind, bringing the “avoidance” motivation of an intervention/treatment attitude towards other people, into conscious awareness. A process of gaining improved self-awareness, which R.D. Laing pointed out, as beginning to notice how we habitually fail to notice, the subconscious roots of our taken for granted behaviours, including our modes of thinking.

    Best wishes,

    Batesy.

  • Wonderful essay Will and a sad indictment of modern society, in many ways.

    Our Paradox of Modernity that sees an era of unprecedented material wealth, combined with rising rates of physical and mental ill health. An age when we have an economy masquerading as a society, it seems.

    And where to now? From the perspective of history, will this century see R.D Laing’s prophecy come true?

    “If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable age of Darkness. They will presumably be able to savor the irony of the situation with more amusement than we can extract from it. The laugh’s on us. They will see that what we call ‘schizophrenia’ was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break through the cracks in our all-too-closed minds.” -R.D. Laing.

    From my own experiences of altered states of reality, which in hindsight have become understood as, Ultimate Reality breaking through natural survival defences. I have the feeling that this century will see a breakthrough, as “developmental” science continues to chart a middle path between psychology & psychiatry, and a “disease” model of human behaviour, continues to fail the causation question:

    “If madness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it” -M. Cornwall

  • Hi Stephen,

    I know people here get annoyed by my references to Murray Bowen and his seminal contributions to family systems theory. But IMO there are few original thinkers, with most psychological productions being little more than a repackaged, regurgitation of the breakthrough thinkers wisdom.

    People cite the “open-dialogue” program here, and I’am amazed how much people don’t seem to realize how much its based on these seminal ideas, produced in America, in first place. Bowen predicted that a reduced level of individual self-differentiation in society would come tho head in the middle of this century. Quiet the prophet, IMO. Please consider his thoughts about our levels of intellectual/emotional functioning;

    The concept of differentiation of self is important. At the more differentiated end of the scale is the person who can “know” with his intellect, and who can also know, or be aware of, or feel the situation with his emotional system. He has reasonable ability to keep an operational differentiation between intellect and emotions and take action on the fact of intellectual reasoning, that opposes his feelings and the truth of subjectivity. Only a small percentage of the population has this level of differentiation.

    A person can have a well functioning intellect but intellect is intimately fused with his emotional system, and a relatively small part of his intellect is operationally differentiated from his emotional system. He can accurately “know” facts that are personally removed, such as mathematics and the physical sciences, but most of his intellect is under the operational control of the emotional system, and much of his total knowledge would be more accurately classified as an intellectual emotional awareness, without much differentiation between intellect and feelings.

    The person at this level of differentiation does not commonly have a clearly formed notion of fact, or differences between truth and fact, or fact and feeling, or theory and philosophy, or rights and responsibility, or other critical differentiations between intellectual and emotional functioning. Personal and social philosophy are based on the truth of subjectivity and life decisions are based more on feelings and maintaining the subjective harmony. _Murray Bowen.

    Regards,

    David.

  • Of course I agree with your sentiments Jack, yet, as you point out in your final sentence;

    Yup, this stuff’s been going on for a long time. So remember … don’t mourn … be happy, if you’re so inclined … and organize!

    So why is it that mainstream society feels a need to ignore the reality of all the research and all the book publications? And is the reality of this mainstream ignorance just about the power of capitalism’s predatory nature? Will we still be making the same protests, pointing to the same research findings, and results, like the “open-dialogue” approach, in five years from now? Is there a “subconscious” need, beneath the seemingly obvious in our objective reasoning about what is actually happening in society? Does our usual understandable protesting, paradoxically maintain a mainstream status-quo?

    In the facebook Occupy Psychiatry Discussion group, I’ve asked this same question with a plea to occupy psychiatry with good sense and good science, like the science of psychophysiology I refer to in the chapter link below, which most readers will assume to be just egoic self-promotion;

    In October 2010, when I’d returned to Australia towards the end of a six week long psychosis, I’d spent an evening with my best friend from 1980, and he made this interesting comment;

    ‘That first time, back in 1980, it felt like the real you had come out, then everyone wanted you to go back into your shell again.’
    ( see: A Physiological Foundation – My New Realization?
    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-6.html )

    ‘People see it as a breakdown, its so disruptive to the old personality, the personality they’ve become adjusted to, but that old personality was habitually defensive and I needed a breakthrough experience to change an unconscious pattern of avoidance behavior,’ I replied.

    Yet are we really so self-aware, about our subconscious reactions, which stimulate our mind’s sense of reason? IMO Freud’s iceberg metaphor about our human motivation, is as relevant today as it ever was and I don’t believe that we really understand the emotional dynamics involved in the mental health debate. Of course, its about human rights, yet we are treated so differently because our experience goes to the heart of what it means to be human, with the average citizen scared to death, by what people like us go through.

    As Foucault pointed out, our cultural assumption is of reason on the one hand and madness on the other, while reality testing suggests unreason and madness, on a continuum of human experience. Yet, IMO the problem is, that society at large will desperately cling to its image of reason, regardless of inconvenient truths?

    Are we in this community, guilty of the same thing, in this oh so rational, debate? We humans are exasperating and quiet paradoxical, are we not?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Hi Michael,

    Is this feeling of a Cosmos longing for relationship with its children real? As I wake this morning, after recover from the above post, which had left me feeling naked, exposed, and stripped of my psychological boundaries. Those walls of Jericho which dived us from each other and our eternal soul (metaphorically speaking, of course) I’m greeted by one those synchronous moments, which have guided my path in recent years.

    My best friend from 1980, and my first so-called breakdown, has posted a picture of himself and his wife. It comes just hours after me writing this;

    “In October 2010, when I’d returned to Australia towards the end of a six week long psychosis, I’d spent an evening with my best friend from 1980, and he made this interesting comment;

    ‘That first time, back in 1980, it felt like the real you had come out, then everyone wanted you to go back into your shell again.’

    ( see: A Physiological Foundation – My New Realization http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-6.html )

    ‘People see it as a breakdown, its so disruptive to the old personality, the personality they’ve become adjusted to, but that old personality was habitually defensive and I needed a breakthrough experience to change an unconscious pattern of avoidance behavior,’ I replied.”

    Mere meaningless coincidence? Or synchronicity? To the “objective” rational mind, such seemingly magical moments NEED to be ignored, simply because instinctual survival demands we don’t dwell in AWE of the reality of our special nature, and its SENSITIVITY, IMO.

    Yet picture the image of Earth Rise from the Moon? That threshold we crossed in 1969, when the children of this Universe got to see Heaven from a true perspective, for the very first time? And to my American cousins, in that great land of paradox, which produces all measure of human madness, in all kinds, I ask you to consider the words of one of your most loved, creative artists, Harry Chapin;

    “All I got is time, Nothing else is mine.
    All I want is you and one more tomorrow.
    Nothing lasts to long, When I leave it’s gone.
    So I send my mind ahead and hope to follow.

    Yes, I know I have a lifetime coming,
    But I’ve got it all figured out,
    Everybody’s lonely, Everybody’s lonely,
    Everybody’s lonely, That’s what it’s all about.

    I’ve had my share of heartaches, misfortune and mistakes.
    Occasion’ly this life has left me battered.
    But I can’t blame no one else, ’cause what I’ve done to myself
    is the only kind of history that matters.

    Yes, I know I have a lifetime coming,
    But I’ve got it all figured out,
    Everybody’s lonely, Everybody’s lonely,
    Everybody’s lonely, That’s what it’s all about.

    Now, maybe you’ll come with me, and maybe you will stay,
    and maybe you’ll just watch awhile then wander.
    It seems like all the good things in my life just drift away,
    But maybe you will stay this time, I wonder.

    Yes, I know I have a lifetime coming,
    But I’ve got it all figured out,
    Everybody’s lonely, Everybody’s lonely,
    Everybody’s lonely, That’s what it’s all about.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OreExm0bXF8

    Warm Regards,

    David.

  • WHAT IS ULTIMATELY DREAMING ITSELF AWAKE, INSIDE YOU?
    Please consider;

    “The notion of this universe, its heavens, hells, and everything within it, as a great dream dreamed by a single being in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, has in India enchanted and shaped the entire civilization.

    The ultimate dreamer is Vishnu floating on the cosmic Milky Ocean, couched upon the coils of the abyssal serpent Ananta, the meaning of whose name is Unending. In the foreground stand the five Pandava brothers, heroes of the epic Mahabharata, with Draupadi, their wife: allegorically, she is the mind and they are the five senses.

    They are those whom the dream is dreaming. Eyes open, ready and willing to fight, the youths address themselves to this world of light in which we stand regarding them, where objects appear to be distinct from each other, and an Aristotelian logic prevails, and A is not not-A. Behind them a dream-door has opened, however, to an inward, backward dimension where a vision emerges against darkness…” _Joseph Campbell.

    And from a neuroscience perspective, (blasphemy, to the true believers here, apparently?), although I question people’s ability to really grasp the meaning of the words “cognitive dissonance and psychological-blindness,” consider;

    Sleep, Arousal, and Mythmaking in the Brain:

    Shakespeare proposed one possible function of sleep when he suggested that it “knits up the raveled sleeve of care.” Each day our lives cycle through the master routines of sleeping, dreaming, and waking. Although we do not know for sure what the various sleep stages do for us, aside from alleviating tiredness, we do know about the brain mechanisms that generate these states.

    All of the executive structures are quite deep in the brain, some in the lower brain stem. To the best of our knowledge, however, the most influential mechanisms for slow wave sleep (SWS) are higher in the brain than the active waking mechanisms, while the executive mechanisms for REM sleep are the lowest of the three. Thus, we are forced to contemplate the strange possibility that the basic dream generators are more ancient in brain evolution than are the generators of our waking consciousness.

    The brain goes through various “state shifts” during both waking and sleep. Surprisingly, it has been more difficult for scientists to agree on the types of discrete states of waking consciousness than on those that occur during sleep. EEG clearly discriminates three global vigilance states of the nervous system–waking, SWS, and dreaming or REM sleep.

    Some people have also thought that dreaming is the crucible of madness. Many have suggested that schizophrenia reflects the release of dreaming processes into the waking state. Schizophrenics do not exhibit any more REM than normal folks, except during the evening before a “schizophrenic break,” when REM is in fact elevated.

    There seem to be two distinct worlds within our minds, like matter and antimatter, worlds that are often 180 degrees out of phase with each other. The electrical activity in the brain stem during dreaming is the mirror image of waking–the ability of certain brain areas to modulate the activity of others during waking changes from excitation to inhibition during REM. In other words, areas of the brain that facilitate behaviors in waking now inhibit those same behaviors.

    Many believe that if we understand this topsy-turvy reversal of the ruling potentials in the brain, we will better understand the nature of everyday mental realities, as well as the nature of minds that are overcome by madness. Perhaps what is now the REM state was the original form of waking consciousness in early brain evolution, when “emotionality” was more important than reason in the competition for resources.

    What a strange thing, this dreaming process, that has now been the focus of more scientific inquiry than any other intrinsic mechanism of the brain. In terms of the EEG, it looks like a waking state, but in terms of behavior it looks like flaccid paralysis. When neuronal action potentials are analyzed during the three states of vigilance (sleeping, dreaming, and waking), we generally get a picture of waking activity as accompanied by a great deal of spontaneous neural activity, with only some cells being silent, waiting for the right environmental stimulus to come along.

    Before certain critical experiments were done, it was assumed that the waking state was sustained by the bombardment of the brain by incoming stimuli from the senses and that sleep ensued only when stimulation from environment was sufficiently diminished.

    During REM sleep, most of the brain exhibits slightly more neuronal activity than during waking, with storms of intense activity sweeping through certain areas of the brain. However, many neurons that are most active during waking cease firing completely during REM.”

    Excerpts from, “Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions.” by Jaak Panksepp.

    In a recent moments of day-dreaming inspiration, I’ve written in the Joseph Campbell Mythical Roundtable facebook group, that we are all on a special 12 step program, now containing some 6 billion odd souls, and counting? The Universe perceiving and acting upon itself? Becoming eternal by evolving into a form which acts upon itself, that is.

    And what does such a view have to do with the mental health debate? IMO what is at stake here, is the meaning of being human, in the reality that psychosis, is a right of passage? A subconscious right of passage, as our evolved brain/nervous systems, needs to adopt a mature orientation to reality, as it is. Hence I find myself posting this update on my facebook wall;

    HELP BRING FORTH – REALIZATION?
    Lift the veil a little more & realize the defensive and dark side of your objective rationality. Real human intelligence is emotional, intuitive, innate and entirely creative, because that’s what mother nature and the cosmos, created you for. Too much of our so-called objective insight, is based on our instinctive need to survive, that’s all. In Silvan Tomkins brilliant work on our innate nature, he notes 9 primary affect-emotions, only 2 of which are considered entirely positive. Interest-Excitement and Enjoyment-Joy, the other seven are devoted to your immediate need to survive the possible dangers of the present moment. Going beyond this innate need of wary self-defense is what happens to all the great mystics, including Buddha, Jesus & Muhammad as they faced the nature of their own reality and transcended an innate sense of FEAR.

    In the response to my comment above, Michael writes of interpretation getting easier with age, and I agree, hence my suggestion to Chrys on another thread, that we are “idolizing” education for the sake of education, above the value of lived wisdom, which only age and experience brings. This “idolization” of our educated priesthood, has IMO, led us into our current global dilemma, and is now forcing us to mature, a little more.

    Yet does this point in human history come by way of chaos, chance and circumstance? And is the rationally oriented cause and effect, objectifying intellect, capable of grasping an “unbelievable” reality, of ALL was meant to be? Right here, right now, because this moment is and always was, Eternal? Such is the trial of the visionary mind and the existential challenge of the born to be hyper-sensitive’s, like you and me. Please consider an excerpt from my journal come memoir, currently under construction;

    Is the Unexamined Life worth Living?
    Is the Hero’s Journey, applicable to an ordinary, individual life? Please consider the Cosmic Mythology of our Evolution;

    Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.” Please consider;

    Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, or the hero’s journey, is a basic pattern that its proponents argue is found in many narratives from around the world. This widely distributed pattern was described by Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).

    An enthusiast of novelist James Joyce, Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

    A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

    Campbell and other scholars, such as Erich Neumann, describe narratives of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Christ in terms of the monomyth and Campbell argues that classic myths from many cultures follow this basic pattern.

    The Crossing of the First Threshold
    This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.

    Campbell: “With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the ‘threshold guardian’ at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. Such custodians bound the world in four directions — also up and down — standing for the limits of the hero’s present sphere, or life horizon. Beyond them is darkness, the unknown and danger; just as beyond the parental watch is danger to the infant and beyond the protection of his society danger to the members of the tribe. The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, to remain within the indicated bounds, and popular belief gives him every reason to fear so much as the first step into the unexplored. The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil of the known into the unknown; the powers that watch at the boundary are dangerous; to deal with them is risky; yet for anyone with competence and courage the danger fades.”

    Modern Examples: In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke enters into the threatening and unpredictable world of the Creature Cantina in Mos Eisley. He then leaves Tatooine for the first time on the Millennium Falcon. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry defeats the troll, plunging him into a situation where he and his two companions will actively fight the darker powers, rather than simply parrying the blows. In The Lord of the Rings, Sam stops in the middle of a field and says to Frodo “If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”

    Belly of The Whale:
    The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. By entering this stage, the person shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis. (recall my use of Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis in Chp 17)

    Campbell: “The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown and would appear to have died. This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that the passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation. Instead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward, to be born again. The disappearance corresponds to the passing of a worshipper into a temple—where he is to be quickened by the recollection of who and what he is, namely dust and ashes unless immortal. The temple interior, the belly of the whale, and the heavenly land beyond, above, and below the confines of the world, are one and the same.

    That is why the approaches and entrances to temples are flanked and defended by colossal gargoyles: dragons, lions, devil-slayers with drawn swords, resentful dwarfs, winged bulls. The devotee at the moment of entry into a temple undergoes a metamorphosis. Once inside he may be said to have died to time and returned to the World Womb, the World Navel, the Earthly Paradise. Allegorically, then, the passage into a temple and the hero-dive through the jaws of the whale are identical adventures, both denoting in picture language, the life-centering, life-renewing act.”

    Classical example: In the story of Dionysus, Hera sends hungry titans to devour the infant Dionysus. The Titans tore apart the child and consumed his flesh. However Dionysus’s heart is saved by Hestia, goddess of the hearth, allowing Dionysus to be reborn as a god. Jonah is swallowed by a great fish in the book of Jonah (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible).

    Modern Examples: In “Star Wars: A New Hope”, the heroes are sucked into the enemy space fortress by a tractor beam. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is stabbed by one of the Ringwraiths; he almost dies but his life is saved by Elrond. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry enters the Forbidden Forest and discovers the presence of Voldemort, who murdered his family and almost murdered him.

    Initiation:

    The Road of Trials:
    The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.

    Campbell: “Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the myth-adventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals. The hero is covertly aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he met before his entrance into this region. Or it may be that he here discovers for the first time that there is a benign power everywhere supporting him in his superhuman passage. The original departure into the land of trials represented only the beginning of the long and really perilous path of initiatory conquests and moments of illumination. Dragons have now to be slain and surprising barriers passed — again, again, and again. Meanwhile there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstasies and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land.”

    Classical Example: “In fitting in the theme of tests often occurring in threes, Jesus is tempted by Satan three times in the desert. Jesus passes each of these three temptations, and the narrative moves more firmly to Jesus’ divinity.”

    Modern Examples: In The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship fight their way through to go through the mines of Moria, Gandalf is lost fighting the Balrog. In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke rescues the princess from the Death Star, but Obi-wan is killed by Darth Vader. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry enters the realm of the trapdoor that’s guarded by the three-headed dog and undergoes a series of trials.

    The Meeting With the Goddess:
    This is the point when the person experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely.

    Campbell: “The ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome, is commonly represented as a mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the World. This is the crisis at the nadir, the zenith, or at the uttermost edge of the earth, at the central point of the cosmos, in the tabernacle of the temple, or within the darkness of the deepest chamber of the heart. The meeting with the goddess (who is incarnate in every woman) is the final test of the talent of the hero to win the boon of love (charity: amor fati), which is life itself enjoyed as the encasement of eternity. And when the adventurer, in this context, is not a youth but a maid, she is the one who, by her qualities, her beauty, or her yearning, is fit to become the consort of an immortal. Then the heavenly husband descends to her and conducts her to his bed—whether she will or not. And if she has shunned him, the scales fall from her eyes; if she has sought him, her desire finds its peace.”

    Modern Examples: In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry defeats Voldemort/Quirrell because touching Harry burns their flesh. The explanation that comes later is that they can’t tolerate the pure love that Harry’s mother had for him, and which protects him.

    Woman as Temptress:
    In this step, the hero faces those temptations, often of a physical or pleasurable nature, that may lead him or her to abandon or stray from his or her quest, which does not necessarily have to be represented by a woman. Woman is a metaphor for the physical or material temptations of life, since the hero-knight was often tempted by lust from his spiritual journey.

    Campbell: “The crux of the curious difficulty lies in the fact that our conscious views of what life ought to be seldom correspond to what life really is. Generally we refuse to admit within ourselves, or within our friends, the fullness of that pushing, self-protective, malodorous, carnivorous, lecherous fever which is the very nature of the organic cell. Rather, we tend to perfume, whitewash, and reinterpret; meanwhile imagining that all the flies in the ointment, all the hairs in the soup, are the faults of some unpleasant someone else. But when it suddenly dawns on us, or is forced to our attention that everything we think or do is necessarily tainted with the odor of the flesh, then, not uncommonly, there is experienced a moment of revulsion: life, the acts of life, the organs of life, woman in particular as the great symbol of life, become intolerable to the pure, the pure, pure soul. The seeker of the life beyond life must press beyond (the woman), surpass the temptations of her call, and soar to the immaculate ether beyond.”

    Modern Examples: In Star Wars: A New Hope, Han Solo claims his reward money and leaves the rebels to fight alone only to return later to save Luke’s life. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry is tempted by the Mirror of Erised as a false answer to his desires and needs. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo attempts to offer the ring to the lovely royal elf Galadriel because he believes in her power, but declines when he sees what it would do to her.”

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth

    IMO these age-old legends from all the worlds religions and fairy tales, are as much about our “internal” reality, as the observed “objective” reality of the material world. Hence, following my “intuitive” bliss, as Joseph Campbell suggests, I began a new blog recently;

    “2020: Project Realization. Towards a New Sense of Self & Earth. Re-Defining the Chemistry of Life’s Cosmic Nature.
    A dream. A future day when all humanity will pause to honor our ancestors in acceptance of our species destiny.
    Science continues to discover more about reality, both without & within. Reaching for a Cosmic Self-Realization?”

    http://www.2020-realization.blogspot.com.au/

    But of course, to mainstream “objective” realists, I’m just a crazy psychotic, with “unreal,” cosmic sized day-dreams? And in defense against the predictable “reactions,” rationalized as reason, towards my “reductionist” worldview;

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” _Albert Einstein.

    Please consider a footnote of my own hero’s journey;

    My Personal Journey & need for Redemption:
    Since 2007, my own hero’s journey has been about family redemption. Please consider this personal correspondence with my youngest son;

    Hi Shaun, Thanks for the response, I’m really happy that we are starting to communicate like this, and I do mean it, that my “acting out,” the generational violence when you were young, sends shudders down my spine these days, and makes me feel deeply ashamed. But we all, do this, “acting out,” without consciously knowing how or why? Its been my task, since 2007, to understand this, within myself, and then explain it to others. I wrote to James previously, saying that once I published, to critical acclaim, the family’s attitude will shift, although with little ability to really understand why. The same thing happened when I built the family business, and people’s perception of me changed, even though I had not changed that much. I just brought out more of what is innate, within me, as you did, that night at Jannali, in your HSC drama performance. Its a deep source of regret for me, that both you and James, gave up your acting desires, just as it is that Matthew gave up his artistic desires, and Luke his sporting prowess.

    The two books are 1, about why so-called mental illness, is not a brain disease, and how, after 2007, I set about trying to find the scientific proofs to compliment my intuitive sense, that the medical model, is flawed. As my journey continues, and I manage myself without medications, my ability to understand and communicate that understanding to others, is growing rapidly now. Both, amongst professionals and lay people. The second book, is about our family and the generational nature of emotional coping and how it affects each new generation. In particular, its about the pivotal experience of loss, like the life I sanctioned to be aborted when your mum & I were too young to really understand just how sacred and precious, life is.

    The abortion, came through as a very strong part of the emotions, involved in my first experience of mental illness, and its possible that if we had decided to have that first child, as I wanted too, we would have had five children, 1 girl and 4 boys, just like my Grandmother. Of coarse, no one can be sure, that the first pregnancy was a girl, yet imagine what a difference a girl would have made, on both sides of our family tree? For my own mother, it would have helped to heal a childhood wound, from her abandonment, by her own mother, and for your mother, it would have allowed her and your Nan to improve the generational nature of emotional relationship. My great wish now, is to get a current, academic essay I’m working on right, and then contact an established writer to co-write a book, which will ensure its publication, by a good publishing company.

    The second book, will be about my search for redemption, in the adoption of a Thai daughter, to help bring the generational wound, to a healing completion. Hopefully, this will happen before my mother dies, and we can have the experience I saw with my Grandmother, when you were still a baby. A night in Blacktown, when her great grand children gathered around a curious old fossil, and I saw in her eyes, the meaning of life. She didn’t need money or things, or so-called success, she saw her life’s meaning, right in front of her eyes, and died knowing, just how much she’d contributed to this life, to this family. In the end, its what its all about?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Brother Michael, I’m so happy to see this lived perspective on the madness of our 2013, “objectified” sense of self. The very sense of self which presumes itself intelligent, while remaining in deep, socially constructed denial about our true nature, IMO.

    Only this morning, half a world away from you, I find myself writing these notes to myself, in my journal, as I continue an inward journey, which began with my “flight” to Thailand, three and half years ago. Please consider;

    “Noticed, projected anger this morning, from the frustration of my life-long “outsider” position and working on my more academic essay. Yet, at the same time being aware of how a frustrating “process” helps me to better articulate my intuitive sense of reality, as it is. I’m struggling with how best to say to myself and others, how our self-deluding, yet consensually accepted “subject – object” orientation of our intelligent mind, adopts the “projected” illusion of objective reality, in service of denial.”

    My intuitive, “day-dream” sense, of how our need to sanctify the mind, reflects our need to control our evolved, innate, nature. Hence, our urge to dominate Mother nature, seems to reflect the evolved mind’s need to dominate those powerful, archetypal forces within, which are the forces of our Cosmic evolution, as a sentient life-form. Please consider an excerpt from a current essay, I’m writing;

    “The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived “enemies” – his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.

    Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, tribes, religions, and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships. They bring about a distortion in your perception of other people and yourself. Through them, you misinterpret every situation, leading to misguided action designed to rid you of fear and satisfy your need for more, a bottomless hole that can never be filled.

    Trying to become a good or better human being sounds like a commendable and high minded thing to do, yet it is an endeavor you cannot ultimately succeed in unless there is a shift in consciousness. This is because it is still part of the same dysfunction, a more subtle and rarefied form of self-enhancement, of desire for more and a strengthening of one’s conceptual identity, one’s self-image. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”

    Exerts from “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle.

    My psychoses over the past three years, have fundamentally changed my state of consciousness. Yet mainstream psychiatry considers all hyper-sensitive’s like me, pathological?

    Please consider excerpts from a dissertation on Psychosis and Spirituality;

    “Similarities between mystical experience and “madness” have been noted since ancient times. Mystics have long been persecuted for their experiences, which to some may look like mental disorder, but for initiates are signposts that they are on the right path. Even today, the ancient practices of many tribal and indigenous peoples would be considered a psychotic disorder by mainstream psychiatrists.

    Psychiatry, in general, makes no distinction between mystical experiences and mental illness, and shows no recognition of the contribution made by the great spiritual teachings into the systemic study of consciousness. Consequently the concepts and practices based on centuries of deep psychological exploration and experimentation are dismissed and the fruits of this practice ignored (Grof and Grof, 1989).

    PSYCHOSIS, OR PEAK EXPERIENCE:

    Peak experiences have been reported by millions of people both males and females of all ages, from diverse social and educational backgrounds with various religious affiliations (Austin, 19980). During his initial research, Maslow (1971) believed that all individuals were capable of peak experiences and even came to the expectation that all participants in his research would report a peak experience. Those who did not, he called non-peakers, not because they could not have this type of experience but because he believed that they somehow suppressed or denied them. Maslow considered “non-peakers” to be rational or mechanistic and therefore regarded their peak experiences as a form of insanity. He believed that the individual who is afraid of losing control would desperately try to stabilize or hold onto their reality and push the peak experience away.

    (In general terms, does this fear of losing control, apply to the consensus reality we all share as a socially constructed, group mind, in our generational need to keep madness, out of sight and out of consensus awareness, so that we can remain in denial? What does the Biblical story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den really refer to, when we think in terms of metaphor & projected internal energies? Both the Lion & the Dragon have long been associated with the fiery energies of the human heart, and this “projection” is seen most recently in the movie Avatar, when Jake Sully, that well know scoun, is foolish enough to try to Master the red dragon of Psychosis, IMO. Yet what benefits flow to the tribe, when the born to be sensitive’s, manage this age-old challenge, to decipher the needs of our Cosmic Soul & our Destiny as sentient species? IMO we are the children of this Universe and its own evolved mechanism (hate that Descartes, term, that limited cause and effect logic, “as if,” we are a machine), of Eternity.)

    Maslow’s (1971) research demonstrated that peak experiences can occur in the middle of everyday events in the most common of surroundings. Maslow was surprised to find many of his undergraduate students having peak experiences which they described in similar language to that used by spiritual leaders in the East and West, thus implying that one does not need to be a mystic to experience a peak state (Hoffman, 1988). In fact Maslow said:

    “The great lesson from the true mystics, from Zen monks, and now also from the humanistic and transpersonal psychologists – that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s backyard. (Maslow, 1971, p, x)

    According to Maslow (1986), these experiences lie at the core of moments of ecstasy and deep mystical and transcendental experiences such as those explored by William James. (link to “the varieties of religious experience)

    Other models of Peak Experience:

    Maslow’s description of the peak experience is similar to the description given by Rogers (1980) for the “fully-functioning person.” Rogers originally described this as being open to experience, process oriented, caring, non-materialistic, anti-institutional, holding an inner sense of power, somewhat skeptical of science and technology, having a desire for authenticity, wholeness, intimacy and the spiritual. Like Maslow, Rogers was aware that only a minority of the population reached this state and of these, only a few possessed each of the characteristics.

    Maslow also considered the height of the peak experience similar to Cosmic consciousness (Bucke, 1923/1969) and the mystical experience as outlined by James (1902/2007), who identified four characteristics of the mystical experience: 1. Ineffability; the experience defies expression, its quality must be experienced, it cannot be transferred, it is more like a state of feeling rather than intellect. 2. Noetic quality; a state of knowledge providing insights into the depth of truth beyond the grasp of the intellect, illuminations and revelations of significance transcending time and space. 3. Transiency; mystical states cannot be sustained, they are fleeting, rarely lasting up to half an hour at most, once faded they can be somewhat imperfectly reproduced. 4. Passivity; the individual’s will is suspended and one is held by a superior power, various phenomena such as autonomic writing, trance or prophetic speech are experienced and although not often recalled the individual senses their importance.

    Cosmic conflict involving a dramatic clash of opposites-combat between the forces of light and darkness. With archetypal images as primordial patterns which form the basic content of religions, mythologies, legends and fairy tales of all ages. (which has been my intuitive, yet unarticulated understanding for a long time now.)”

    Excerpts from: The Differentiation of Psychosis & Spiritual Emergency by Monika Goretzki. (comments in brackets, mine)

    http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/47986/1/02whole.pdf

    Sadly, the need to embrace the current group mind, tends to lead transpersonal writer’s into a dichotomy of suggestion, that there is a “clinical” difference between psychosis and Mysticism, which IMO reflects the current limitations of our “cause and effect intelligence. Even the scientists who embrace “systems theory,” which now illuminating the systems growth of our early maturing brain/nervous systems, within the first years of life, acknowledge that they revert to cause and effect language, in everyday dialogue, with family and friends. It does seem though, that we are on the road to the Kingdom of Heaven, the rise and rise of mass education, lifts the perceptual capacity of our younger generations. President Obama’s impromptu remarks about the Trayvon Martin case, reflect this reality, IMO. He noted how, observing his children and their friends, that they were accepting the generational challenge to it better than we did.

    I know you will recognize John’s contribution to this fine dissertation, in the language of our Cosmic struggle, to become Buddha, within this eternal now. The literal translation of Buddha, meaning, AWAKE.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • It will be interesting to see how Bob rationalizes the expected outcome of a NEED to ignore reality and remain in denial, about the nature of our very human madness.

    Consider an excerpt from a book by one of most renowned new age voices of our time and the inherent madness of being human;

    “According to Christian teachings, the normal collective state of humanity is one of “original sin.” Sin is a word that has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. Literally translated from the ancient Greek in which the New Testament was written, to sin means to miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering. Again, the term, stripped of its cultural baggage and misinterpretations, points to the dysfunction inherent in the human condition.

    The achievements of humanity are impressive and undeniable. We have created sublime works of music, literature, painting, architecture, and sculpture. More recently, science and technology have brought about radical changes in the way we live and have enabled us to do and create things that would have been considered miraculous even two hundred years ago. No doubt: The human mind is highly intelligent. Yet its very intelligence is tainted by madness. Science and technology have magnified the destructive impact that the dysfunction of the human mind has upon the planet, other life-form’s, and upon humans themselves. That is why the history of the twentieth century is where that dysfunction, that collective insanity, can be most clearly recognized. A further factor is that this dysfunction is actually intensifying and accelerating.

    The First World War broke out in 1914. Destructive and cruel wars, motivated by fear, greed, and the desire for power, had been common occurrences throughout human history, as had slavery, torture, and widespread violence inflicted for religious and ideological reasons. Humans suffered more at the hands of each other than through natural disasters. By the year 1914, however, the highly intelligent human mind had invented not only the internal combustion engine, but also bombs, machine guns, submarines, flame throwers, and poison gas. Intelligence in the service of madness! In static trench warfare in France and Belgium, millions of men perished to gain a few miles of mud. When the war was over in 1918, the survivors look in horror and incomprehension upon the devastation left behind: ten million human beings killed and many more maimed or disfigured. Never before had human madness been so destructive in its effect, so clearly visible. Little did they know that this was only the beginning.

    By the end of the century, the number of people who died a violent death at the hand of their fellow humans would rise to more than one hundred million. They died not only through wars between nations, but also through mass exterminations and genocide, such as the murder of twenty million “class enemies, spies, and traitors” in the Soviet Union under Stalin or the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. They also died in countless smaller internal conflicts, such as the Spanish civil war or during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia when a quarter of that country’s population was murdered.

    We only need to watch the daily news on television to realize that the madness has not abated, that is continuing into the twenty first century. Another aspect of the collective dysfunction of the human mind is the unprecedented violence that humans are inflicting on other life-forms and the planet itself – the destruction of oxygen producing forests and other plant and animal life; ill treatment of animals in factory farms; and poisoning of
    rivers, oceans, and air. Driven by greed, ignorant of their connectedness to the whole, humans persist in behavior that, if continued unchecked, can only result in their own destruction.

    The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived “enemies” – his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.

    Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, tribes, religions, and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships. They bring about a distortion in your perception of other people and yourself. Through them, you misinterpret every situation, leading to misguided action designed to rid you of fear and satisfy your need for more, a bottomless hole that can never be filled.

    Trying to become a good or better human being sounds like a commendable and high minded
    thing to do, yet it is an endeavor you cannot ultimately succeed in unless there is a shift in consciousness. This is because it is still part of the same dysfunction, a more subtle and rarefied form of self-enhancement, of desire for more and a strengthening of one’s conceptual identity, one’s self-image. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”

    Exerts from “A NEW EARTH” by Eckhart Tolle.

    My psychoses, have fundamentally changed my state of consciousness. Yet mainstream psychiatry considers all hyper-sensitive’s like me, pathological?

    Yet here on Medications in America, the denial of the nature of human madness, is upheld by a rational agenda, to keep the focus on medications and treatment, IMO.

    We should realize that the human mind evolved to “dampen” the internal energies of our e-motive reactivity. That’s generally what we do with our need for “rationalizations,” IMHO. We self-sooth the inherent anxiety, of the lived moment.

  • A wonderful essay Chaya, and a fine example of how life is not a Hollywood movie, and that so many children are not raised in a “Mary Poppins,” environment? I found this paragraph the most powerful statement about the reality of maturing;

    I find my current challenge is to allow myself that guilt-free mentality I came in to the world with, and to put down any heaviness or burden. If it feels heavy and burdensome, it probably isn’t mine to do. It’s probably the child in me still feeling like she should hold everything for her family, thinking that will keep her safe. Please consider an excerpt from my own journey, to let go the cover-up needs of the family group and come into my own;

    “Just as I am now estranged from my family, my mother was estranged from her family of origin, and entirely dependent on another’s extended family, my father’s. This unbalanced emotional arrangement played its part in the further chaos, chance and circumstance, which resulted in my first episode of bipolar disorder, mania. Essentially, the current estrangement with my family, which is following the same generational pattern as my mother’s estrangement from her family, is based on a subconscious need for movement, both physical and emotional, towards or away from. A subconsciously stimulated movement towards support and protection, and away from a subconscious sense of threat. Like the threat my public airing of mental illness within the family, posses to my mother, my brother and my children, its embarrassing. Embarrassment, being a milder expression of shame, yet nonetheless stimulating a need to move away from the threatening source. Consider Franz Kafka’s brilliant critique of the human family, and our need for support and protection:

    The Metamorphosis

    “We have to try and get rid of it”, said Gregor’s sister, now speaking only to her father, as her mother was too occupied with coughing to listen, “it’ll be the death of both of you, I can see it coming. We can’t all work as hard as we have to and then come home to be tortured like this, we can’t endure it. I can’t endure it any more.” And she broke out so heavily in tears that they flowed down the face of her mother, and she wiped them away with mechanical hand movements. “My child”, said her father with sympathy and obvious understanding, “what are we to do?” His sister just shrugged her shoulders as a sign of the helplessness that had taken hold of her, displacing her earlier certainly when she had broken into tears.

    “If he could just understand us”, said his father almost as a question; his sister shook her hand vigorously through her tears as a sign that of that there was no question.

    “If he could just understand us”, repeated Gregor’s father, closing his eyes in acceptance of his sister’s certainty that that was quite impossible, “then perhaps we could come to some kind of arrangement with him. But as it is …”

    “It’s got to go”, shouted his sister, “that’s the only way, Father. You’ve got to get rid of the idea that that’s Gregor. We’ve only harmed ourselves by believing it for so long. How can that be Gregor? If it were Gregor he would have seen long ago that it’s not possible for human beings to live with an animal like that and he would have gone of his own free will. We wouldn’t have a brother any more, then, but we could carry on with our lives and remember him with respect. As it is this animal is persecuting us, it’s driven out our tenants, it obviously wants to take over the whole flat and force us to sleep on the streets. Father, look, just look”, she suddenly screamed, “he’s starting again!” In her alarm, which was totally beyond Gregor’s comprehension, his sister even abandoned his mother as she pushed herself vigorously out of her chair as if more willing to sacrifice her own mother than stay anywhere near Gregor. She rushed over to behind her father, who had become excited merely because she was and stood up half raising his hands in front of Gregor’s sister as if to protect her.

    He did not turn his head until he had reached the doorway. He did not turn it all the way round as he felt his neck becoming stiff, but it was nonetheless enough to see that nothing behind him had changed, only his sister had stood up. With his last glance he saw that his mother had now fallen completely asleep.

    He was hardly inside his room before the door was hurriedly shut, bolted and locked. The sudden noise behind Gregor so startled him that his little legs collapsed under him. It was his sister who had been in so much of a rush. She had been standing there waiting and sprung forward lightly, Gregor had not heard her coming at all, and as she turned the key in the lock she said loudly to her parents “At last!”.

    “What now, then?”, Gregor asked himself as he looked round in the darkness. He soon made the discovery that he could no longer move at all. This was no surprise to him, it seemed rather that being able to actually move around on those spindly little legs until then was unnatural. He also felt relatively comfortable. It is true that his entire body was aching, but the pain seemed to be slowly getting weaker and weaker and would finally disappear altogether. He could already hardly feel the decayed apple in his back or the inflamed area around it, which was entirely covered in white dust. He thought back of his family with emotion and love. If it was possible, he felt that he must go away even more strongly than his sister. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful rumination until he heard the clock tower strike three in the morning. He watched as it slowly began to get light everywhere outside the window too. Then, without his willing it, his head sank down completely, and his last breath flowed weakly from his nostrils.” An excerpt from Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka Translated by David Wyllie.

    No longer a source of support and protection within the family group, Gregor is shunned, even by his sister, who had benefited most from his, father-like support. In Murray Bowen’s seminal ideas on family therapy, this paternalistic nature of the nuclear family group, becomes the structuring force of mainstream society. Hence, we often describe government and other institutions as “paternalistic and condescending.”

    The Motor Act, Is The Cradle of The Mind? -Sir Charles Sherrington.
    Hence our implicit, subconscious-self, is based on the survival need of physical movement.

    Just as my mother’s family physically “moved” away from a source of family embarrassment. A family secret my mother had kept to herself for so many decades, until we sat down to review our “family tree,” in 2006. Perhaps she was hoping that those sharing moments together would help to heal the void created between us, in our mutual experience of birth trauma? I’m certain she’d never spoken with my father about our family secret. Such emotional intimacy was not the “style,” on that side of my family tree. Perhaps she’d recalled the mother-child relationship which briefly blossomed between us, in Wallingford, England, when I was the responsible, caring son, on a day when she almost died. Or perhaps my deceased father’s lost presence allowed a more sensitive and open emotional “style,” indicative of our shared genetic heritage, from the maternal side of my family tree?

    But alas, these subconscious patterns of motivation are not easily dislodged, until brought to our conscious awareness. The very purpose, of my efforts here, unless read with a quick defensive judgment, as a subconsciously stimulated need of projecting blame? Am I really just blaming and shaming my family here, in a need to avoid responsibility for my current circumstances? This is certainly my family’s perspective, on these complex explanations of subconscious motivations. And what do I really mean, in this notion of a subconscious need for physical movement, and its strange recurring patterns, within everyone’s family tree?

    In Murray Bowen’s seminal approach to family and society, he describes a notion of “sinning,” perhaps reflecting the Christian culture in which he was immersed:

    “The force that drives the family projection process is intense. It is an automatic emotional force that functions to keep the patient sick. The full power of the force is most clearly seen in “action language” in families with severely impaired patients, when family anxiety is high. The family will overextend itself to do anything for the patient as long as treatment is for the patient.

    The process can be aptly described by the following analogy. The family approaches the psychiatrist with a problem in one family member that, from a systems point of view, is the product of years of “sinning” throughout the family. The group is adamant in its demands that the product of the “sinning” be removed without doing anything to disturb the family patterns.

    The same projection process operates in psychiatry. There have been reports about family therapy in the literature for almost twenty years. One of the best family research studies in the past decade was designed to keep mental patients out of hospitals. It was carefully designed and controlled, and it demonstrated that about eighty percent of patients already approved for admission to a public hospital could be kept at home and treated with a fraction of the professional personnel and time and expense required for the control group, and that the end result after a five year follow-up was much superior to the conventionally treated group. The scientific reports about it appeared periodically until the final book report five years ago.

    Reviews of the work in professional journals described the work as “interesting and worthy of further study,” etc. One could say that innovations in thinking and procedure require time for acceptance. There is evidence that this force in psychiatry is part of the same force in all families, and also in society. Society probably spends more time and energy in futile attempts to remove the products of “sinning” than in trying to stop the “sinning.” ” Excerpts from “Family Therapy in Clinical Practice,” by Murray Bowen.

    In my opinion, Bowen’s “sinning,” is our subconscious need to “shun” any sense of “otherness,” like the experience of so-called mental illness, which no longer lends support to group function, on a family and societal level of implicit needs.”

    Read more here: http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-17_16.html

    I wish you well in your journey and take great comfort in the maturity of such a young voice. I wish the internet had been available at the time of my first diagnosis, and lent me the support and guidance, it now renders possible to so many, in communities like this.

    Sincerely,

    David Bates.

  • I don’t know, I read the post and the comments above, and I mainly see adolescent point scoring to one degree or another, IMHO.

    The authors write;
    Rather than re-positioning itself in response to the widely-acknowledged threat to its power and status arising from the DSM-5 debacle, psychiatry, along with colleagues from all professional disciplines, needs to work in genuine partnership with people with lived experience of diagnoses, in order to find less damaging and more humane ways of making sense of, and responding to, madness and distress.

    I would love to see a list of the people with genuine lived experience, that the authors are working with, to glean real wisdom from? In my experience the usual “educated priesthood,” tends to be as condescending towards those of us who do a double degree in life, simply because we don’t have letters after our name.

    The “subconscious” need for rank and status, is as strong within anti-psychiatry, as it in mainstream psychiatry IMO. With the usual educated elites being no more self-aware, than the blue bloods they rail against, IMO. When I acted-out an active psychosis within the sacred walls of theicarusproject in 2010, the reaction was no different to any mainstream situation, and the denial that we’re not like “them,” is one of those paradoxical realities of being human, IMO. When will we learn that a “postural attitude,” towards “them,” will always beget an equally strong reaction, in the subconscious reality of our e-motive reactivity?

    Which is why I wrote, “asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

    Read more here: http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-17_16.html

    Best wishes to all,

    david Bates.

  • Consider words from my brother in arms;

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

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

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

    See more here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/

    As Michael points out: “When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness.”

    The dreaded realization that mainstream society, not just psychiatry, is avoiding like the plague, IMO. I’m not a fan of the taken for granted “us vs them” worldview, IMO Michael’s insight applies to us ALL.

    The taken for granted sense of “otherness” which matures into a taken for granted sense of “them,” is simply a subconsciously stimulated need, for survival towards the possible dangers of the present moment.

    Yet in America, with particularly “paranoiac,” society, at least to those of us who don’t live in one of the most violent cultures on earth, Hollywood’s rather adolescent emotionality seems to fuel, a taken for granted misperception of life, as it is, within the reality of the lived moment. A simplistic survival perception, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  • Over the past decade, there have been dozens of “critical mental health” books published. As a mental health researcher, I read most of these. Some of these books have been ground-breaking (e.g., Blaming the Brain, Mad in America, Anatomy of an Epidemic, Pharmageddon), but many are fairly derivative of previous scholarship. The field is now almost crowded with such work.

    And yet, just like climate change, there seems to be an innate need to ignore, inconvenient truths? Like the knee jerk reaction we get, when we tell people in mainstream medication compliance groups, that we’ve recovered from so-called mental illness, and no longer require the medications and other treatments, to be normal.

    “Well, simple, you never had a mental illness,” is so often the reaction and IMO because we don’t function with reason, but simply rationalize our reactions, on issues pertaining to being human. IMO that’s what’s at stake in the mental health debate, “just what does it mean to be human?” Hence, even great books like “Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs,” will continue to be ignored by our consensus reality, because real truths are inconvenient, to our sense of normality.

    IMO the continuing focus on medications and treatment, is part of our mechanism of denial, as we scapegoat any sense of “otherness,” in the way humans have for millennia, its a ruse to prevent us from being truly self-aware until we are ready to face the final curtain, and take responsibility for what we are?

    The Cosmos, perceiving and acting upon itself.
    We are IMO, the very mechanism of Eternity.
    But I am, a certified Psychotic!

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Will the wishful desire come to fruition, or be ignored in our consensus need to protect the image, of our “normal” sense of reason? As you write Bob;

    Which will it be? My optimistic self hopes for the first outcome, while my realistic self expects the latter. And if it proves to be the latter, this will be a medical story of continuing harm done, and, I would argue, it would be reason for our society to conclude that the care of “psychotic” patients can no longer be entrusted to the psychiatric profession.

    I think the problem is the taken for granted prominence of “objective” rationality, and that it contains some kind of special insight? The consensus of the group, towards this image of reason, will therefore go to any lengths to protect it, hence psychiatrists become the mind police for a greater society, where the average citizen is scared to death by the kind of innate experiences, people with a so-called mental illness go through. IMO this is not madness or the mental illness of a diseased brain, but simply the acute sensitivity of being human.

    We must remember that to the great Mystics, normality is Psychotic? Hence I posted these comments on my facebook wall today, as my inner journey continues.

    BRING FORTH – REALIZATION?
    Lift the veil a little more & realize the defensive and dark side of your objective rationality.
    Real human intelligence is emotional, intuitive, innate and entirely creative, because that’s what mother nature and the cosmos, created you for. Too much of our so-called objective insight, is based on our instinctive need to survive, that’s all. In Silvan Tomkins brilliant work on our innate nature, he notes 9 primary affect-emotions, only 2 of which are considered entirely positive. Interest-Excitement and Enjoyment-Joy, the other seven are devoted to your immediate need to survive the possible dangers of the present moment. Going beyond this innate need of wary self-defense is what happens to all the great mystics, including Buddha, Jesus & Muhammad, as they faced the nature of their own reality and transcended an innate sense of FEAR.

    To which, there followed these comments;

    Chilling and accurate and terribly sad it is so common most never even notice.

    Its not sad, when we realize it was all meant to be? We are living through the resurrection right now, as technology allows us to see clearly, what the mystics have always known. To the Mystic, normality is Psychotic?

    The sadness is the realization that so many will never step past the door into the resurrection experience… technology does actually open up many realities that used to be open only to the mystics. Having lived with so called psychosis for many years and trying to mesh with the so called normal world, I have faced many things people blanch at when I describe them. Sadness because until recently I was very very alone in this 3 dimensional reality.

    NEVER? Is a long time. I understand the desire, we want it to happen NOW! Yet the task of maturity for us all, is the realization of reality, as it is, in the here and now. As Joseph Campbell points out, the Hero’s journey is an individual one and the need to teach what has been learned and forgotten by successive generations. Perhaps, its time to start teaching children more ancient wisdom, than simply how to become another “objective” cog in an economic wheel of life? The real wheel of life, is organic, its our inherent nature and where the vitality of our creativity comes from. Losing touch with this innate reality and trying to be objectively rational, always diminishes my energy, as I join the consensus image of reason, which in Buddhist terms, is illusionary and self-defeating.

    Gentleness and patience and compassion are lifelong learnings that slowly teach me new courage.

    What this community gets lost in, IMO, is the consensus need to protect the image of our “objective” sense of reason. As long as we focus on “treatment” we endorse the consensus view that Madness is a disease and NOT part of a “continuum” of human experience. We can’t have our cake and eat it too? We must start showing the world that so-called mental illness, is simply the sometimes hypersensitive nature of being human, IMO.

    Please consider an excerpt from a very fine dissertation on psychosis and spirituality;

    Chinomy (1974) advises that the initiate start at the fourth (heart) chakra, which is safer, and work from there because the base chakra is too dangerous to work with for the novice who is not familiar with the process, or not strong enough to handle Kundalini energies.

    (Yet, compared with Levine’s sensate awareness for trauma resolution, does Kundalini relate to the spontaneous release of a nervous system [conditioned] vigilance state?)

    This transformational process is always accompanied by varying degrees of physical and psychological signs and symptoms, and Greenwell (1990) has classified these phenomena into seven primary categories.

    The first category, pranic movements or kriyas, consists of intense, involuntary body movements, shaking, vibrations, jerking, sensations of electricity, tingling, and waves of energy throughout the body.

    Category four includes psychological upheavals such as the intensification of unresolved psychological issues, fear of death or insanity, mood swings, and waves of anxiety, anger, guilt, or depression as well as profound compassion, unconditional love, and heightened sensitivity to the moods of others.

    The parapsychological experiences category consists of such phenomena as precognition, healing abilities, reading the minds of others, unusual synchronicities, electrical sensitivity and psychokinesis.

    The extrasensory experiences category, which is often identified as a subcategory of the parapsychological, includes atypical perceptions such as lights, symbols, images of entities, the reviewing of other lives, visions, auditory input including voices, music, repeated phrases or continual inner sound and olfactory sensations.

    The final category, samadhi or satori experiences, includes sensations of deep peace, wisdom, experiences of light, tranquility, joy, overwhelming waves of bliss and the absorption of consciousness into a condition of unitive awareness.

    Greenwell (1990) acknowledges that each individual demonstrates a unique pattern, varying in intensity and duration, and suggests that when one’s experiences fall into several categories this indicates a high probability of Kundalini awakening. Sanella (1997) believes that the signs and symptoms, such as alterations in emotions and thought processes, visions and voices all appear to be largely personality determined. But sensations such as itching, fluttering, tingling, heat and cold, perceptions of inner lights, sounds and the occurrence of contortions and spasms appear to be quite universal. He proposes that this universality may indicate that all spiritual practices are activating the same basic process and that these processes may have a definite physiological basis that gives rise to these specific bodily symptoms.

    Saraswati (1984) focuses on the changes that take place in the mind during the awakening of Kundalini. When this happens, one transcends the normal categories of mental awareness, the scope of one’s knowledge becomes greater, the mind becomes dynamic, while the quality and experiences of the mind begin to change. When one looks at people, animals, and nature, there is a deeper communication with them, a realization of some inner essence. Matter appears to lose substance, one’s body may feel like it is made of air or one may feel that they are no longer a part of their physical body. (the comment in brackets is mine)

    http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/47986/1/02whole.pdf

    And from the author who helped me most, in the transformation of my psychoses;

    Trauma and Spirituality:
    In a lifetime of working with traumatized individuals, I have been struck by the intrinsic and wedded relationship between trauma and spirituality. With clients suffering from a daunting array of crippling symptoms, I have been privileged to witness profound and authentic transformations. Seemingly out of nowhere, unexpected “side effects” appeared as these individuals mastered the monstrous trauma symptoms that had haunted them-emotionally, physically and psychologically. Surprises included ecstatic joy, exquisite clarity, effortless focus and an all-embracing sense of oneness. (p, 347)

    “The life of feeling is that primordial region of the psyche that is most sensitive to the religious encounter. Belief or reason alone does nothing to move the soul; without feeling, religious meaning becomes a vacant intellectual exercise. This is why the most exuberant spiritual moments are emotionally laden.” _Carl Jung.

    At the right time, traumatized individuals are encouraged to and supported to feel and surrender into immobility/NDE states, states of profound surrender, which liberate these primordial archetypal energies, while integrating them into consciousness. In addition to the “awe-full” states of horror and terror appear to be connected to the transformative states such as awe, presence, timelessness and ecstasy. (p, 353)

    Excerpts from “In an Unspoken Voice,” by Peter Levine, PhD.

    IMO the continuing focus on medications and treatment, is part of our mechanism of denial, as we scapegoat any sense of “otherness,” in the way humans have for millennia, its a ruse to prevent us from being truly self-aware until we are ready to face the final curtain, and take responsibility for what we are?

    The Cosmos, perceiving and acting upon itself.
    We are IMO, the very mechanism of Eternity.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • COST EFFECTIVE?
    There was a very interesting interview on ABC (Australia) television the other day, noting the increased use of meditation, by the U.S. military, and just how cost effective it is. Of course, the person interviewed reported that the acknowledged effectiveness of this approach was being treated with caution and some suspicion, by a very “objectively” rational, medical fraternity, who seem to think it, too good to be true? I guess the point is, we are NOT objects, we are organic, biological creatures? Please watch the interview here;

    TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION & YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM?
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-16/post-combat-stress-treated-with-transcendental/4822244

    Its a view I’ve posted here before, as the increase in understanding, of the role of our autonomic nervous system, in mediating our so-called symptoms of mental-illness, grows?

    See a comprehensive paper issued by the military in 2011, here: http://www.dcoe.health.mil/Content/Navigation/Documents/Mind-Body%20Skills%20for%20Regulating%20the%20Autonomic%20Nervous%20System.pdf

  • Good post Julie, and certainly tries to tackle the mythology of what for so many becomes a self-filling label, of self-definition. While I understand the psychological background and the need to define the social-emotional causes of mental/emotional distress, I can’t agree with the outright rejection of the “chemical imbalance,” metaphor.

    In my own resolution of bipolar disorder type 1, I come to the conclusion that there is truth in the metaphor, yet not in terms of “pathology.” IMO the imbalance is within the nervous systems, which of coarse function, predominately, with chemical reactivity. As a quote from a rather infamous researcher suggests, the search for truth, resides in seeing how we are all right, in our particular way;

    “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.” _Wilhelm Reich.

    Please consider an excerpt from an essay I’m currently working on, about my resolution of so-called mental illness, using a science and experiential approach;

    “Understanding My Psychoses & Improved Self-Regulation

    Over six years of intense self-education and experiential self-exploration, I’ve come to understand my psychoses, as combined, body-brain-mind states, rather than symptoms of a brain disease. I’ve experienced the painful process of sensing a subconscious internal constriction, as a defense against the trauma of my birth, and subsequent life experience. I now understand, both within my mind and within my body, the internalized sense of threat, that my euphoric psychoses, were attempting to overcome. My improved self-regulation, involves a new mind/body sense, of the respiratory, muscular and vascular nature of an habituated constriction, with its variable affect on my cognitive capacities. Its “affect” on my awareness, of sensations, emotions, feelings and the “tone” thoughts within my mind. My approach involved gaining a more organic sense of my core emotions, to raise awareness of their nervous stimulation and understand my internal functioning. Understanding the voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) nature of self-regulation, has slowly built a new paradigm of health. I now understand my experience as a NEED of appropriate orienting responses, involving a subconscious “neuroception” (Porges, 2004) within my nervous systems. My experiential approach is based on “the polyvagal theory,” (Porges, 2001) and accords with an emerging view of the primacy of emotion, described by Allan N Schore as, “Toward a New Paradigm of Psychotherapy” (Schore, 2012).

    I’ve shifted my sense-of-self, from a learned and taken for granted cognition, as my thoughts, my vocabulary of words, towards a middle path of felt/thought self-awareness. Mastering my psychoses, was based on the latest science of psychophysiology, and an improving sense-ability, to discern my internal systems of energy mobilization and immobiliztion. Peter Levine’s conception of survival energies, as charge and discharge, from his trauma resolution work, has profoundly affected my ability to self-regulate, and master psychosis. An organic energy perspective has helped me understand my heart’s role, in energizing the profound affects of post traumatic experience, and the varying degrees of internal constriction, mobilized to contain an internalized sense of threat. Studying the scientific literature of human development, “the polyvagal perspective” (Porges, 2006), has enabled a paradigm shift in my self-awareness, particularly my “face-heart connection.” A new perspective on my life experience, in accord with a new Science of the Heart, “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead. It takes the power of the heart.” (McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2001). I’ve moved beyond self-limiting thoughts of a diseased brain, and life-long medication compliance, to understanding psychosis, as a maturing, development NEED, involving my subconscious regulation of AFFECT.

    Six years ago, there were so many questions: Should I even attempt to understand the internal nature of my psychoses? Should I cling to a consensus view of mental illness, to secure my relationship with family and friends? Should I try even harder to trust the learned expert knowledge of medical pathology, or follow my innate intuition, stimulated by my lived experience? Do I need a PhD level education to read and understand developmental neuroscience perspective‘s, and other scientific explanations of my internal functioning? In 2007, reading Allan Schore’s “Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self,” and his call for a multi-disciplinary approach to mental health, was simple commonsense to me. Yet my training as a therapist had brought the “turf war” tendencies, of medical and other discipline’s of specialization, into a sharp and disheartening focus. Could an emerging science of psychophysiology help me to understand the organic nature of my psyche, even if the scientific method may never manage to objectify it? Could an intense self-education effort and an experiential integration, help me to understand my psychoses, from the inside-out? Was my initial experience of a euphoric mania, an innate need to overcome the affective nature of traumatic experience? Is there a developmental issue within my brain and nervous systems? An attachment dynamic, missing from an earlier, critical period, which requires a “corrective emotional experience.” (Yalom 1995)

    Stumbling on Schore’s book certainly peaked my interest in neuroscience, from a developmental perspective, with an emerging view of brain plasticity, suggesting that a different approach to my experience was possible, if not probable. Reading the neuroscience literature of early development and embryology, I was surprised to read constant references to the autonomic nervous system. Wondering why my many psychiatrist’s had never mentioned this, even though I remembered well, the phrase “my nerves were shot to pieces,” from WWII veteran’s, during my childhood and youth. Remembered too, my Family Therapy training, and suggestions that there was a less than obvious reason, that such phrases now carried the mental illness label, PTSD. “Its not necessarily for the sake of the patient,” one wit had quipped. Could I really find a way to undo, a developmental problem, from so early in my life, there was no conscious awareness of it? A time before I’d learned to crawl, and before I ever learned to think? I still remember reading “(an) early postnatal period represents a “critical period” of limbic – autonomic circuit development, during which time experience or environmental events might participate in shaping ongoing synapse formation. (Rinaman, Levitt, & Card, 2000, p. 2739)” in the paper, “EFFECTS OF A SECURE ATTACHMENT RELATIONSHIP ON RIGHT BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, AFFECT REGULATION, AND INFANT MENTAL HEALTH” (Schore, 2001).

    In 2007, my lived experience and the views of many others, had really undermined my earlier acceptance of my medical diagnosis. There were so many questions, needing answers: Are my psychoses, not caused by a brain disease, requiring life-long medication? Should I try to understand my experience of psychosis, rather than seek to control my euphoric psychoses by a medicated suppression? Should I keep any non-consensus thoughts and behaviors out of sight, and out of mind? Should I try even harder to accept and trust the medical view of psychosis, as a brain disease, a mental illness? Should I have had more faith and trust in my first psychiatrist’s advice about my altered states of mind? “Look! There is no need to think of it as madness, there should be no stigma attached to a diagnosis of mental illness, your disease is no different to someone suffering from cancer or diabetes.” He was 100% certain that the genetic cause for his misdiagnosis of schizophrenia, (later switched to bipolar type 1 disorder) was no more than a couple of decades away. In 1980, I passively accepted his well meaning, yet paternalistic care and concern, never asking why there were no scientific tests for my brain disease. By 2007 though, I’d had decades of disheartening experience, with a paternalistic medical system, and its too often, condescending attitude towards people like me.

    Studying Family Therapy, and Murray Bowen’s seminal ideas in particular, had quickened my intuitive sense of an emotional development issue, involved, somehow, in my psychoses. For me, Bowen’s unique insights into an emotional projection process, within our unconscious functioning, explained the triangular patterns of emotional reactivity in my own family, and by extension the paternalistic nature of human societies. “The family projection process is as vigorous in society as it is in the family.” (Bowen, 1985) I remember feeling bewildered and emotionally bruised by my first hospitalization and the medication’s bewildering side effects. Remember too, the paternal tone and condescending pity of family and friends, “Doctor’s know what’s best, just take your medication’s, I’m sure everything will be fine.” People didn’t ask me how I actually felt, the projected care and concern, was about maintaining appropriate behaviors and knowing one‘s place. I did my best to comply with the social need of anxiety management, and generating positive affect. “Hi how you, I’m fine how are you,” even when I was feeling wretched and pathetic. Bowen’s observations of a generational transmission of “emotionality,” now seems to be understood within developmental neuroscience disciplines, as an unconsciously learned, self-regulation, involving the primacy of “affect/emotion.” My need for a deeper understanding of my “affective” psychoses, led me to Silvan Tomkins conception of “affects,” as the reflexive, physiological foundation of human emotions. “A second critical discovery occurred when my son was born. Beginning shortly after his birth, I observed him daily, for hours on end. I struck by the massiveness of the crying response.” (Tomkins, ????) From reading Tomkins and others, it seems to me that our innate “distress” response, early in life, epitomizes this notion of primary affect/responses, stimulating emotional reactivity, and underpinning our intellect and sense of reason. (Tomkins described nine, primary, affect/responses).

    Bowen‘s concept of a “differentiation of self” NEED, for each individual, within a family and society, gave direction to my experiential approach. “A person can have a well functioning intellect but intellect is intimately fused with his emotional system, and a relatively small part of his intellect is operationally differentiated from his emotional system.” (Bowen, 1985) An “intimate fusion,” which these days, neuroscience seems to understand as cortical and sub-cortical processes within the brain and nervous systems. Like Jaak Panksepp’s seven “affective” systems, SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY. FEAR, or what Tomkins described as an innate fear-terror response, lies at the heart of my own need of self-differentiation. A need to understand the internal nature of my psychotic experiences, and improve my self-regulation. My hunch was, that my avoidant life-style, was internally motivated by fear, and that mania, was an attempt to “affect” by new experience, a more appropriate internal motivation. A hunch based on Allan N Schore‘s profound statement, “The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation.” (Schore, 2003). My Family Therapy training, which had included two years of group therapy, induced a fascination with the unconscious processes, involved in my own experience and interpersonal relationships. I’d watched experienced therapists gradually affect a more open and playful, emotional atmosphere, within family groups, who began therapy with somewhat closed and defensive responses. Hence, it doesn’t surprise me that one of the world’s most successful interventions for first episode psychosis, is Finland’s open-dialogue approach. An approach based on an emotional systems view of family, interrelationships, continuously refined over the decades since Family Therapy‘s birth. “in the 5-year treatment outcomes. In the ODAP group, 82% did not have any residual psychotic symptoms, 86% had returned to their studies or a full-time job” (Seikkula et al, 2004).

    The success of open-dialogue’s, relationship oriented therapy, and the denial of its success by mainstream opinion, (like other successful, non-medication approaches) seems to bring a non-obvious, emotional projection process into view. Take the current controversy over the release of DSM-5, amid fears of an increasing medicalization of natural emotional experiences, for example. “Essential funds are used in the ongoing futile search for genetic markers instead of addressing the societal issues we know lead to mental health problems.” (Dillon, 2013) Making Murray Bowen’s decades earlier statement seem rather prophetic; “Society is creating more “patients” of people with dysfunctions whose dysfunctions are a product of the projection process. Alcoholism is a good example. At the very time alcoholism was being understood as the product of family relationships, the concept of “alcoholism as a disease” finally came into general acceptance.” (Bowen, 1985) The DSM-5 controversy also includes alarming reports, that use of antipsychotic medications, are implicated in a range of shocking side-effects, including homicidal violence, suicide and a 25 year reduction in life expectancy. Yet despite these alarming reports, Robert Whitaker, author of “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” suggests a societal delusion has been created, as to the “merits of psychiatric medications,” with The Triumph of Bad Science and dubious practice’s involved. “And voila, you have a process for creating a societal delusion.” (Whitaker, 2012) Although in a recent interview, he had thoughts of “unconscious” processes? In my opinion, there is an unconscious NEED for such a delusion, involving affect/emotion and the dubious quality of our objectifying rationality, and its limited ability to grasp the nature of our well meaning motivation:

    “Vulnerable groups fit the best criteria for long term, anxiety relieving projection. Vulnerable to become the pitiful objects of the benevolent, over sympathetic segment of society that improves its functioning at the expense of the pitiful. Just as the least adequate child in a family can become more impaired when he becomes an object of pity and over sympathetic help from the family, so can the lowest segment of society be chronically impaired by the very attention designed to help. No matter how good the principle behind such programs, it is essentially impossible to implement them without the built-in complications of the projection process.” _Murray Bowen.

    It took me decades to begin to sense my internal motivation. Sense the paradox of my internal defense against pain and sensations of fear; and a flight to the refuge of my mind. To understand how we’re all raised to suppress sensations, in order to secure our mature sense of objective rationality. Reaching adulthood, with a taken for granted “subject to object” orientation, as Teresa Brennan puts it, “ To understand why I felt lost in a sea of unconscious emotional reactivity, my social reflexes not quiet in-tune with normal social adaptation. Decades and the invention of the internet to begin to really understand, how traumatic experience had frozen my innate ability for spontaneous social communication. I had to leave my own culture to escape the built-in complications of a projection process, in which I felt trapped. So trapped that I’d found myself acting out a well meaning, projection of paternalistic care and concern, towards my therapy clients. So I went in search of my own “built-in” processes, in search of personal transformation. In my opinion, we are so immersed in the “autonomic” nature of our socially evolved humanity, asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

    I must admit that a “chemical imbalance” notion of mental illness, had initially given me a plausible “how” and “why” explanation for my experience of mania. Yet by 2007 I’d experienced decades of medication failures to control my recurring psychoses. On or off medications, I still experienced episodes of manic euphoria and crushing depression, with the confusing affect, that my only auditory and visual hallucinations, occurred while taking high dose anti-psychotic medication. I’d also been exposed to a range of alternative views of psychosis, which seek to understand its emotional and mental dynamics, rather than fearfully judge the experience as pathological. View’s which advocate taking the time to understand the nature of psychosis, and resist an unconscious urge to keep madness firmly out of sight, and safely out of the consensus mind. Like many in the psychiatric survivor community, I’ve experienced the very palpable fear and loathing, that states of madness invoke in other people. Like many I have been overwhelmed by the core emotional energies, at the heart of my humanity, and I’ve witnessed the denied fear of “emotional contagion,” both within myself, and others. In my humble opinion, a strictly medical model provides a container to sooth our consensus fear of madness, rather than seeking a causal explanation. Although, only a reading of the history of madness brings such a view to mind, beyond a matter of fact acceptance of the current, medical paradigm.

    Although I’d lost my trust and faith in a medical view of my experience by 2007, I had not lost my faith in science and the human spirit. By 2010, I’d been reading the kind of science which seeks to understand the development of the human condition, a science perspective that resonated with my intuitive feelings about emotional development. Allan N Schore’s “Affect Regulation & the Origins of the Self,” brought new insights to my understanding of my affective experience, and scientific hints of an alternative “how” and “why” explanation. Since 2010, I have come to understand my psychoses, as discontinuous states of body-brain-mind experience, seeking a fundamental reorganization. A reorganization involving the core nature of my being and my human susceptibility to traumatic experience. The core affects of which are misunderstood by our mainstream medical and psychological disciplines, in my opinion. Recovery has involved a new understanding, both within my mind and my within body. Understanding how my brain is not the sole mediator of my psychotic experience. Learning how to self-regulate on a physiological level, has been key to my deeper understanding . Learning how the unconscious activity of my autonomic nervous system regulates my physiological state, has helped me to understand my psychological experience of psychosis. A daily practice of internal “sensation” awareness, has allowed me to master the chaotic energies of psychosis, and understand the experience as a brain-nervous-system NEED, for appropriate maturation. In my opinion, the chaotic energies of psychosis, involve the primary e-motive energies of my body-brain, which are intricately linked with my heart, lungs and gut, in reciprocal feedback loops. My growing ability to self-regulate the experience of psychosis, involved coming to terms with the power of my heart, and its role in energizing my body-brain-mind. My psyche.”

    While I understand the need to protest society’s denied need to keep madness out of sight and out of mind, I do believe we do ourselves a disservice, by not facing up to the internal realities of our own experience. Certainly, I found it very difficult to let go of a taken for granted sense of self, based on “external” images of objects, and struggled with the paradox of developing a “felt-sense” of my organic nature. A paradox I call the trauma-trap, in that sub-conscious flight into the safety of the mind, which becomes a mental torment.

    As I began to practice reconnecting with a cut-off sense of self, which is essentially pain, within my body, the “autonomic” flight back into my thoughts, was bewildering. A confusion I believe, is compounded by our Western sense of “I am my mind,” and our attachment driven need to adopt the “group-think.”

    Recently I have written about psychosis, as a spontaneous “right of passage,” as an existential crisis. A NEED, for our brain/nervous system to adopt a mature orientation to reality as it is. Please consider;

    “Please consider a comparison between a rather poetic conception of existential crisis, and the science of human development, which informed my new understanding;

    “So, we finally arrive at the final and perhaps most important question in this discussion:
    “Why would an individual’s psyche intentionally initiate psychosis?”

    In other words, how can something as chaotic and as potentially harmful as psychosis act as a strategy to aid someone in transcending an otherwise irresolvable dilemma? To understand this, it helps to use as a metaphor the process of metamorphosis that takes place within the development of a butterfly. In order for a poorly resourced larva to transform into the much more highly resourced butterfly, it must first disintegrate at a very profound level, its entire physical structure becoming little more than amorphous fluid, before it can reintegrate into the fully developed and much more resourced form of a butterfly.” _Paris Williams. (read more here)

    Yet how do we understand this common metaphor “psyche” and how can I explain how neuroscience gave me clues to understanding the internal NEED for my experience of “mania?” Please consider;

    “A second core assumption of systems theory is that self-organization is characterized by the emergence and stabilization of novel forms from the interaction of lower-order components and involves “the specification and crystallization of structure.” This mechanism also describes how hierarchical structural systems in the developing brain self-organize. Developmental neuroscience is now identifying the “lower” autonomic and “higher” central brain systems that organize in infancy and become capable of generating and regulating psychobiological states.

    Developing organisms internalize environmental forces by becoming appropriately structured in relation to them, and by incorporating an internal model of these exogenous signals they develop adaptive homeostatic regulatory mechanisms which allow for stability in the face of external variation. The regulation of the organism, which maintains internal stability and output regulation and enables effective response to external stimuli, therefore depends on the formation of a dynamic model of the external environment. Self-organizing systems are thus systems that are capable of generating new internal representations in response to changing environmental conditions. (p, 94)

    The human is a nonlinear dynamic system, an inherently dynamic energy-transformation regime that coevolves with its environment, one that self-organizes when exposed to an energy flux. The infant becomes attuned to an external object in its environment who consistently responds in a stimulating manner to the infant’s spontaneous impulsive energy dissipating behaviors. (p, 95)

    The nonlinear self acts “iteratively”, so that minor changes, occurring at the right moment, can be amplified in the system, thus launching it into a qualifiedly different state. Indeed energy shifts are the most basic and fundamental features of emotion, “discontinuous” states are experienced as “affect responses,” and nonlinear psychic bifurcations are manifest as rapid “affective shifts.” (p, 96)

    One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism’s efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). (my mania in 1980) I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

    Vagal tone is defined as “the amount of inhibitory influence on the heart by the parasympathetic nervous system.” (p, 301)

    In light of the principle that birth insult and stress interact and impair later stress regulation , early right-amygdala function, including olfactory contributions to proto-attachment communications, should be evaluated in the perinatal period. (p, 304)

    Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).

    Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child’s increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking. Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a “rushing” of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411).” (Schore, 2003)

    Please note the my reference to mania and its implications for Paris Williams more eloquent formulation, of psychic transformation. There is even a reference to vagal-tone and birth insult, as the hints which enabled my transformation of a birth-trauma, and family dynamic, conditioned FEAR response, within the subconscious functioning of my nervous systems, into a more joyful approach to life. Yet the difficulty in sensing unconscious processes, in a culture, now addicted to Descartes famous error, of “I think therefore, I am,” is compounded by our “instinctive” underpinning of our intelligence, with a NEED for quick and easy phrases and statements. Hence, although Paris and others like him have contributed much towards re-framing the mental health debate, in America, little will really change, until we address our common, subconscious functioning, and what really makes us tick.

    The positive energies of elation, as a metabolic resource for brain/nervous system structure, is what was missing in my childhood. Hence my first experience of psychosis, was a right of passage need to face the social world, as it really is. Managing the excitement of spontaneous social engagement, had always been my downfall, in relationships, where my “frozen” facial expressions met with an equally “defensive” response. All, occurring at speeds, to fast, to breech the threshold of conscious awareness. Hence, only a “sensate” approach towards understanding the sensations within my body, has helped me to re-connect with my mind’s creator, and heal a wound, long forgotten, because it happened, before I ever learned to think.”

    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-17_16.html

    The “chemical imbalance,” metaphor is true, its simply a matter of how, IMO. The imbalance is in the cyclic nature of the nervous systems, in a need to manage the “metabolic energy,” challenges of life, particularly post trauma life, when a conditioned imbalance of “negative affect/emotion” needs to be recalibrated, so to speak.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Great topic, with the very real issues of shame & safety, right there in the title. Perhaps, the greatest issues in human mental health, and just how we generate these “feelings?”

    Its easy to “rationalize” these terms, shame & safety, yet how aware are we all, of just how these sensations-feelings are generated within us? Please consider a new term for our “subconscious” perception of safety;

    “NEUROCEPTION:
    A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety. -STEPHEN W. PORGES, University of Illinois at Chicago.

    What determines how two human beings will act toward each other
    when they meet? Is this initial response a product of learning from culture, family experiences, and other socialization processes? Or is the response the expression of a neurobiological process that is programmed into the very DNA of our species? If
    the response has a neurobiological basis, are there specific
    features of the other person’s behavior that trigger either
    feelings of safety, love, and comfort or feelings of danger?
    Why do some children cuddle and warmly conform to embraces, yet others stiffen and pull back from the same overture? Why do some children smile and actively engage a new person, while others avert their gaze and withdraw?

    Does knowledge of human biology help us to understand the triggers and mechanisms of these behaviors during normal development? If we learn how behavioral features trigger neural circuits that facilitate social behavior, will we be better able to help children with severe developmental disabilities, such as autism, improve their social behavior?

    By processing information from the environment through the senses, the nervous system continually evaluates risk. I have coined the term “neuroception” to describe how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening. Because of our heritage as a species, neuroception takes place in primitive parts of the brain, without our conscious awareness. The detection of a person as safe or dangerous triggers neurobiologically determined prosocial or defensive behaviors. Even though we may not be aware of danger on a cognitive level, on a neurophysiological level, our body has already started a sequence of neural processes that would facilitate adaptive defense behaviors such as fight, flight, or freeze.

    •Neuroception describes how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening.

    •Neuroception explains why a baby coos at a caregiver but cries at a stranger, or why a toddler enjoys a parent’s embrace but views a hug from a stranger as an assault.

    •The Polyvagal Theory describes three developmental stages of a mammal’s autonomic nervous system: Immobilization, mobilization, and social communication or social engagement.

    •Faulty neuroception might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.”

    http://www.frzee.com/neuroception.pdf

    People in this community have been bewildered by my comments, on how we scan blog posts and comments here, seeking resources for our established worldview? My comments come from the “paradigm shifting” discovery of professor Porges “The Polyvagal Theory,” which in my opinion is as revelatory as any of the great thinkers, like Galileo, Newton or Einstein.

    IMO the polyvagal perspective will revolutionize mental health in the coming decades, although many will to give up their “fundamentalist” beliefs in a supernatural father figure, as creator of ALL, and realize that there is no dichotomy in a religious and science view of cosmic evolution, once we get beyond the literal meaning of words, and begin to think, again, in metaphor & meaning.

    It is Stephen Porges groundbreaking discovery and Peter Levine’s methods of trauma resolution, through developing “sensate” awareness of my hidden internal functioning, which has allowed me to master psychosis, and feel safe from the shaming projections of others, by learning just how I oriente “subconsciously,” in a defensive world.

    But as Peter Levine points out, the great confusion and “paternal” needs of projection, will continue, as long as we remain in denial, about “what” we really are;

    “My approach to healing trauma rests broadly on the premise that people are primarily instinctual in nature – that we are, at our very core, human animals. It is this relationship to our animal nature that both makes us susceptible to trauma and, at the same time, promotes a robust capacity to rebound in the aftermath of threat, safely returning to equilibrium. More generally,
    I believe that to truly understand our body/mind, therapists must first learn about the animal body/mind because of the manner in which our nervous systems have evolved in an ever changing and challenging environment. (p, 225)

    However, there is an almost violent schism lurking in our cultural zeitgeist. Lets face it; the fight against evolution by the proponents of “creationism” and “intelligent design” is not really about professed gaps in the fossil records; its about whether or not we are basically animals. (p, 225)

    In fact, the word instinct is rarely found in modern psychological literature. Rather it is purged and replaced with terms such as drives, motivations and needs. While instincts are still routinely drawn upon to explain animal behaviors, we have somehow lost sight of how many human behavior patterns (though modifiable) are primal, automatic, universal and predictable. (p, 231)” _Peter Levine. Excerpts from: “In an Unspoken Voice.”

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Great essay Jennifer, and as others have noted, very hopeful. I’m just wondering though how the real-life experience of many in this community, relates to the notion of supportive and loving families? In my own experience, there is a non-recognized need to move away from (over time) any member of the family group, who is not seen as a source of support and protection. A movement that is “physical” more so than psychological, and rarely verbalized, by any of the group members. As Murray Bowen pointed out, in his seminal ideas on Family Therapy, our underlying e-motive reactivity, is managed by emotional cut-off, usually involving physical distance.

    Is the family, the very crucible of madness, and are we back to previous ideas, about our emotional functioning, like Bateson’s “double-bind?” As you write, by family, we mean the human family;

    “By family, we mean the human family. Which includes family members and individuals with lived experience from a variety of vantage points —those in recovery, psychiatric survivors, friends and allies, care providers, community members, educators. Anyone willing to create and support family healing communities based hope, strengths, mutuality, respect, curiosity, and a diversity of perspectives; anyone willing to commit to working on his or her own personal growth.”

    In my own need to master psychosis, self-education and a self-reliance, which involved giving up the “group-think,” in my need to belong, has set me free from the subconsciously “projected” needs of others. In a family, emotional systems view, the “sensitive one” (me) in our family group, no longer soaks up, the dumped negative affect’s of other family members. In that strange twist of fate, which people find “unbelievable,” the “apparent” weakest link in the family chain, turns out to be the most independant and strongest link, in the generational nature of emotional coping. In the history of the family therapy movement, it is understood, that the “sensitive” one, carries the burden of healing generations of emotional pain. Please consider an excerpt from my generational journey;

    “The Family: The Foundational Cell of Society?
    The family systems perspective contends that the most effective way to work with individuals is in the context of their families. In their groundbreaking book, The Family Crucible (1978), Napier and Whitaker wrote, “Working with the totality of the forces that influence the individual is such a logical idea that it is hard to deny its validity” (p, 59). Excerpt from Creative Family Therapy Techniques

    In 2006, when I made my right of passage observation to that young woman, I’d been reading books like The Family Crucible for my Differentiation of Self assignment, researching three generations of my family tree. Trying to understand why the existential themes of abandonment and rejection, seemed to run, river like, through both sides of own family. My ex wife, myself and my four sons. Which, right now, brings me to a recent post about, affect, family faces and the generational nature of our very human madness. Please consider;

    Subconscious, reactions to the transmission of “affect”
    Recall from: Family Attachment Affects & Mental Illness. Pt 1
    “I have three lovely handkerchiefs here, choose one.” Then Monica left the house and my mother never saw her mother again. My mother was just five years old when this rather brutal act of abandonment took place. Already the focal point of a family projection process, which sought to dump feelings of guilt and shame onto an unwanted “other.” My mother, who no doubt had already begun to form her hard-core defense against the transmission of “affect.” A tendency to distance and isolation which has had its ripple effects through the continuing generations of our family tree. Please consider;

    Is traumatic experience a factor, in the generational nature of, emotional coping?

    “It is the nature of trauma to elude our knowledge because of both defense and deficit … To protect ourselves from affect, we must, at times, avoid knowledge. We defend against feelings of rage, cynicism, shame, and fear by not knowing them consciously. Trauma also overwhelms and defeats our capacity to organize it.”

    Psychoanalysis, psychiatry, and developmental traumatology are all now converging on dissociation, the bottom-line survival defense against overwhelming, unbearable emotional experiences. Longitudinal attachment research demonstrates an association between traumatic childhood events and proneness to dissociation, described as “detachment from an unbearable situation,” “the escape when there is no escape,” and “a last resort defensive strategy” (Schore, 2003b, 2009). Although Kohut never used the term dissociation, in his last book (1984) he characterized an early interaction in which the traumatized child “walls himself off” from traumatizing experiences.”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    “Dissociation, detachment, and a wall” of indescribable distance, certainly resonates within me, when I think about the traumatic experience of birth, shared by my mother and I, and its ongoing generational affects. Indescribable, by way of the (surface, verbal, conscious, analytic explicit-self) described above. An emerging understanding of the human condition, which seems to resonate with that divided sense-of-self we all feel, when we notice the discrepancies between our explicit-self, and a very private, implicit-self, deep within us. Our taken for granted maturity, signified by an ability to make the appropriate noises and gestures, while simultaneously holding sometimes opposite, private thoughts and feelings. Yet these words, explicit and implicit, are not exactly part of our common vocabulary of self-description and social interaction, leaving me wondering if I’ll ever resolve a family estrangement, now seemingly set in concrete. “Is it really, all my fault,” I’m wondering. Should I let sleeping dogs lie and not question the roots of my own and my mother’s trauma history, for the sake of an emotional equilibrium, maintained by physical distance and psychological denial. Should a child ever question the sanctity of motherhood, or explore the foundations of this most fundamental of relationships? Did traumatic experience affect my mother’s ability for emotional empathy? Consider;

    “If the mother’s empathic ability has remained infantile, that is, if she tends to respond with panic to the baby’s anxiety, then a deleterious chain will be set into motion. She may chronically wall herself off from the baby, thus depriving him of the beneficial effect of merging with her as she returns from experiencing mild anxiety to calmness. Alternatively, she may continue to respond with panic, in which case two negative consequences may ensue: the mother may lay the groundwork in the child for a lifelong propensity toward the uncurbed spreading of anxiety or other emotions, or by forcing the child to wall himself off from such an overly intense and thus traumatizing [experience, she] may foster in the child an impoverished psychic organization, the psychic organization of a person who will later be unable to be empathic himself.

    NOTE: 1, In this chapter we equate “unconscious” with “nonconscious”; that is, implicit functions that occur beneath levels of awareness not because they are repressed but because they are too rapid to reach consciousness.

    2. Throughout this chapter, we refer to “mother” interchangeably with “primary caregiver(s).” We are referring to the primary attachment figure, although we recognize that the infant’s primary attachment figure may not be the mother.”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    Two interesting facts spring to mind as I read the above explanation of the generational nature of trauma’s “affect” on our individual ability for empathy. 1. My father and my grandmother were the primary caregivers, in the early childhood I remember. 2. I cannot remember a single occasion in my life when my mother has initiated contact with me, certainly not once in my adult life, including the periods of illness I‘ve suffered. There was a period in my early 20’s when I tried to broach these fundamental questions of family relationships with both my parents, only to meet the “double-bind” response of a subconscious “shame” reaction, rationalized as an assumption that I was blaming them, for my own weaknesses.

    In line with new understandings from neuroscience research, it was not me they were really defending themselves against, as it appears at the surface of our conscious sense of self. Our explicit-self. It was their own core, non-conscious self, in an avoidance of negative sensations, such as our internal sense of shame. “Shame-Humiliation” understood within Family Therapy, as the social emotion, of our rank and status, family and society, groups. My parents subconscious reaction was one of anger, as mother nature’s antidote for sensations of shame. We can’t feel shame and anger at the same time, it’s literally a physiological impossibility, yet this non-empathic and defensive response, affects sensations of shame in the other. That was the double-bind trap of this traumatized, and unwanted child, and later experience of an “affective disorder.” (Bipolar Disorder Type 1) And the subconscious reality, of this strange an very uncommon phrase, “the transmission of affect.” Please consider;

    “Nervous Entrainment, as a Mechanism for the Transmission of Affect/Emotion:

    If “contagion” of affect/emotion exists (and the study of crowd/group behavior, says it does), how is it “effected?” If one walks into a room where one “could cut the atmosphere with a knife,” and that “affect” contained within the room is a profoundly social thing, how does it get there? There are indications of social science interest in research on “electrical” or nervous entrainment, “the driving effect one nervous system has on another,” affected by touch, sight, smell and sound.

    Nervous entrainment may also depend on bodily movements and gestures, particularly through the unconscious imitation of rhythms. In understanding the aural rhythmic component of the vocal interactions of a parent and child, Richard Restak suggests we attend to “prosody” the melody, pitch, and stress of speech, where auditory cues have priority over visual ones. Rhythm is a tool in the expression of “agency,” just as words are. Rhythm, literally conveys the “tone” of communication, and in this sense it unites both word/symbol and affect/emotion. Rhythm also has a unifying or dys-unifying regulation role, in affective exchanges between two or more people.

    The rhythmic aspects of behavior are critical in establishing a collective sense of purpose and common understanding. In addition, there is a sense of well-being which comes with a rhythmic entrainment with one’s fellows (in dancing for instance) . By contrast, non-rhythmic or dissonant sound also separates. It leads people to stand apart from one another and generates unease.

    While the auditory has priority over the visual, the visual has a place in this process of nervous entrainment. Firstly, registering an image is rooted firmly in brain physiology. The registration of an image in the minds eye is part of such nervous entrainment, yet the image has been transmitted as sound waves or valence register physical effects on the ear drum. Words and images are matters of vibration, vibrations at different electrical frequencies, but still vibration. In addition, the social, physical vibrations of images are critical in the process of nervous “electrical” entrainment, even though they lack the rhythm of auditory entrainment.”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    What Teresa Brennan is alluding to, is passive and active “energy states,” and how they are subconsciously stimulated. For example, when I asked my father “what’s wrong?” Because his habitual explosive temper, has been subconsciously triggered by a small insignificant incident, and I’m trying to understand why his response is so outrageously out of proportion to the offence. His response “your breathing aren’t you!” Stimulates an extreme “passive” energy state within me, because of the sense of contempt, not just in the words used, but the “tone” transmitted by facial gesture, staring eyes, and prosody of his voice. Please consider;

    “Human beings rely extensively on nonverbal channels of communication in their day-to-day emotional as well as interpersonal exchanges. The verbal channel, language, is a relatively poor medium for expressing the quality, intensity and nuancing of emotion and affect in different social situations … the face is thought to have primacy in signaling affective information. (Mandal & Ambady, 2004, p. 23)

    In the developmental attachment context, right brain– to– right brain auditory prosodic communications also act as an essential vehicle of implicit communications within the therapeutic relationship. The right hemisphere is important in the processing of the “music” behind our words. When listening to speech, we rely upon a range of cues on which to base our inference as to the communicative intent of others. To interpret the meaning of speech, how something is said is as important as what is actually said. Prosody conveys different shades of meaning by means of variations in stress and pitch— irrespective of the words and grammatical construction (Mitchell, Elliott, Barry, Crittenden, & Woodruff, 2003). These data support suggestions that the preverbal elements of language— intonation, tone, force, and rhythm— stir up reactions derived from the early mother– child relationships (Greenson, 1978).”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    * * * * * * *

    What I’m trying to convey here, is the subconscious, emotional foundations of what we consciously, and defensively, presume to be a mental illness in others. What is becoming increasingly understood from all the recent neuroscience discoveries, is how the foundations of our sense-of-self, is laid down in, “subconscious & sensory,” emotional interactions, between caregivers and the child, in the first years of our lives. Those crucial early years when our brain-nervous systems are maturing by way of interactions with a social-emotional environment, and all taking place at the subconscious level of an implicit-self. A subconscious, implicit-self, which guides motivation throughout each individual’s life-span, and drives the generational nature of family relationships. From this “subconscious” perspective on human behaviors, there is no blame or shame, this is simply the real-life nature of being human. Unconscious functioning, so little understood, and only now, with the aid of technology, beginning to see the light of true reason.

    Chaos theory is playing a huge role in understanding just how complex chemical systems within the human organism, stabilize in defense of our survival. In practical terms, this can be seen in the chance and circumstance of my birth. In the real-life circumstance of time and place, bad luck affected such a pain fueled void between my mother & I, that we’ve never managed to resolved it. We’ve suffered from the generational nature of pain/shame fueled emotional cut-off too. If my mother had had an optimal birth experience, which had allowed her to bond in the “subconscious” sensory nature of emotional attachment, it more than likely would have helped to heal her abandonment by not only her own mother, but an entire family. I would have ended up with a different “implicit-self,” which would not have needed the subconscious process of psychosis, to stimulate a new and more positive sense of self. Psychosis, as a need of re-wiring those early forming neural networks within my brain-nervous systems. Euphoric psychosis, which was a need of mature orientation to the world of reality, as it is. I needed, at a subconscious level, to dissolve the conditioned, “autonomic,” nature of my predominately “negative” internal states. Internal states, stimulated by my hearts reflex orienting responses to reality, along with my brain and nervous systems, of course. I needed to grow beyond, an implicit “freeze” reaction to any new challenge, in the social environment. (As explained here)

    Just as I am now estranged from my family, my mother was estranged from her family of origin, and entirely dependent on another’s extended family, my father’s. This unbalanced emotional arrangement played its part in the further chaos, chance and circumstance, which resulted in my first episode of bipolar disorder, mania. Essentially, the current estrangement with my family, which is following the same generational pattern as my mother’s estrangement from her family, is based on a subconscious need for movement, both physical and emotional, towards or away from. A subconsciously stimulated movement towards support and protection, and away from a subconscious sense of threat. Like the threat my public airing of mental illness within the family, posses to my mother, my brother and my children, its embarrassing. Embarrassment, being a milder expression of shame, yet nonetheless stimulating a need to move away from the threatening source. Consider Franz Kafka’s brilliant critique of the human family, and our need for support and protection:

    “The Metamorphosis

    “We have to try and get rid of it”, said Gregor’s sister, now speaking only to her father, as her mother was too occupied with coughing to listen, “it’ll be the death of both of you, I can see it coming. We can’t all work as hard as we have to and then come home to be tortured like this, we can’t endure it. I can’t endure it any more.” And she broke out so heavily in tears that they flowed down the face of her mother, and she wiped them away with mechanical hand movements. “My child”, said her father with sympathy and obvious understanding, “what are we to do?” His sister just shrugged her shoulders as a sign of the helplessness that had taken hold of her, displacing her earlier certainly when she had broken into tears.

    “If he could just understand us”, said his father almost as a question; his sister shook her hand vigorously through her tears as a sign that of that there was no question.

    “If he could just understand us”, repeated Gregor’s father, closing his eyes in acceptance of his sister’s certainty that that was quite impossible, “then perhaps we could come to some kind of arrangement with him. But as it is …”

    “It’s got to go”, shouted his sister, “that’s the only way, Father. You’ve got to get rid of the idea that that’s Gregor. We’ve only harmed ourselves by believing it for so long. How can that be Gregor? If it were Gregor he would have seen long ago that it’s not possible for human beings to live with an animal like that and he would have gone of his own free will. We wouldn’t have a brother any more, then, but we could carry on with our lives and remember him with respect. As it is this animal is persecuting us, it’s driven out our tenants, it obviously wants to take over the whole flat and force us to sleep on the streets. Father, look, just look”, she suddenly screamed, “he’s starting again!” In her alarm, which was totally beyond Gregor’s comprehension, his sister even abandoned his mother as she pushed herself vigorously out of her chair as if more willing to sacrifice her own mother than stay anywhere near Gregor. She rushed over to behind her father, who had become excited merely because she was and stood up half raising his hands in front of Gregor’s sister as if to protect her.

    He did not turn his head until he had reached the doorway. He did not turn it all the way round as he felt his neck becoming stiff, but it was nonetheless enough to see that nothing behind him had changed, only his sister had stood up. With his last glance he saw that his mother had now fallen completely asleep.

    He was hardly inside his room before the door was hurriedly shut, bolted and locked. The sudden noise behind Gregor so startled him that his little legs collapsed under him. It was his sister who had been in so much of a rush. She had been standing there waiting and sprung forward lightly, Gregor had not heard her coming at all, and as she turned the key in the lock she said loudly to her parents “At last!”.

    “What now, then?”, Gregor asked himself as he looked round in the darkness. He soon made the discovery that he could no longer move at all. This was no surprise to him, it seemed rather that being able to actually move around on those spindly little legs until then was unnatural. He also felt relatively comfortable. It is true that his entire body was aching, but the pain seemed to be slowly getting weaker and weaker and would finally disappear altogether. He could already hardly feel the decayed apple in his back or the inflamed area around it, which was entirely covered in white dust. He thought back of his family with emotion and love. If it was possible, he felt that he must go away even more strongly than his sister. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful rumination until he heard the clock tower strike three in the morning. He watched as it slowly began to get light everywhere outside the window too. Then, without his willing it, his head sank down completely, and his last breath flowed weakly from his nostrils.” An excerpt from Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka Translated by David Wyllie.

    No longer a source of support and protection within the family group, Gregor is shunned, even by his sister, who had benefited most from his, father-like support. In Murray Bowen’s seminal ideas on family therapy, this paternalistic nature of the nuclear family group, becomes the structuring force of mainstream society. Hence, we often describe government and other institutions as “paternalistic and condescending.”

    The Motor Act, Is The Cradle of The Mind? Sir Charles Sherrington.
    Hence our implicit, subconscious-self, is based on the survival need of physical movement.

    Just as my mother’s family physically “moved” away from a source of family embarrassment. A family secret my mother had kept to herself for so many decades, until we sat down to review our “family tree,” in 2006. Perhaps she was hoping that those sharing moments together would help to heal the void created between us, in our mutual experience of birth trauma? I’m certain she’d never spoken with my father about our family secret. Such emotional intimacy was not the “style,” on that side of my family tree. Perhaps she’d recalled the mother-child relationship which briefly blossomed between us, in Wallingford, England, when I was the responsible, caring son, on a day when she almost died. Or perhaps my deceased father’s lost presence allowed a more sensitive and open emotional “style,” indicative of our shared genetic heritage, from the maternal side of my family tree?”

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/understanding-my-psychoses-improved.html

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • From the perspective of “unconscious” nervous system regulation, not just the brain alone, is psychosis a spontaneous need to “re-orientate to “reality as it is,” within the anxiety of the lived moment? My own birth trauma & subsequent life experience, conditioned an “internalized” sense of threat, to which my nervous system adopted a non-conscious “wary” defense of my self-preservation. Yet how to become “aware” of a defensive motivation, which happened before I ever learned to think?

    Please consider;
    UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS & IMPROVING YOUR SELF-REGULATION:
    Is Mental illness – An Existential Crisis & Right of Passage?
    Please consider a comparison between a rather poetic conception of existential crisis, and the science of human development, which informed my new understanding;

    “So, we finally arrive at the final and perhaps most important question in this discussion:
    “Why would an individual’s psyche intentionally initiate psychosis?”

    In other words, how can something as chaotic and as potentially harmful as psychosis act as a strategy to aid someone in transcending an otherwise irresolvable dilemma? To understand this, it helps to use as a metaphor the process of metamorphosis that takes place within the development of a butterfly. In order for a poorly resourced larva to transform into the much more highly resourced butterfly, it must first disintegrate at a very profound level, its entire physical structure becoming little more than amorphous fluid, before it can reintegrate into the fully developed and much more resourced form of a butterfly.” _Paris Williams. (read more here)

    Yet how do we understand this common metaphor “psyche” and how can I explain how neuroscience gave me clues to understanding the internal NEED for my experience of “mania?” Please consider;

    “A second core assumption of systems theory is that self-organization is characterized by the emergence and stabilization of novel forms from the interaction of lower-order components and involves “the specification and crystallization of structure.” This mechanism also describes how hierarchical structural systems in the developing brain self-organize. Developmental neuroscience is now identifying the “lower” autonomic and “higher” central brain systems that organize in infancy and become capable of generating and regulating psychobiological states.

    Developing organisms internalize environmental forces by becoming appropriately structured in relation to them, and by incorporating an internal model of these exogenous signals they develop adaptive homeostatic regulatory mechanisms which allow for stability in the face of external variation. The regulation of the organism, which maintains internal stability and output regulation and enables effective response to external stimuli, therefore depends on the formation of a dynamic model of the external environment. Self-organizing systems are thus systems that are capable of generating new internal representations in response to changing environmental conditions. (p, 94)

    The human is a nonlinear dynamic system, an inherently dynamic energy-transformation regime that coevolves with its environment, one that self-organizes when exposed to an energy flux. The infant becomes attuned to an external object in its environment who consistently responds in a stimulating manner to the infant’s spontaneous impulsive energy dissipating behaviors. (p, 95)

    The nonlinear self acts “iteratively”, so that minor changes, occurring at the right moment, can be amplified in the system, thus launching it into a qualifiedly different state. Indeed energy shifts are the most basic and fundamental features of emotion, “discontinuous” states are experienced as “affect responses,” and nonlinear psychic bifurcations are manifest as rapid “affective shifts.” (p, 96)

    One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism’s efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). (my mania in 1980) I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

    Vagal tone is defined as “the amount of inhibitory influence on the heart by the parasympathetic nervous system.” (p, 301)

    In light of the principle that birth insult and stress interact and impair later stress regulation , early right-amygdala function, including olfactory contributions to proto-attachment communications, should be evaluated in the perinatal period. (p, 304)

    Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).

    Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child’s increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking. Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a “rushing” of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411).” (Schore, 2003)

    Please note the my reference to mania and its implications for Paris Williams more eloquent formulation, of psychic transformation. There is even a reference to vagal-tone and birth insult, as the hints which enabled my transformation of a birth-trauma, and family dynamic, conditioned FEAR response, within the subconscious functioning of my nervous systems, into a more joyful approach to life. Yet the difficulty in sensing unconscious processes, in a culture, now addicted to Descartes famous error, of “I think therefore, I am,” is compounded by our “instinctive” underpinning of our intelligence, with a NEED for quick and easy phrases and statements. Hence, although Paris and others like him have contributed much towards re-framing the mental health debate, in America, little will really change, until we address our common, subconscious functioning, and really makes us tick.

    The positive energies of elation, as a metabolic resource for brain/nervous system structure, is what was missing in my childhood. Hence my first experience of psychosis, was a right of passage need to face the social world, as it really is. Managing the excitement of spontaneous social engagement, had always been my downfall, in relationships, where my “frozen” facial expressions met with an equally “defensive” response. All, occurring at speeds, to fast, to breech the threshold of conscious awareness. Hence, only a “sensate” approach towards understanding the sensations within my body, has helped me to re-connect with my mind’s creator, and heal a wound, long forgotten, because it happened, before I ever learned to think.

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/understanding-my-psychoses-improved.html

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Great essay Sera, with an interesting mention of feedback?

    “That said, it was a difficult talk. First, we discussed the negative feedback and ‘concerns’ that had arisen following the RLC’s sponsorship of a couple of ‘Withdrawing from Medication’ workshops offered by David Cohen.”

    In my opinion, what is missing from the conscious dialogue is an awareness and understanding of our unconscious and autonomic function?

    Is there a misperception in our “cause & effect” diagnosis & its “mechanistic paradigm” of faulty logic? Consider my response to a question about trauma causation: The key to understanding, is to stop thinking in “external” images, as I used to, when it was suggested to me that trauma had played a part in my bipolar experience, and realize, that trauma “happens” unconsciously within the body/brain and its “feedback” nervous systems.

    We are not OBJECTS, and we cannot analysis our organic nature with a cause & effect logic, as if, we were fixing a problem with a machine. There are multiple organic systems. within us, which function “all at once,” and we cannot “affect” one system without affecting all. Hence the unforeseen side-effects of medications.

    Unfortunately, what gets lost in the rational dialogue, is the self-preservation needs of each individual, and way we habitually cover-up this unconscious motivation, with rationalizations? Hence, the civil-debate will continue to revolve around the Cartisian Circle of old, and researchers will demand more research, in aid of their own survival, IMO.

    In the meantime though, there are honorable people, less driven by commercialism and doing great, non-pharma research into human development, rather than pathology. People like Professor Stephen Porges and his groundbreaking “The Polyvagal Theory,” which IMO will transform mental health completely in the coming decades.

    Also, in the meantime, the internet has transformed our ability to gain self-education and be less reliant on fulfilling our paternalistic needs, by way of an expert, and too often indoctrinated subjective opinion? Please consider my own self-educated research on my Bipolarity;

    MANIA & OUR MASK OF CONSCIOUSNESS?
    A readers timely comment & my response;
    “How do you propose you approach a person when their emotional desires or needs have either been unseen or misunderstood to the point they have a break with reality? Could you perhaps be wrong in thinking it is a social disorder? It’s hard to argue against your thinking: because I don’t know enough about the genetic underpinnings of mania and if it were something we were born with then it’d have to be a structural difference which it doesn’t seem to be. Leading up to my manic break I was extremely depressed, harassed, and had trouble vocalizing my needs because I felt I shouldn’t have to. I was stubborn in addressing this because my own condition told me everyone should be respectful and compassionate towards each other, but I had an experience which shook that worldview by being isolated from the entire school. I had no one to talk to, so I broke down and was diagnosed with schizophrenia now schizoaffective but it still doesn’t really solve the problem and my rational mind still gets upset about it, while pills help calm me I guess, I don’t exactly accept the idea that it was a random chemical misfire or imbalance I was born with because there’s no scientific explanation for something like that.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    “Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    The timing is interesting, as I find myself in a month, of grappling with how to explain, in simple commonsense terms, that are easily digestible.

    In terms of our “unconscious” functioning, where “structure” is our brain, heart, lungs, intestines and our nervous system organization of metabolic energies, which create our “states” of “attention,” within our mind’s. The experience of mental illness, is, IMO, “a right of passage.” It is, our nervous systems need, for us to face reality, as it is. You write;

    “Leading up to my manic break I was extremely depressed, harassed, and had trouble vocalizing my needs because I felt I shouldn’t have to. I was stubborn in addressing this because my own condition told me everyone should be respectful and compassionate towards each other, but I had an experience which shook that worldview by being isolated from the entire school. I had no one to talk to, so I broke down and was diagnosed with schizophrenia now schizoaffective but it still doesn’t really solve the problem and my rational mind still gets upset about it, while pills help calm me I guess, I don’t exactly accept the idea that it was a random chemical misfire or imbalance I was born with because there’s no scientific explanation for something like that.”

    From a subconscious perspective of survival needs, your depression before your manic break, was about using too much of a “passive” energy mode, to get your basic survival needs met. Then in order to take the challenge of a more mature approach to reality as it it is, your nervous system, needs to correct its previous imbalanced mode, and allow you to face the external environment, without a fearful expectation of needing to be “passive,” to get what your needs met.

    The challenge, for our Western educated mind’s, is for others to see the “body language,” in the experience, and the individual, to feel sensations within the body, and discern what they mean. For decades, I got lost, in a subjective interpretation of my “right of passage” experience, in manic periods. I got stuck, in trying to decipher the internal need, within my mind, instead of just enjoying the sudden “un-freezing” of my sensory nature.

    I understand, that you can’t see a scientific explanation for your experience. Like so many people, I tried my hardest to accept the “chemical imbalance,” metaphor of a diseased brain. I did this, more for the sake of others, than myself. Yet when I first started reading Allan N Schore and the science of human development, I began to see a different picture, of what others assume, is a “pathology.” Yet, if all we focus our attention on, is pathology, what are we likely to see?

    In Silvan Tomkins view of our “innate” nature, we have six negative “affects,” and only two genuinely positive affects. So from this viewpoint, we are hardwired with a “wary” expectation, to maximize our chances of survival. These negative, innate affects, energize our fearful and “passive” responses, while the positive innate affects of “interest-excitement” and pure “joy,” energize our positive responses to life. Hence, the experience of so-called mental illness, is, in most cases, a need to reconfigure, our “unconscious” orientation to life, as it is, in the anxiety of the lived moment.

    A right of passage, misunderstood, by psychiatry, because of the general fear of madness, which desperately needs to keep it out of sight and out of mind.

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/understanding-my-psychoses-improved.html

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Moderator note: This is not a forum for unsolicited character analysis and psychospiritual advice. Please keep comments on topic to the ideas being discussed in the article and attend to the MIA posting guidelines. Personal conversations belong in the community forum (if both parties agree) or personal correspondence.
  • Hi _Anonymous:))

    As a counterpoint to your usual paranoid, inflated generalizations, please read this and maybe we could a real-life discussion on this webzine, about what actually happens to the majority of people.

    About 8pm a female nurse came to offer me the prescribed pill and I explained my decision. We talked about it for while and she advised me I could be restrained and given medication by injection. I acknowledged the procedural issue for the nursing staff and told her I would not resist such action, but on principle I could not place a pill in my mouth and swallow it. She accepted that was I sincere, even commenting that I was surprisingly calm about the issue and left to prepare an injection needle. Fifteen minutes later she returned with three others, two male and another female nurse and asked me to lay face down on the bed. After the talk we’d had I thought it was a typical example of the assumptive and suspicious nature of the mental health environment, rules, regulations, procedures and no trust in personal judgment about another human being.

    I complied with all instructions and was complimented on my reasonable demeanor, soon to become the only acute patient on friendly conversational terms with most of the nursing staff. The next day I started to comprehend the difference in an aspect of mental health I never seen before, the bare minimum environment of acute care. It started with talking to one of the male nurses from the previous night, when I teased him about needing four people to administer one injection.

    ‘You just don’t know what will happen these days, especially on an acute ward,’ he said. Explaining that there had been a ten fold increase in assaults on hospital staff in the previous few years.

    ‘Is that why your all barricaded behind locked doors and a plate glass window?’

    ‘Only for this side, its not like this on the normal ward.’

    ‘So were all these people sectioned too?’ I asked, gesturing around the recreation room at the half dozen or so patients. He looked up from his clipboard assessment sheet, and glanced around the room.

    ‘Afraid so, most I’ve seen in here before, people who go off their meds and become the revolving doors.’

    ‘Non-compliant like me huh?’ He just smiled and gestured that he needed to complete his assessment duty.

    It was a tough day, another when I should have been working and I tried to be productive by reading a book, “Family Therapy in Clinical Practice,” by Murrray Bowen. Bowen’s seminal ideas about the family emotional system, and the generational transmission of emotionality, had been a big influence on my belief in emotional development issues. Ideas that a certain young psychiatrist obviously didn’t give much credence to. I remember watching the nursing staff do their assessment trips into the ward, sitting off to one side observing, ticking boxes and writing a few comments. It made the place feel more like a zoo than a hospital ward, with people making field trips to observe the specimens. It was bizarre considering that most patients sat around and watched TV all day, or chain smoked out in the courtyard.

    ‘Wouldn’t it be better to talk to people, to find out how their doing?’ I asked one female nurse, “best not to antagonize” was her curt response, a thin smile of contempt reminding me that there is always at least one power junkie on a ward. She was true to form a few days later too, when I watched a young female forced into the isolation room. The girl had become hysterical when her room was searched just after a friends visit, presumably on suspicion of drugs.

    Please read more here: http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-2.html

    Perhaps Robert should re-title this site Medications in America? Although I do understand the need to remain in denial, least we stumble upon the inconvenient truth, of our evolved nature.

    You must have had a really, really bad experience, _Anonymous? Perhaps you could point the readers here and myself towards some writing about the reality of your actual experience?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Perhaps your unaware of the innate responses, of which shame-humiliation is one, Kermmit?

    Soome suggest that shame is the great “social affect,” by which societies form into hierarchical groups of rank & status? Are we suffering from a need to deny our own nature, when we assume that shame belong’s only to “them?”

    Consider Tomkins description of nine innate affects, as the root of our emotions and their physiological/psychological manifestations;

    These are the nine affects, listed with a low/high intensity label for each affect and accompanied by its biological expression:[3]

    Positive:

    * Enjoyment/Joy – smiling, lips wide and out
    * Interest/Excitement – eyebrows down, eyes tracking, eyes looking, closer listening

    Neutral:

    * Surprise/Startle – eyebrows up, eyes blinking

    Negative:

    * Anger/Rage – frowning, a clenched jaw, a red face
    * Disgust – the lower lip raised and protruded, head forward and down
    * Dissmell (reaction to bad smell) – upper lip raised, head pulled back
    * Distress/Anguish – crying, rhythmic sobbing, arched eyebrows, mouth lowered
    * Fear/Terror – a frozen stare, a pale face, coldness, sweat, erect hair
    * Shame/Humiliation – eyes lowered, the head down and averted, blushing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affect_theory#The_nine_affects

    One of Tomkins pupils is Donald L. Nathanson, M.D. A Philadelphia-based psychiatrist with a lifetime interest in the nature of human emotion. Well known for his brilliant understanding of our compass of shame, and how it functions both consciously and unconsciously.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZr5hSW65Vo

    The hit TV show Lie to Me, is based on Tomkins research;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXytQOkNaq4

    and another of his pupils, Paul Ekman;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ekman

    Sadly, most people don’t seem to want to know much about this stuff, when their in subconscious need, of unloading an emotional projection. “Its not me, its them!”

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Great post Douglas, I think your right on the money, using meditation to ground your chaotic thoughts and feel your inner nature. An instinctual nature which certainly does feel like possesion when we are confused by tales of myth & legend, which project our own nature onto external reality.

    Having faced that same internal compulsion to escape so many times, I now understand the impulse as a need to escape the trauma conditioning within my nervous system, and I sooth the impulse and its stimulated chaotic thoughts, with a more mind-less meditation, which grounds my mind within its creator, my body. Please consider my experience with suiciality and the impulse to escape a trauma conditioned trap;

    I’d been thinking about using a rope, when the aftermath scene of who would find my body came to mind.
    “Would it be the Princess or the cleaning lady?”
    “I can’t do it here!” I told myself. Then I started thinking about doing it somewhere I couldn’t be identified, no documents found with the body. I thought about taking a trip up country, to the other end of Thailand, thinking if I found a rural area with limited police resources, maybe they’d just cremate the body and forget about it?

    “Be better for the Princess and my boys back in Australia,” I thought, “I’d just be missing.”

    “Jesus! I haven’t thought about suicide for at least four years!” Burst into awareness.
    “What the hell has triggered this?”
    “Your depressed!” Another inner voice advised.

    The flight of thoughts went on for at least ten minutes I’d say, until a sudden sensation of fatigue deepened my breathe.

    “Soften,” I said to myself, triggering a practiced shift into feeling for tensions around my heart. It broke the thought bubble state long enough to bring a more balanced mind/body awareness.

    Sure enough there was a shit load of anger in my jaw, and I felt my lips pressed together with my tongue pushing against the back of my teeth. “Unspeakable anger,” came to mind and I whispered “soften,” out loud, falling into another wave of body fatigue.

    It was enough to trigger the “whole body” sensation that I’ve been practicing in my efforts to re-adjust a lifetime tendency for dissociated mind space awareness, over and above awareness of sensations within my body. For a couple of minutes I did the deep breathe exercise which brings oxygen into my blood stream and the enhanced body awareness so lacking throughout my life. The added oxygenation of my blood and the rise in body sensation, stimulated a rate and temperature change of blood flowing through my brain, and a state shift in mind space awareness.

    “Let go,” is the last thing I remember of conscious awareness before slipping into whatever proceeds REM state dreaming.

    Read more here: http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/bipolar-disorder-suicide-ideation.html

    More recently too, there was an old familiar impulse to escape, as bad news triggered body memories, in that strange unconscious way that the body keeps the score of real-life experience. As one of worlds leading experts on truma writes: http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Networker.pdf “The Body keeps the Score.”

    Please consider;

    Bipolar Dis-Ease – Its Trauma Reenactment Urges?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/bipolar-dis-ease-its-trauma-reenactment.html

    As Judy said “Suicide is not chosen,” Judy said emphatically. “It comes when emotional pain exceeds the resources for coping with the pain.”

    And our unconscious nervous system reactivity of freeze/flight/fight, does its instinctual thing. Although I understand how some people may view such talk of our evolved nature, as an insult to a supernatural father figure. Perhaps, its time to consider how we project our own nature with a super-natural immagination, and begin to wind back centuries of religious superstition?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Sorry, I meant to paste this too, yet time pressured my senses;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    People may want to re-read Michael’s brilliant essay again and try to peer through their psychological-veil?

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/

    Best wishes to all,

    David.

  • Seth,

    I understand the time pressure and have stated here many times, how we scan posts and comments, and subconsciously seek threats or resources for our established sense of self.

    I understand how we all read different sources, and I understand your statement above;

    Its vision is a gift from God, its calling often requires it to enter into spiritual combat.

    I share your vision and I’m trying to show you how YOU are the mechanism of transformation as the generational tide of humanity rises to a realization, that we are in fact, the Universe perceiving and acting upon itself. We are, the very mechanism, by which the Universe IS eternal.

    Although I hate endorsing Descartes mechanistic logic and his perception of a clockwork Universe and a clockwork sense of self.

    Please consider how you come to the moment of your own actions and how;

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

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

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

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

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

    There are two worlds:

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

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

    Of the objects which present themselves to our consciuosness, in fact, some belong to the reality that surrounds us , while others belong to our mind – that is, to our memory. (the body/brain and its nervous stimulation).

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

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/building-the-mental-health-vanguard-reflections-on-the-new-mad-in-america-directory-psychiatric-drug-withdrawal-and-hopes-for-the-future/#comment-26582

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/building-the-mental-health-vanguard-reflections-on-the-new-mad-in-america-directory-psychiatric-drug-withdrawal-and-hopes-for-the-future/#comment-26611

    Some time ago I suggested to members of this community, that if I had an hour in room with Stephen Fry, he not see mental illness in same way again. And of course I was judged as being egoistic and stupid.

    Perhaps because people do not understand their own and group emotional systems, or how it projection works?

    As I’ve suggested above “the appearance of the FOOL is within the eyes of the beholder.”

    Yet how did this apparent fool know how to trigger Robert’s sense of threat, in his response above. And like Barry on another thread, does the silence towards a tough real-life question, speak volumes?

    Is your reductionist viewpoint, a knee-jerk reaction, from all you’ve learned, thus far?

    In Jungian terms, are you judging or perceiving?

    Reality, is there in every breath you take, Seth.

    I guess, our perceptions our colored by our physiological state and our learned psychological posture? And of course, in my worldview, the two are not divided. There is no separation.

    Regards,

    David.

  • And exposes their “psychological-blindness,” David? Although;

    “I love when creative genius meets average (Joe).”

    I hope your not in need of judgement David:))

    I hope you are contemplating metaphor’s about last shadows?

    Metaphor’s like;

    “And as we wind on down the road
    Our shadows taller than our souls…..

    And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.” _Led Zeppelin.

    Reminds me of what the shaman said to the journalist historian.

    “And you read that stuff, literally?”

    Please consider;

    “So here are people without electron microscopes who choose, among some 80,000 Amazonian plant species, the leaves of a bush containing a hallucinogenic brain hormone, which they combine with a vine containing substances that inactivate an enzyme of the digestive tract, which would otherwise block the hallucinogenic effect.

    And they do this to modify their consciousness. It is as if they knew about the molecular properties of plants and the art of combining them, and when one asks them how they know these things, they say their knowledge comes directly from hallucinogenic plants.

    Consider Narby’s double bind predicament as a western educated man with a rational and objective view of delusional content?

    “Colleagues might ask,

    “You mean Indians claim they get molecularly verifiable information from their hallucinations? You don’t take them literally, do you?”

    What could one answer?

    There is nothing one can say without contradicting two fundamental principles of Western knowledge.

    First, hallucinations cannot be the source of real information, because to consider them as such is the definition of psychosis. Western knowledge considers hallucinations to be at best illusions, at worst morbid phenomena.

    Second, plants do not communicate like human beings. Scientific theories of communication consider that only human beings use abstract symbols like words and pictures and that plants do not relay information in the form of mental images.

    For science, the human brain is the source of hallucinations, which psychoactive plants merely trigger by way of the hallucinogenic molecules they contain.

    It had become clear to me that ayahuasqueros were somehow gaining access in their visions to verifiable information about plant properties. Therefore, I reasoned, the enigma of hallucinatory knowledge could be reduced to one question:

    Was this information coming from inside the human brain, as the scientific point of view would have it, or from the outside world of plants, as shamans claimed?”

    http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/mad-visions-or-mental-illness-part-1.html

    But hey, what would I know, I’m a certified psychotic, it still says so in my notes.

    Best,

    David B.

  • Dear Jonah,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There are two worlds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes to all,

    David.

  • Have people seen Russell Brand’s great interview on TV, about mental illness & our Messiah Complex?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2eDj39q0Fo

    Is the complex, a collective one?

    “The Messianic Age is a theological term referring to a future time of universal peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty. Many religions believe that there will be such an age; some refer to it as the consummate “kingdom of God”, “paradise”, “peaceable kingdom”, or the “world to come”.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianic_Age

    Perhaps the “world to come” has always been right in front of our eyes, we just need to learn how we do this phenomenon we call perceiving?

    Perhaps we get stuck in a need for “judgement,” unaware of its subconscious process?

    Best wishes,

    David. B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There are two worlds:

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

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

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

    Read more here: http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/managing-mental-illness-symptoms-with.html

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

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

    http://condor.depaul.edu/dallbrit/extra/psy588/Orienting%20in%20a%20Defensive%20World.pdf

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

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Well, what can say to this confusion about our body/brain/mind experience. Apparently its ok to blame the chemicals introduced into the food chain over the last 50 years, for all sorts of behaviors, but the the chemical imbalance metaphor, is utterly and completely wrong? No paradox here of course?

    Having lived with someone else’s child, who exhibited ADHD behaviors, controlled reasonably by his mother’s constant vigilance towards his diet. And having argued against his use of ritalin with the prescribing Doctor, I witnessed his explosion of motor activity, whenever we needed to let him be normal and eat McDonald’s food, at a friend’s birthday party. After which his mother told me, quiet rightly, to shut my mouth.

    So having spent six years studying my internal neurochemistry, to help me master psychosis, I suggest the real issue is in learning how, to see that most people are right in some way, rather than reacting with our taken for granted social politics of blaming & shaming.

    Consider a statement from a rather famous rebel;

    “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.” _Wilhelm Reich.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich

    And of course he was labeled crazy by the establishment too.

    Please consider an excerpt from my own writing;

    I must admit that a “chemical imbalance” notion of mental illness, had initially given me a plausible “how” and “why” explanation for my experience of mania. Yet by 2007 I’d experienced decades of medication failures to control my recurring psychoses. On or off medications, I still experienced episodes of manic euphoria and crushing depression, with the confusing affect, that my only auditory and visual hallucinations, occurred while taking high dose anti-psychotic medication. I’d also been exposed to a range of alternative views of psychosis, which seek to understand its emotional and mental dynamics, rather than fearfully judge the experience as pathological. View’s which advocate taking the time to understand the nature of psychosis, and resist an unconscious urge to keep madness firmly out of sight, and safely out of the consensus mind. Like many in the psychiatric survivor community, I’ve experienced the very palpable fear and loathing, that states of madness invoke in other people. Like many I have been overwhelmed by the core emotional energies, at the heart of my humanity, and I’ve witnessed the denied fear of “emotional contagion,” both within myself, and others. In my humble opinion, a strictly medical model provides a container to sooth our consensus fear of madness, rather than seeking a causal explanation. Although, only a reading of the history of madness brings such a view to mind, beyond a matter of fact acceptance of the current, medical paradigm.

    Please consider your post, in light of our subconscious compass of shame and our business as usual social politics;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZr5hSW65Vo

    Sorry, if feels like a personal attack, its not meant to be, and I’m not trying to devalue your perspective, simply broaden it.

    With respect and deep admiration for your courage to speak up, and take back your life,

    David Bates.

  • Seth,

    Please explain to me where I’m being reductionist and not taking into account “the multiplicity of the Divine, the diversity of self-expression,the variety of the manifestations of Ignorance.”

    And how I’m not serving the cause of human liberation, by calling for a deeper realization of what we are? How does my experience and self-expression in my blog post cause, in your words.

    “Such imposition of uniformity does not serve the cause of liberation.”

    Are you possibly being myopic, in your rather tribal view of human life? Please explain to the readers just how my view is reductionist and irrelevant, please.

    Please consider my personal quest for guidance and its conformation by those strange coincidences, Jiung calls, meaningful, or synchronicity;

    “Is it time to re-address the tribal metaphors of life’s meaning, to a species understanding? In a Universe of 96% dark matter/energy. Life is “The Resurrection.” That great symbol of sacrifice we see in Christ on the Cross, as all the Light Matter Energy, sacrificed to create your life? How does the Universe become Eternal? By evolving into a form which can act upon itself, YOU & your children’s, children’s children, forever & ever, Amen! Or whatever metaphor of gratitude you use.”

    Excerpt from:
    A Messiah Species? Existential Meaning in Metaphors?

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/a-messiah-species-existential-meaning.html

    I wonder if you spotted this;

    King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    “Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? and do you not remember?”

    http://biblehub.com/mark/8-18.htm

    Do you not remember a time before birth, when you understood a sense of ONENESS?

    Can you comment please?

    Respectfully,

    David.

    P.S. The sense of oneness, is felt via my nervous systems, not understood via my subjective experience. Imo there is, as with all human experience, much paradox in the statement, “we are all different,” can you describe just how different your internal organs are to mine, please?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.traumacenter.org/

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

    http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Networker.pdf The Body keeps the Score.

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

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/08/towards-trauma-relief-and-resolution/

    Best wishes,

    David.

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

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

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

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

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/

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

    Can you think affect?

    No, you can only feel it!

    Its in your nervous system’s sensations

    See here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/psychiatrys-oppression-of-young-anarchists-and-the-underground-resistance/#comment-26496

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

    ““WE CANNOT PERCEIVE WHAT WE CANNOT CONCEIVE:
    We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Please consider another excerpt from MindFreedom’s message of HOPE

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

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

    An important comment followed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    As for this comment Jonah;

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

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

    Be well my friend,

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Always respectfully yours,

    D.B.

  • Hi Laura, perhaps we are not yet in fellowship because you misread my input to the debate, which is framed by a need feel the organic energies within rather than psychologically analysis our experience?

    Please consider my comments on another thread where I’ve challenged Robert to explain to this community, his use of the term unconscious and I’ve cited Michael Cornwall’s moving comment to me, as having an understanding of madness beyond compare;

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/the-vatican-ritalin-and-a-canadian-study-of-long-term-adhd-outcomes/#comment-26503

    I understand your need to belong and “act-out” the same attachment urge we all have, and I understand your need to “affirm” psychological sense of self, yet please consider that we may be psychologically blind to our true nature, in our need to conform to the thinking of whichever group we belong to?

    Please consider;

    WE CANNOT PERCEIVE WHAT WE CANNOT CONCEIVE:
    We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

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

    Finally words from my brother in arms, my kindred spirit;

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

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

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

    God bless you Michael, for NOT being an intellectual rationalist.

    Perhaps the intelligent rationalist’s who lead this community, would consider re-reading Michael’s brilliant essay from the heart, and his decades of front-line experience, in actually healing emotional/mental distress?

    And do people here really believe that Michael was moved to make that comment to me, because he’s a fool?

    At least my writing got posted here, when tried to post the same real-life story on a Huff-Po piece by a well known blogger, no matter how much I complied with requests, my comment was denied. It does make one wonder about self-preservation agenda’s and psychological blindness?

    Here is the link for Tom Wotton’s piece:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-wootton/bipolar-disorder_b_3481481.html

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Of course we are not supposed to mention real-life metaphors on a webzine dealing with the very serious topic of misunderstanding mental illness & a knee jerk reaction of prescribing medications.

    What does metaphor & myth have to do with the human condition, cry the neo-rationalist’s from their secure position of superior intelligence.

    I mean, what would Dragons & Lions have to do with the human heart & metaphors about that label which should not be mentioned.

    PSYCHOSIS.

    Best wishes,

    D.B.

    P.S.

    Perhaps in the need to belong, to “act-out” an innate attachment urge, rationalist’s simply follow the group mind, in well known Cartesian Circle?

    And of course you & I have been around this this maypole before.

  • Interesting lack of response to my comment to Daune here;

    “It resonates well, in my heart, especially as I found an increased awareness of my heart’s role in energizing my sense of self, helped me to transform psychoses, by going through the processes, four times.”

    Especially since Daune makes this comment last year;

    Could the best way out of a “psychosis” be THROUGH the psychosis?

    Duane

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/#comment-5955

    To which my brother in arms, my kindred spirit replies;

    Madness is a the natural process of transformation you describe Duane if it is allowed to have a life of it’s own, and is received in a safe and loving way.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/jungs-first-dream-the-mad-god-dionysus-and-a-madness-sanctuary-called-diabasis/#comment-5963

    To the many “rationalist” readers it might appear that use Michael’s name with an impolite lack of social etiquette in my response to Robert below;

    In 2012, Dr Michael Cornwall, was moved to write that David Bates has an understanding of madness beyond compare, and I do understand that what I write is generally dismissed, because it unsettles a consensus of human reason. Yet does Michael, with his decades of front-line experience, make this comment because he’s being irrational? With all due respect Robert, you may not really understand what the term “unconscious” means, and I suggest you will continue to be disappointed, by people’s NEED to cling to an image of reason, which is self-deceiving. Due to a historical need to deny our evolved nature.

    Yet does Michael understand that it is my deeper awareness of subconscious processes, which allows me to trigger Robert’s rationalized response to a “threat” subconsciously perceived?

    If readers follow this thread carefully, taking time to digest the comments I’ve made, and Robert’s own comment, they may see a personal challenge, at first ignored, and then made more real by my posting of the “inconvenient” reality, of some black & white statistics?

    Read this comment;

    Sorry, David – one more thing to say.

    Bipolar chick?

    “Bipolar chick
    Timeline

    Personal Blog
    Just one bipolar chick. But one is all you need sometimes! disclaimer: This page is for entertainment only. ”

    She’s a CULTURAL CONFORMIST, an “entertainer” – because technology (internet) has TRANSFORMED life.

    And you begin to understand our rational illusions about reality, as a NEED of positive physiological state (internal sensations)is stimulated by the mind?

    Please understand, that I’m not trying to attack or embarrass anybody, I’m trying to show people the subconscious processes which stimulate our sense of reason. When I use the term scan,/b> I’m referring to the subconscious processes, Shcore describes, as happening so fast, they fail to cross the threshold of consciousness. Please consider that we may have become so stuck in Descartes error, that we literally can’t see what is right in front of our eyes.

    Please consider;

    WE CANNOT PERCEIVE WHAT WE CANNOT CONCEIVE:
    We can only perceive, or literally see, what we can conceive of. We must have neuronal firing in our brains, whether it be in the imaginable state or actual perceptual state, for us to register an object as a reality.

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

    Finally words from my brother in arms, my kindred spirit;

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

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

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

    God bless you Michael, for NOT being an intellectual rationalist.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

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

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

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

    To Know, Thy-Self?

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

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

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

    Bipolar Dis-Ease – Its Trauma Reenactment Urges?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/bipolar-dis-ease-its-trauma-reenactment.html

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

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

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

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • P.S. Jonah,

    In a face to face meeting, I could show the reality of your unconscious affect regulation. And this this relates to better self-regulation. Yet of course we all “fight” for our individual sense-of-self, in 1st world cultures immersed in Descartes error;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descartes'_Error

    And until we meet face to face, you and I, will continue to go round and round the same old may pole, in a Cartesian circle;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_circle

    Can you think affect?

    No, you can only feel it!

    Its in your nervous system’s sensations

    Best,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah,

    I never take offence, to your responses, as you help me to bring to life, the concepts I’m trying to articulate, in this very limited format, of black & white symbols.

    I do worry though that some readers, may be having rather paranoid thoughts about collusion between us, and I’d like to take this opportunity to stress how much we both believe in transparency, by categorically stating that there is no private email exchange, between us.

    Heaven forbid that, either of us, would want to enter into such secrecy, and promote an image of “us & them.”

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Seth, in response to your comment;

    Demons are not ALWAYS “families of affective energy patterns that can be undone {by self-awareness].” Just as often they are servants of Ignorance who are inflicting great harm upon their fellow human beings. As someone aware of the power of Psychiatry you ought to realize this, and take it into account in your
    writings. Even yogis like Jesus and Gandhi (despite his personal limitations) realized their sadhana involved conflict.
    At stake is the salvation of the earth…

    As I’ve written before, our rational illusion is contained within our need to deny our evolved nature. We project from within, what becomes rationalized as the system out there.

    Yet the system, IMO is within us ALL. Its within the subconscious activity of our mutual autonomic and central nervous systems. Which IMO are symbolized in the Cross & Crucifiction.

    As Brennan alludes to, in her writings, although it takes a familiarity with this strange term AFFECT, to grasp the meaning;

    ” Vertical and Horizontal Chains of Meaning:

    The linguistic chain is split from other chains of life meaning and logic–hormones, genetic codes, solar systems–by the insertion of the subjective “I” where it does not belong. It does not belong in an order whose logic is at right angles to that of the human perspective, as if the codes of living logic, together with the chemical senses, communicate on a horizontal axis, while the human historical viewpoint functions on a vertical one. Without the insertion of the subjective “I” position into the original codes of the flesh, the structure of the linguistic chain is homologous with that of other living chains within. With this insertion, the structures of living meaning are more or less at right angles.

    Life meaning is the result of interweaving–yet diverse–chains, capable of transformation from one order of symbolization to another. Symbolization dependent on understanding the proportionate and rhythmic intersection of numbers of vast and small internally consistent chains that are all communicative and in this respect like languages. If sensory energy is composed of fleshy codes that parallel those of language, this explains why the body seems to do its own thinking, so to speak. (p, 145.)

    It behooves us, as a species, to reconnect conscious language and understanding with the fleshy and environmental codes, from which our consciousness has been split by subjective fantasy and illusion. Those natural codes do their best work in the dark, although bodily physiological and chemical processes do push for admission to consciousness, past the blocks of a self-obsessed linguistic gateway. For us speaking beings, consciousness has been changed into parallel systems of signification; the linguistic, the sensitive, and the affective.

    They belong in a certain natural configuration, and a correct alignment appears necessary for an unimpeded or less impeded flow of nature’s energy. Correct alignment might be described as a symbolic transformation, meaning that the different alphabets of the flesh could be aligned in such a way that life is released from one order into another, yielding more freedom, intelligence, and energy. Symbolization is the means for transformation as the process whereby energy locked up in an alphabet in which it cannot speak (such as traumatic grief) is released back into the flow of life by words, or by the strange chemistry of tears. (p, 149.)

    The notion of aligned codes, like that of the transmission of affect, is at odds with subject/object thought and the “visualization” basic to “objectification.” The gateway between linguistic consciousness and codes of bodily sensation is manned by visual images. Which is to say, to make itself conscious, a bodily process has to be imagined–given an image. Our unconscious ego acts as a visual censor blocking bodily information surfacing to conscious awareness. It is a visual censor because it identifies objects from the standpoint of the subjective “I.” Images are stored from the three dimensional standpoint of a subject arrayed against an object. It is only when we depend on visual perception that we are led astray, into the subjective thought that takes the human standpoint as central. Such thought requires that one stand apart to observe the other and reduce it to predictable motion, the better to study it as an object. It also requires the intention of the body’s life energies, be prevented from fully connecting, in an embodied process. (p, 150.)

    “Hallucinations tend to make the abstract concrete and visa versa. This reflects the ambiguous position of image in Western epistemology, generally. Image has been assigned an inferior function, somewhere between sensation and thinking. On one hand, images are the “dregs of sensation,” carriers of information about sensations, on the way to the summation of sensations into concepts. If, on the other hand, it is realized that sensations cannot account for the formation of concepts, imagery may be granted the function of illustrating autonomous and immaterial concepts in sensuous terms. In ancient times, images were gods or messengers of gods versus sensuous misrepresentations of the unrepresentable.

    The status of image was much higher before we discovered the intellect. The idea of man as slave to his senses was a later transformation of the subjective enslavement to the power of the image. Perhaps this was necessary as a long transitional defense against the image. Distance was gained from the image by seeing it as immediate and concrete. Indeed, it is likely that the very birth of intellect was associated with the cognition of image as image (rather than, say, an idol).”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    Perhaps, the best way to grasp the nature of “affect,” is to imagine how we can stare at a stranger across a street, and how they will become aware of sense of being stared at?

    Perhaps the Cross as an enduring symbol, has resonated down through the ages, because it represents a hidden reality within each of us? Hence I write of a Messiah Species;

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/a-messiah-species-existential-meaning.html

    On a blog with a fool’s title, although I do understand the nature of archetypes.

    Regards,

    David.

  • Hi David,

    I know we should not mention religion and mental illness, in the same sentence. It does generate some very HOT emotional reactions.

    Yet, knowing how much you enjoy, as I do, a good movie and metaphor.

    What do think the wild Red Dragon which Jake learns to Master, in the movie Avatar, represents?

    I went to Thailand with a phrase ringing in my head, “Know Thyself.” Although not comprehending its deeper meaning. I thought you might like, what popped up first, on my facebook feed, this morning;

    “And just as in the past each civilization was the vehicle of its own mythology, developing in character as its myth became progressively interpreted, analyzed, and elucidated by its leading minds, so in this modern world—where the application of science to the fields of practical life has now dissolved all cultural horizons, so that no separate civilization can ever develop again—each individual is the center of a mythology of his own, of which his own intelligible character is the Incarnate God, so to say, whom his empirically questing consciousness is to find. The aphorism of Delphi, ‘Know thyself,’ is the motto. And not Rome, not Mecca, not Jerusalem, Sinai, or Benares, but each and every ‘thou’ on earth is the center of this world, in the sense of that formula just quoted from the twelfth-century ‘Book of the Twenty-four Philosophers,’ of God as ‘an intelligible sphere, whose center is everywhere.'”

    Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Volume IV: Creative Mythology, p.36

    Interestingly, there are a few historical interpretations;

    Ancient Egyptian
    There are two parts of the ancient temple of Luxor; the outer temple where the beginning initiates are allowed to come, and the inner temple where one can enter only after proven worthy and ready to acquire the higher knowledge and insights. One of the proverbs in the Outer Temple is “The body is the house of God.” That is why it is said, “Man know thyself.” In the Inner Temple, one of the many proverbs is “Man, know thyself … and thou shalt know the gods.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_thyself#Ancient_Egyptian

    Hence I write of how I learned to “catch the gap between the spark and the flame,” as Buddhist’s suggest.

    The gap being synaptic (on a cellular level) the spark being a heart stimulated orienting response, and the flame being our God (Cosmic) mind. Similar to, Mosses burning bush metaphor?

    Best wishes,

    D.B.

  • Dear Barry,

    I applaud your efforts and your tireless work to get what we all need, a clearer perspective on the reality of so-called mental illnesses. I understand, the very rational perspective adopted by the council and its good intentions, for issuing guidelines. As you point out;

    We were told at the conference that the Council is planning to issue guidelines (not dictates) that would be the direct result of the study meeting and proceedings. If the guidelines even approximate the sentiments of the participants and the deliberations of the moderators with the Council representatives, then this endeavor holds incredible promise to alter prescriptive practices.

    We are very grateful to the Vatican, the Pontifical Council of Pastoral Health Care Workers, and especially Archbishop Zygmond Zymowski, president of the Council for the courage to host this conference despite its controversial nature and all the viewpoints that he had to represent.

    Let’s sing it together: You can’t always get what you want…

    I question, however, whether we will, in fact, get what we need.

    Like the the well intentioned reasons in our common view of informed consent, did the conference address the reality of subconscious human functioning within the real-life moment?

    Or, as we all do, did the participants fulfill their self-preservation needs, and rationalize the reality of the real-life experience, in Catholic Institutions?

    Has this need to rationalize, to cover-up, our true motivation, in the stress of each lived-moment, been witnessed on this webzine, when, perhaps, inconvenient questions and truths, were deleted from the post covering the conference, live?

    These are tough, real-life questions, I know, yet as I suggested in my first comments on this webzine. Nothing will change, until we honestly and openly address the reality of how we actually function, in the anxiety (stress or call what you will) of the lived moment.

    With deep respect for your efforts,

    Regards,

    David Bates.

  • Great comment FYI, perhaps you could ask David Ross, M.Ed., LPCC, how we became friendly, with a previous experience, to yours?

    David & I share a common interest in metaphor & meaning, David understands that the appearance of the FOOL is within the eyes of the beholder.

    You might also ask him about this question above:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/leading-experts-to-speak-at-vatican-about-the-controversy-of-children-and-psychotropics/

    The trouble is, the comments from this post seem to have gone away. I’m not sure why that would be.

    As I pointed out to Kermit last year, the owners of a website are entitled to censor & delete whatever they wish. Its a matter for their conscience, not mine.

    Be well my young friend,

    Respectfully,

    David.

    P.S. It will be interesting to see if this gets censored, although the great thing about the internet, is its memory, like an elephant?

  • Please excuse the Freudian slip, I meant to write flame not fame

    The younger readers (emotionally speaking) can now have a field day, with their rationalized interpretations of my intentions.

    But I do understand their NEED to create a positive affective state within.

    As Allan Schore points out;

    “The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation. (p, 85)”

    Best wishes to all,

    David.

  • Hi Seth:))

    We do share the same aspiration to bring a further realization of heaven, right where its always been. Right in front of our eyes.

    My efforts here, are to try to show people their reactions beneath their sense of reason. IMO it is our socialized cover-up of our true-self, which prevents us from recognizing our self-preservation agenda, as we scan blog posts and comments, seeking sources of threat & resource.

    ALL the great teachers, share in common, the journey within, and the NEED of isolation to achieve communion with the soul’s destination, IMO.

    Hence, I post;

    ““In mechanistic observations of objective thought, the heart has become sealed off, as a sense organ. The heart as an affective receptor-organ is impaired by our lost ability to understand ourselves organically, at the level of both internal and external sensory awareness, and the heart has become weakened as a transmitter-organ of affective power for the true intentions of the soul. (p, 114.)

    Extending attention into the flesh is simultaneously an exploration of the affects which have captured individual souls as well as crowds of souls. In such an exploration we begin to come to terms with what our age of reason and individualism has excluded from consciousness. The few deep breaths taken by Kant’s angry man represent the beginning of a vastly more extensive and conscious knowledge of bodily processes.

    It is known that interference with parasympathetic regulation by anxiety or other negative affects (anger, or the inverted anger and anxiety of depression) can be lessened by attempting the conscious regulation involved in attentive breathing. The most advanced practitioners of some forms of yoga are capable of regulating areas under the control of the autonomic nervous system, such as heart rate. As these practices of pathways into bodily awareness are brought into alignment with their simultaneous intellectual exploration, we may yet come to understand what Spinoza meant by knowledge as the pathway to becoming one again with God. (p, 161.)

    The Resurrection of the Body:

    With the resurrection of the body and its projected and introjected energetic affects, we also resurrect the specter of ancient demons as the negative affects to be struggled against within and without. But once it is recognized that these affect demons are families of affective energy patterns that can be undone, they can be converted back into living energy as they are released from distorting blocks of inertia and repression. Then these families of negative affect have no power to whip up the superstition, anger and anxiety that prevail when their unconscious capabilities become so ego inflated through judgment and projection. (p, 164.)”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    “Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? and do you not remember?”

    http://biblehub.com/mark/8-18.htm

    Yet of course readers scan and don’t pause to catch the gap between the spark and the flame.

    IMO the gap is synaptic (on cellular level) the spark is within our hearts (innate orienting responses) and the fame is our God given mind (God, being a personification of the cosmos).

    Hence, in early Hebrew thought, his name is unmentionable? Although I’m not a Hebrew scholar and please correct me if I’m wrong.

    The question is, on this thread. Are we covering-up our personal self-preservation agenda’s? Like the plug for your book & Roberts reaction to sense of threat, when he spotted the statistic highlighting reality.

    Yet consider this: understanding a deeper emotive reality, do I get, that other people don’t get this meaning about educated rationalists.

    Yet IMO, the great book is too often misunderstand by an educated priesthood, which as in Jesus time, is still meddling with our common understanding of reality, “as it is.”

    Which section of Hebrew society, really wanted Jesus dead? The great book teaches in existential metaphor, when we understand how to read it, and have gained a mature orientation to the reality of life.

    With respectful regards,

    David.

  • Thank you so much mjk, for bringing the reality of the God conflict, in America’s social-politics and mental illness debate, to this thread.

    As you quote from the Book of Books;

    But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?

    Wisdom is found within, when we go beyond a too literal, and rather childlike, reading of the great book, and come to understand the existential meaning of its metaphoric interpretation of the human condition.

    As Melvyn Bragg points out the King James Bible. It has had a huge influence on the world of ideas, and lies at the core of America’s national identity, and its sense of destiny.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/authorinterviews/8421679/The-Book-of-Books-Melvyn-Bragg-interview.html

    Yet IMO, the great book is too often misunderstand by an educated priesthood, which as in Jesus time, is still meddling with our common understanding of reality, “as it is.”

    IMO the great book is written as a mixture of objective reality and dream interpretation, with the existential question of, “what is it, that is dreaming?” A book written for all times, all ages, and all points along our individual, emotional development.

    The Resurrection, on which our Christian faith hinges, is IMO a metaphor for a reality, hidden in the background. And IMO, we have reached an age where knowledge of this background reality, is rising, and we can, at last, join hands, as one species, one family.

    Hence, I post these excerpts from a good Catholic girls writing, to be seen and comprehended by those who have eyes to see:

    “In mechanistic observations of objective thought, the heart has become sealed off, as a sense organ. The heart as an affective receptor-organ is impaired by our lost ability to understand ourselves organically, at the level of both internal and external sensory awareness, and the heart has become weakened as a transmitter-organ of affective power for the true intentions of the soul. (p, 114.)

    Extending attention into the flesh is simultaneously an exploration of the affects which have captured individual souls as well as crowds of souls. In such an exploration we begin to come to terms with what our age of reason and individualism has excluded from consciousness. The few deep breaths taken by Kant’s angry man represent the beginning of a vastly more extensive and conscious knowledge of bodily processes.

    It is known that interference with parasympathetic regulation by anxiety or other negative affects (anger, or the inverted anger and anxiety of depression) can be lessened by attempting the conscious regulation involved in attentive breathing. The most advanced practitioners of some forms of yoga are capable of regulating areas under the control of the autonomic nervous system, such as heart rate. As these practices of pathways into bodily awareness are brought into alignment with their simultaneous intellectual exploration, we may yet come to understand what Spinoza meant by knowledge as the pathway to becoming one again with God. (p, 161.)

    The Resurrection of the Body:

    With the resurrection of the body and its projected and introjected energetic affects, we also resurrect the specter of ancient demons as the negative affects to be struggled against within and without. But once it is recognized that these affect demons are families of affective energy patterns that can be undone, they can be converted back into living energy as they are released from distorting blocks of inertia and repression. Then these families of negative affect have no power to whip up the superstition, anger and anxiety that prevail when their unconscious capabilities become so ego inflated through judgment and projection. (p, 164.)”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    “Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? and do you not remember?”

    http://biblehub.com/mark/8-18.htm

    As I’ve pointed out, in my reply to Robert’s sense of threat, when I posted the comparative numbers of two facebook pages, “Face to face, my “understanding of madness beyond compare,” as Michael Cornwall points out, is well received, as I introduce people to a deeper awareness of themselves, which is long suppressed by the time we reach adulthood.”

    Do you not remember a time before birth, when you understood a sense of ONENESS?

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Robert, you wrote;

    “This is one of the big problems, which I wrote about in Anatomy: Studies that tell of disappointing long-term results just never seem to make it into most newspapers. I know that part of the reason is that associations like the American Psychiatric Association or the National Institute of Mental Health don’t publicize the results, and thus newspapers don’t pick up on it. Still, it would seem that newspaper reporters covering medicine and science would pick up on these results more often.”

    I understand your reasoning and your rational desire. I appreciate your enormous efforts to bring to light, the real-life discrepancy, between public perceptions of the merits of antipsychotics, and the reality of long-term outcomes. As you rightly point out here, there is a mystifying lack of reports about this reality, in our mainstream media’s.

    Hence, my question to you above, about your use of the word “unconscious,” in a recent TV interview and the context in which you used it? I respectfully suggest that there is a double-bind in our common sense of reason, which prevents us from addressing the nature of reality “as it is.”

    In your book and in your talks, you have pointed out the backlash to the “schizophrenic mother,” which helped so many to embrace the “chemical imbalance” model of mental illness, with its plausible “how” & “why” explanation. As you point out here, societal beliefs are self-reinforcing and very difficult to challenge, perhaps because “inconvenient truths,” unsettle our imagined sense of reason?

    As I’ve pointed out above, in regards to our publicly stated belief systems;

    “When we are publicly committed to a belief, it is disturbing even to consider that any evidence contradicting our position may be true, because a fear of public ridicule adds to the psychic pain of cognitive dissonance. Commitment stirs the fires of cognitive dissonance and makes it progressively more difficult to even casually entertain alternative views.”

    Hence, my constant references to the term “affect” and what this means to the mental illness debate, and indeed the causal factors in the majority of so-called mental illnesses, and in particular psychosis. IMHO it is the denial of innate affects, like shame, which affects “a fear of public ridicule, adding to the psychic pain of cognitive dissonance.”

    With all due respect, I believe we do ourselves a disservice by concentrating too much energy on treatments and medications, while “for fear of public ridicule,” we don’t make enough efforts to answer the “how” & “why” questions about psychosis. Please consider my comment here:

    To what degree is our sense-of-self formed by “affect,” and does affect lie at the root of a psychotic experience? I think Faith hits the nail on head with the question of “sensitivity” and psychosis, with sensitive soul’s affected unconsciously from both within and without. IMO, the question of affect and what affect actually is, goes to the heart of our mind-body split and our consensus equilibrium of “objective” awareness, maintained through the active suppression of the body’s exquisite sensory capacities.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/09/psychosis-as-a-spiritual-crisis-an-opportunity-for-growth/#comment-16279

    In 2012, Dr Michael Cornwall, was moved to write that David Bates has an understanding of madness beyond compare, and I do understand that what I write is generally dismissed, because it unsettles a consensus of human reason. Yet does Michael, with his decades of front-line experience, make this comment because he’s being irrational? With all due respect Robert, you may not really understand what the term “unconscious” means, and I suggest you will continue to be disappointed, by people’s NEED to cling to an image of reason, which is self-deceiving. Due to a historical need to deny our evolved nature.

    I agree with your hope for psychosocial treatments for children, which is why I post material from people like Allan Schore. Please consider what a shift in perspective comes to mind, when we read across a multidisciplinary view of human development and mental health;

    “Toward a New Paradigm of Psychotherapy

    For the last two decades, I have argued that no theory of human functioning can be restricted to only a description of psychological processes; it must also be consonant with what we now know about biological structural brain development. Three other themes that continue from literally the first paragraph of the first book are that the early stages of life are critical to the development of all later evolving structures and functions, that emotion is central to a deeper understanding of the human condition, and that unconscious processes lie at the core of the self, throughout the life span. The book thus also attempted to reintegrate psychoanalytic ideas of the unconscious mind into developmental science. Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self— which is now in its 14th printing— was the first book to document not the cognitive development, but the social-emotional development of the infant.

    Now it is true that the current surge of research is being fueled by advances in a variety of cutting-edge neuroimaging technologies that can observe and document ongoing brain structure– function relationships. The reader should note there is a major limitation to current in vivo imaging techniques— their limited temporal resolution does not allow them to capture the real-time dynamics of brain function. But even future advances in technology would not be enough. We also need an integrative psychoneurobiological theoretical model that can not only generate testable hypotheses but also conceptualize the vast amount of research and clinical data in a meaningful way.

    And we need an interpersonal neurobiological perspective that can account for brain-to-brain interactions. As editor of the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, I see this quantitative leap and qualitative shift in emotion research as a powerful source of updated models of psychotherapeutic interventions that are grounded in developmental, affective, and social neuroscience. It is now clear that psychotherapeutic changes in conscious cognitions alone, without changes in emotion processing, are limited. In fact, a clash of psychotherapy paradigms can currently be seen, especially in the treatment of more severe disorders that present with a history of relational trauma and thereby a deficit in affect regulation. In such cases emotion more than cognition is the focus of the change process, and so CBT is now being challenged by updated affectively focused psychodynamic models, including ART. In his most recent book my colleague Philip Bromberg (2011) also describes the paradigm shift in psychotherapy:  

    Interpersonal and Relational writers largely have endorsed the idea that we are in fact confronted with a paradigm change and have conceptualized it as a transformation from a one-person to a two-person psychology. I feel that this formulation is accurate, and that three central clinical shifts are intrinsic to the conceptual shift: A shift from the primacy of content to the primacy of context, a shift from the primacy of cognition to the primacy of affect, and a shift away from (but not yet an abandonment of) the concept of “technique.” (p. 126)

    The current radical expansion of knowledge and paradigm shift has wider implications beyond the mental health professions to the cultural and political organization of societies. In my 2003 volumes I argued that the right hemisphere nonconscious implicit self, and not the left conscious explicit self, is dominant in human adaptive survival functions. Offering data at the neuropsychological, cultural, and historical levels, McGilchrist (2009) echoes this principle:

    “If what one means by consciousness is the part of the mind that brings the world into focus, makes it explicit, allows it to be formulated in language, and is aware of its own awareness, it is reasonable to link the conscious mind to activity almost all of which lies ultimately in the left hemisphere” (p. 188).

    He adds, however, “The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless” (p. 174). In contrast, “the right hemisphere … yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known— and to this world it exists in a relationship of care” (p. 174). Indeed, the “emotional” right hemisphere “has the most sophisticated and extensive, and quite possibly most lately evolved, representation in the prefrontal cortex, the most highly evolved part of the brain” (p. 437).

    An essential tenet of McGilchrist’s volume (2009) is expressed in its title: the right hemisphere is the master, and the left the emissary, which is willful, believes itself superior, and sometimes betrays the master, bringing harm to them both. Offering interdisciplinary evidence that spans the sciences and the arts, he convincingly argues that the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. I agree that especially western cultures, even more so than in the past, are currently overemphasizing left brain functions.

    Our cultural conceptions of both mental and physical health, as well as the aims of all levels of education, continue to narrowly overstress rational, logical, analytic thinking over holistic, bodily based, relational right brain functions that are essential to homeostasis and survival. It is ironic that at a time when clinicians and researchers are making significant breakthroughs not only in right brain social-emotional models of optimal development but also in right brain models of the etiologies and treatment of a wide range of psychopathologies, strong economic and cultural inhibitory restraints and cutbacks are being felt by practitioners. How can we understand this? We are constantly told that the reason for this lies in objective economic factors. But the paradigm shift in psychology and neuroscience suggests subjective unconscious forces are at play here.

    Listen to McGilchrist’s (2009) description of what the world would look like if the left hemisphere were to become so far dominant that, at the phenomenological level, it managed more or less to suppress the right hemisphere’s world altogether. He imagines that this left-brained world would lead to an increasing specialization and technicalizing of knowledge, as well as the following: increased bureaucratization, inability to see the big picture, focus on quantity and efficiency at the expense of quality, valuing technology over human interaction, lack of respect for judgment and skill acquired through experience, and devaluing of the unique, the personal, and the individual. Even more specifically; 

    Knowledge that came through experience, and the practical acquisition of embodied skill, would become suspect, appearing either a threat or simply incomprehensible.… The concepts of skill and judgment, once considered the summit of human experience, but which come only slowly and silently with the business of living, would be discarded in favor of quantifiable and repeatable processes.… Skills themselves would be reduced to algorithmic procedures which could be drawn up, and even if necessary regulated, by administrators, since without that the mistrustful tendencies of the left hemisphere could not be certain that these nebulous “skills” were being evenly and “correctly” applied.… [F] ewer people would find themselves doing work involving contact with anything in the real, “lived” world, rather than with plans, strategies, paperwork, management and bureaucratic procedures.… Technology would flourish, as an expression of the left hemisphere’s desire to manipulate and control the world for its own pleasure, but it would be accompanied by a vast expansion of bureaucracy, systems of abstraction and control. (McGilchrist, 2009, p. 429)  

    Sound familiar? I suggest that this “imagined” left brain worldview now dominates not only our culture but also the current mental health field in the following forms: an overemphasis on psychopharmacology over psychotherapy, an undue influence of the insurance industry on defining “normative” and “acceptable” forms of treatment, an overidealization of “evidence-based practice,” an underappreciation of the large body of studies on the effectiveness of the therapeutic alliance, a trend toward “manualization” of therapy, a training model that focuses on the learning of techniques rather than expanding relational skills, and a shift of psychotherapy from a profession to a business.

    Can we reverse this current imbalance of the hemispheres? The paradigm shift has generated a quantum leap in our attempts to understand a number of fundamental questions of the human condition that can be elucidated by recent discoveries of the early developing right brain. A prime example is the surge of deeper explorations of our human origins by contemporary developmental science. In 2005 Insel and Fenton articulated this widely held principle:
    “Most mental illnesses … begin far earlier in life than was previously believed” (p. 590). More recently Leckman and March (2011) are asserting that “A scientific consensus is emerging that the origins of adult disease are often found among developmental and biological disruptions occurring during the early years of life” (p. 333).

    We need, now, to use recent knowledge in order to reflect more deeply and act more directly on what is required— at levels of the individual, family, and culture— to provide an optimal human context for both mental and physical health. In addition to culturally supporting the development of intellectual and cognitive abilities, we need to foster the individual’s adaptive capacity to relate socially and emotionally to other human beings via the right brain functions of intersubjective communication, affect processing, empathy, and interactive stress regulation. The large body of studies on the critical survival functions of the right brain can be applied not only to individuals but also to cultures (Bradshaw & Schore, 2007; Schore & Schore, 2008).

    Here in the United States, how are we reacting to this crisis at the core of our culture? And if we are not responding, why not? In clinical models we speak of individuals having intrapsychic defenses against uncertainty, stress, and painful negative information. But defenses such as denial, repression, and even dissociation are collectively used by the culture to avoid more directly confronting the serious stressors that lie at its core. Forty years ago Jacob Bronowski offered the trenchant observation, “Think of the investment that evolution has made in the child’s brain.…

    For most of history, civilizations have crudely ignored that enormous potential. In fact the longest childhood has been that of civilization, learning to understand that” (1973, p. 425). In a current attempt to overcome that resistance and bring this problem closer to the forefront of cultural consciousness, my colleagues and I are producing two multiauthored volumes: Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy (Narvaez, Panksepp, Schore, & Gleason, in press), and The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic (Lanius, Vermetten, & Pain, 2010).

    Grounded in recent developmental neuroscience, psychiatry, and developmental psychology, these books cast light upon a number of serious psychological and social problems underlying our cultural blind spots. But more than that, contributing scholars from multiple disciplines offer practical thoughts about what types of early-life experiences are essential for optimal development of human brain and body systems— in order not only to generate greater understanding of scientific research and theory but also to promote informed public policy.

    In a recent overview of contemporary developmental neuroscience, Leckman and March (2011, p. 333) conclude, “our in utero and our early postnatal interpersonal worlds shape and mold the individuals (infants, children, adolescents, and adults and caregivers) we are to become.” At this point in time there is converging evidence that we can maximize the short- and long-term effects of our interventions by concentrating on the period of the brain growth spurt— from the last trimester of pregnancy through the second year. Whether or not our governments will fund such sorely needed efforts remains to be seen.

    CHAPTER 1

    Modern Attachment Theory: The Central Role of Affect Regulation in Development and Treatment

    Fifteen years ago, A. Schore outlined the essential role of attachment in the regulation of affect and emotional development. In his seminal 1994 volume, he integrated a large amount of existing interdisciplinary data and proposed that attachment transactions are critical to the development of structural right brain systems involved in the nonconscious processing of emotion, modulation of stress, self-regulation, and thereby the functional origins of the bodily based affective core of the implicit self that operates automatically and rapidly, beneath levels of awareness. In 2000, within an introduction to a reissue of Bowlby’s (1969) classic volume, Attachment, A. Schore proposed, “In essence, a central goal of Bowlby’s first book is to demonstrate that a mutually enriching dialogue can be organized between the biological and psychological realms” (p. 24), and argued that attachment theory stresses the primacy of affect and is fundamentally a regulation theory. This linkage of the theory with affective dynamics was mirrored in Fonagy, Gergely, Jurist, and Target’s (2002) Affect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of the Self. Indeed, Fonagy and Target (2002) concluded “the whole of child development to be the enhancement of self-regulation.” In parallel work on attachment from the social psychology perspective, Mikulincer, Shaver, and Pereg (2003) have offered extensive work on “attachment theory and affect regulation.” The current shift of attachment theory from its earlier focus on behavior and cognition into affect and affect regulation reflects the broader trend in the psychological sciences. In a recent editorial of the journal Motivation and Emotion, Ryan (2007) asserts:  

    After three decades of the dominance of cognitive approaches, motivational and emotional processes have roared back into the limelight. Both researchers and practitioners have come to appreciate the limits of exclusively cognitive approaches for understanding the initiation and regulation of human behavior. (p. 1)”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    With all due respect Robert, please consider that a focus on the literature of “pathology,” is leading this community up a blind-alley, and it may be more productive to read across the various disciplines, which explore human development, and IMO produce the kind of science which psychiatrists can use to reformulate their understanding of themselves, and their patients.

    Of course your response here is very reasonable and highly rational, yet it may be self-deceiving, as like we all NEED to do, you protect your image of reason, and resist awareness of your subconscious processes, which as Schore points out, are: “implicit functions that occur beneath levels of awareness not because they are repressed but because they are too rapid to reach consciousness.”

    Face to face, my “understanding of madness beyond compare,” as Michael Cornwall points out, is well received, as I introduce people to a deeper awareness of themselves, which is long suppressed by the time we reach adulthood. With all due respect Robert, you may not understand the “emotional systems of individual and group function,” in your need to project an image of reason. Hence, we deceive ourselves and just don’t get the issue of unconscious AFFECT, in “that we are talking about a medical practice that is “affecting” so many children in the U.S. and around the world,” to use your own words.

    With all due respect to people like yourself and Joanna Moncrieff, it is a denial of innate “affect” which leads us into a RATIONAL, debate which will continue to be disappointing. We will also continue to play lip-service to the notion of value in lived experience, with a rationalized dismissal of people like me. To really engage us, would unsettle a consensus reality, of imagined reason.

    Respectfully,

    David Bates.

  • For those interested in a statistical view of the mental illness debate and the focus of attention of people with lived experience. Below seems reflect the reality of how far we have to go?

    Mad In America
    3,295 likes · 333 talking about this.
    https://www.facebook.com/madinamerica?fref=ts

    Bipolar chick
    71,836 likes · 8,683 talking about this
    https://www.facebook.com/BipolarChick1?fref=ts

    Perhaps a researcher can tell us what the math means?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Dear Seth, is the disappointment more to do with the social-politics of institutionalized religion, which always distorts the message directed to the individual soul, by all the great teachers?

    I understand your position on the presumed “reductionist” view of the human as a product of biology, yet in my experience, changing my metaphors of self-interpretation towards the reality of my internal chemical make-up, has had an expansion effect.

    As J Z Knight points out in “what the bleep do we know,” is this view a denial of God, no on the contrary, it lets God be, it lets God in? With such a view though, God is no longer a Patriarchal Father figure, but the Cosmos within.

    Consider, from this perspective, the apparent last words of the historical figure known to most as Buddha;

    “483 BC – Death and Pari-Nirvana

    Having achieved the goal of spreading the teaching to the greatest number of people, Buddha dies at the age of eighty years, as a result of food poisoning. He dies in a forest near Kusinagara, Nepal, in the company of his followers reclining on a bed where he speaks his last words:

    “All compounded things are ephemeral; work diligently on your salvation.”

    With these words on his lips, he passes into the state of Pari-Nirvana.”

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Hi FYI:))

    I knew I could count on you to illustrate my point about the cover-up tendency, we all have. Just as in groups which are pro-medication, there is always those who are self-appointed guardians of the status-quo.

    You might consider your expectation-bias, as you expect me to behave the way you want me to, and conform to the groups similar expectation? In case you missed the point of Rolla May’s meaning about cowardice and conformity, here it is again;

    “Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives. It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.” _Rollo May.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Rollo_May#Quotes

    Be well,

    David.

  • Perhaps your missing something Stephen, as you protect your own image of reason? Consider;

    ”Crime Of The Century”

    Now they’re planning the crime of the century
    Well what will it be?
    Read all about their schemes and adventuring
    It’s well worth a fee
    So roll up and see
    And they rape the universe
    How they’ve gone from bad to worse
    Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
    Rip off the masks and let’s see.
    But that’s not right – oh no, what’s the story?
    There’s you and there’s me
    That can’t be right?

    Stephen, you might also consider;

    “It is ironic that at a time when clinicians and researchers are making significant breakthroughs not only in right brain social-emotional models of optimal development but also in right brain models of the etiologies and treatment of a wide range of psychopathologies, strong economic and cultural inhibitory restraints and cutbacks are being felt by practitioners. How can we understand this? We are constantly told that the reason for this lies in objective economic factors. But the paradigm shift in psychology and neuroscience suggests subjective unconscious forces are at play here.” Excerpts from:

    Schore, Allan N. N. (2012-04-02). The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) (p. 347). Norton. Kindle Edition

    In our blog’s and comments here on MIA, do we ever acknowledge the reality of unconscious forces are at play here?

    Hence my question above, as to why Robert used the word unconscious in his interview on a recent TV program.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Hi Ted,

    Its interesting that the same old same old you refer to, has often been labeled “cover-up.” I suggest that the reason the same old same old continues, is that we all posses the cover-up mechanism within?

    Yet on a webzine titled Mad in America, no one mentions the term “unconscious” very often, as we NEED to protect our individual image of reason.

    Hence, to use Robert Whitaker’s own words;

    “And voila, you have a process for creating a societal delusion.”

    Social politics, with its denied agenda’s of self-preservation, will continue to produce the same old same old, as we all deny the reality, of just how we actually function in the anxiety, stress, )or whatever label we care to apply to it) of the lived-moment.

    An interesting preface to the book “Madness & Civilization,” illustrates the problem of human madness on a continuum of lived experience;

    “We have yet to write the history of that other form of madness, by which men, in an act of sovereign reason, confine their neighbors, and communicate and recognize each other through the merciless language of non-madness; to define the moment of this conspiracy before it was permanently established in the realm of truth, before it was revived by the lyricism of protest. We must try to return, in history, to that zero point in the course of madness at which madness is an undifferentiated experience, a not yet divided experience of division itself. We must describe, from the start of its trajectory, that “other form” which relegates Reason and Madness to one side or the other of its action as things henceforth external, deaf to all exchange, and as though dead to one another.

    This is doubtless an uncomfortable region. To explore it we must renounce the convenience of terminal truths, and never let ourselves be guided by what we may know of madness. None of the concepts of psychopathology, even and especially in the implicit process of retrospections, can play an organizing role. What is constitutive is the action that divides madness, and not the science elaborated once this division is made and calm restored. What is originative is the caesura that establishes the distance between reason and non-reason; reason’s subjugation of non-reason, wresting from it its truth as madness, crime, or disease, derives explicitly from this point. Hence we must speak of that initial dispute without assuming a victory, or the right to a victory; we must speak of those actions re-examined in history, leaving in abeyance all that may figure as a conclusion, as a refuge in truth; we shall have to speak of this act of scission, of this distance set, of this void instituted between reason and what is not reason, without ever relying upon the fulfillment of what it claims to be.” An excerpt from “Madness & Civilization” by MICHEL FOUCAULT.

    Yet of course we don’t really want to talk about madness and its unconscious processes, for it would trouble our image of reason.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Hi Duane, speaking of hope & self-regulation, I thought you might like this;

    The Entrance to Oneness

    Welcome to the path of the heart! Believe it or not, this can be your reality, to be loved unconditionally and to begin to become that love. This path of love doesn’t go anywhere. It just brings you more here, into the present moment, into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your mind and into your heart… Ram Dass, Love Serve Remember.

    Read More: http://goo.gl/5FfQi

    It resonates well, in my heart, especially as I found an increased awareness of my heart’s role in energizing my sense of self, helped me to transform psychoses, by going through the processes, four times.

    It also relates well to a rising science of the heart? Please consider;

    “As for myself and my improving self-regulation through increased ‘internal’ awareness. it has come through digesting new knowledge with the practice of experiential integration, having, like many of my fellow travelers here, faith in my innate intuition. Hence I write to such a fellow traveler;

    “I have always trusted my “intuition” over my often confused rationality, and increasingly accept the evolved wisdom of my body and its ability to know, what “rationally,” is “unknowable.”

    Although I don’t favor their rather commercial approach to science, the folks at HeartMath Institute do point out some great science of the heart, and practical ways to use it.

    “The heart’s nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons, called sensory neurites, which detect circulating hormones and neurochemicals and sense heart rate and pressure information. Hormonal, chemical, rate and pressure information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart’s nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through several afferent (flowing to the brain) pathways. It is also through these nerve pathways that pain signals and other feeling sensations are sent to the brain. These afferent nerve pathways enter the brain in an area called the medulla, located in the brain stem. The signals have a regulatory role over many of the autonomic nervous system signals that flow out of the brain to the heart, blood vessels and other glands and organs. However, they also cascade up into the higher centers of the brain, where they may influence perception, decision making and other cognitive processes.

    “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead. It takes the power of the heart.” (McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2001).

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • To FYI, you could consider the following & think about your automatic assumptions?

    “Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives. It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.” _Rollo May.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Rollo_May#Quotes

    Are you stuck in moldy thinking, my friend?

    Be well,

    David.

  • Dear Robert, you wrote;

    “This is a pursuit of profound moral dimensions, and yet, having come back home from the Vatican conference, which I attended with such high hopes, I now see it more than ever as a task that is so very difficult to achieve.”

    As I’ve written on another thread, and even on a post that contained comments about the event while was being held, perhaps the difficulty involves our “unconscious” processes and our universal tendency to “cover-up,” our true motivations, with rationalized denial.

    Could you expand on your use of the term unconscious, in your discussion, on televised interview, please. See interview and comments here:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/05/inside-story-americas-redefining-mental-illness/

    There is a comment on the above thread about your facial expression during the interview, Robert.

    If you care to expand on your use of the term unconscious, I will expand on the hidden nature of “affect” and why I believe the difficulty of our challenge to raise awareness, will continue.

    In the meantime, I would like to encourage people to consider the nature of our cognitive dissonance, please consider;

    “Our Consensus Reality & Cognitive Dissonance?

    Cognitive Dissonance:

    This is the uncomfortable feeling that develops when people are confronted by “things that shouldn’t ought to be, but are.” If the dissonance is sufficiently strong, and is not reduced in some way, the uncomfortable feeling will grow, and that feeling can develop into anger, fear and even hostility. To avoid cognitive dissonance people will often react to any evidence which disconfirms their beliefs by actually strengthening their original beliefs and create rationalizations for the disconfirming evidence. The drive to avoid cognitive dissonance is especially strong when the belief has led to public commitment.

    There are three common strategies for reducing cognitive dissonance. One way is to adopt what others believe. Parents often see this change when their children begin school. Children rapidly conform to “group-think,” and after a few years, they need this particular pair of shoes, and that particular haircut or they will simply die. The need to conform to social pressure can be as psychically painful as physical pain.

    A second way of dealing with cognitive dissonance is to “apply pressure” to people who hold different ideas. This explains why mavericks are so routinely shunned by conventional wisdom. To function without the annoying psychic pain of cognitive dissonance, groups will use almost any means to achieve a consensus reality.

    A third way of reducing cognitive dissonance is to make the person who holds a different opinion significantly different from oneself. This is normally done by applying disparaging labels. The heretic is disavowed as stupid, malicious, foolish, sloppy, insane, or evil and their opinion simply does not matter.

    When we are publicly committed to a belief, it is disturbing even to consider that any evidence contradicting our position may be true, because a fear of public ridicule adds to the psychic pain of cognitive dissonance. Commitment stirs the fires of cognitive dissonance and makes it progressively more difficult to even casually entertain alternative views.

    “Without deep and active involvement in controversy, and/or a degree of philosophical self-consciousness about the social process of science, people may not notice how far scientific practice can stray from the text book model of science.” _Harry Collins.”

    Respectfully,

    David Bates.

  • Dear Bruce, perhaps, as a now famous female psychic, in the the movie Avatar suggests, we need to cure ourselves of our rationalized “in-sanity?”

    With all due respect, your articulation of hierarchism stands in denial of our “internal” top-down and bottom-up processes?

    You may consider, as I suggested above, that your immersed in a culture which demands a rationality of denial, because the elephant in room, is perceived by so many God fearing people, to be an insult to their perception of God? Hence, your rationalization of group behaviors and group mind’s. Please consider;

    “The Appearence of Sanity?

    “The group can be apparently sane: a university department for instance, and yet occasionally irrational or persecutory in its dynamics. For the group can and usually is, organized around its work function.” What was Bion alluding to in this notion of percecutory dynamics? Please consider;

    Our Consensus Reality & Cognitive Dissonance?

    Cognitive Dissonance:

    This is the uncomfortable feeling that develops when people are confronted by “things that shouldn’t ought to be, but are.” If the dissonance is sufficiently strong, and is not reduced in some way, the uncomfortable feeling will grow, and that feeling can develop into anger, fear and even hostility. To avoid cognitive dissonance people will often react to any evidence which disconfirms their beliefs by actually strengthening their original beliefs and create rationalizations for the disconfirming evidence. The drive to avoid cognitive dissonance is especially strong when the belief has led to public commitment.

    There are three common strategies for reducing cognitive dissonance. One way is to adopt what others believe. Parents often see this change when their children begin school. Children rapidly conform to “group-think,” and after a few years, they need this particular pair of shoes, and that particular haircut or they will simply die. The need to conform to social pressure can be as psychically painful as physical pain.

    A second way of dealing with cognitive dissonance is to “apply pressure” to people who hold different ideas. This explains why mavericks are so routinely shunned by conventional wisdom. To function without the annoying psychic pain of cognitive dissonance, groups will use almost any means to achieve a consensus reality.

    A third way of reducing cognitive dissonance is to make the person who holds a different opinion significantly different from oneself. This is normally done by applying disparaging labels. The heretic is disavowed as stupid, malicious, foolish, sloppy, insane, or evil and their opinion simply does not matter.

    When we are publicly committed to a belief, it is disturbing even to consider that any evidence contradicting our position may be true, because a fear of public ridicule adds to the psychic pain of cognitive dissonance. Commitment stirs the fires of cognitive dissonance and makes it progressively more difficult to even casually entertain alternative views.

    “Without deep and active involvement in controversy, and/or a degree of philosophical self-consciousness about the social process of science, people may not notice how far scientific practice can stray from the text book model of science.” _Harry Collins.

    * * *

    Beneath the appearance of madness and our reactions to it, including our medical ways of treating it, are there instinctual roots of human emotions, Sylvan Tomkins observed and described as Innate Affects?

    Is there a huge “elephant in room” of human mental health? One which can be summed up in five simple words?

    I am NOT an ANIMAL?

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/madness-effects-of-its-fear-affect.html

    Sadly, in America, the reality of our evolution, needs to be denied, in favor of a social-harmony, which pays a huge price, for this confusion about a perceived dichotomy. Science & Religion, don’t mix well?

    Perhaps, we should all learn to think more in “metaphor,” when we address the nature of our own reality, and what appears to be “obvious” in our motivation to be an anarchist? Our Nature, rising up, from within, perhaps?

    Respectfully,

    David.

  • Thank you Irena, I’ve done my best to articulate the relevance of Levine’s notion of subconscious “postural attitudes” here:

    “Our Postural Attitudes?

    These bodily reactions are not metaphor’s, they are literal postures that inform our emotional experience. For example, tightness in the neck, shoulders and chest and knots in the gut or throat are central to states of fear. Helplessness is signaled by a literal collapsing of the chest and shoulders, along with a folding at the diaphragm and weakness in the knees and legs.

    All these “postural attitudes” represent action potentials. If they are allowed to complete their meaningful course of action, then all is well, if not, they live on in the theatre of the body. Trauma is the great masquerader and participant in many maladies and “dis-eases” that afflict sufferers. It can perhaps be conjectured that unresolved trauma is responsible for a majority of the illnesses of modern mankind. Trauma is transformed by changing intolerable feelings and sensations into desirable ones. This can only happen at a level of activation that is similar to the activation that led to the traumatic reaction in the first place.

    My approach to healing trauma rests broadly on the premise that people are primarily instinctual in nature – that we are, at our very core, human animals. It is this relationship to our animal nature that both makes us susceptible to trauma and, at the same time, promotes a robust capacity to rebound in the aftermath of threat, safely returning to equilibrium. More generally, I believe that to truly understand our body/mind, therapists must first learn about the animal body/mind because of the manner in which our nervous systems have evolved in an ever changing and challenging environment.

    Inner Conflict & Our Postural Attitude:

    The bases of conflict are oppositional or incomplete motor patterns. The significance of this for therapy (and life) is monumental.

    It is the ability to hold back, restrain and contain a powerful emotion that allows a person to creatively channel that energy. Containment (a somatic rooting of Freud’s “sublimation”) buys us time and, with self-awareness, enables us to separate out what we are imagining and thinking from our physical sensations. The uncoupling of sensation from image and thought is what diffuses the highly charged emotions and allows them to transform fluidly into sensation based gradations of feelings.

    This is not the same as suppressing or repressing them. For all of us, and particularly for the traumatized individual, the capacity to transform the “negative” emotions of fear and rage is the difference between heaven and hell. The power and tenacity of emotional compulsions (the acting out of rage, fear, shame and sorrow) are not to be underestimated. Fortunately, there are practical antidotes to this cascade of misery. With body awareness, it is possible to “deconstruct” these emotional fixations.

    Through awareness of interceptive sensations (i.e., through the process of tracking bodily sensations), we are able to access and modify our emotional responses and attain our core sense of self. A first step in this ongoing process is refusing to be seduced into (the content of) our negative thoughts or swept away by the potent or galvanized drive of an emotion, and instead returning to the underlying physical sensations. At first this can seem unsettling, even frightening. This is mostly because it is unfamiliar, we have become accustomed to the habitual emotions of distress and our (negative) repetitive thoughts.

    We have also become used to searching for the source of our discomfort outside ourselves. We simply are unfamiliar with experiencing something “as it is,” without the encumbrance of analysis and judgment. As the sensation-thought-emotion complex is uncoupled, experiencing moves forward toward subtler, freer contours of feeling. In particular, you begin to notice what various sensations (i.e., tensions, contractions, aches, pains, etc,) tend to emerge in sequences or in groups. For example, you may notice that a “knot” in the belly or tightening of the anus is associated with a suppression or holding of breath.

    This experiential process involves the capacity to hold the emotion in abeyance, without allowing it to execute in its habitual way. This holding back is not an act of suppression but is rather one of forming a bigger container, a larger experiential vessel, to hold and differentiate the sensations and feelings. “Going into” the emotional expression is frequently a way of trying to “release” the tension we are feeling, while avoiding deeper feelings. With containment, emotion shifts into a different sensation-based “contour” with softer feelings that morph into deepening, sensate-awareness of “OK-ness.” This is the essence of emotional self-regulation, self-acceptance, goodness and change.

    From a functional point of view, bodily/sensate feelings are the compass that we use to navigate through life. They permit us to estimate the value of the things to which we must incorporate or adapt. Our attraction to that which sustains us and our avoidance of that which is harmful, are the essence of the feeling function. All feelings derive from the ancient precursors of approach and avoidance; they are in differing degrees positive or negative.”

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/mental-illness-psychological.html

    Readers may note how this follows on from the Tomkins stuff above, which try’s to explain our ideology in terms of resonance and the hidden nature of “affect” which lies at the heart of this debate, IMO.

    A further articulation of the somatic approach, and the healing of “development trauma,” is here:

    “Do we shy away from internal awareness, falling prey to the body’s instinctive nature, in our experience of mental illness?

    This post seeks to further explore the latest neuroscience research from the perspective of “body psychotherapy,” and its approach to resolving traumatic experience.Trauma induced behaviors, often described by medical doctors as symptoms of a mental illness.

    Are we converging on a much needed multidisciplinary approach towards the experience of mental illness, which does not give precedence to the disease model of mental suffering, favored by our hierarchically structured, healing professions?
    Body therapists have understood the body’s role in mental suffering for many decades, yet their often “intuitive” knowledge has been dismissed as unreliable compared to laboratory study.

    Despite the 100 years that has passed since we first began to suspect a brain disease process and classify discrete mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, no empirical evidence of an actual disease has been discovered. Even the great advances in neuroscience research, enabled by a rise in technology have still not been able to confirm a brain disease process, yet they may be confirming body therapists “intuitive” knowledge by revealing the neurobiology of the nervous systems and bodily based feedback to the brain.

    Below is excerpt from a paper by one of my favorite authors in the field of body psychotherapy, and a wonderful articulation of neuroscience and somatic psychotherapy. Please consider;

    NEUROSCIENCE IN SOMATIC PSYCHOTHERAPY
    ALINE LAPIERRE, PSY.D.

    “The brain is a complex organ that constructs experience from many channels of sensory input, regulates our responses through thoughts and emotions, and controls our actions. Its raison d’être is to learn from experience so that we can adaptively meet the ever-changing challenges of our environments. In Part I we noted that we humans have a unique dual perspective on the brain; whereas neuroscientists grapple with the workings of the physical brain from an external viewpoint and examine its neural firings objectively with increasingly sophisticated instruments, psychologists study it subjectively from the position of what it feels like to be such a system.

    This dual viewpoint applies equally to the body. Whereas traditional medicine evaluates and investigates the functions of the body objectively and treats them with increasingly sophisticated instruments, contemporary somatic psychotherapy studies the body subjectively, from the position of the experience of being one. Understanding the biological nature of perception, learning, memory, thought, feeling, and consciousness has emerged as the central challenge of the biological sciences.

    The work of neuroscientist John Ratey suggests that, in order to approach psychotherapy more effectively, we need a new, multifaceted paradigm. Because the body’s neuronal memory is the ground within which our life experience is imprinted, Ratey proposes that psychological treatment begin with tracking experience. A clinician, in his opinion, should begin by investigating how a patient experiences the world, focusing the primary diagnostic inquiry not on “How do you feel?” but rather on “How do you perceive and comprehend the world?” He believes that because emotions are created by the physical firing of neurons, clinicians should delve below the emotional surface of feelings, first considering their biological cause and effect.

    The approach Ratey recommends has been in development in our somatic practices since Wilhelm Reich who understood that the body’s communication goes beyond the symbolic representation of verbal expression. Reich and his followers taught us how beliefs are bound in posture and movement; inner realities emphasized, masked, or betrayed by facial expressions; and emotions revealed by the rate and pattern of breath. Thus, in somatic work, posture, movement, breath, facial expression, and vocal tone provide important clues about the congruence between embodied inner experience and its outer expression. This legacy finds itself renewed and refined in the new generation of neuroscientifically informed books that bring current findings to somatic clinical practice.

    For somatic psychology, the body is not separate from the self. From a body-centered perspective, our innovative therapeutic objectives seek to elicit a sensory dialogue that sets up a meeting point and establishes a conscious unity between mind and bodily self. One of our principle goals is to help our patients develop the ability to observe the bodily activities that reside on the fringes of sensory awareness and that are difficult to put into words—that is, experiences such body heat, involuntary and voluntary muscular contractions, organ vibrations, and skin sensitivity.

    Our body-centered approaches focus on felt sensory experiences as they rise, bottom up, from the implicit realms. Somatic methods use sensory tracking and the recognition of movement impulses to access the interactive links—or lack thereof—between sensation, behavior, affect, and cognition. Somatic work encompasses not only experiences processed in the neocortex, but reaches into experiences processed through the limbic, mid and lower brain centers. We could say that somatic work intends to harness the plasticity of the brain and nervous system, that it seeks to stimulate dendritic growth and neural connectivity by supporting the biological completion of developmental tasks and disruptive traumatic events.”

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/dis-eased-minds-body-mental-illness-pt-1.html

    I understand how this appears “off-topic” to people concerned with the social-politics of the debate, yet I again respectfully suggest, that we all suffer from illusions of subjective rationality.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear FYI, perhaps you think that your need for glory, will be obtained by way of mathematics or a further meta-analysis of treatment outcomes, as so many learned PhD’s suggest?

    Or perhaps your need for a victory in the mental illness debate, will be won with a deeper appreciation of how we all function, beneath the common mask of consciousness?

    You might ponder, just how much you understand your own internal dynamics, and a self-directing compass of shame within: Please consider;

    “When confronted with shame in our adult years, those of us with good self esteem and a background of being loved and accepted, process the experience differently then those who do not have these inner resources. The most mature of us begin an inner search of memories for times when we felt truly accepted and loved, and are able to recover our equilibrium and even learn something more about ourselves and about the part that was exposed.

    Those of us that cannot digest the shame in this way respond in one of four different defensive directions,a concept organized by Dr D.L. Nathanson, he calls “The Compass of Shame”. Each pole represents a scripted set of things to say to oneself and ways of behaving towards others.

    At the North end of the Compass is “Withdrawal”. It is hiding from others and living in fear of exposure of what we perceive as a defect or weakness. It leads to isolation and gradual absorption into a darker insulated world. It would tend to defeat our human need to belong, for sake of survival.

    At the East end of the Compass is “Attack Self”.
    With this set of behaviors we diminish ourselves in the presence of others. In a sense it is “heading off at the pass” the fear of rejection. Unlike Withdrawal, we can stay connected, as it is not hard in this competitive world to find a person who wants to feel like a winner by connecting to a loser. In its safety it just worsens the pain and degrades the soul. There is a danger in living at the North and
    East poles. Because the feelings are not processed, they can build up inside and can lead to explosions or extreme violence (a notable example was the story of the murderous teens in the shootings at Columbine).

    At the South end is the opposite of “Withdrawal”, what Dr. Nathanson calls “Avoidance”.
    The goal of this strategy is to hide the feelings of shame entirely from consciousness, if possible. The use of alcohol and other illicit drugs leading to addiction is a way of avoiding the feelings. It is said that shame is dissolved in alcohol, melted by narcotics and boiled by cocaine and amphetamines.

    Another strategy used at this pole of Avoidance is to call attention to oneself in ways meant to distract others by “showing off” or being an exhibitionist. It is also at the core of a theory about the development of Narcissistic Personality Disorders, whose self aggrandizement is seen as an avoidance of shame to the point of complete unawareness. Like the East pole, people remain connected with others, although in a way that is devoid of true intimacy (i.e. the sharing of vulnerabilities). It creates a hollow, false sense of self and, like the addiction strategy, seems never to be enough to satisfy the underlying need.

    At the West end is the “Attack Others” pole. Simply put, this strategy refers to the bully who metes out their own inner sense of shame on another. It is these people who prey on the vulnerable, leading to damage that scares people, often for the rest of their lives. Even the most stringent of rules to contain their behaviors does not solve the problem that promotes these actions. Until the matters of shame are addressed, these people remain a risk to those in their sights.

    At all points in this “compass of shame” there is significant damage to the individual and to others around them. Humility can be a path leading away from the poles of this compass and bringing us to healthier ways of living and relating. We can move from shame to humility when we allow ourselves to feel accepted and loved with all our flaws, all our vulnerabilities and failures. Humility can enable us to preserve our attachment to relationships and groups that mean safety and security to us. By striving for humility, we can make the choice to be autonomous and authentic, without diminishing ourselves or destroying the possibility of relationship in our interpersonal worlds.”

    Personally speaking, it took me decades to begin to sense my internal motivation. Sense the paradox of my internal defense against pain and sensations of fear; a flight to the refuge of my mind. To understand how we’re all raised to suppress sensations, in order to secure our mature sense of objective rationality. To understand why I felt lost in a sea of unconscious emotional reactivity, my social reflexes not quiet in-tune with normal social adaptation. Decades and the invention of the internet to begin to really understand, how traumatic experience had frozen my innate ability for spontaneous social communication. I had to leave my own culture to escape the built-in complications of a projection process, in which I felt trapped. So trapped that I’d found myself acting out a well meaning, projection of paternalistic care and concern, towards my therapy clients. So I went in search of my own “built-in” processes, in search of personal transformation. In my opinion, we are so immersed in the “autonomic” nature of our socially evolved humanity, asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

    Respectfully,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah, you write;

    “What does it mean to you, I wonder?

    Does it mean that you think you can see into us?

    I don’t believe you can see into me.”

    Perhaps you may consider an unconscious process of “affective judgement,” and how it pertains to “affective psychosis” and the hidden nature of what “rationalists” label mental illness. Perhaps you may consider educating your sense of self, with an exploration of your internal environment?

    Please consider;

    “Education of The Senses:

    By examining the “affects” experienced in judging another, one learns a great deal about how the illusion of self-containment is purchased at the price of dumping negative affects on that other. The level of “affective transmission” is marked in terms of how one party carries the others negative affects; his aggression is experienced as her anxiety and so forth. By means of this projection, one believes oneself to be detached from him or her, when one is, in fact, propelling forward an affect the other will experience as rejection or hurt, unless the other shield’s themselves by a similar negative propulsion, in a passionate judgment of their own. (p, 119.)

    Discernment, in the affective world, functions best when one is able to be alert to the moment of sensation, which allows the negative affect to gain a hold within. Any faculty of discernment must involve a process whereby affects pass from a state of sensory registration to a state of cognitive awareness, this does not mean that the process of cognitive reflection is without an affect itself, just that this affect is other than the affect which is being reflected upon.”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    Perhaps, like most people, you are oblivious to, just how your affected by others, not really perceiving others, but rather, only being aware of your consciously taken for granted, response to “affect.”

    You may consider my quote from the movie Avatar, and contemplate why we don’t really “get” each other?

    What does ‘I see you’ really mean? Jake’s friend in the movie suggests it means ‘I see into you?’

    Can you contemplate the paradox of “we are all different?” Can you tell me just how different your internal organs are, to mine? Can you consider that on some level, we are all the same? One species, one family?

    As I have pointed out before on this webzine, we scan each others comments and blog posts, seeking “resources” to enhance our sense of self, and as adults, we seek a sense of mature function. We rationalize internal NEEDS, in our common expressions of cognitive function. Yet remain in denial of the reality of these “internal” needs, due to the way we are raised to suppress the expression of innate “affect.”

    What is missing in this rational debate about us & them motivations, is an awareness of projected internal needs.

    I understand how difficult it is to grasp what I’m trying to tease out, because real self-awareness is actively blocked by our western culture’s MindDominated sense of self.

    Because we don’t pause to catch the gap between the spark and the flame?

    You express your “limited” understanding of neuroscience with a perfect articulation of whats missing in this “us vs them” debate.

    “It was truly appalling — and a perfectly horrifying example of pop-neuroscience gone awry.

    I suggest, with all due respect Jonah, that this is the reality of the emotive-projection” which you and I have been trying to bring to life, right here, in black and white. The confusing element of pop-psychology, which lacks a deeper sense of self.

    I’m doing my best to articulate the dichotomy involved in this debate, with comments like this one, and do understand the resistance to deeper self awareness, and why the debate continues to circular. Please consider my previous effort to engage a deeper discussion with you:

    The “chemical imbalance” metaphor finds general acceptance, because it appears to provide a plausible explanation for our distressing experience. We crave a “self-soothing” stimulus for our need to “minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – (which) is the driving force in human motivation.” (Schore, 2003).” In brackets mine.

    How do I sum up six years of intense self-education and its transforming effects, in a simple statement of straight forward English, when the general language is mismatched to our internal reality?

    I understand how unfamiliar the language of neuroscience is, to you and other readers, and understand the “reaction” to my seemingly “arrogant” statements. All I can do, is ask people to ponder, how it might be that a reading of science has enabled my transformation?

    “So, we finally arrive at the final and perhaps most important question in this discussion: “Why would an individual’s psyche intentionally initiate psychosis?”

    In other words, how can something as chaotic and as potentially harmful as psychosis act as a strategy to aid someone in transcending an otherwise irresolvable dilemma? To understand this, it helps to use as a metaphor the process of metamorphosis that takes place within the development of a butterfly. In order for a poorly resourced larva to transform into the much more highly resourced butterfly, it must first disintegrate at a very profound level, its entire physical structure becoming little more than amorphous fluid, before it can reintegrate into the fully developed and much more resourced form of a butterfly.”

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/08/op-ed-schizophreniapsychosis-brain-disease-or-existential-crisis/

    Yet how do we understand this common metaphor “psyche” and how can I explain how neuroscience gave me clues to understanding the internal NEED for my expereince of “mania?” Consider (and yes Jonah, I do understand that this comment is read by others too);

    A second core assumption of systems theory is that self-organization is characterized by the emergence and stabilization of novel forms from the interaction of lower-order components and involves “the specification and crystallization of structure.” This mechanism also describes how hierarchical structural systems in the developing brain self-organize. Developmental neuroscience is now identifying the “lower” autonomic and “higher” central brain systems that organize in infancy and become capable of generating and regulating psychobiological states.

    Developing organisms internalize environmental forces by becoming appropriately structured in relation to them, and by incorporating an internal model of these exogenous signals they develop adaptive homeostatic regulatory mechanisms which allow for stability in the face of external variation. The regulation of the organism, which maintains internal stability and output regulation and enables effective response to external stimuli, therefore depends on the formation of a dynamic model of the external environment. Self-organizing systems are thus systems that are capable of generating new internal representations in response to changing environmental conditions. (p, 94) (1980?)

    The human is a nonlinear dynamic system, an inherently dynamic energy-transformation regime that coevolves with its environment, one that self-organizes when exposed to an energy flux. The infant becomes attuned to an external object in its environment who consistently responds in a stimulating manner to the infant’s spontaneous impulsive energy dissipating behaviors. (p, 95)

    The nonlinear self acts “iteratively”, so that minor changes, occurring at the right moment, can be amplified in the system, thus launching it into a qualifiedly different state. Indeed energy shifts are the most basic and fundamental features of emotion, “discontinuous” states are experienced as “affect responses,” and nonlinear psychic bifurcations are manifest as rapid “affective shifts.” (p, 96)

    One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism’s efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). (my mania in 1980) I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

    Vagal tone is defined as “the amount of inhibitory influence on the heart by the parasympathetic nervous system.” (p, 301)

    In light of the principle that birth insult and stress interact and impair later stress regulation , early right-amygdala function, including olfactory contributions to proto-attachment communications, should be evaluated in the perinatal period. (p, 304)

    Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).

    Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child’s increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking. Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a “rushing” of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411).” (Schore, 2003)

    I posted the Jill Bolt Taylor stuff above to highlight the nature of our “unconscious” reactivity, which stimulates from within, our sense of reason.

    Again, with all due respect Jonah, you reacted exactly the way an emotional systems view of human nature predicts you will.

    Please understand that not trying to attack you or your idealism, which I fundamentally agree with. I’m trying to shift the debate to where it belongs, in answering Michael Cornwall’s far more potent question.

    IMO as long as we continue to focus on “treatments” and the social politics of business as usual, we will continue to collude with mainstream society’s deep and denied need, to keep madness out of sight and out of mind.

    I understand the motivation for your perception of mr Jonah, as write;

    “That you would find such a TED talk “amazing” is *not* a good sign, IMO — as it suggests to me that you really do not get what’s going on, on this MIA website.”

    I also understand how long it will take, for most readers to understand my motivation, in trying to point out, our common tendency to suffer a rational illusion, as to the nature of reality, and our mind’s subjective confusion.

    Hence my posting of a Buddhist perspective of the mind’s confusion about itself, on a previous thread.

    Be well my friend,

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • I understand your resistance to, as Damasio puts it, “the feeling of what happens.” I understand your “intelectual” position, and do suggest what is missing form your “artful” articulation of “social politics” is an awareness of the internal dynamics of human motivation.

    The resistance WE all exhibit, is a learned “social-phobia” to emotion and the feeling of what is happening inside us, in the reality of the lived moment.

    What is missing in your “critique” of what appears to an objective view of the “system” out there, is an appreciation of the system within, and our individual NEED of emotional projection.

    Tell me Bruce, why is it so difficult to raise awareness of human rights violations in mental health? Why, even as we see an event discussing the rights of the child as a patient, at the Vatican no lees. Why is there so little mainstream attention, even in the Catholic press?

    Is it because, there is a subconscious dynamic of cover-up inside each and every one of us? A subconscious dynamic which we in the survivor community continue to resist and therefore collude with the forces we think we are opposed to?

    Perhaps because we all suffer from a socially necessary rational illusion about the nature of our own reality.

    Perhaps you can write a post addressing just why it is, that Dr Michael Cornwall’s more potent question, “if mental illness is not what psychiatry say it is, then what is it,” is rarely addressed by individuals like yourself, who play to understandable needs of your audience.

    Again I suggest we ALL suffer from a rational illusion about the “objective” nature of own reality, for the sake of social harmony.

    Perhaps you could write a post addressing your own left-hemisphere functioning, and show your audience just how self-aware you really are?

    Please consider McGilchrist’s view of the average PhD;

    “Interpersonal and Relational writers largely have endorsed the idea that we are in fact confronted with a paradigm change and have conceptualized it as a transformation from a one-person to a two-person psychology. I feel that this formulation is accurate, and that three central clinical shifts are intrinsic to the conceptual shift: A shift from the primacy of content to the primacy of context, a shift from the primacy of cognition to the primacy of affect, and a shift away from (but not yet an abandonment of) the concept of “technique.” (p. 126)

    The current radical expansion of knowledge and paradigm shift has wider implications beyond the mental health professions to the cultural and political organization of societies. In my 2003 volumes I argued that the right hemisphere nonconscious implicit self, and not the left conscious explicit self, is dominant in human adaptive survival functions. Offering data at the neuropsychological, cultural, and historical levels, McGilchrist (2009) echoes this principle:

    “If what one means by consciousness is the part of the mind that brings the world into focus, makes it explicit, allows it to be formulated in language, and is aware of its own awareness, it is reasonable to link the conscious mind to activity almost all of which lies ultimately in the left hemisphere” (p. 188).

    He adds, however, “The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless” (p. 174). In contrast, “the right hemisphere … yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known— and to this world it exists in a relationship of care” (p. 174). Indeed, the “emotional” right hemisphere “has the most sophisticated and extensive, and quite possibly most lately evolved, representation in the prefrontal cortex, the most highly evolved part of the brain” (p. 437).

    An essential tenet of McGilchrist’s volume (2009) is expressed in its title: the right hemisphere is the master, and the left the emissary, which is willful, believes itself superior, and sometimes betrays the master, bringing harm to them both. Offering interdisciplinary evidence that spans the sciences and the arts, he convincingly argues that the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. I agree that especially western cultures, even more so than in the past, are currently overemphasizing left brain functions.

    Our cultural conceptions of both mental and physical health, as well as the aims of all levels of education, continue to narrowly overstress rational, logical, analytic thinking over holistic, bodily based, relational right brain functions that are essential to homeostasis and survival. It is ironic that at a time when clinicians and researchers are making significant breakthroughs not only in right brain social-emotional models of optimal development but also in right brain models of the etiologies and treatment of a wide range of psychopathologies, strong economic and cultural inhibitory restraints and cutbacks are being felt by practitioners. How can we understand this? We are constantly told that the reason for this lies in objective economic factors. But the paradigm shift in psychology and neuroscience suggests subjective unconscious forces are at play here.” Excerpts from:

    Schore, Allan N. N. (2012-04-02). The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) (p. 347). Norton. Kindle Edition

    What my long comments are attempting to draw attention to is the “subjective unconscious forces are at play here.”

    When we live in a rationalized denial of what makes, both ourselves and therefore society work.

    The rationalized illusion about reality, and the real “internal” motivation of so many in this community is summed beautifully by a comment below:

    “All glory!” writes FYI, in a taken for granted and self-fulling illusion of “us vs them” and society composed of winners and losers.

    What’s missing though, is, self-knowledge and therefore a deeper self-realization.

    Respectfully

    David Bates.

  • Hi Jonah:))

    Have you heard about our left-brain tendency to repeat other people’s wisdom, in world where IQ is idolized over experience and EQ? Consider;

    “”The left-brain style is to verbalize, to fall back on what is already known in order to preserve the sense of self mastery.” _ Roz Carroll.

    “It may be that the “mind-body split,” is in effect a right-left split, with left-brain activation overriding the right-brain assimilation and regulation of sub-cortically generated emotional states.” _ Roz Carroll.

    It reminds me of watching Jill Bolte Taylor’s amazing Ted-talk, and her description of that state of “oneness,” some of us experience within seemingly possessed by the energy of euphoria?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU

    She describes in her book, how her brother had schizophrenia, and would try to tell her of his altered states of mind. Some in the community here, might be surprised how much we could learn from both sides, in the mental health debate, if we could only “turn the other cheek,” so to speak. Here’s an excerpt from her book;

    “Fortunately, how we choose to be today is not predetermined by how we were yesterday. I view the garden in my mind as a sacred patch of cosmic real estate that the universe has entrusted me to tend over the years of my lifetime. As an independent agent, I and I alone, in conjunction with the molecular genius of my DNA and the environmental factors I am exposed to, will decorate this space within my cranium.”

    Excerpt from; “Taylor, Jill Bolte (2009-03-19). My Stroke of Insight (p. 176). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.”

    You never did address this question I posed to you;

    “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.”

    Although, I do understand your need to ignore me?

    Be well my friend,

    Respectfully,

    D.B.

  • Well done again, FYI:))

    Although I noticed you made this comment about David Healy;

    “Blogger, David Healy, remains the very embodiment of MIA – in the old sense (‘Missing In Action’).”

    One wonders if a happy re-activist would direct the same comment to their “idolized” heros? How often does Bruce Levine respond to comments here?

    Did you miss my point about esteemed PhD’s, FYI?

    Do the faithful, not remember which section of Hebrew society wanted Jesus crucified? Was it not the ever present “educated-priesthood?”

    Reminds me of the Supertramp song;

    “”Crime Of The Century”

    Now they’re planning the crime of the century
    Well what will it be?
    Read all about their schemes and adventuring
    It’s well worth a fee
    So roll up and see
    And they rape the universe
    How they’ve gone from bad to worse
    Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
    Rip off the masks and let’s see.
    But that’s not right – oh no, what’s the story?
    There’s you and there’s me
    That can’t be right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJJ7p5qZIU4

    You will need to try harder, in your attempts to shame me, FYI. I was shamed by a couple of experts, as a child. Society labels them parents. Sad, yet true, life is not a Hollywood Movie.

    Be well my young friend,

    Respectfully,

    D.B.

  • Hi David:))

    Yes, I watched it twice and absolutely loved it, one those movies so dripping with existential meaning, I think I could watch it six times and still notice, aspects of meaning I didn’t catch previously. Depending on my “physiological” state, at the time of sitting?

    As you’ve pointed out before, we are in dire need of such food for thought.

    Regards,

    D.B.

  • To expand on my suggestion that we may suffer from an “illusion” of rationality, and why society needs to keep “madness” out of sight and out of mind.

    Please consider the subconscious mechanism’s of “affect,” as articulated by the founder of “affect” theory;

    “A second critical discovery occurred when my son was born. Beginning shortly after his birth, I observed him daily, for hours on end. I struck by the massiveness of the crying response. It included not only very loud vocalization and facial muscle responses, but also large changes in blood flow to the face and engagement of all the striate musculature of the body. It was a massive total bodily response which, however seemed to center on the face. (p, 32)

    A deep concern with either mind or body or both appears historically to lead to concern with affect. (p, 34)

    The contraction of no other set of muscles in the body had any apparent motivational properties. Thus if I were angry, I might clench my fist and hit someone, but if I simply clenched my fist, this would in no way guarantee I would become angry. Muscles seemed to be specialized for action and not for affect. Why then was the smile so easily and so universally responded to as an affect? Why did someone who was crying seem so distressed and so unhappy? (goes with porges head & face)

    Further, from an evolutionary point of view, we know that different functions are piled indiscriminately on top of structures which may have originally evolved to support quiet different functions. The tongue was an organ for eating before it was an organ for speech. The muscles of the face were also involved in eating before they were used as vehicles for affect. (p, 90)

    Fatigue to the point of extreme sleepiness seems to be localized in the skin around the eyes? (p, 91)

    INNATE AFFECT/EMOTION & SOCIETY:

    Because the free expression of innate affect is extremely contagious and because these are very powerful phenomena, all societies, in varying degrees, exercise substantial control over the free expression of the cry of affect. No societies encourage or permit each individual to cry out i.e, rage or excitement, or distress or terror wherever and whenever they wish. Very early on, strict control over affect expression is instituted and such control is exerted particularly over the voice, whether used in speech or in direct affect expression. (p, 93)

    If all societies suppress the free vocalization of affect, what is it that is being experienced as affect? It is what I have called backed-up affect, it can be seen in children trying to suppress laughter by swallowing a snicker, or by a stiff upper lip when trying not to cry (anti affects?) or by tightening the jaw to suppress anger. In all these cases, one is holding one’s breathe as part of the technique of suppressing the vocalization of affect. (p, 93)

    We do not know what are the biological and psychological prices of such suppression of the innate affective response. It seems at the very least that substantial psychosomatic disease might be one of the prices of such systemic suppression and transformation of the innate affective responses. Further there could be a permanent elevation of blood pressure as a consequence of suppressed rage, which would have a much longer duration than an innate momentary flash of expressed anger. (p, 94)

    Even the least severe suppression of the vocalization of affect must result in some bleaching of the experience of affect and therefore impoverish the quality of life It must also produce some ambiguity about what affect feels like, since so much of the adult’s affective life represents at the very least, a transformation of the affective response, rather than the simpler, more direct, and briefer innate affect. (p, 94)

    With anger the matter is further confused, because of the danger represented by this affect and enormous societal concern about the socialization of anger, what is typically seen and thought to be innate is actually backed-up. The appearance of the backed-up, the simulated, and the innate is by no means the same. (p, 94)

    Details of the difference in socialization concern, differences in tolerance or intolerance of the several primary human affects – excitement, enjoyment, surprise, distress, contempt, shame, fear and anger – which in turn determine how positively or how negatively a human being learns to feel about themselves and about other human beings. Such learning will also determine their general posture towards the entire ideological domain. (p, 168)

    MODERN EDUCATION & ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT COGNITION:

    This is the most recent instance in history of favouring man’s ‘reason’ as his distinctive glory. Although Genesis equated ’knowing’ with carnal knowledge, that fateful loss of innocence that exiled him from the Garden of Eden, in both theological and secular thought reason has been glorified as the divine spark in man. This perennial idealisation of the cognitive function has prejudged its definition.

    If human beings share sensory and motor equipment as well as drives and passions with other animals, and if reason is represented as both the distinctive and most valued function in man, then the cognitive aspects of the sensory and motor functions are denied by definition. Further, ‘irrationality’ is thereby also denied to be inherently cognitive.

    ‘Superstition’ and mysticism are prejudged to be different from cognition rather than to be special cases of knowing. In the extreme derivative of such idealisation, even science would fail to meet the criterion of true cognition, in-so-much as today’s science can be tomorrow’s superstition. In some theologies just this inference was drawn so that only God knew truly and fully.

    Yet if all cognitive theorists would resonate with Socrates dictum that an unexamined life is not worth living, they would part company as soon as ‘examination’ was scrutinised more closely. Are daydreaming and thinking equally ‘cognitive’ ‘inner’ processes that had to be both objectified and operationalized”

    Ideology and Affect/Emotion:

    Now let me introduce the concepts of ideo-affective postures, ideological postures and ideo-affective resonance. (1) By ideo-affective postures I mean any loosely organized set of feelings and ideas about feelings. (2) By ideological postures I refer to any “highly organized” and articulate set of ideas about anything. A generally tolerant or permissive attitude would be an instance of an ideo-affective posture, whereas a progressive or democratic political position would be an example of an ideological posture.

    (3) By ideo-affective resonance we mean the engagement of the loosely organized beliefs and feelings by ideology, when the ideo-affective postures are sufficiently similar to the ideological posture, so that they reinforce and strengthen each other.

    Ideo-affective resonance to ideology is a love affair of a loosely organized set of feelings and ideas about feelings with a highly organized and articulate set of ideas about anything. As in the case of a love affair the fit need not be perfect, so long as there is sufficient similarity between what the individual thinks and feels is desirable, to set the vibrations between the two entities into sympathetic resonance.”

    Excerpts from “Exploring Affect,” (1995) by Sylvan Tomkins.

    When Tomkins speaks of “sympathetic resonance,” he did so before recent advances brought a deeper awareness of our “autonomic nervous system” with its management of sympathetic and parasympathetic, outflow from the heart.

    And as Allan Schore points out, in his articulation of our human development, from a neuroscience perspective;

    “In physics a property of resonance is sympathetic vibration, the tendency of one resonance system to enlarge & augment through matching the resonance frequency pattern of another resonance system”

    Excerpt from “Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self”

    Hence my curiosity; “Do our nervous systems resonate together in unconscious attunment or misattunment?”

    And I wonder if the average “intellectual” ever pauses to “catch the gap between the spark & the flame,” as Buddists suggest?

    Perhaps the “gap” is synaptic? The spark is within the heart? and the flame is the mind? Most people take their mind’s for granted, perhaps with a Biblical sense of an “immaculate conception?”

    Which reminds me of the esteemed Harvard PhD, who travels to India and meets a Guru. He spends three days explaining his theory of mind to the Guru, and asks ‘what you THINK?

    ‘Feels like intellectual masterbation to me,’ says the Guru.

    And of course the PhD is outraged, he doesn’t even hear the “operative” word, “feels.” And he remains rather “anal” about correct spelling & grammar, as his sense of insecurity, is masked by his need to feel superior.

    What lies beneath the mask of consciousness?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Well done FYI, right on cue, with a predictability that might suggest you are unaware of your need for ‘judgement’ rather than perception?

    As I suggested above;

    “I’m sure you will react with assumptions of “intellectual masterbation,” although you may prove me wrong?

    Which reminds me of the esteemed Harvard PhD, who travels to India and meets a Guru. He spends three days explaining his theory of mind to the Guru, and asks ‘what you THINK?

    ‘Feels like intellectual masterbation to me,’ says the Guru.

    Perhaps you may consider how unaware you may be, of how you function internally? Please consider;

    And of course the PhD is outraged, he doesn’t even hear the “operative” word, “feels.”

    Perhaps you may consider an unconscious process of “affective judgement,” and how it pertains to “affective psychosis? Perhaps you may consider educating your sense of self, with an exploration of your internal environment?

    Please consider;

    “Education of The Senses:

    By examining the “affects” experienced in judging another, one learns a great deal about how the illusion of self-containment is purchased at the price of dumping negative affects on that other. The level of “affective transmission” is marked in terms of how one party carries the others negative affects; his aggression is experienced as her anxiety and so forth. By means of this projection, one believes oneself to be detached from him or her, when one is, in fact, propelling forward an affect the other will experience as rejection or hurt, unless the other shield’s themselves by a similar negative propulsion, in a passionate judgment of their own. (p, 119.)

    Discernment, in the affective world, functions best when one is able to be alert to the moment of sensation, which allows the negative affect to gain a hold within. Any faculty of discernment must involve a process whereby affects pass from a state of sensory registration to a state of cognitive awareness, this does not mean that the process of cognitive reflection is without an affect itself, just that this affect is other than the affect which is being reflected upon.”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    Perhaps, like most people, you are oblivious to, just how your affected by others, not really perceiving others, but rather, only being aware of your consciously taken for granted, response to “affect.” You may consider my quote from the movie Avatar, and contemplate why we don’t really “get” each other?

    What does ‘I see you’ really mean? Jake’s friend in the movie suggests it means ‘I see into you?’

    Can you contemplate the paradox of “we are all different?” Can you tell me just how different your internal organs are, to mine? Can you consider that on some level, we are all the same? One species, one family?

    I’m impressed though, with the trouble you went to, to score a point, and I hope it has helped you to feel good about yourself? Perhaps you’d care to expand on your personal points of perception?

    Be well my friend,

    Respectfully,

    David Bates.

  • Dear Bruce, are rationalizing the instinctive mechanism’s of shame here? You write;

    “Many young people diagnosed with mental disorders are essentially anarchists with the bad luck of being misidentified by mental health professionals who: (1) are ignorant of the social philosophy of anarchism, (2) embrace, often without political consciousness, it’s opposite ideology of hierarchism, and (3) confuse the signs of anarchism with symptoms of mental illness.”

    I understand how this resonates so well with your audience, yet perhaps you may consider that your immersed in a culture of violence, and unaware of the “subconscious” nature of a taken for granted view of life, which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Consider the roots of culture and the history of societies, through the lense of an “internal,” stigma producing, compass of shame;

    “Mental Illness Stigma is entwined in the compass of shame which binds us all together. Shame is the emotional force which shapes society. Shame is the glue which keeps us together in structures of social order, underpinning social rank and status.
    At the North end of the Compass is Withdrawal. At the East end of the Compass is Attack Self. At the South end of the compass is Avoidance. And at the West end of the compass is the Attack Others pole.

    Compass of Shame
    by Harold Grossman, MD, FRCP(C)

    In the 1960’s, Dr. Sylvan Tompkins investigated, through the use of video tape analysis, the primary instinctual affects (emotions of the moment) of infants. He described nine innate primary affects which he said were truly constitutional rather than learned responses. Two are positive: Joy and Excitement. One is neutral: Startle. The negative six affects that one can observe are: Fear, Disgust (tongue out), Dissmell (lifting away of the nose), Rage, Despair, and most importantly, Shame (eyes averted, head down). Shame is supposed to be a protective response to keep us connected to the group rather than wondering off dangerously by ourselves.

    It has been given to us to help us survive and to eliminate it would not be safe.
    When confronted with shame in our adult years, those of us with good self esteem and a background of being loved and accepted, process the experience differently then those who do not have these inner resources. The most mature of us begin an inner search of memories for times when we felt truly accepted and loved, and are able to recover our equilibrium and even learn something more about ourselves and about the part that was exposed.

    Those of us that cannot digest the shame in this way respond in one of four different defensive directions,a concept organized by Dr D.L. Nathanson, he calls “The Compass of Shame”. Each pole represents a scripted set of things to say to oneself and ways of behaving towards others.

    At the North end of the Compass is “Withdrawal”. It is hiding from others and living in fear of exposure of what we perceive as a defect or weakness. It leads to isolation and gradual absorption into a darker insulated world. It would tend to defeat our human need to belong, for sake of survival.

    At the East end of the Compass is “Attack Self”.
    With this set of behaviors we diminish ourselves in the presence of others. In a sense it is “heading off at the pass” the fear of rejection. Unlike Withdrawal, we can stay connected, as it is not hard in this competitive world to find a person who wants to feel like a winner by connecting to a loser. In its safety it just worsens the pain and degrades the soul. There is a danger in living at the North and
    East poles. Because the feelings are not processed, they can build up inside and can lead to explosions or extreme violence (a notable example was the story of the murderous teens in the shootings at Columbine).

    At the South end is the opposite of “Withdrawal”, what Dr. Nathanson calls “Avoidance”.
    The goal of this strategy is to hide the feelings of shame entirely from consciousness, if possible. The use of alcohol and other illicit drugs leading to addiction is a way of avoiding the feelings. It is said that shame is dissolved in alcohol, melted by narcotics and boiled by cocaine and amphetamines.

    Another strategy used at this pole of Avoidance is to call attention to oneself in ways meant to distract others by “showing off” or being an exhibitionist. It is also at the core of a theory about the development of Narcissistic Personality Disorders, whose self aggrandizement is seen as an avoidance of shame to the point of complete unawareness. Like the East pole, people remain connected with others, although in a way that is devoid of true intimacy (i.e. the sharing of vulnerabilities). It creates a hollow, false sense of self and, like the addiction strategy, seems never to be enough to satisfy the underlying need.

    At the West end is the “Attack Others” pole. Simply put, this strategy refers to the bully who metes out their own inner sense of shame on another. It is these people who prey on the vulnerable, leading to damage that scares people, often for the rest of their lives. Even the most stringent of rules to contain their behaviors does not solve the problem that promotes these actions. Until the matters of shame are addressed, these people remain a risk to those in their sights.

    At all points in this “compass of shame” there is significant damage to the individual and to others around them. Humility can be a path leading away from the poles of this compass and bringing us to healthier ways of living and relating. We can move from shame to humility when we allow ourselves to feel accepted and loved with all our flaws, all our vulnerabilities and failures. Humility can enable us to preserve our attachment to relationships and groups that mean safety and security to us. By striving for humility, we can make the choice to be autonomous and authentic, without diminishing ourselves or destroying the possibility of relationship in our interpersonal worlds.”

    Personally speaking, it took me decades to begin to sense my internal motivation. Sense the paradox of my internal defense against pain and sensations of fear; a flight to the refuge of my mind. To understand how we’re all raised to suppress sensations, in order to secure our mature sense of objective rationality. To understand why I felt lost in a sea of unconscious emotional reactivity, my social reflexes not quiet in-tune with normal social adaptation. Decades and the invention of the internet to begin to really understand, how traumatic experience had frozen my innate ability for spontaneous social communication. I had to leave my own culture to escape the built-in complications of a projection process, in which I felt trapped. So trapped that I’d found myself acting out a well meaning, projection of paternalistic care and concern, towards my therapy clients. So I went in search of my own “built-in” processes, in search of personal transformation. In my opinion, we are so immersed in the “autonomic” nature of our socially evolved humanity, asking people to be aware of unconscious affect and e-motive reactivity, is like asking a fish about water. “What’s water?”

    As you so rightly point out;

    “In American history, there have been several shameful periods where groups—including Native Americans, homosexuals, and assertive women—have been pathologized, dehumanized, and meted out oppressive treatments by mental health professionals in an attempt to alter their basic being. Today’s psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors would do well to recognize that historians do not look kindly on those professionals who participated in institutional dehumanization and oppression.”

    Yet where on earth, will this subconscious process of blaming & shaming cease? Or to put it in the Bard’s word’s, we suffer the slings (rage) and arrows (shame) of outrageous fortune, without knowing the subconscious projections of the how & why, involved?

    Regards,

    David Bates.

  • P.S. Jonah, you write;

    “you’ve presented your positions by incorporating lengthy passages of others’ writings — and in such a way that it may take numerous readings to figure out exactly who is saying what.”

    As an analogy as to my own metamorphosis (to use Paris Williams term about transformation through the process of psychosis), it has taken much reading and re-reading of the science references I include in my comments, to deepen my self-awareness.

    In analogy, its like watching your favorite movie for the fourth & fifth time, and noticing things that had slipped past your attention, in previous viewings. Also in analogy, this is perhaps why people of religious faith, read ancient texts, over and over again. The metamorphosis process. summed up in Joseph Campbell’s advice;

    “Sit in a room and read–and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.” _Joseph Campbell.

    As for your asking me about practical help;

    “Have you no interest in speaking to ‘common’ people, I wonder?

    How does your “polyvagal perspective” help the average Joe (or, Josephine)?

    Can it possibly help me or anyone else I know?”

    I do this on my own blog and I have given a simple explanation of the polyvagal perspective, in response to the same question on this webzine before. Consider;

    “HEART TONE EXERCISES:

    Lay down on your tummy like the lady here, sinking down into the bed or floor as much as you can. It is important you try to feel as much of the fabric beneath you as possible. Try to feel your internal organs dropping or pressing down against the fabric texture.
    Feel the area of your heart, feel the muscular tension there in your chest. As you make contact with body sensations notice any tingling in your toes & finger tips. Try to feel and not think, let go & sink deeper into your body, falling down, way down. As you let go of tensions in this area of your chest relax any tension in your face.

    Focus a felt awareness on your chest, the area around your heart, let go and sink down, letting go any tension around your mouth, your jaw and in your tongue. If you can focus on sensing your heart and the muscles in your chest, you should notice an involuntary deepening of your breath. Notice any increased sensations from your limbs, your fingers and toes, any spontaneous relaxing of tummy muscles. These sensations are your auto nervous system at work.

    Observation of Felt Sensation: As you continue to feel your heart soften, letting go of muscular tensions, notice any slowing & deepening of your breath. Notice further relaxing of regions of your body where contact has usually been outside your minds awareness. You should notice an increased awareness of your limbs and your posterior, with the sphincter muscle of your anus letting go of autonomic constriction there.

    Notice the temptation to escape body sensations and return to a thought based energy discharge, when you try to feel your body in this way. Practice for a few minutes the sensations of coming into relaxed body states, and the habitual flight into mind of an unconscious, autonomic response, your normal comfort zone. This gradual experiencing of unconscious defense, the tensions, the habitual thinking, will bring you into contact with your autonomic nervous system’s reactions and its affect on the vagal tone of your heart.

    On first introduction to this practice, try for a few minutes each day to get a feel for the difference between your habitual autonomic nervous system tensions, and the more relaxed heart tones possible through thoughtless relaxation? As you go about your daily routine try to spend a few seconds now and then, relaxing every muscle you can feel within your face. Relax any tension in your jaw, around your eyes and let your tongue lie relaxed in your mouth, your lips allowed to part as you inhale with relaxed chest muscles. Feel the feedback signals from your muscles that have maintained this autonomic activity below your conscious awareness.

    3. New Mind-Body Experience:

    Building a new mind-body experience is a process of getting to know your hidden auto nervous system through observing internal sensations as described above. Practicing control over pressured thinking by relaxing internal tensions, brings a felt sense of the role of the ANS in bipolar symptoms. A short period experimenting with this tension release method of easing racing thoughts, will bring you into a new awareness of your internal mind-body function. Practicing a new felt awareness will bring you into direct contact with the bipolar catch 22 of avoidance of body sensations.

    Resistance to deep muscular relaxation is common for mental illness sufferers and is evidence of an unconscious internal threat. Understanding how this unconscious of sense threat is maintained by habitual tensions, we can begin to re-condition the nervous system with new experiences. With acceptance that the auto nervous system is deeply involved in bipolar symptoms, raised awareness brings a new observation of internal sensations.

    Acceptance of auto nervous system function by a felt experience of sensations, allows the conscious mind its craved for sense of knowing. It is the conscious experience of ‘not knowing’ that ensures the cyclic trap of bipolar disorder, with conscious concern providing fuel for the unconsciously perceived threat. Escape into the mind is the common denominator in all mental anguish, and it is crucial to understand this fundamental avoidance of felt sensation at the root of mental illness. Once we accept the autonomic nervous system and its crucial role in our experience, we can pay it due respect with a mind that observes, knows and allows this vital auto pilot of our lives to do its job.

    Example: As I write this page I slip back into an habitual tense posture for concentration, its unconscious and automatic. As part of my new mind-body experience, a half hourly alarm is set to remind me to relax unconscious muscle tensions and allow a healthy auto nervous system response. Over the past two months of daily writing my old intense posture of concentration has softened, as I re-condition my auto nervous system with new experience. At end of each writing session I deliberately trigger my desired auto nervous system state using an NLP kinesthetic anchoring technique.

    After only a weeks practice using a physical anchoring technique I now trigger my desired nervous system state just by pressing my finger and thumb together?. Such anchoring techniques are used by people in all walks of life from sales to entertainment and sports performance. In health therapies such techniques are taught as grounding exercises to help people suffering de-realiztion or de-personaliztion sensations. In all these cases the autonomic nervous system is the unconscious mechanism, affecting the changes in internal sensations.

    NLP kinesthetic anchoring technique: I find an implicit memory of balanced nervous state, feeling a rising intensity of body sensation, particularly the increased feedback from fingers and toes described above. Such increases in body awareness are my surest sign that I’m dropping out of my habitual freeze response, when attention is focused through the mind too much. As the grounded sensation of autonomic balance increases I press my thumb and index finger together creating a specific sensation of pressure which becomes associated with this nervous system state.”

    http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/bipolar-recovery.html

    You may find this comment from a reader illuminating;

    “As someone diagnosed with bi polar years ago and living medication free I recognise the idea of unconscious threat. For me this manifests in teeth gritting (during sleep and whilst awake), tense shoulders, fist clenching and a tendency to be quick to anger. To be frank it is like living on a knife edge of panic. I am much ‘better’ now and use mindfulness practice but truthfully this notion of reminders to simply relax facial muscles etc. is simple yet powerful. Already as I unclench I feel an immediate mental change. Thank you.”

    In a very practical sense, you see how these Heart Tone Exercises relates to the above comment on a burgeoning science of the heart;

    “I have always trusted my “intuition” over my often confused rationality, and increasingly accept the evolved wisdom of my body and its ability to know, what “rationally,” is “unknowable.”

    Although I don’t favor their rather commercial approach to science, the folks at HeartMath Institute do point out some great science of the heart, and practical ways to use it.

    “The heart’s nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons, called sensory neurites, which detect circulating hormones and neurochemicals and sense heart rate and pressure information. Hormonal, chemical, rate and pressure information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart’s nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through several afferent (flowing to the brain) pathways. It is also through these nerve pathways that pain signals and other feeling sensations are sent to the brain. These afferent nerve pathways enter the brain in an area called the medulla, located in the brain stem. The signals have a regulatory role over many of the autonomic nervous system signals that flow out of the brain to the heart, blood vessels and other glands and organs. However, they also cascade up into the higher centers of the brain, where they may influence perception, decision making and other cognitive processes.

    “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead. It takes the power of the heart.” (McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2001).

    Ram Dass, and other spiritual leaders are saying the same thing, from a spiritual perspective, IMO. So it does seem, that beyond our thirst for melodramatic headlines and highly conservative “paternalistic controlisms,” science and spirituality, are converging?”

    And lastly, why do I post such esoteric comments?

    Because they relate to the nature of the God conflict in our Christian psyche, and how I believe that church may have forgotten how to read a good metaphor, or at least, do not yet see how our rising knowledge, is confirming ancient metaphors, about the human condition.

    Perhaps, its time to realize, that “psychosis” is not what Hollywood’s rather adolescent emotionality, makes it out to be? And I have posted a lot of material which relates directly to this “religious metaphors” issue. Perhaps the church is confused about its role in the mental illness debate, because the hidden truths, in the nature of emotional distress, are to close to home?

    As a certain French philosopher puts it, ‘there is an assumption of reason on the one hand, and madness on the other, yet reality suggests, “unreason & madness,” in a real-life continuum of human experience,” or words to that effect.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Dear Jonah, you write;

    ““Polyvagal perspective” means nothing to me.

    It’s an empty term, when I hear it.

    Would you be so kind as to offer a simple definition?”

    I guess, this IS the whole confusing point in the mental illness debate. There IS NO simple definition, despite the way we all crave it.

    Many, Feel good entrepreneurs make a fortune from peddling phrases which although invoking warm and wonderful sensations, explain almost nothing of the “how” & “why” of our sense of life.

    The “chemical imbalance” metaphor finds general acceptance, because it appears to provide a plausible explanation for our distressing experience. We crave a “self-soothing” stimulus for our need to “minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – (which) is the driving force in human motivation.” (Schore, 2003).” In brackets mine.

    How do I sum up six years of intense self-education and its transforming effects, in a simple statement of straight forward English, when the general language is mismatched to our internal reality?

    I understand how unfamiliar the language of neuroscience is, to you and other readers, and understand the “reaction” to my seemingly “arrogant” statements. All I can do, is ask people to ponder, how it might be that a reading of science has enabled my transformation?

    It it an impossible stretch of the communities imagination to consider that science too, might have an explanation as to the nature of the psyche, comparable to Paris Williams more poetic formulation? Consider;

    “So, we finally arrive at the final and perhaps most important question in this discussion: “Why would an individual’s psyche intentionally initiate psychosis?”

    In other words, how can something as chaotic and as potentially harmful as psychosis act as a strategy to aid someone in transcending an otherwise irresolvable dilemma? To understand this, it helps to use as a metaphor the process of metamorphosis that takes place within the development of a butterfly. In order for a poorly resourced larva to transform into the much more highly resourced butterfly, it must first disintegrate at a very profound level, its entire physical structure becoming little more than amorphous fluid, before it can reintegrate into the fully developed and much more resourced form of a butterfly.”

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/08/op-ed-schizophreniapsychosis-brain-disease-or-existential-crisis/

    Yet how do we understand this common metaphor “psyche” and how can I explain how neuroscience gave me clues to understanding the internal NEED for my expereince of “mania?” Consider (and yes Jonah, I do understand that this comment is read by others too);

    A second core assumption of systems theory is that self-organization is characterized by the emergence and stabilization of novel forms from the interaction of lower-order components and involves “the specification and crystallization of structure.” This mechanism also describes how hierarchical structural systems in the developing brain self-organize. Developmental neuroscience is now identifying the “lower” autonomic and “higher” central brain systems that organize in infancy and become capable of generating and regulating psychobiological states.

    Developing organisms internalize environmental forces by becoming appropriately structured in relation to them, and by incorporating an internal model of these exogenous signals they develop adaptive homeostatic regulatory mechanisms which allow for stability in the face of external variation. The regulation of the organism, which maintains internal stability and output regulation and enables effective response to external stimuli, therefore depends on the formation of a dynamic model of the external environment. Self-organizing systems are thus systems that are capable of generating new internal representations in response to changing environmental conditions. (p, 94) (1980?)

    The human is a nonlinear dynamic system, an inherently dynamic energy-transformation regime that coevolves with its environment, one that self-organizes when exposed to an energy flux. The infant becomes attuned to an external object in its environment who consistently responds in a stimulating manner to the infant’s spontaneous impulsive energy dissipating behaviors. (p, 95)

    The nonlinear self acts “iteratively”, so that minor changes, occurring at the right moment, can be amplified in the system, thus launching it into a qualifiedly different state. Indeed energy shifts are the most basic and fundamental features of emotion, “discontinuous” states are experienced as “affect responses,” and nonlinear psychic bifurcations are manifest as rapid “affective shifts.” (p, 96)

    One of the fundamental characteristics of an emotional episode… is the synchronization of the different components of the organism’s efforts to recruit as much energy as possible to master a major crisis situation (in a positive or negative sense). (my mania in 1980) I suggest the principle applies to the developmental crisis that must be mastered as one moves along the lifespan. The continuing growth spurts of the right hemisphere that mediate attachment, the synchronization of right-brain activities between and within organisms, thus occur as the developing individual is presented with the stresses that are intrinsic to later stages of life, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (p, 172)

    Vagal tone is defined as “the amount of inhibitory influence on the heart by the parasympathetic nervous system.” (p, 301)

    In light of the principle that birth insult and stress interact and impair later stress regulation , early right-amygdala function, including olfactory contributions to proto-attachment communications, should be evaluated in the perinatal period. (p, 304)

    Affect dysregulation is also a hallmark of Bipolar Disorders that involve manic episodes. Manic depressive illnesses are currently understood to represent dysregulatory states. The developmental psycho-pathological precursor of a major disorder of under-regulation can be demonstrated in the practicing period histories of infants of manic depressive parents. I suggest that the necessary gene environment condition is embedded specifically in practicing period transactions. (P, 410).

    Noting the commonalities between elation as a basic practicing period mood in infants and manic symptomology in adults, Poa (1971) observes Elation as a basic mood is characterized by an experience of exaggerated omnipotence which corresponds to the child’s increasing awareness of his muscular and intellectual powers. The similarity between the two is striking. Manic disorder has also been described in terms of a chronic elevation of the early practicing affect of interest-excitement; this causes a “rushing” of intellectual activity and a driving of the body at uncontrollable and potentially dangerous speeds. (P, 410-411).” (Schore, 2003)

    Please note the my reference to mania and its implications for Paris’s more eloquent formulation, of psychic transformation. There is even a reference to vagal-tone and birth insult, as the hints which enabled my transformation of birth-trauma, conditioned FEAR, into a more joyful approach to life, now that I understand, the internal and external, mechanisms of my FUNCTION.

    I’m sure you will react with assumptions of “intellectual masterbation,” although you may prove me wrong?

    Which reminds me of the esteemed Harvard PhD, who travels to India and meets a Guru. He spends three days explaining his theory of mind to the Guru, and asks ‘what you THINK?

    ‘Feels like intellectual masterbation to me,’ says the Guru.

    And of course the PhD is outraged, he doesn’t even hear the “operative” word “feels.”

    Readers might wonder how is it, that my earlier, deluded self-referential ideation of Messiah-ship has been transformed to an understanding of the human race, as a Messiah species? Consider if you will, beyond your understandable reaction, that I’m into “a serious — self-aggrandizing — fabrication” ;

    “A Messiah Species? Existential Meaning in Metaphors?

    A messiah is a saviour or liberator of a people in the Abrahamic religions. Or a metaphor for our species?

    Savior or Saviour may refer to a person who helps people achieve salvation, or saves them from something. Or a Species Redemption of Light Matter Energy?

    A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object.
    Is it time to turn our awareness inwards, to the existential meaning of spiritual metaphors, in all the world’s mythologies?

    “Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or highroad to the soul’s destination.” _Joseph Campbell.

    This is one of those posts in which I’m attempting to express my experience of euphoric mania and the inuitive sense of existential meaning which always infuses my psychoses? Please consider;

    The Evolution of Light, God & Existential Meaning?”

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/a-messiah-species-existential-meaning.html

    I do understand Jonah, how you NEED to protect your image of REASON, and just how much you will resist any awareness of the real nature, of the serpent in the garden, and how God and the Cosmos, is within you.

    Be well my friend,

    Respectfully.

    David.

  • P.S.

    I’m hoping that someone will respond to a mistake in my comment, to further highlight these “hidden” feedback mechanisms of our “affective states” of awareness.

    IMO Its not a different way of seeing the world “out there” that is so desperately needed now, but a different way of seeing ourselves. For example, how the serpent in the garden of eden, is a metaphor for our spinal column and brainstem.

    Hence, my inclusion of references to neuroscience research, which points to just how “the body keeps the score” in “bottom-up” processes which as Schore points out “occur beneath levels of awareness not because they are repressed but because they are too rapid to reach consciousness.”

    Its also notable, perhaps, that in our development, its the heart & nervous systems, ie,(the spinal chord) which develop first?

    Regards to all,

    David Bates.

  • Dear Jonah,

    Please consider how you may have “missed” the real stimulus for your comment, “MBarbacki,

    Thank you for providing your brief but highly informative comment.

    It’s quite significant comment, in my opinion, as it points to a serious — self-aggrandizing — fabrication, on the part of David Healy.”

    I believe MBarbacki’s clarifying comment was stimulated by sighting this;

    “I have recently been disinvited from a Catholic Church linked meeting on psychotropic drugs and children apparently for using an analogy between child abuse in the Church and pharmacotherapy abuse in clinical care.” _David Healy.”

    It was my misattribution of MBarbacki’s disinvitation which prompted the need for his clarifying comment here.

    Perhaps, with a deeper contemplation of the hidden mechanisms of your stimulus-response behaviors, you come to understand, how the eye and attention which is externally focused, can be deceiving? Because there is too little “simultaneous” internal awareness.

    Respectfully,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah, you write;

    “Meanwhile, I am tiring of our dialogue, David.

    Frankly, I feel it’s going nowhere”

    Please consider an emotional “systems” view of our dialogue;

    “The concept of differentiation of self is important. At the more differentiated end of the scale is the person who can “know” with his intellect, and who can also know, or be aware of, or feel the situation with his emotional system. He has reasonable ability to keep an operational differentiation between intellect and emotions and take action on the fact of intellectual reasoning, that opposes his feelings and the truth of subjectivity. Only a small percentage of the population has this level of differentiation.

    A person can have a well functioning intellect but intellect is intimately fused with his emotional system, and a relatively small part of his intellect is operationally differentiated from his emotional system. He can accurately “know” facts that are personally removed, such as mathematics and the physical sciences, but most of his intellect is under the operational control of the emotional system, and much of his total knowledge would be more accurately classified as an intellectual emotional awareness, without much differentiation between intellect and feelings.

    The person at this level of differentiation does not commonly have a clearly formed notion of fact, or differences between truth and fact, or fact and feeling, or theory and philosophy, or rights and responsibility, or other critical differentiations between intellectual and emotional functioning. Personal and social philosophy are based on the truth of subjectivity and life decisions are based more on feelings and maintaining the subjective harmony.

    A triggered person characteristically defends or counterattacks which adds emotional fuel.

    To summarize the process, it begins with emotional tension in a bipolar situation, it spreads by involving emotionally vulnerable others, it is fed by emotional reactiveness and response to denial and accusation and it becomes quiescent when emotional energy is exhausted.” _Murray Bowen.

    With all due respect Jonah, your doing what Bowen predicts you will do, as you reach the limits of your self-awareness.

    Our “psychological” awareness, our MindDominated sense of self, lacks an ability to sense the internal nature of “stimulation.” Our conscious awareness, stays with an understanding of itself, as the “response” side of an external/internal feedback-stimulated-response.

    Of course, we are not raised to be aware of the “unconscious” aspects of feedback-stimulus, reaching maturity, having long forgotten the time before we learned to think and were “taught” our common vocabulary.

    As Bowen points out Jonah, if readers look carefully at your comment replies, your exhibiting a “postural” attitude to life, as you don’t see what I’m saying, because you understand your “affective” nature, and how your affective “judgement” is stimulated from within.

    Please consider, if you can slow down enough to take the time required of knowledge digestion:

    “From a functional point of view, bodily/sensate feelings are the compass that we use to navigate through life. They permit us to estimate the value of the things to which we must incorporate or adapt. Our attraction to that which sustains us and our avoidance of that which is harmful, are the essence of the feeling function. All feelings derive from the ancient precursors of approach and avoidance, they are in differing degrees positive or negative.

    Sensation-based feelings guide the adaptive response to (e)valuations. Emotions on the other hand, occur precisely when behavioral adaptations (based on these e-valuations) have failed? Contrary to to what both Darwin and James thought, fear is not what directs escape; nor do we feel fear because we are running from a source of threat. The person who can run freely away from threat does not feel fear. He only feels danger (avoidance) and then experiences the action of running. It is solely when escape is prevented that we experience fear. Likewise, we experience anger when we are unable to strike our enemy or otherwise resolve a conflict. (p, 327)

    Working at Columbia University in the 1940s and 50s, Nina Bull conducted remarkable research in the experiential tradition of William James. In her studies subjects were induced into a light hypnotic trance, and various emotions were suggested in this state. These included disgust, fear, anger, depression, joy and triumph. Bull discovered that the emotion of anger involves a fundamental split. There was, on the one hand, a primary compulsion to attack, as observed in tensing of the back, arms and fists (as if preparing to hit). However, there was also a strong secondary component of tensing the jaw, forearm and hand. This was self-reported by the subjects, and observed by the experimenters, as a way of controlling and inhibiting the primary impulse to strike. (p, 332)

    In addition, these experimenters explored the bodily aspects of sadness and depression. Depression was characterized, in the subjects consciousness, as a chronically interrupted drive. It was as though there was something they wanted but were unable to attain. These states of depression were frequently associated with a sense of “tired heaviness,” dizziness, headache and an inability to think clearly. The researchers observed a weakened impulse to cry (as though it were stifled), along with a collapsed posture, conveying defeat and apparent lethargy.

    When Bull studied the patterns of elation, triumph and joy, she observed that these positive affects, did not have an inhibitory component; they were experienced as pure action. Subjects feeling joy reported an expanded sensation in their chests, which they experienced as buoyant, and which was associated with free deep breathing. The observation of postural changes included a lifting of the head and an extension of the spine. These closely meshed behaviors and sensations facilitated the freer breathing.

    Understanding the contradictory basis of the negative emotions, and their structural contrast to the positive ones, is revealing in the quest for wholeness. All the negative emotions studied were comprised of two “conflicting impulses,” one propelling action and the other inhibiting (thwarting) that action. (p, 333)”

    Excerpts from “In an Unspoken Voice,” by Peter Levine, PhD.

    Please look carefully at what Brennan is saying about our common lack of “internal” awareness and our subconscious “judgement” of each other, in our NEED of self-empowerment.

    “By examining the “affects” experienced in judging another, one learns a great deal about how the illusion of self-containment is purchased at the price of dumping negative affects on that other. The level of “affective transmission” is marked in terms of how one party carries the others negative affects; his aggression is experienced as her anxiety and so forth. By means of this projection, one believes oneself to be detached from him or her, when one is, in fact, propelling forward an affect the other will experience as rejection or hurt, unless the other shield’s themselves by a similar negative propulsion, in a passionate judgment of their own. (p, 119.)” _Teresa Brennan.

    Hence, when I first began to read Allan Schore, with a knowledge that psychiatrists labeled my experience as an “affective disorder,” I was struck by the power of this statement;

    “The attempt to regulate affect – to minimize unpleasant feelings and to maximize pleasant ones – is the driving force in human motivation.” (Schore, 2003).”

    As I’m struck by your constant NEED to be a critic, to project your ‘affective state” onto the external world. Freud called this “displacement,” and I do understand the paradox of traumatic experience, which keeps us “stuck” in our MindDominated sense of self, as a flight from PAIN, and the BODY. I understand how painful it is to relive the past, and the reality of how “the body keeps the score.”

    “The Limits of Talk:
    For more than 20 years, Bessel van der Kolk has been in the forefront of research in the
    psychobiology of trauma and in the quest for more effective treatments. Now he’s touched off
    an intense debate about the role of scientific evidence in finding ways to alleviate suffering and the future of the traditional talking cure itself…….”

    http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Networker.pdf

    Just like last year, when we got into a conversation where you did exactly what Bowen predicts “The words used in triangular emotional exchange, based on rational thinking, are usually not heard by the other except to defend or prepare a rebuttal.”

    This emotional systems view, explains why we continue to round the same old Cartesian Circle, in a rationalized debate, which is “primarily” about managing “internal” affects.

    Too many people “think” that intelligent critique is constant criticism of something or someone, beguiled by their capacity for an eloquent description of a displaced NEED.

    What does the metaphor “I see you” from the movie Avatar mean to you, Jonah? According to Jake’s friend, it means “I see into you.”

    is there a common lack of internal awareness, in fact even a dire resistance to internal knowledge, which prevents us from really understanding each other?

    I believe that I’ve attempted to answer questions you put to me, while readers may note, how you’ve neatly avoided answering questions I put to you. Example:

    “Also please consider this perspective, even though you will no doubt feel that I don’t do this;

    “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.”

    This, in my humble opinion, is what is missing in our “counteracting” debate. Hence the general confusion about biology and neuroscience.

    Respectfully

    David.

  • P.S. This quote from the life of a famous teacher, always reminds of doing chemistry at school, and the periodic table. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodic_table

    “Having achieved the goal of spreading the teaching to the greatest number of people, Buddha dies at the age of eighty years, as a result of food poisoning. He dies in a forest near Kusinagara, Nepal, in the company of his followers reclining on a bed where he speaks his last words:

    “All compounded things are ephemeral; work diligently on your salvation.”

    With these words on his lips, he passes into the state of Pari-Nirvana.”

    While Teresa Brennan suggests we should work on refining our awareness of internal sensations;

    “Extending knowledge of sensation, following it further along its pathways, means extending consciousness into the body, infusing it with the conscious understanding from which it has been split, by a subject/object orientation. That split has hardened with the sealing of the heart as an organ of sensory reception and transmission, yet it has also come under examination in all the practices and knowledge’s that, taken together, presage the resurrection of the body.”

    But I guess, only fools like me, who journey into the liminal, where we so obviously lose our ‘insight’ into an ‘objective’ reality, might suggest that we are entering the age of resurrection.

    Don’t you love those Biblical stories about the human condition and the internal nature of what it means to be human? How poor hyper-sensitive’s like many of us, come to know God, as the cosmos within.

    As Shasha would say,

    Mad love to all,

    David.

  • Thanks for the link Ana, great stuff;

    “The failure to distinguish consciousness from neural activity corrodes our self-understanding in two significant ways. If we are just our brains, and our brains are just evolved organs designed to optimize our odds of survival — or, more precisely, to maximize the replicative potential of the genetic material for which we are the vehicle — then we are merely beasts like any other, equally beholden as apes and centipedes to biological drives. Similarly, if we are just our brains, and our brains are just material objects, then we, and our lives, are merely way stations in the great causal net that is the universe, stretching from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch.” (emphasis added)”

    I think you used your intuitive sense rather than objective rationality, which seems to confuse us, as much as it illuminates our self-awareness.

    Folks here don’t like my suggestion to change our metaphors of self-interpretation to ‘chemical.’ Your a silly ‘reductionist’ they shout! Yet the fact that our internal reality is overwhelmingly chemical, is increasingly, staring us in the face, IMO.

    Hence, I write of my own efforts to increase the depth of my self-awareness;

    “Object or Chemical Metaphors?
    Huxley accepts the textual facts for what they in fact seem to be and then illustrates them with a telling chemical metaphor that we might now recognize as an early traumatic model for the mystical, perhaps best expressed in this story in the mystical life and psychological sufferings of Dick Price. Here is how Huxley put it in 1944:

    “Nothing in our everyday experience gives us any reason for supposing that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen; and yet when we subject water to certain rather drastic treatments, the nature of its constituent elements becomes manifest. Similarly, nothing in our everyday experience gives us much reason for supposing that the mind of the average sensual man has, as one of its constituents, something resembling, or identical with, the Reality substantial to the manifold world; and yet, when that mind is subjected to drastic treatments, the divine element, of which it is in part at least composed, becomes manifest.”

    Huxley’s wonderful summation of our everyday experience and the nature of its constituent elements, prompted me to write;

    It seems to me that we mislead ourselves with language of self-interpretation, using external object analogies to describe our own makeup, as if we are an elaborately assembled French clock? We seem to think and communicate in a narrative of a parts like description, which reflects our instinctual awareness of duality?

    A mind-body split which has become dangerously lopsided in our intellectualized, cultural zeitgeist? Is it time for a brave new world to embrace a new idea? That it really is a chemical Universe and we can learn to feel it within, if we can change our metaphors of self-awareness and stop trying to sanctify the mind? That self-deluded Emperor, with no clothes?

    Peter Joseph seeks a Utopian future, based on technology and all those shiny objects of an “out there,” consensus reality, not yet realizing that the real territory and the keys to the kingdom, lie within?

    My statements about keys and the kingdom within lead me back in time, in that circular pattern that seems to be the nature of life’s experience? As if this moment really is eternal, a subtle sense I fell into, back in October-November 2011. After all the reading about the electro-chemical activity of my brain and nervous systems, my taken for granted acceptance of my everyday vocabulary began to change. The notion of object awareness leading to a language inappropriate for an accurate description, of our inner nature had been in the back of my mind for some years. The notion begins to crystallize within my mind, as I try to write about the experience of mental illness, from the inside out;”

    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-8.html

    Many scientists wonder why it is, that there has not been a paradigm shift in the way we perceive ourselves, since the discovery of the quanta and the birth of quantum mechanics. In the chapter above and the link below, I try to explain my feeling that we still view ourselves as ‘objects,’ using a thus far evolved language, which essentially describes the external world, and this language is mismatched to our internal reality.

    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-15.html

    Thanks again for the link Ana.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Can’t find any references here either, even in the Catholic press.

    Perhaps there is an unconscious reason for a public shying away from any association with “the Controversy of Children and Psychotropics.”

    I’m sure most members of the general public would equate giving psychotropics to children, with madness? Yet of course, we all need to keep ‘madness’ out of sight and out of mind?

    Hence, my apparently bizarre reference to ‘paternalism’ above. No one wants to willingly provoke the emotional outrage, that such public awareness might invoke. “Unconscious mechanisms of cover-up and denial, within us all, perhaps?”

    Perhaps the real reason for a societal delusion about the merits of psychotropic medications, is not so obvious, after all?

    Be well,

    Batesy.

  • P.S. I apologize for the time delay’s in my replies to you Jonah. But we are on opposite sides of the planet, even though we’re on the same side of the debate.

    Like how we both called for ‘transparency’ from the operators of this webzine last year. Both of us posted private email communication on our own blogs, in an effort to point out the nature of behind closed doors ‘paternalism.’

    Elitism works privately, keeping precious knowledge in the family, so to speak. As they say, all groups have their ‘in group’ and outsider members. Behavior ‘rationalized’ in a need of displacement or projection, away from the reality of internal motivation.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah,

    No I wasn’t being sarcastic in a demeaning way, I was trying to tease out the nature of our common paternal projections, as I’ve alluded to here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/leading-experts-to-speak-at-vatican-about-the-controversy-of-children-and-psychotropics/#comment-26213

    Last year, when I first began commenting on MIA, during an active psychosis, which according to the medical model, should have made me totally incoherent, I asked you whether you were describing my reality, in your assumptions about me, or if you were ‘projecting’ your own reality, subconsciously?

    When you write: (you know, I’ve told you, emphatically); at times, I think you’ve gone totally overboard, in your MIA comments, cutting and pasting *way* to many, long excerpted passages from your favorite authorities on ‘mental heath’ (or, perhaps, I should say, more accurately: your favored authorities on psychological and/or bio-psychological issues and/or experts on bio-psycho-social issues, etc.)

    Are you projecting your own sense of ‘authorities’ onto my reality, assuming we think about others in exactly the same way?

    I stopped deferring to authorities a long time ago, no longer feeling that need of childlike reverence for a ‘subconsciously’ perceived ‘parental figure.’ I don’t see a world of I & other, I see a world of ‘we.’ Hence when I quote people, I do so with a sense of gratitude for their contribution in our common struggle towards improved self-differentiation.

    Personally, I’m not so fixated on the literal meaning of words and the quality of grammar, in other peoples comments. I try to perceive what they are trying to illuminate from within.

    You suggest I make it very clear that I’m writing about “affective psychosis,” while, perhaps rather childishly I assume that nickname of bipolarbatesy will infer that I’m writing about affective psychosis, particularly with my consistent references to the meaning of the term ‘affect.’ Example:

    “Education of The Senses:

    By examining the “affects” experienced in judging another, one learns a great deal about how the illusion of self-containment is purchased at the price of dumping negative affects on that other. The level of “affective transmission” is marked in terms of how one party carries the others negative affects; his aggression is experienced as her anxiety and so forth. By means of this projection, one believes oneself to be detached from him or her, when one is, in fact, propelling forward an affect the other will experience as rejection or hurt, unless the other shield’s themselves by a similar negative propulsion, in a passionate judgment of their own. (p, 119.)

    Discernment, in the affective world, functions best when one is able to be alert to the moment of sensation, which allows the negative affect to gain a hold within. Any faculty of discernment must involve a process whereby affects pass from a state of sensory registration to a state of cognitive awareness, this does not mean that the process of cognitive reflection is without an affect itself, just that this affect is other than the affect which is being reflected upon.

    In our illusion of self-containment, reason and passion or affect-emotion and cognition keep appearing in binaries, despite arguments for their separation. Such binaries attempt a distinction between the ego and a faculty of discernment, between the affect-passion and the “other I” which reflects on them, as in the palpable experience of being pulled in two directions. One direction feels more passionate, the other, more reasonable.

    The point of affective discernment though is in the work of the senses, (touching, hearing, smelling, listening, seeing) and the expression of the senses, affectively, accurately, in words, often defined and limited by traditional vocabulary. The naming of feelings is one thing, but the ability to discern the affective world within and without, requires more. Such an investigation requires a conceptual vocabulary and some means of circumventing the “affects” combined distractions. (p, 120.)”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    I will try to clarify further my inclusion of reference paragraphs and statements in my comments. A bottom of the above reference is states “Excerpts from,” meaning that these are excerpts from a book, which I feel are particularly pertinent to the debate on what mental illness is. I feel that each selected paragraph or statement, can be contemplated individually, for their relevance.

    Perhaps readers are confused, subconsciously ‘expecting’ a comment to follow a rational narrative style?

    Hence I write above “You may be aware of the concept that the brain & nervous systems operate below conscious awareness, in a “pattern matching” way. Hence the natural anxiety of the lived moment is better defined as an established *expectation* rather than a clear perception of reality “as it is.” And why I continue to suggest that in our time pressured lives, we scan these word symbols, unaware of unconscious processes, which only allow to perceive what we already know. Perhaps a subconscious mechanism of our limbic region within the brain, known to some as an “association” region.

    Its interesting that you’ve not found the time to address a pertinent question about your self-awareness? My question above:

    “Here is your expression of internal mechanisms of distress;

    “And, by the way, please know: my sense of disappointment, as conveyed to you, in my comment, was enlarged by the stress and sleeplessness of the family health issues I briefly mentioned – and by my laying awake, recalling having been traumatized by medical-coercive psychiatry, decades ago. It came directly from all that; and, this was quite clear to me, as I felt it; but, it didn’t occur to me, to say so, to you.

    Perhaps, I should have said so? But, I had no energy or will to articulate myself, that way — and, instead, expected you to automatically understand that my distress and my feeling unable to get to sleep was a matter of all kinds of issues; so, I apologize if my disappointment was conveyed in a way that seemingly suggested you should feel disappointed in yourself — or suggested that I might view you as the ‘adversary’; and, oh, thanks, too, for being momentarily nerdy. As a kid, I enjoyed the first Star Trek series – but never saw anything of the subsequent ‘generations’ of shows and films. (Though, I appreciate good sci-fi; and, yes, I do get the idea behind the ‘Borg’ characters; the theme is germane to our discussion, you must well realize.)

    Wikipedia explains, “The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to ‘the hive mind’; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of cybernetic implants. The Borg’s ultimate goal is ‘achieving perfection’.”

    You are *not* really a Borg (you only play one at Star Trek conventions). You are against being a Borg, in reality; that is clear from your caring expressions.”

    Please explain to me, just how and where you express an awareness of internal function, in the above?

    As for myself and my improving self-regulation through increased ‘internal’ awareness. it has come through digesting new knowledge with the practice of experiential integration, having, like many of my fellow travelers here, faith in my innate intuition. Hence I write to such a fellow traveler;

    “I have always trusted my “intuition” over my often confused rationality, and increasingly accept the evolved wisdom of my body and its ability to know, what “rationally,” is “unknowable.”

    Although I don’t favor their rather commercial approach to science, the folks at HeartMath Institute do point out some great science of the heart, and practical ways to use it.

    “The heart’s nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons, called sensory neurites, which detect circulating hormones and neurochemicals and sense heart rate and pressure information. Hormonal, chemical, rate and pressure information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart’s nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through several afferent (flowing to the brain) pathways. It is also through these nerve pathways that pain signals and other feeling sensations are sent to the brain. These afferent nerve pathways enter the brain in an area called the medulla, located in the brain stem. The signals have a regulatory role over many of the autonomic nervous system signals that flow out of the brain to the heart, blood vessels and other glands and organs. However, they also cascade up into the higher centers of the brain, where they may influence perception, decision making and other cognitive processes.

    “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and provide us with intuitive feeling instead. It takes the power of the heart.” (McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2001).

    Ram Dass, and other spiritual leaders are saying the same thing, from a spiritual perspective, IMO. So it does seem, that beyond our thurst for melodramatic headlines and highly conservative “paternalistic controlisms,” science and spirituality, are converging?

    Be well,

    http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/mad-visions-or-mental-illness-part-1.html

    You too Jonah,

    Be well.

  • “I have recently been disinvited from a Catholic Church linked meeting on psychotropic drugs and children apparently for using an analogy between child abuse in the Church and pharmacotherapy abuse in clinical care.” _David Healy.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/we-have-a-dream-getting-engaged-to-a-doctor/

    Perhaps its the age-old problem of “paternalism” and an unconscious, internal mechanism, for our human tendency towards denial and cover-ups?

    “Paternalism (or parentalism) is behavior, by a person, organization or state, which limits some person or group’s liberty or autonomy for their own good.[1] Paternalism can also imply that the behavior is against or regardless of the will of a person, or also that the behavior expresses an attitude of superiority.[2]
    The word paternalism is from the Latin pater for father, though paternalism should be distinguished from patriarchy. Paternalism is sometimes thought appropriate towards children and paternalism towards adults is sometimes thought to treat them as if they were children.[3]
    Examples of paternalism include laws requiring the use of motorcycle helmets, a parent forbidding their children to engage in dangerous activities, and a psychiatrist confiscating sharp objects from someone who is suicidally depressed.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternalism

    Interestingly, Robert uses the term “unconscious” in his dialogue with Frances Allen. See here https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/05/inside-story-americas-redefining-mental-illness/

    Is Robert having unsettling thoughts about what appears to be an obvious cause of our societal delusion, over the merits of psychotropic medications?
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/07/the-triumph-of-bad-science/

    Why does is it seem like, “the more things change, the more they stay…….?”

    Is there an important element missing from our “intellectual” understanding of our own nature? A denial of internal function, based on historical, cultural distortions about the body, and its perceived “influence” on our pious sense of morality? Please consider a “polyvagal perspectve” on;

    “Reciprocal influences between body and brain in the perception and expression of affect:

    Current research in affective neuroscience focuses on brain structures and neural circuits related to specific motivational and emotional processes (e.g., Panksepp, 1998). These important discoveries emphasize cortical and subcortical structures in the emergence of the complex affective S.W. Porges The Healing Power of Emotion (2009,in press) page 2 repertoire of humans and their contribution to social relationships (e.g., Schore, 1994, 2003; Siegel,
    2007). However, underlying these contributions are details of an important and often overlooked neurobiological substrate, the neural circuits mediating the reciprocal communication between body states and brainstem structures, which impact on the availability of these affective circuits.

    These underlying circuits not only promote feelings (e.g., Damasio, 1999), but also form a bidirectional circuit (e.g., Darwin, 1872) that enables mental and psychological processes to influence body state and body state to color and, at times, to distort our perception of the world.

    Thus, the study of affective processes, especially in their prosocial and healing roles, requires an understanding of the neural circuits both between higher brain structures and the brainstem and between the brainstem and the visceral organs (e.g., the heart) mediated through the autonomic nervous system.

    All affective or emotional states are dependent upon lower brain regulation of the visceral state and the important visceral, tactile, and nocioceptive cues that travel to the brain from the periphery. Moreover, there are distinct visceral regulatory states that foster different domains of behavior.

    These states do not preclude the important bidirectional information from higher brain structures.” _S W Porges.

    http://austininconnection.org/documents/Reciprocalinfluencesbetweenbodyandbrain-inpress-1.pdf

    As people like Jaak Panksepp point out, there is a fierce resistance to internal awareness and some inconvenient research truths, about the nature of our conscious perceptions, and physiological foundations of the mind.

    Perhaps the church is not yet ready to explore its own historical metaphors, about human evolution, believing the mind to have an immaculate conception?

    Personally, I think J.C would approve of cover-ups, although I suspect an understanding of denial and other Biblical metaphors.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Thanks for the *paternalistic* advice Jonah:))

    As I described above, we are all time pressed these days, and with the prevailing Mind-Dominated sense of self in our educated cultures, we predisposed to only taking in what already agree with, in these written words. In other words, we instantly relate to the familiar of what we already know.

    You may be aware of the concept that the brain & nervous systems operate below conscious awareness, in a “pattern matching” way. Hence the natural anxiety of the lived moment is better defined as an established *expectation* rather than a clear perception of reality “as it is.” Hence Tolle advises we get in touch with The power of NOW?

    Unfortunately, most spiritual teachers are probably unaware of the latest neuroscience on human development (not to be confused with neuroscience which seeks to define pathology), and therefore what is not made clear in their sage advice, is the “how” of this Power in the NOW.

    What I’m trying to draw attention to, in my seemingly controversial comments, is the understandable lack of self-knowledge (how we function internally) and our limited self-awareness. For example, this natural focus on “external facts” as Joanna puts it, keeps us from becoming more self-aware, and therefore better able to self-regulate.

    The impulse to the social politics of self-empowerment, is a projected NEED of our *internal* dynamics, hence my comment “all behavior is communication.” What we fail to perceive, is just what our behavior is trying to communicate to our own, rather wooden headed mind. IMO we just don’t get ourselves, yet.

    As for the Cartesian circle that some are now defining as “intellectual masterbation,” (always reminds me of my Grandfather’s insistance on calling me MasterBates) I suggest this is because we all lack an *internal* self-awareness in our Mind-Dominated 1st world countries. Consider;

    “The Cartesian circle is a potential mistake in reasoning attributed to René Descartes.
    Descartes argues – for example, in the third of his Meditations on First Philosophy – that whatever one clearly and distinctly perceives is true: “I now seem to be able to lay it down as a general rule that whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true.” (AT VII 35) He goes on in the same Meditation to argue for the existence of a benevolent God, in order to defeat his skeptical argument in the first Meditation from the possibility that God be a deceiver. He then says that without his knowledge of God’s existence, none of his knowledge could be certain. The argument takes this form: 1) Descartes’ proof of the reliability of clear and distinct perceptions takes as a premise God’s existence as a non-deceiver. 2) Descartes’ proofs of God’s existence presuppose the reliability of clear and distinct perceptions.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_circle

    We are NOT objects, and we cannot define our own reality with mechanistic “cause and effect” logic.

    We lack an awareness of our own emotional *projections* and the very limited function of rationality, and its denial, of own stimulus from within. Unless we believe the *mind* has an *immaculate conception* and we simply take our thoughts for granted, as just “the way it is.”

    Lacking awareness of the internal creation of our perceptions and our projected needs, we are likely to enter into predictable emotional interactions in a shaming and blaming fashion, in our denied need to displace and deflect away from internal awareness.

    Hence, as Murray Bowen points out, we go around and around the same old Cartesian circle of public debate, in rational denial of our true motivations.

    “The triangling process in a large family will help illustrate the process in society. It may begin with conflict between a parent and child. When another takes sides emotionally, he is potentially triangled. When he talks (to influence others) or he takes action based on feelings, he is actively triangled. Each person who becomes involved can involve others until a fair percentage of the group is actively taking sides. The controversy is defined on “right” and “wrong” issues, and often as victimizer and victim. In societal conflict, those who side with the “victim” are more likely to demonstrate and take activist postures. Those who “feel more responsible” for the total group will side with the parental side. They are more likely to stay silent or take action in letters to the editor, or to actively counteract the activists.

    One interesting group of activists is made up of members of professional and scientific organizations who attempt to use knowledge and social status to further entangle the triangular emotional system. To summarize the process, it begins with emotional tension in a bipolar situation, it spreads by involving emotionally vulnerable others, it is fed by emotional reactiveness and response to denial and accusation and it becomes quiescent when emotional energy is exhausted.

    There are several ways it can be started, intensified, deintensified, or stopped. It can be started by one person who, intentionally or unintentionally, touches an emotional trigger in the second. The triggered person characteristically defends or counterattacks which adds emotional fuel. It can be deintensified or stopped by a calm person who stays in “low key” contact without defending self or counterattacking.

    The words used in triangular emotional exchange, based on rational thinking, are usually not heard by the other except to defend or prepare a rebuttal. The words can be heard only after the emotion is reduced. The triangle emotional system is most intense when anxiety is high. It disappears when the system is calm” _Murray Bowen.

    Hence my opening remark. Thanks for the *paternalistic* advice Jonah:))

    Perhaps its the *paternalistic* nature of the way society actually functions, which is also missing from the debate, along with a missing *internal* awareness?

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah,

    You wrote;

    “You ask, “Can you describe the internal mechanisms of your own experience of distress?”

    In fact, both Joanna Care and I have been engaging in a rather extended dialogue, of comments, on those very subjects — currently, on another thread.

    Speaking only for myself, here now: I suggest you read my comment (on June 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm): https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/a-critical-psychiatry-network-call-to-cancel-charles-nemeroff/#comment-26113

    Here is your expression of internal mechanisms of distress;

    “And, by the way, please know: my sense of disappointment, as conveyed to you, in my comment, was enlarged by the stress and sleeplessness of the family health issues I briefly mentioned – and by my laying awake, recalling having been traumatized by medical-coercive psychiatry, decades ago. It came directly from all that; and, this was quite clear to me, as I felt it; but, it didn’t occur to me, to say so, to you.

    Perhaps, I should have said so? But, I had no energy or will to articulate myself, that way — and, instead, expected you to automatically understand that my distress and my feeling unable to get to sleep was a matter of all kinds of issues; so, I apologize if my disappointment was conveyed in a way that seemingly suggested you should feel disappointed in yourself — or suggested that I might view you as the ‘adversary’; and, oh, thanks, too, for being momentarily nerdy. As a kid, I enjoyed the first Star Trek series – but never saw anything of the subsequent ‘generations’ of shows and films. (Though, I appreciate good sci-fi; and, yes, I do get the idea behind the ‘Borg’ characters; the theme is germane to our discussion, you must well realize.)

    Wikipedia explains, “The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to ‘the hive mind’; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of cybernetic implants. The Borg’s ultimate goal is ‘achieving perfection’.”

    You are *not* really a Borg (you only play one at Star Trek conventions). You are against being a Borg, in reality; that is clear from your caring expressions.”

    Please explain to me, just how and where you express an awareness of internal function, in the above?

    Where is the ‘sensate’ awareness which would allow you better self-regulation, to overcome feelings of distress and better release yourself into sleep? Please consider this excerpt from my writing;

    ““In particular, you will begin to notice what various sensations (i.e., tensions, contractions, aches, pains, etc,) tend to emerge in sequences or in groups. For example, you may notice that a “knot” in the belly or tightening of the anus is associated with a suppression or holding of breath.”(Levine, 2010.)

    As I continue to practice what has become so effective in letting go of the surging energies of excitement in mania’s manic mood swings, I’m mortified by how difficult its proving to let go the bipolar opposite of what is beginning to feel like a fall into depression. God knows I‘ve been here before and I‘m getting really scared that I can‘t resist the collapse, scared that I won‘t cope with this first overwhelmingly negative state for five years. So many memories of feeling just like this and helplessly drowning in depression. “How have I become so immersed in this state of fear?” I ask myself. As awareness of tension expands across my whole body, aware too, of “holding myself in,” of shallow breath and the stiff posture of awkwardly positioned limbs. A flashbulb memory of holding myself like this as a child comes to mind, “this is how I got myself to sleep at night.” Fear driven immobilization the experts now call it, or “tonic immobility,” an unconscious response hardwired as a mammalian survival trick, although a paradoxical trap for human beings. “This is what came from a three day birth ordeal, brutal forceps delivery and the immediate isolation of a mechanical crib. This is my default response to life, an existential crisis which has always been the ghost in my internal machine.”

    “Our nervous system assesses threat in two basic ways. First of all, we use our external sense organs to discern and evaluate threat in the external environment. We also asses threat directly from the state of our viscera and our muscles-our internal sense organs. If our muscles are tense, we unconsciously interpret these tensions as foretelling the existence of danger, even when none actually exists.” (Levine, 2010).

    Again I try to bring all awareness into the felt sense of pain, suddenly my eyes open and I become aware of the tension that had been unconsciously held there, along with the corresponding release of pain in my stomach. There is also a frizz of warm sensation in my feet as blood circulation flows more freely there. “A whole brain/body systemic reaction,” I say to myself, suddenly remembering a trick I was taught by an Alexander Technique therapist. I turn over onto my back and focus my eyes on the light switch by the bathroom door, some six yards away. I concentrate on widening my peripheral vision either side of the switch, and hey presto, a spontaneous release of stomach tension. “I think you have an exaggerated startle reflex,” the therapist had told me, explaining that it fitted perfectly with my suspicions about birth trauma. “Its more common than is realized, with people learning to adapt to a rather rigid posture and inhibited responses,” he’d said. “All the world’s a stage,” comes to mind as I turn back onto my stomach and continue to dissolve this physiological state of fear.

    This time when I feel into tension in my stomach I’m equally aware of the tension around my eyes, which now feels like I’m forcing them shut. Holding an awareness of both eye socket and stomach tension, I feel a warm tingling in my feet and fingertips too, as a spontaneous deep breath overcomes me. My nervous system is coming back into balance now, as I de-arouse this unconsciously stimulated, whole body state of fearful rigidity. As I continue to relax into my body and gain a more mind-less state of embodied awareness, I remember how years ago I would have gotten stuck in that pressurized compulsive thinking, maintaining and amplifying this fearful state all the way into that avoidance of life we call depression. Yet just as now happens when I’m too excited and worry about escalating into a manic mood state, I begin to drift back down into my body with a mind-less muscular relaxation. The unconsciously stimulated physical tensions of fear, dissolving, as sleep, per chance to dream, overcomes my “I think therefore I am,” all too self-conscious mind.”

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/managing-mental-illness-symptoms-with.html

    As I wrote above, its difficult to let-go this mind-filled sense of self, which we are raised with in so-called 1st world countries. Difficult to grasp the concept of surrender to a mind-less sensate awareness, in the Eastern tradition. Even in the east there is great confusion about the mind and its relationship to the material world and own internal foundations. Its reciprocal connections to the body, particularly the heart. As Schore points out above, we have an “implicit-self” which operates at speeds to fast to enter consciousness.

    Please let me know what you think about this Buddhist perspective, on the minds relationship with itself and the external world;

    ““Presence in Reality

    Presence in reality is not possible if your mind is overwhelmed by thoughts. When the mind is emptied, it is possible to turn your attention spontaneously to reality.

    But what is reality?
    Reality is the environment that surrounds us.

    In fact, for each of us, the environment that surrounds us is our reality.
    This isn’t such a trivial fact, which we unknowingly or unconsciously take for granted .

    Try this little test.
    We are in New York, sitting on the terrace of the Times Square Brewery.
    I ask you, ‘Do you think the Place Pigalle in Paris is real?’
    You probably answer, ‘Yes.’

    But it isn’t.
    If you are in New York, in Times Square, the environment that surrounds you is Times Square in New York, not The Place Pigalle in Paris.
    Therefore “your reality” is Times square New York.
    Paris and The place Pigalle are not the environment that surrounds you. They aren’t your reality.

    They are only in your mind, in your memory, not in your reality.
    Herald Square in New York isn’t real to you either, if your in Times Square.
    Because Herald Square isn’t the environment that surrounds you. Herald square isn’t real to you.

    Do you understand what I’m saying?

    Your reality is the environment that surrounds you, and which you percieve with your senses.
    In other words, your reality is your surrounding, wherever you are.
    Nothing else.

    Paris and the Place Pigalle may be the reality of someone in Paris, but this is not your reality.
    Your reality is only the surrounding environment of wherever you are right now.
    If you behaved as if you where in Paris, you would not be intune with reality.
    You would not be present in your reality.

    There are two worlds:

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

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

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

    Your probably thinking that this is a very debatable point?
    Especially, if your still strongly anchored to the world of your mind, here’s proof though.
    A relitive of yours who has died is undoubtedly still present in your memory, yet it is obvious that they are NOT present in the environment which surrounds you, (or even in the environment which doesn’t surround you), which means that they are no longer real.

    The attribution of reality to the mental objects of our mind, is the cause of mental suffering.
    We suffer because of the “fantasies” in our mind.

    “The fantasies of your thought are not real.
    They are generated by your attachment, and therefore by your desire, your hate, your anger, your fear.
    The fantasies of your thought, are generated by yourself” _Buddha.

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

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

    A state of “Buddha-ness – truly awake” involves awareness of the distinction between the world of the mind and the world of reality.

    Deprive your fantasies of your approval and they will vanish” _Buddha.

    Most people in the Western world, love the mind and the power of its creations, and rightly so, yet true presence in reality does not negate the power of the mind, it simply offers a way out of suffering.
    Suffering generated by our own mind, due to confusion about the distinct difference between objects of reality and the mental objects of the mind, as NOT real?

    Buddhism has one essential purpose: liberation from suffering.
    All it is saying is, you cannot defeat the fantasies of your mind, by staying within your mind.
    You need to come out of your mind and enter reality.

    This is why “attenuating” thought allows us , quite naturally and without effort – in other words, spontaneously – to implement the second power of Buddha-ness (truly awake): presence in reality.

    In true reality, there is no suffering!

    This is a simple truth, which is difficult for us to accept.
    Again, using an extreme example:
    You have just lost a loved one.
    You think that reality is the cause of your suffering, because in reality the person you have lost is no longer there for you.
    But this is precisely the Buddha’s point?
    In reality that person is no longer there, but that’s ALL.
    In acceptance of true reality, there is no suffering.

    The sun continues to rise, the clouds continue to sail across the sky and the birds continue to sing.
    Your suffering, is only “inside” you.
    Yet you think that reality is the cause of your suffering, and you mistakenly, unknowingly, attribute your suffering to “reality” itself.

    But “suffering” is not an object which can be found anywhere in true reality. Suffering, is a “mental state.”
    In other words, suffering is “inside” your mind, not in reality.
    A famous Zen koan says:

    “Show me the hand which is holding your suffering.”

    You can’t do it, because “mental suffering” belongs to the world of the mind and not the world of reality.

    True presence in reality, is not a question of “intellectual knowledge,” but of “experience.”

    Also please consider this perspective, even though you will no doubt feel that I don’t do this;

    “The versatility of my intellectual interests made me realize that “everyone is right in some way” –it is merely a matter of knowing “how.”

    As for David Healy’s ability to dwell in denial about his true motivations, just as we all do. What is missing from the rational debate on mental health, is the real economy of survival. Self-preservation is need which we don’t acknowledge in the debate. Whether it be self-preservation by way of social benefit payments, insurance reimbursement or private payments, or profits from publishing, the economics of survival is politely ignored.

    It is uncivil, to suggest that health care professionals make their livelihoods of the misery of others. Yet so-called civil society actually functions this way, in one guise or another.

    I will repeat again, my assertion that we are all time pressured these days, and we scan the written format here, unaware of unconscious processes, which predispose us to only taking in, what we already agree with.

    John, described above his natural “freeze” reaction, which has been more clearly defined by Stephen Porges, and why I continue to suggest that the “polyvagal perspective” changes everything.

    I look forward to future exchanges and can only hope that one day those of us with extensive lived experience, will use this format to really tackle the question of “what mental illness is?”

    Regards,

    David.

  • Dear Jonah,

    I understand your critique of my writing and my grammar, yet my main concern here is get the many references I quote up on the site.

    Some people will choose to follow up on these sources in their own research, most, I understand will John’s reaction above.

    “Usually after a couple of sentences I freeze up, cloud over and skim to the end and then pass onto the next comment.”

    As I’ve stated previously, I’m confident that my growing understanding of psychosis, and the knowledge I’ve used to enable this understanding, is on the right track, and as we wind on down the road here, more people will come to see that.

    Sadly, we are all pressed for time, more and more these days, and as I’ve pointed out, we tend to “scan” this written form of communication without “digesting” meaning.

    I’ll respond to your other two comments later today, when I have more time.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Joanna,

    I write extensively on the “nature” of psychosis and my experiential journey to understand it. Pointing out how poetic descriptions of emotional/mental distress, tend to be “externally” focused because we have little to no common language to described the internal processes Schore alludes to as to fast to enter consciousness. Examples:

    “I had concluded that I was suffering from a serious depressive illness, and was floundering hopelessly in my efforts to deal with it. Of the many dreadful manifestations of the disease a sense of of self-hatred, a failure of self-esteem, is one of the most universal symptoms. That fall, as the disorder gradually took full possession of my system, I began to conceive that my mind itself was like one of those outmoded small-town telephone exchanges, being gradually inundated by flood-waters: one by one, the normal circuits began to drown, causing some of the instinct and intellect to slowly disconnect.” (Styron, 1990).

    “The importance of language for the formation of one’s self through organizing one’s experience into a coherent core narrative is emphasized, especially as it relates to the micro-sensory experience of the body for which vocabulary is often inadequate. The importance of movement, oscillations, pulsations, and sensations being included in a full experience of a psycho-somatic self is argued. The still open issue of finding adequate cortical representation of the felt sense of these neuroceptive movements is raised.” and, “When I began reading neuroscience, I fell in love with the vocabulary. Words such as neural oscillation, pulsation, or sinusoidal waves, like music, evoked in me a sensory resonance born of a mysteriously intangible recognition. Perplexed, I surmised that this terminology activated contact with a dimension of implicit experience where words bridge the passage of the body through the mind and the mind through the body.” (LaPierre, 2007).

    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-8.html

    Madness & The Effects, of its Fear Affect?

    “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” _Franklin Roosevelt.

    A paraphrase of the line “Nothing is terrible except fear itself” by Sir Francis Bacon

    Is fear an Affect! With a contagious Effect?

    Is there an “unconscious,” fear of mad people?
    As if, Madness is Contagious?

    Two simple words, Affect & Effect? What exactly do they mean, and why do they cause so much confusion about the true nature of our mental health?

    Do we now understand the unconscious mechanisms of both fear, as an innate affect and our social need to deny the very existance of innate affects and the primary processes of the body. The body’s evolved nature and the foundational aspects of our self-preservation and therefore our instinctual-intelligence? Consider;

    “The body initiates and the mind follows. Hence “talking cures” that engage the intellect
    or even the emotions, do not reach deep enough.” _Peter Levine, Ph,D.

    It takes a momentary suspension of our normal reasoning, to imagine an unconscious nervous system, mediating much of our everyday social behaviors, as the evolved nervous system we share with all other mammals. As an evolved aid and defense of survival, mammals have an innate ability to feign death as a last ditch, instinct for survival. When there is no possibility of fight or flight, no possible means of escape from immediate and overwhelming threat, mammals escape into a simulated death state. (see: Madness & the Chaotic Energies of The Trauma Trap?)

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/madness-effects-of-its-fear-affect.html

    The AFFECT of Neuroception, in Mental Illness?

    NEUROCEPTION:
    A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety.

    Ideally, a baby’s neuroception of her environment shows her a safe place to explore.

    But even if her perception warns her accurately of danger from a “frightened or frightening” caregiver, the baby can take some defensive measures, even though they are likely to be ineffective and are almost certain to be psychologically costly.

    What happens when neuroception itself is impaired? From a theoretical perspective, faulty neuroception—that is, an inability to detect accurately whether the environment is safe or another person is trustworthy—might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders: (see: NEUROCEPTION: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety)

    So what exactly is, SUBCONSCIOUS perception?
    • Areas in the temporal cortex that are assumed to inhibit fight, flight, or freeze reactions are not activated in people with autism or schizophrenia, who have difficulty with social engagement.

    • Individuals with anxiety disorders and depression have compromised social behavior; difficulties in regulating the heart rate, as reflected in measures of vagal control of the heart; and reduced facial expressiveness.

    • Maltreated and institutionalized children with Reactive Attachment Disorder tend to be either inhibited (emotionally withdrawn and unresponsive) or uninhibited (indiscriminate in their attachment behavior; Zeanah, 2000). Both types of behavior suggest faulty neuroception of the risk in the environment. _Stephen Porges, Ph,D.

    How does SUBCONSCIOUS perception, result in Mental Illness?

    At a glance:
    • Neuroception describes how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening.

    • Neuroception explains why a baby coos at a caregiver but cries at a stranger, or why a toddler enjoys a parent’s embrace but views a hug from a stranger as an assault.

    • The Polyvagal Theory describes three developmental stages of a mammal’s autonomic nervous system: Immobilization, mobilization, and social communication or social engagement.

    • Faulty neuroception might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.

    Could most catergories of what we normally see as expressions of a mental illness, be classified under this “umbrella” term, Reactive Attachment Disorder? Is “attachment” a fundamental requirment, in human physiological and psychological health? For example: “Individuals with anxiety disorders and depression have compromised social behavior; difficulties in regulating the heart rate, as reflected in measures of vagal control of the heart; and reduced facial expressiveness.” Certainly, my own, bipolar disorder type 1, has its roots in a “neuroception” of danger and subsequently compromised social behaviors, of which “mania” was at times, a spontaneous attempt to rectify? IMO. “Nothing overrides a sense of fearful aviodance and withrawal from other people and life, quite like an episode of mania,” I said to a psychiatrist recently.

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

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/the-affect-of-neuroception-in-mental.html

    My writing explores the physiological foundation of my experience of psychoses, and the foundation of our “intellectual masterbation” as self-regulation.

    I understand how difficult it is to let go of this “mind-filled” sense of self, we are raised with, in so-called first world countries. It took me two years of living in a different, wiser culture, to even begin to “get-it.”

    Again, I suggest that the vast majority of personal description,, is “externally” focused because, as explained above;

    “Words such as neural oscillation, pulsation, or sinusoidal waves, like music, evoked in me a sensory resonance born of a mysteriously intangible recognition. Perplexed, I surmised that this terminology activated contact with a dimension of implicit experience where words bridge the passage of the body through the mind and the mind through the body.” (LaPierre, 2007).”

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

    Respectfully,

    David.

  • Hi Richard,

    Its interesting to reflect on previous posts about emotions, mental illness, and mental masturbation. Do we think too much and feel too little? Unaware, how we use the mind to mask the needs of the body, as Damasio, puts it.

    If mental illness is not about brain disease, is more to do with our heartfelt emotions, as you point out, and our hearts? Consider a wonderful post and comments from last year;

    “Decartes- ” I think therefore I am” error, is the hallmark for our modern over determined belief that our cognitive function or mind is the high priest of the total human being. So why wouldn’t visceral, glandular, heart and soul based emotion filled experience be reduced to faulty brain functioning and-’thought disorder’?” _Micahel Cornwall.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/03/i-dont-believe-in-mental-illness-do-you/#comment-3856

    Of coarse, an educated priesthood has always used knowledge to secure its own survival. I guess in that regard, we all play the same game to one degree or another?

    The researcher’s will suggest, very reasonably of coarse, that we need more and more research;

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

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

    http://www.bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/perception-phds-other-misconceptions.html

    Regards,

    David.

  • @ Joanna Care.

    I’m talking about the subconscious aspects of self-regulation (not to be confused with a cognitive sense of self-control) and the emotional dynamics of our lived experience. Perhaps this will help;

    “MODERN REGULATION THEORY

    An explosion of developmental and neurobiological research has added substantially to the theoretical understanding of the 110 years since Freud (1895/ 1966) first published his Project for a Scientific Psychology (Schore, 1997). Having been grounded in drive, ego, object relations, self psychology, and relational psychology through the 1980s, the addition of attachment theory has moved psychodynamic clinicians’ sensibilities into an awareness of real experience and a keen focus on early development as the root of all. Then, beginning in the 1990s, the advances in neuroscience, added to the temperament research, the biological component in our biopsychosocial frame, have provided a remarkable underpinning and expansion of all the pertinent developmental psychoanalytic theoretical concepts that came before. Using this knowledge on a daily basis, finding new understandings in clinical assessments, shaping therapeutic interventions from relevant theory, and providing a unique awareness of the adaptive nonconscious functions of the implicit self are some of the profound results of this theoretical integration.

    The intersubjective process of developing a true self that can enter into meaningful relationships shows us how the internal world is structured on a psychophysiological base, which takes into account the unique genetic endowment of the particular infant in interaction with his or her relational environment. In a recent overview, Glass (2008) concludes, “Recent research in brain imaging, molecular biology, and neurogenetics has shown that psychotherapy changes brain function and structure. Such studies have shown that psychotherapy affects regional cerebral blood flow, neurotransmitter metabolism, gene expression, and persistent modifications in synaptic plasticity” (p. 1589). Tucker (1992) observes, “the baby brain must begin participating effectively in the process of social information transmission that offers entry into the culture” (p. 79). He asserts that social interaction that promotes brain differentiation is the mechanism for teaching “the epigenetic patterns of culture” (p. 122), and that successful social development requires a high degree of skill in negotiating emotional communication, “much of which is nonverbal” (p. 80). Tucker concludes that such emotional information engages “specialized neural networks in humans, within the right hemisphere” (p. 80). This conceptualization clearly suggests an important and unique role for clinical social work in infant mental health and optimal right brain development, particularly for attachment programs aimed at prevention and early intervention.

    In this chapter we equate “unconscious” with “nonconscious”; that is, implicit functions that occur beneath levels of awareness not because they are repressed but because they are too rapid to reach consciousness.”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    I assume you don’t mind admitting to possessing, “implicit functions that occur beneath levels of awareness, not because they are repressed but because they are too rapid to reach consciousness.”

    Respectfully,

    David.

  • Jonah, tell me if I’m wrong, but I assume that you think my earlier comment to you is irrelevant and off topic?

    I understand your feelings of outrage, at the way DR Healy ‘rationalizes’ his opposition to medications while upholding his professions views on brain pathology.

    I also appreciate your spin on my use of Styron’s ability to paint pictures of the human experience, with his eloquent use a thus far ‘evolved’ language.

    Please consider another’s view of our limited ability to express the reality of our lived experience, with our learned vocabulary;

    “At present we only have a rudimentary language for connecting sensations, affects, and words, for connecting bodily processes and a conceptual understanding of them. The further development of such language requires an attention to the pathways of sensation in the body. We need to formulate bodily knowledge more accurately and increase the rapidity of human understanding. Extending knowledge in this way is the reverse of gathering it by “objectification,” or studying bodily processes disconnected from living sensory attention. (p, 153.)”

    Excerpt from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    Hence my earlier comment you, “Can you describe the internal mechanisms of your own experience of distress?”

    My effort here on MIA, has been to try and shift the debate away from a focus on treatments, like ECT and medications. Treatment’s which like you, I find abhorrent.

    What I asked you, was a question about internal awareness and your lived experience. Although I do understand your ‘political’ need to stay on message.

    As for appearing to be off-topic with David Healy’s post, my question is about ‘engagement’ with oneself and our rationalized denial of internal motivations. our social phobia towards the reality of our evolved nature. Illustrated so well in Healy’s post.

    “We have a Dream that one day people will rise up and live out the true meaning of this creed: “we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”.

    I suggest the dream is actually mother nature’s dream, for her children, and is within each one of us, where such equality lies.

    But hey, the social politics of “us & them” sure gets the arousal juices flowing, as behavior satisfy’s an internal need. As all good counselors say, “all behavior is communication,” yet we often fail to examine what our behavior is communicating to our own self.

    Respectfully,

    David.

  • @ Joanna Care

    “Nope don’t need to because it is external fact which can be evidenced.”

    So please tell me Joanna, how external “fact’s” explain what is happening inside your body, and just how this external evidence helps you self-regulate?

    Your earlier “quick-fire” response to my comment, was stimulated by internal “impulse,” yet in the great “rationalization” of life, mentioning such internal motivation is taboo.

    Certainly external events affect reactions within us, but the external view alone, is an incomplete answer to what is actually happening to us, within the reality of the lived moment.

    IMO only expanded internal awareness brings the much needed improvement in self-regulation, which allows us to fully escape the conditioned effects of traumatic experience. Consider;

    “We have also become used to searching for the source of our discomfort outside ourselves. We simply are unfamiliar with experiencing something “as it is,” without the encumbrance of analysis and judgment. As the sensation-thought-emotion complex is uncoupled, experiencing moves forward toward subtler, freer contours of feeling. Eugene Gendlin, the originator of the term “felt sense,” sums this up with, “Nothing that feels bad is ever the last step.”

    This experiential process involves the capacity to hold the emotion in abeyance, without allowing it to execute in its habitual way. This holding back is not an act of suppression but is rather one of forming a bigger container, a larger experiential vessel, to hold and differentiate the sensations and feelings. “Going into” the emotional expression is frequently a way of trying to “release” the tension we are feeling, while avoiding deeper feelings. (p, 323)

    With containment, emotion shifts into a different sensation-based “contour” with softer feelings that morph into deepening, sensate awareness of “OK-ness.” This is the essence of emotional self-regulation, self-acceptance, goodness and change. (p, 324)

    From a functional point of view, bodily/sensate feelings are the compass that we use to navigate through life. They permit us to estimate the value of the things to which we must incorporate or adapt. Our attraction to that which sustains us and our avoidance of that which is harmful, are the essence of the feeling function. All feelings derive from the ancient precursors of approach and avoidance, they are in differing degrees positive or negative.

    Traumatized individuals generally find themselves swinging wildly and unpredictably between being numb and shut down on the one hand and being flooded by emotions, including terror and rage, on the other. These bipolar swings are often erratic and capricious. (p, 246)

    Surly no one would reasonably dispute that we are the product of how our brains and bodies operate. It would be hubris to say that all our subjective experience is precisely explained by the anatomy and physiology of the brain, just as it would be absurd to believe that everything we feel and know is understandable by how the brain functions. (p, 249)

    Our most primitive instincts reside at the root of the limbic system (the emotional brain), in the most ancient, no-frills portion of the brainstem. There a core of barbed neurons meanders along the brain stem. It is this archaic system that serves the functions of maintaining constancy in the internal milieu and modulating states of arousal. The primary requirement for all life is the maintenance of a stable internal environment.

    Whether one is considering a cell, an amoeba, a rock star, a custodian, a king an astronaut
    Or a president, without this dynamic internal stability in the face of an ever changing external environment, we would all perish. It is the brain stem, through a myriad of complex reflexes, that is “control central” responsible for the minutiae of constant adjustments that are required for the basic maintenance of life. This also includes the regulation of our basic states of arousal, wakefulness and activity. And as messy and primitive as the brain stem reticular activating system is, it does its job of preserving life magnificently. (p, 251)

    “Out of the swamp of the reticular system, the cerebral cortex arose, like a sinful orchid, beautiful and guilty.” _ Paul Yakovlev.

    “In the Beginning, before the Word, was Consciousness.
    The primal consciousness in man is pre-mental,
    and has nothing to do with cognition.
    It is the same as in the animals.
    And this pre-mental consciousness remains
    as long as we live the powerful root
    and body of our consciousness.
    The mind is but the last flower, the cul-de-sac.”
    _D. H. Lawrence.”

    Trauma and Spirituality:
    In a lifetime of working with traumatized individuals, I have been struck by the intrinsic and wedded relationship between trauma and spirituality. With clients suffering from a daunting array of crippling symptoms, I have been privileged to witness profound and authentic transformations. Seemingly out of nowhere, unexpected “side effects” appeared as these individuals mastered the monstrous trauma symptoms that had haunted them-emotionally, physically and psychologically. Surprises included ecstatic joy, exquisite clarity, effortless focus and an all-embracing sense of oneness. (p, 347)

    “The life of feeling is that primordial region of the psyche that is most sensitive to the religious encounter. Belief or reason alone does nothing to move the soul; without feeling, religious meaning becomes a vacant intellectual exercise. This is why the most exuberant spiritual moments are emotionally laden.” _Carl Jung.

    At the right time, traumatized individuals are encouraged to and supported to feel and surrender into immobility/NDE states, states of profound surrender, which liberate these primordial archetypal energies, while integrating them into consciousness. In addition to the “awe-full” states of horror and terror appear to be connected to the transformative states such as awe, presence, timelessness and ecstasy. (p, 353)

    Excerpts from “In an Unspoken Voice,” by Peter Levine, PhD.

    Of coarse, in the great “rationalization” of life, we must not mention the reality of our evolved nature?

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Its a perfect response though John.

    “Usually after a couple of sentences I freeze up, cloud over and skim to the end and then pass onto the next comment.”

    As you express the reality of our freeze/flight/fight responses, which lie at the core of so-called mental illness.

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

    In the meantime, I guess we’ll carry on with social politics as usual, and protect the facade of our “rational” motivation. Although, as you point out, your behavior does stimulate feelings of joy?

    Perhaps, face to face, my heartfelt smile might affect the same response in you, and I could explain what neuroscience means by “affective states?”

    Like William Styron’s “trance” description of depression;

    “For myself, the pain is closely connected to drowning or suffocation-but even these images are of the mark. The pain persisted during my museum tour and reached a crescendo in the next few hours when, back at the hotel, I feel onto the bed and lay gazing at the ceiling, nearly immobilized and in a trance of supreme discomfort. Rational thought was usually absent from my mind at such times, hence trance.” (Styron, 1990).

    Again, William Styron’s words resonate in identification as he describes his experience of depression, and I’m awed by his ability to paint such poignant pictures of the human condition. Who can forget the amazing scene from the movie, of his book Sophie’s Choice as Meryl Streep is forced to choose between her son and her daughter, as to which one will face the gas chamber outside those gates of hell at Auschwitz concentration camp. How does any woman make such a choice or any Fascist Intellect so loose connection with humanities heart, its soul, and force it upon her? Dissociation, the Devil’s own device perhaps? Or the dark and denied shadow of our instinctive nature, made unnecessarily mysterious by civil societies need of denial, in the long march to a mature civilization?

    Could she ever really say how she felt in that awful moment, could she ever consciously acknowledge the instant of that action and its internal motivation? That awful reality of, “Take my little girl – take my baby – take my little girl.” Perhaps nature has a way of saving us from such awful conscious realization, removes the reality of searing pain by the minds conscious distance from the felt sense. By evolution’s curse and gift, in the impulse of dissociation? The Devils own device, and the reality of our unconscious nature? Is normal conscious awareness founded on a hidden mechanism of dissociation, of denial? We know that the rest of the animal kingdom lives in an instinctual world of pure reflex action, so immersed in the reality of the lived moment, no past or future exists? Its only by a hidden mechanism of dissociation from nature’s ever present NOW, that we posses our special gift of self-consciousness. The gift and curse of the human mind?”

    http://www.born2psychosis.blogspot.com.au/p/chp-11.html

  • @ Joanna Care and the quick fire response to my comment;

    “The most vulnerable new groups for objects of the projection process are probably welfare recipients and the poor”.

    Yes David, it’s shocking what’s happening here, and there are of course psych survivors who are poor/welfare recipients and you know many fear the draconian assessments with the real risk of losing homes/basic income more than being detained in hospital – no kidding.”

    Notice how you scanned my comment looking for a resource to satisfy an internal need? Can you pause to feel the internal mechanism of your e-motive projections onto the external world?

    As the Buddhist’s say “try to catch the gap between the spark and flame,” and discern within the foundations of an objectively rational facade?

    Do we really understand our hearts and the internal mechanisms of our passionate activism here? Consider;

    “Affects as Passions and Actions:

    The notion that affects are invaders that work against our true nature is expressed in the early modern understanding of “passion” as a pacifying force opposed to action, meaning the activity of the soul. (true-self) Up to and including the seventeenth century, to be the “object” of affects is to be passive in relation to them. Such passive states are contrasted with those in which one is active. Thus, when Spinoza talks of an adequate cause, he means a cause that accounts for actions that take place within us or that follows from our nature. On the other hand, “we are passive when something takes place within us or follows from our nature, of which we are only the partial cause.” Passions may work against actions and actualization.

    Passions and passionate judgments are passive as a result of being “affected by the world around us.” We are not acting to actualize our distinctness, but reacting, and in this sense losing the initiative relative to the things that affect us. Yet it is the peculiar nature of such pacifying affects, that they also “affirm” the ego and individual judgments. The distinctness of our individual judgments depends then on the extent to which we are pacified by various affects, and how far this passification or resistance to it, marks one person as different from another. It also depends on the soul or anima that resists those passions.

    Aquinas tells us, “evil cannot be known simply as evil, for its core is hollow, and can neither be recognized nor defined, save by the surrounding good,” which fits in with Lacan’s psychoanalytic definition of the ego as nothing but “lack.” The notion that pacifying passions work against the soul or form they affect, is also a statement that the essence of the self is something other, something distinct from the affecting passions. “It is this distinctness which comes to be lost.” While passion as passivity and action are retained as key categories, they are recast in a mechanistic worldview which “explains nothing,” Descartes action, rather, is the transfer of motion from oneself to another, and passion is being acted upon.

    With this mechanistic turn, it seems that bodies have a “power to resist change,” as well as the power to impart motion. For Descartes, the soul is not the form that is the body’s affective power, it is the capacity to think. While the soul exists, “it is always thinking,” yet as it thinks it loses more of the physicality it once had. The eighteenth century marks a shift, instead of being reactions to invasions from something external to the self, passions become the very activities of the mind, its own motions.

    The term “feeling” which used to be allied with sensation, has become a victim of our lack of precision in “affective” language. No distinction parallels Aristotle’s between our emotions and sensations. Passions or “affects” now claim to be a class of feeling, rather than something discerned by feeling. They seem to be part of one’s self-contained energetic motivation, and the original understanding of passions or affects as pacifying is lost. (thinking has lost touch with being affected, from both within and without)”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    The Descartian facade of cause and effect logic, with which we try to defend our feelings, is mismatched to the nature our heartfelt needs.

    Not until we are able to discuss the emerging science of the heart, and the nature of affect/emotion, will any real inroads be made into the false assumptions of logic and the scientific method, about the various maladies of the mind, IMO.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Do you have a mechanism for recording your own cause of distress, John? Or, like me, do run into the limits of language, forgetting the experience of “sensation,” before you ever learned to think? Do you take a learned vocabulary for granted, with its misleading “objective” terminology?

    Do you run into the limits of language, when trying to articulate ideas about madness? Consider;

    “The Limits of Language:

    At present we only have a rudimentary language for connecting sensations, affects, and words, for connecting bodily processes and a conceptual understanding of them. The further development of such language requires an attention to the pathways of sensation in the body. We need to formulate bodily knowledge more accurately and increase the rapidity of human understanding. Extending knowledge in this way is the reverse of gathering it by “objectification,” or studying bodily processes disconnected from living sensory attention. (p, 153.)

    Extending knowledge of sensation, following it further along its pathways, means extending consciousness into the body, infusing it with the conscious understanding from which it has been split, by a subject/object orientation. That split has hardened with the sealing of the heart as an organ of sensory reception and transmission, yet it has also come under examination in all the practices and knowledge’s that, taken together, presage the resurrection of the body.

    Some of these systems of knowledge already nestle in the arms of objective science, especially those focused on the complex systems of both body and brain, while others are found in more ancient, holistic health systems. What these systems of healing have in common with the study of the body and its complexity, is the notion of systems–of language and communication, insofar as a biochemical chain or a DNA sequence can be structured like a language in another medium. (p, 154.)

    The more conscious we become of what we repress in our subject/object orientation (remembering that primary repression is the repression of unprocessed sensory information) or ignore, the less we think in projected and judgmental terms. But such conscious consciousness is only possible when we invent or reinvent the words to say it with. The transliteration into language from the minutia of sensory knowledge and its sifting, may be processes entirely unknown to present day consciousness.

    Extending consciousness sensation, finding the words or images, means grasping the nuances of fleshy grammar and alphabets. It means describing and accounting for sensations, which entails translating them into the everyday currencies of speech and so extending the range of their visualization. What our subject/object ego orientation represses is not available to consciousness. This ego and its repressions, present themselves as disordered flesh, when in fact the ego and its repressions are the cause of such disorder. Disorder is not inherent in the body or the flesh, which loves natural regulation. The body thrives in health when its real needs are respected, as distinct from the ego’s imaginary anxieties. (p, 155.)”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    Can you speak about just how your perception of the world, is created within? Those internal mechanisms, that enable your thinking?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Interesting comment on cover-up’s and mechanism’s, Jonah;

    “And, so, Healy is (at *least* as much as any other psychiatrist – and, probably more than most) supporting precisely that system, which you describe, when you say, “I have come to believe that two core functions of psychiatry are to be the drug delivery mechanism for drug companies and to cover up the real causes of mental distress,” except that his “cover up” is delivered, not only in the form of psych-drugs, but also (very, very much so) in the form of ECT.”

    Can you describe the internal mechanisms of your own experience of distress?

    Do we collude with a ubiquitous public cover-up, in our “objective” and rational discussion here?

    Why do we never talk about the fluid emotional reactivity of the lived-moment, preferring to appear, cool, calm and collected? Should we spend more time talking about the sensations of madness, rather than helping the mainstream project its need to treat us like objects, to be pitied?

    Should we be focused on “treatment” or actual experience? How many of us, pause to feel our own mechanism of projected needs, to see others as pitiful?

    Consider some wisdom about a paternalism mechanism in societal function, and why “the more things change, the more they…….”

    “The societal projection process: The family projection process is as vigorous in society as it is in the family. The essential ingredients are anxiety and three people. Two people get together and enhance their functioning at the expense of a third, the “scapegoated” one. Social scientists use the word scapegoat , I prefer the term “projection process,” to indicate a reciprocal process in which the twosome can force the third into submission, or the process is more mutual, or the third can force the other two to treat him as inferior.

    The biggest group of societal scapegoats are the hundreds of thousands of mental patients in institutions. People can be held there against their wishes, or stay voluntarily, or they can force society to keep them there as objects of pity. All society gains something from the benevolent posture to this segment of people. A fair percentage of people are too impaired to ever exist outside the institution where they will remain for life as permanently impaired objects of the projection process.

    The conventional steps in the examination, diagnosis, hospitalization, and treatment of “mental patients” are so fixed as a part of medicine, psychiatry, and all interlocking medical, legal, and social systems that change is difficult. There are other projection processes. Society is creating more ‘patients” of people with dysfunctions whose dysfunctions are a product of the projection process. Alcoholism is a good example. At the very time alcoholism was being understood as the product of family relationships, the concept of ‘alcoholism as a disease” finally came into general acceptance.

    There might be some advantage to treating it as a disease rather than a social offense, but labeling with a diagnosis invokes the ills of the societal projection process, it helps fix the problem in the patient, and it absolves the family and society of their contribution. Other categories of functional dysfunctions are in the process of being called sickness. The total trend is seen as the product of a lower level of self in society. If, and when, society pulls up to a higher level of functioning such issues will be automatically modified to fit the new level of differentation. To debate such a specific issue in society, with the amount of intense emotion in the issue, would result in non-productive polarization and further fixation of current policy and procedures.

    The most vulnerable new groups for objects of the projection process are probably welfare recipients and the poor. These groups fit the best criteria for long term, anxiety relieving projection. They are vulnerable to become the pitiful objects of the benevolent, over sympathetic segment of society that improves its functioning at the expense of the pitiful. Just as the least adequate child in a family can become more impaired when he becomes an object of pity and over sympathetic help from the family, so can the lowest segment of society be chronically impaired by the very attention designed to help. No matter how good the principle behind such programs, it is essentially impossible to implement them without the built-in complications of the projection process.” _Murray Bowen.

    Don’t you just hate it, when health care professionals, treat you with paternalistic condescension?

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • “This taught me a lot about how people in the pews react”

    I think you hit the nail on the head here Stephen. We react, while clinging to the mind’s image of a reasoned response. Even though an unconscious urge to maintain a status-quo (internal homeostasis) rules the moment.

    Is madness shunned by consensus reality, because of a dire need to resist internal awareness, and cling to an illusion of rationality? I’m sure the gathering will make all the appropriate noises and gestures, while remaining blissfully unaware of an internal motivation, projected onto the seemingly obvious, in the world “out there.”

    Very few people ever consider the nature of their internal self-differentiation, while acting out habituated social rituals, or have any sense of group behavior as an emotional system.

    Murray Bowen predicted that our ongoing denial of unconscious e-motive functioning, would come to head in this century. Consider his unique wisdom;

    “The main idea presented here is that society appears to be functioning on a less differentiated emotional level than in the past, that this may be related to the disappearance of land frontiers. Man has long used physical distance as a way of getting away from inner emotional pressures. It was important for him to know there was new land for him, even if he never went to it. The end of World War II was an important nodal point in a process in which the world became functionally smaller at a more rapid rate.

    The concept of differentiation of self is important. At the more differentiated end of the scale is the person who can “know” with his intellect, and who can also know, or be aware of, or feel the situation with his emotional system. He has reasonable ability to keep an operational differentiation between intellect and emotions and take action on the fact of intellectual reasoning, that opposes his feelings and the truth of subjectivity. Only a small percentage of the population has this level of differentiation.

    A person can have a well functioning intellect but intellect is intimately fused with his emotional system, and a relatively small part of his intellect is operationally differentiated from his emotional system. He can accurately “know” facts that are personally removed, such as mathematics and the physical sciences, but most of his intellect is under the operational control of the emotional system, and much of his total knowledge would be more accurately classified as an intellectual emotional awareness, without much differentiation between intellect and feelings.

    The person at this level of differentiation does not commonly have a clearly formed notion of fact, or differences between truth and fact, or fact and feeling, or theory and philosophy, or rights and responsibility, or other critical differentiations between intellectual and emotional functioning. Personal and social philosophy are based on the truth of subjectivity and life decisions are based more on feelings and maintaining the subjective harmony.” _Murray Bowen.

    I’m sure there will be much talk about how to “do things” differently, while maintaining subjective harmony. More talk of re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic, so to speak.

    And in the meantime, “the more “things” change, the they………”

    Is it human “doing” that needs to change, or a deeper realization of how we do, being human?

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • There seems to be a rather paradoxical assumption that biology & spirituality are mutually exclusive, in your premise here;

    “I remember being confused by the over-emphasis on biological treatments for suffering which seemed to me much more spiritual and relational in nature.”

    In my own transformational experience of many, many psychoses, understanding my relationship with my sense-of-self, has involved a self-exploration of my hidden biology. My brain-nervous-systems, and my major organs, and their stimulation of my psychology and inherent spirituality.

    I agree with many who have the lived experience of antipsychotic medication, compounding problems within the nervous systems, so often related to previous traumatic experience. Sadly, there is, IMO great confusion and denial, about our evolved nature and our intimate connection with the biology all nature, including the Cosmic background from which we emerged.

    Emerged, as the Cosmos, perceiving and acting upon itself. Hence the religious notion that God is found within? This is the psychological transformation which self-education and a less fearful experiential approach to self-discovery, has enabled in my personal sense of being spiritual.

    In line with John Weir Perry’s understanding of “waiting on psychosis,” I’ve found the notion “the best out, is through,” expressed by so many here on MIA, to be personally revelational.
    Allowing myself to experience four, roughly six week long psychoses, has affected a deep and profound shift in my sense of personal & species meaning. Previous experiences of “self-referential” ideation, so ridiculed by society and dismissed by so many health care professionals. I now understand as a species phenomena, of hyper-sensitive awareness, rather than symptoms of madness.

    Recording my experiences of psychosis, for later self-reflection, has brought a deeper appreciation for my meaning making consciousness, my biology and my connectedness to all creation. Please consider a previous analysis of a six week long psychosis, which continues to evolve, in my understanding of my nature;

    “At the height of manic euphoria the Christian Bible and the Meaning of Life always consume my minds attention. Its been that way since 1980, on or off medications, regardless of the trigger and my more normal, rational desires.

    A gushing sense of spiritual oneness overwhelms me every time, even though between episodes, a return to normality wishes it would just leave me the hell alone. I just want a normal life!

    Objectively it makes no sense that Biblical references should flood my over emotional experience when I’m high. Euphoria is treason to any normal sense of reason?

    I’ve been a democratic socialist for Christ’s sake, with an Atheist disbelief in God during long periods of my everyday social sense of normality. Yet in times of manic flight, biblical stories mesmerize me with their sense of something deeper, something beyond their literal setting in external reality. In heightened states of euphoria I catch sensation glimpse’s of deeper meaning, in these metaphoric stories of human existence.

    Sometimes it feels like I’m right back there under those star filled, dark desert sky’s, filled with a sense of awe and wonder? A trick of the light perhaps? An illusion of form, and an earth bound sense of time? How could this current moment be an eternal now, for God’s sake? Isn’t everything separate, isn’t this just my dream? You go and do your own video log, as Jake Sully advises in a very popular movie? Yet inside this belly of a cosmic whale, just what is dreaming within our collective perception of life?
    Is the task of maturing self awareness best described in Joseph Campbell’s defining of the hero’s journey, upon which so much movie making is based. Jake’s journey to a heart felt maturity begins in the belly of a spaceship. Is this an objective dramatization of a subliminal metaphor? In William Blake’s painting of the belly of the whale, we see the cosmic serpent so universally described in primitive creation mythologies.

    “And as we wind on down the road. Our shadows taller than our souls.” _Led Zeppelin. Is it only the instinctual shadow of our evolution that prevents the transcendence of our Cosmic Soul?

    When coming down from a euphoric high, with its impulsive energies of thoughts and behavior, I’m left to ponder just how and why? Wonder how my experience fits into a theory of chemical imbalance which somehow fuels these flights of time enfolding illusion? Most Doctors agree, discussing the mindful content of a manic episode is unhelpful, preferring to observe physiological patterns. “How’s your sleep, your appetite and your libido” they ask, choosing to ignore the universality of existential content and heightened instinctual senses.

    I wonder why even after I‘ve learned to identify the physical needs of an easier approach to myself and others, I fall into such a mesmerizing fascination with biblical stories? And why is the savior motif so common in madness experience? Is it about subliminal expressions of meaning and our place, or immersion in the very fabric of the Cosmos? Are we not, its manifest form of perceiving its own quantum formation, through this sentient life form? When my family ask me to get back to normality, are they speaking of the social adaptation through suppression, of our vital instinct for life?

    “Its about reactive energy states, not objective labels (metaphors)?” I wrote at the top of part 1 of “Mad Visions or Mental Illness?” In part one I pointed to the recent discoveries of the body/brain’s hidden regulation of metabolic energy states which includes our thoughts. Going on to challenge the medical definition of delusion and altered states of mind, and suggesting there is a double bind in our mind/body split which actively prevents a holistic self awareness? A socialized double bind too, in our common agreement to deny the raw emotive energies of our unconscious motivations, just as a medical model of disease, denies what may be spiritual content in experiences like manic euphoria.”

    http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/mad-visions-or-mental-illness-part-2.html

    This was my “approach using hermeneutic phenomenology,” rather than the cause and effect logic of a subject – object orientation, which underpins the scientific method, and assumptions about pathology, in the medical diagnosis of psychosis.

    Best wishes for your research,

    David Bates.

  • “O.K., I need to admit something here; I am confused! Why? Because I personally have had a very mixed reaction to this Avatar therapy news that includes fear, jealousy, excitement and hope.

    I am jealous of the attention this research is getting!”

    Seems to be the eternal problem of social politics and our competition for the survival resource of social recognition? Why do we “instinctively” react with caution and pessimism towards anything novel in the environment? Like the phenomena of hearing voices, are there unconscious mechanisms, beneath our taken for granted “psychological” perspective?

    Although, after the initial negative reaction, we do seem to approach with a more appropriate curiosity;

    “I think Avatar therapy is encouraging because it is trying to simulate and understand voice hearing. Where voices endure I would like the researchers to strengthen their intention to support dialogue with the voices (or beings) people are living with.”

    Avatar, is a particular favorite of mine, for its “existential” metaphors. It seems, at least to me, to ask existential questions about our current predicament, “hometree” representing our blind urge to dominate mother nature, and each other. Also, the looming catastrophe of climate change, and our human obligation to our ancestors, and their sacrifice towards the possibility of a golden age, so long prophesied.

    Perhaps we really are entering a time of resurrection, as we move beyond the denial of our evolved nature, and the reality of psychosis, as a function of human nature.

    Personally, I believe there are deeper aspects to the phenomena of hearing voices, which can be resolved with an exploration of internal function, beneath our “cognitive constructs” which so often distance the mind from the core nature of being, within the body. For example: are voices stimulated by a hyper-vigilance to “low-frequency” sounds in the background, which reflects our ancient fear of predators?

    A hyper-vigilance of the nervous systems, which professor Stephen Porges calls “neuroception.” http://www.frzee.com/neuroception.pdf

    Also, in the emerging science discipline of psychophysiology, the heart’s reciprocal connections with the brainstem, is bringing a more holistic perception of emotional reactivity, of which, hearing voices, may be seen on a continuum of physiological/psychological experience.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • I understand the “reductionist” viewpoint, yet wonder about the paradox of an externalizing view, which stands in denial of our nature? Are you suggesting that human life, which begins with a biochemical event, is not rooted in biology and its complex chemistry?

    Is the “reductionist” viewpoint here on MIA, an unconscious reaction to the pain of previous experience, perhaps? Can any of us claim to be fully self-aware, and certain that we understand our own internal functioning?

  • Hi Duane, there does seem to be a new paradigm of psychotherapy emerging, which involves a shift from notions of conscious self-control, towards an awareness of the “unconscious” aspects of self-regulation.

    An unconscious self-regulation which most people take for granted, like the way we learn to walk, a skill which quickly becomes an unconscious expectation of coherent movement.

    Through the emerging new discipline of psychophysiology we seem to be discovering a more holistic and coherent sense of self, involving both the “voluntary” and “involuntary” nature of being human.

    I do believe we can rise to the challenge of answering a mutual friend’s clarion call, “if mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it?”

    There is plenty of emerging science which supports the person centered view we all encourage. A science perspective that psychiatrists are desperately in need of, to dissolve the illusion of a brain disease, perspective.

    Sadly most psychiatrists are only aware of what they are taught, and remain stuck in a “pathology” perspective, which seems to reflect a consensus fear of altered states of mind.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • The heart too, has its own nervous system, and from a nervous system perspective, which includes the brain, heart, lungs and stomach, one could speculate that psychosis is a response to an internal threat?

    Unresolved trauma certainly fits this concept of an internalized sense of threat, which the nervous system tries to contain, by degrees of respiratory, muscular and vascular constriction. Could we not speculate about internalized threats, like viral infections and tumors, invoking unconscious reactions which cannot be verbalized?

    Allan N Schore, has long called for a multidisciplinary approach to mental health, disciplines like an emerging;

    “Science of the Heart”

    “How do stress and different emotional states affect the autonomic nervous system, the hormonal and immune systems, the heart and brain? Over the years we have experimented with different psychological and physiological measures, but it was consistently heart rate variability, or heart rhythms, that stood out as the most dynamic and reflective of inner emotional states and stress. It became clear that negative emotions lead to increased disorder in the heart’s rhythms and in the autonomic nervous system, thereby adversely affecting the rest of the body.

    In contrast, positive emotions create increased harmony and coherence in heart rhythms and improve balance in the nervous system. The health implications are easy to understand: Disharmony in the nervous system leads to inefficiency and increased stress on the heart and other organs while harmonious rhythms are more efficient and less stressful to the body’s systems.

    More intriguing are the dramatic positive changes that occur when techniques are applied that increase coherence in rhythmic patterns of heart rate variability. These include shifts in perception and the ability to reduce stress and deal more effectively with difficult situations. We observed that the heart was acting as though it had a mind of its own and was profoundly
    influencing the way we perceive and respond to the world. In essence, it appeared that the heart was affecting intelligence and awareness.

    The answers to many of our original questions now provide a scientific basis to explain how and why the heart affects mental clarity, creativity, emotional balance and personal effectiveness. Our research and that of others indicate that the heart is far more than a simple pump. The heart is, in fact, a highly complex, self-organized information processing center with its own functional “brain” that communicates with and influences the cranial brain via the nervous system, hormonal system and other pathways. These influences profoundly affect brain function and most of the body’s major organs, and ultimately determine the quality of life.” (McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2001).

    In understanding my own experience of “mania” for example, I’ve learned to sense the rather magical “affect” of spontaneous breathing and its affect on my heart, with its innate reflect responses. The sudden release of my life-long constriction defense, against an internalized sense of threat, in 1980, triggered my ascent into mania. Of course, back then, I was completely ignorant of my “internal” functioning, believing my thoughts to be the major avenue of self-awareness.

    As for “treating” myself with good nutrition, I do, yet have come to sense within, the unconscious functioning of my vagus nerve, and its sometimes primitive affect on my metabolism and moods. From previously taken for granted views of treatment, from a rather “external” perspective, the things I should do to myself? I’ve come to know myself within, with an increasing ability to self-regulate.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • Joanna, when you write;

    “I’ve also noticed that my whole body can shake uncontrollably, it’s clearly a physical reaction after any treatment, I guess the muscle/body memories are quite hard to change. This can happen even if my mind/emotions are relatively calm.”

    You could reframe this experience as your “innate” need to self-heal? To literally shake off the unconscious freeze reaction, which “rationalizing” health care professionals label, dissociation. Self injury can be understood as an attempt to invoke the nervous systems natural response to escape from a previously conditioned “tonic immobility.”

    Of coarse, in our “intellectualizing” culture, such primitive reactions, as uncontrollable shaking are frowned upon, it makes other people nervous. Yet from a trauma resolution viewpoint, it is being increasingly understood, as the ancient wisdom of the body.

    The paradox of traumatic experience, can be a hyper-vigilance that manifests as a sharply reactive intelligence, masking a deep seated dis-ease. Some health care professionals call kind of intelligence, a healthy sense of detachment.

    Only using Peter Levine’s “sensate” awareness approach to trauma resolution has helped me to resolve “birth trauma,” an experience which occurred long before I learned to think.

    A deeper discussion of dissociation, its physiological and psychological affects, is crucial to understanding what a mental illness experience really is, beneath the mind’s rather conceptual realm. Please consider;

    “How do YOU do Dissociation?

    The non disease view of Dissociation?
    “Dissociation as a clinical psychiatric condition has been defined primarily in terms of the fragmentation and splitting of the mind, and perception of the self and the body. Its clinical manifestations include altered perceptions and behavior, including derealization, depersonalization, distortions of perception of time, space, and body, and conversion hysteria. Using examples of animal models, and the clinical features of the whiplash syndrome, we have developed a model of dissociation linked to the phenomenon of freeze/immobility. Also
    employing current concepts of the psychobiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we propose a model of PTSD linked to cyclical autonomic dysfunction, triggered and maintained by the laboratory model of kindling, and perpetuated by increasingly profound dorsal vagal tone and endorphinergic reward systems. These physiologic events in turn contribute to the clinical state of dissociation. The resulting autonomic dysregulation is presented as the substrate for a diverse group of chronic diseases of unknown origin.” The Neurophysiology of Dissociation and Chronic Disease. Robert C. Scaer MD.”

    http://bipolarbatesy.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/how-do-you-do-dissociation.html

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • “There are four closely related axioms that can be abstracted from the empirical studies on emotion and its expression. They each offer implications for treatment, or even how individuals should deal with their own experiences of emotional trauma.”

    Which empirical studies on emotion, Jill? As usual in this highly confusing debate, we all have our favored approach towards the therapeutic healing of distressing emotions. This essay seems to assume a “top down” approach, which leaves out the body’s role in the arousal of emotion, both negative & positive. A top down view of the brain and therefore our mind, as the command and control center of our being? Does this reflect, not only personal assumptions about self-control, but also the kind of societal control, that we all project a power dynamic onto?

    Can we continue to ignore the burgeoning science of “psychophysiology” and its implications for the stimulation of our mind’s, which includes the major organs of heart, lungs and stomach, in the arousal of core motivation. In short, can we remain in denial about the core nature of our emotional energies, and why, as humans, we are prone to post traumatic experience?

    Please consider another view of our biology (a dirty word here, I know) and the hidden nature of anxiety and our apparent reason;

    “Panic, biology and reason.

    Panic and post-traumatic anxiety states have in common “the experience of dread with the perception of inescapability.” Anxiety in its pathological form, represents a profound failure of the organism’s innate defensive structures to mobilize and thus allow the individual to escape threatening situations, actively and successfully. It is where active forms of defensive response are aborted and incomplete that anxiety states ensue.

    Beneath the monolithic label of anxiety are “camouflaged” a wealth of incomplete and indefinable somatic responses, sensations, and bodily feelings. These body experiences represent the individuals response to past experience, but also to their “genetic potential” in the form of unrealized defensive responses. The recognition that these instinctive orientation and defensive behaviors are organized motor patterns, that is, prepared motor acts, helps to return the body to the head. Anxiety derives ultimately from a failure to complete motor acts.

    When orienting and defensive behaviors are carried out smoothly and effectively, anxiety is not generated. Instead there is the complex and fluid sensate experience perceived as curiosity, attraction or avoidance. It is only when these instinctive orientation and defensive resources are interfered with (thwarted) that the experience of anxiety is generated. Ultimately, we have only one fear, the fear of not being able to cope. Without active, available, defensive responses, we are unable to deal effectively with danger and we are, proportionately, anxious.

    A scene from an uplands meadow helps illustrate the “motor act” concept. Imagine you are strolling leisurely in an open meadow. A shadow suddenly moves in the periphery of your vision. Instinctively all movement is arrested, reflexively you crouch in a flexed posture; perceptions are “opened” through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

    After this momentary arrest response your head turns automatically in the direction of the shadow or sound in an attempt to localize and identify it. Your neck, back, legs and feet muscles coordinate so that your whole body turns and then extends. Your eyes narrow somewhat while your pelvis and head shift horizontally, giving you an optimal view of the surroundings and an ability to focus panoramically.

    This initial two-phase action pattern is an instinctive orientation, preparing you to respond flexibly to many possible contingencies. The initial arrest-crouch flexion response minimizes detection by possible predators. Primarily though it provides a compulsive jerk that interrupts any motor patterns that were already in execution and then prepares you, through scanning, for the fine tuned behaviors of exploration or defense.

    Tonic Immobility – Freezing.

    Anxiety has often been linked to the physiology and experience of flight. Analysis of animal distress behaviors suggest that this may be quite misleading. Ethology, points to the “thwarting” of escape as the root cause of distress-anxiety. When attacked by a cheetah on the African plains, an antelope will first attempt to escape through directed/orientated running. If, however, the fleeing animal is cornered so that escape is diminished, it may run blindly, without a directed orientation, or it may attempt to fight wildly and desperately against enormous odds.

    At the moment of physical contact, often before injury is actually inflicted, the antelope abruptly appears to go dead. It not only appears dead, but its autonomic physiology undergoes a widespread alteration and reorganization. The antelope is in fact highly activated internally, even though outward movement is almost non-existent. Prey animals are immobilized in a sustained (atelic-catatonic) pattern of neuromuscular activity and high autonomic brainwave activity. Sympathetic and parasympathetic responses are also concurrently activated, like brake and accelerator, working against each other.

    In tonic immobility, an animal is either frozen stiff in heightened contraction of agonist and antagonist muscle group, or in a continuously balanced, hypnotic, muscular state exhibiting what is called “wavy flexibility.” In the hypnotic state, body positions can be molded like clay, as is seen in catatonic schizophrenics. There is also analgesic numbing.

    A patient described many of these behaviors as they were happening to her. She wasn’t, however, aware of her physical sensations, but rather of her self-depreciating and highly critical judgments about body sensations. It is as though some explanation must be found for profoundly disorganizing forces underlying one’s own perceived inadequacy.

    The psychologist Phillip G. Zimbardo has gone so far as to propose that “most mental illness represents not a cognitive impairment, but an (attempted) interpretation of discontinuous or inexplicable internal states.” Tonic immobility, murderous rage and non-directed flight are such examples.

    Tonic immobility demonstrates that anxiety can be both self-perpetuating and self-defeating. Freezing is the last-ditch, cul-de-sac, bodily response where active escape is not possible. Where flight and fight escape have been (or are perceived to be) unlikely, the nervous system reorganizes to tonic immobility. Both flight-or-fight and immobility are adaptive responses. Where the flight-fight response is appropriate, freezing will be relatively maladaptive.

    Biologically, immobility is a potent adaptive strategy where active escape is prevented. When, however, it becomes a preferred response pattern in general situations, it is profoundly debilitating. Immobility becomes the crippling, fixating experience of traumatic and panic anxiety.

    Underlying the freezing response, however, are the flight or fight and other defense orientation preparations that are activated just prior to the onset of freezing. The “de-potentiation,” of anxiety is accomplished by precisely and sequentially restoring the latent flight or fight defensive responses that occur at the moment/s before escape is thwarted.” _Peter Levine.

    In my own struggle to release myself from the birth trauma effects of “tonic immobility,” an event which occurred before I even learned to think, I’ve had to give up my life-long assumptions about my mind’s capacity to “affect” my body, and a core aspect of my experience. I’ve had to learn to tolerate and understand the sensations of an “involuntary” freezing response and its transformation from awful to awe-filled sensations of “oneness” during the sensate experience of release.

    Please consider Peter Levine’s understanding of inner conflict;

    “INNER CONFLICT:
    The bases of conflict are oppositional or incomplete motor patterns. The significance of this for therapy (and life) is monumental. (p, 298)

    In particular, you will begin to notice what various sensations (i.e., tensions, contractions, aches, pains, etc,) tend to emerge in sequences or in groups. For example, you may notice that a “knot” in the belly or tightening of the anus is associated with a suppression or holding of breath. (p, 300)

    It is the ability to hold back, restrain and contain a powerful emotion that allows a person to creatively channel that energy. Containment (a somatic rooting of Freud’s “sublimation”) buys us time and, with self-awareness, enables us to separate out what we are imagining and thinking from our physical sensations. The uncoupling of sensation from image and thought is what diffuses the highly charged emotions and allows them to transform fluidly into sensation based gradations of feelings.

    This is not the same as suppressing or repressing them. For all of us, and particularly for the traumatized individual, the capacity to transform the “negative” emotions of fear and rage is the difference between heaven and hell. The power and tenacity of emotional compulsions (the acting out of rage, fear, shame and sorrow) are not to be underestimated. Fortunately, there are practical antidotes to this cascade of misery. With body awareness, it is possible to “deconstruct” these emotional fixations. (p, 322)

    Through awareness of interceptive sensations (i.e., through the process of tracking bodily sensations), we are able to access and modify our emotional responses and attain our core sense of self. A first step in this ongoing process is refusing to be seduced into (the content of) our negative thoughts or swept away by the potent or galvanized drive of an emotion, and instead returning to the underlying physical sensations. At first this can seem unsettling, even frightening. This is mostly because it is unfamiliar–we have become accustomed to the (secondary) habitual emotions of distress and our (negative) repetitive thoughts.

    We have also become used to searching for the source of our discomfort outside ourselves. We simply are unfamiliar with experiencing something “as it is,” without the encumbrance of analysis and judgment. As the sensation-thought-emotion complex is uncoupled, experiencing moves forward toward subtler, freer contours of feeling. Eugene Gendlin, the originator of the term “felt sense,” sums this up with, “Nothing that feels bad is ever the last step.”

    This experiential process involves the capacity to hold the emotion in abeyance, without allowing it to execute in its habitual way. This holding back is not an act of suppression but is rather one of forming a bigger container, a larger experiential vessel, to hold and differentiate the sensations and feelings. “Going into” the emotional expression is frequently a way of trying to “release” the tension we are feeling, while avoiding deeper feelings. (p, 323)

    With containment, emotion shifts into a different sensation-based “contour” with softer feelings that morph into deepening, sensate awareness of “OK-ness.” This is the essence of emotional self-regulation, self-acceptance, goodness and change. (p, 324)

    From a functional point of view, bodily/sensate feelings are the compass that we use to navigate through life. They permit us to estimate the value of the things to which we must incorporate or adapt. Our attraction to that which sustains us and our avoidance of that which is harmful, are the essence of the feeling function. All feelings derive from the ancient precursors of approach and avoidance, they are in differing degrees positive or negative.

    Sensation-based feelings guide the adaptive response to (e)valuations. Emotions on the other hand, occur precisely when behavioral adaptations (based on these e-valuations) have failed? Contrary to to what both Darwin and James thought, fear is not what directs escape; nor do we feel fear because we are running from a source of threat. The person who can run freely away from threat does not feel fear. He only feels danger (avoidance) and then experiences the action of running. It is solely when escape is prevented that we experience fear. Likewise, we experience anger when we are unable to strike our enemy or otherwise resolve a conflict. (p, 327)

    Working at Columbia University in the 1940s and 50s, Nina Bull conducted remarkable research in the experiential tradition of William James. In her studies subjects were induced into a light hypnotic trance, and various emotions were suggested in this state. These included disgust, fear, anger, depression, joy and triumph. Bull discovered that the emotion of anger involves a fundamental split. There was, on the one hand, a primary compulsion to attack, as observed in tensing of the back, arms and fists (as if preparing to hit). However, there was also a strong secondary component of tensing the jaw, forearm and hand. This was self-reported by the subjects, and observed by the experimenters, as a way of controlling and inhibiting the primary impulse to strike. (p, 332)

    In addition, these experimenters explored the bodily aspects of sadness and depression. Depression was characterized, in the subjects consciousness, as a chronically interrupted drive. It was as though there was something they wanted but were unable to attain. These states of depression were frequently associated with a sense of “tired heaviness,” dizziness, headache and an inability to think clearly. The researchers observed a weakened impulse to cry (as though it were stifled), along with a collapsed posture, conveying defeat and apparent lethargy.

    When Bull studied the patterns of elation, triumph and joy, she observed that these positive affects, did not have an inhibitory component; they were experienced as pure action. Subjects feeling joy reported an expanded sensation in their chests, which they experienced as buoyant, and which was associated with free deep breathing. The observation of postural changes included a lifting of the head and an extension of the spine. These closely meshed behaviors and sensations facilitated the freer breathing.

    Understanding the contradictory basis of the negative emotions, and their structural contrast to the positive ones, is revealing in the quest for wholeness. All the negative emotions studied were comprised of two “conflicting impulses,” one propelling action and the other inhibiting (thwarting) that action. (p, 333)

    In addition, when a subject was “locked” into joy by hypnotic suggestion, a contrasting mood (eg, depression, anger or sadness) could not be produced unless the joy “posture” was first released. The opposite was also true; when sadness or depression was suggested, it was not possible to feel joy unless that postural set was fist changed. (p, 334)

    A direct and effective way of changing one’s functional competency and mood is through altering one’s postural set and thence changing pro-prioceptive and kinesthetic feedback to the brain. Hence, the awareness of bodily sensations is critical in changing functional and emotional states. (p, 337)

    Just how does posture alter one’s mood and affect a lasting change? Intense emotions occur only when emotional action is restrained. Or said in another way, it is the restraint that allows the postural attitude to become conscious, for the attitude to become a feeling-awareness. What Nina Bull deeply grasped, is the reciprocal relationship between the expression of emotion and the sensate feeling of emotion.

    When we are “mindlessly” expressing emotion, that is precisely what we are doing. Emotional reactivity almost always precludes conscious awareness. On the other hand, restraint and containment of the expressive impulse allows us to become aware of our underlying postural attitude. Therefore, it is restraint that brings feelings into conscious awareness. Change only occurs where there is mindfulness, and mindfulness only occurs where there is bodily feeling (I.e., the awareness of the postural attitude)

    While physical feelings are both punitively and qualitatively distinguishable from emotions, both derive ultimately from the instincts. The five categorical emotional instincts described by Darwin are fear, anger, sorrow, disgust and joy. However, feelings, as the consciousness of a bodily attitude, come in a virtually infinite range and blend. The Darwinian emotions correspond to distinct instincts, while feelings express a blending of (sensate-based) nuances and permutations.

    In addition, bodily feelings embody a relationship between an object or situation and our welfare. They are, in that sense, an elaboration of the basic affective valances of approach and avoidance. Feelings are the basic path by which we make our way in the world. (p, 338)

    Trauma and Spirituality:
    In a lifetime of working with traumatized individuals, I have been struck by the intrinsic and wedded relationship between trauma and spirituality. With clients suffering from a daunting array of crippling symptoms, I have been privileged to witness profound and authentic transformations. Seemingly out of nowhere, unexpected “side effects” appeared as these individuals mastered the monstrous trauma symptoms that had haunted them-emotionally, physically and psychologically. Surprises included ecstatic joy, exquisite clarity, effortless focus and an all-embracing sense of oneness. (p, 347)

    “The life of feeling is that primordial region of the psyche that is most sensitive to the religious encounter. Belief or reason alone does nothing to move the soul; without feeling, religious meaning becomes a vacant intellectual exercise. This is why the most exuberant spiritual moments are emotionally laden.” _Carl Jung.

    At the right time, traumatized individuals are encouraged to and supported to feel and surrender into immobility/NDE states, states of profound surrender, which liberate these primordial archetypal energies, while integrating them into consciousness. In addition to the “awe-full” states of horror and terror appear to be connected to the transformative states such as awe, presence, timelessness and ecstasy. (p, 353)”

    Excerpts from “In an Unspoken Voice,” by Peter Levine, PhD.

    I suggest that the real culprit of our collective confusion in this ongoing debate about mental health and emotion, is a core need to protect the image of an idealized and rational, self?
    As I suggested in my comment here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/why-the-fuss-over-the-dsm-5-when-did-it-start-to-matter-and-how-much-longer-will-it/

    “The image of rationality is vital to our collective sense of self, and as Brennan points out above “The status of image was much higher before we discovered the intellect. The idea of man as slave to his senses was a later transformation of the subjective enslavement to the power of the image. Perhaps this was necessary as a long transitional defense against the image. Distance was gained from the image by seeing it as immediate and concrete. Indeed, it is likely that the very birth of intellect was associated with the cognition of image as image (rather than, say, an idol).”

    Yet in an economic era of what many are now calling “a knowledge economy,” can those of us who make a living with our educated intellect’s, be entirely honest about the stimulation and motivation, of our thinking?

    Great essay Jill, and I hope people can stay with this kind of conversation, and shift the debate towards an “internal” perspective, where it belongs. IMO we really need to step up to the plate and answer Dr Michael Cornwalls prophetic question, “if mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it?”

    When one reading across a variety of disciplines, like the neuroscience of early-life development and an emerging science of the heart, one can begin to sense, the “how” & “why” of these discontinuous states of the core self, we label mental illnesses.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Are there “unconscious” motivations, for the fuss over DSM-5?

    In terms of individual survival, do we see an obvious competition for the resource of objects, (financial means of self-preservation) yet collude with a taken for granted scientific method, which adopts a subject to object orientation?
    Like the taken for granted, “objective” worldview presented here;

    “There is a fuss for two main reasons. First, whether a health insurance company will pay mental health professionals for their recommended treatment for patients and clients hinges on the diagnosis the clinicians provide.”

    Presented here, is an accepted mode of survival, based on an economy of objects (monetary or other material objects), while in the field of mental health, we are confronted with the hidden economy of human survival, in the core motivating affects of health and mental motivation? Core motivating affect’s like, fear, anger, rage, joy and interest-excitement, which are modulated by our higher cortex function of rationalization (cognition).

    IMO confusion reigns, in our need to deny the arousal of such core vitalizing affects, like the “outrage” projected onto the DSM-5. IMO we all seem to collude in denying the uncivil conflicts of interest, inherent in our civilization process. Historically, civilization has been organized on a hierarchical thriving of groups, at the expense of other groups. IMO we collude with “the system,” we think we see, by not pausing to feel the arousal of core e-motive affects, and their projection.

    Hence, Hannah writes of the apparently obvious, in perceiving;

    “Second, and more vital, is that the diagnoses in the DSMs have come to affect the daily lives of millions of people in the United States, not to mention those abroad, since the DSM is translated into many languages. For these people much hangs upon whether a particular diagnosis is in the manual or is not. At stake is their treatment, insurance coverage, and decisions affecting such fundamental matters as where they will live, what jobs they can hold, and how their children will be educated. Significantly, the DSM is used by public housing authorities to decide eligibility, by employers who must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and by public school systems to determine whether to provide free special services for students. In the criminal justice system, the DSM is employed by lawyers, judges, and prison officials. To these circumstances must be added the unfortunate reality that the stigma that may accompany one particular diagnosis but not another is of considerable concern to individuals who may be identified as having a mental disorder.”

    Yet is this an “objective” view of the world “out there” which does not pause to feel its own emotional projection process, as articulated by the genius of Murray Bowen, back in the 1950’s? Please consider;

    “Societal problems from an emotional systems view:

    All of the people who were, or are members of families replicate the same emotional patterns in society. Family and societal emotional forces function in a reciprocal equilibrium to each other, each influencing the other and being influenced by the other. These observations are based on the same criteria used to estimate family functioning, which is the amount of principle determined “self” in comparison to the “feeling-orientation” which strives for an immediate short term feeling solution to the anxiety of the moment.

    The triangling process in a large family will help illustrate the process in society. It may begin with conflict between a parent and child. When another takes sides emotionally, he is potentially triangled. When he talks (to influence others) or he takes action based on feelings, he is actively triangled. Each person who becomes involved can involve others until a fair percentage of the group is actively taking sides. The controversy is defined on “right” and “wrong” issues, and often as victimizer and victim. In societal conflict, those who side with the “victim” are more likely to demonstrate and take activist postures. Those who “feel more responsible” for the total group will side with the parental side. They are more likely to stay silent or take action in letters to the editor, or to actively counteract the activists.

    One interesting group of activists is made up of members of professional and scientific organizations who attempt to use knowledge and social status to further entangle the triangular emotional system. To summarize the process, it begins with emotional tension in a bipolar situation, it spreads by involving emotionally vulnerable others, it is fed by emotional reactiveness and response to denial and accusation and it becomes quiescent when emotional energy is exhausted.

    The societal projection process: The family projection process is as vigorous in society as it is in the family. The essential ingredients are anxiety and three people. Two people get together and enhance their functioning at the expense of a third, the “scapegoated” one. Social scientists use the word scapegoat , I prefer the term “projection process,” to indicate a reciprocal process in which the twosome can force the third into submission, or the process is more mutual, or the third can force the other two to treat him as inferior.

    The biggest group of societal scapegoats are the hundreds of thousands of mental patients in institutions. People can be held there against their wishes, or stay voluntarily, or they can force society to keep them there as objects of pity. All society gains something from the benevolent posture to this segment of people. A fair percentage of people are too impaired to ever exist outside the institution where they will remain for life as permanently impaired objects of the projection process.

    The conventional steps in the examination, diagnosis, hospitalization, and treatment of “mental patients” are so fixed as a part of medicine, psychiatry, and all interlocking medical, legal, and social systems that change is difficult. There are other projection processes. Society is creating more ‘patients” of people with dysfunctions whose dysfunctions are a product of the projection process. Alcoholism is a good example. At the very time alcoholism was being understood as the product of family relationships, the concept of ‘alcoholism as a disease” finally came into general acceptance.

    There might be some advantage to treating it as a disease rather than a social offense, but labeling with a diagnosis invokes the ills of the societal projection process, it helps fix the problem in the patient, and it absolves the family and society of their contribution. Other categories of functional dysfunctions are in the process of being called sickness. The total trend is seen as the product of a lower level of self in society. If, and when, society pulls up to a higher level of functioning such issues will be automatically modified to fit the new level of differentation. To debate such a specific issue in society, with the amount of intense emotion in the issue, would result in non-productive polarization and further fixation of current policy and procedures.

    The most vulnerable new groups for objects of the projection process are probably welfare recipients and the poor. These groups fit the best criteria for long term, anxiety relieving projection. They are vulnerable to become the pitiful objects of the benevolent, over sympathetic segment of society that improves its functioning at the expense of the pitiful. Just as the least adequate child in a family can become more impaired when he becomes an object of pity and over sympathetic help from the family, so can the lowest segment of society be chronically impaired by the very attention designed to help. No matter how good the principle behind such programs, it is essentially impossible to implement them without the built-in complications of the projection process.” _Murray Bowen.

    I suggest that we all contribute to this “projection process,” in a taken for granted “need” to deny the arousal of core motivating energies. A process which begins in childhood, as we are encouraged to suppress our spontaneous affect/emotions, and compete for social recognition, with apparently clever, rationalizations?

    Rationalizations, like “informed consent” which denies how human beings actually function in the anxiety relieving needs of the lived moment. If we are truly rational, well informed human beings, why do we still take up smoking, by the millions? Can the “subject to object” stance of blaming the power of commercial interest and advertising, really explain what drives our self-defeating behaviors?

    Perhaps the cognitively oriented Professor’s, of the “knowledge economy” (a mode of self-preservation), might consider an exploration of our universally denied motivations, and the emerging science of “self-regulation?” Just how do we self-regulate in the anxiety of the lived moment?

    Can a discernment of our internal world, help us to further realize the hidden nature of our projected needs, and how an “illusion” of objective rationality is created within? Can we learn how to sense our collective denial, and our deep seated fear, of the transmission of affect/emotion? Please consider;

    “Education of The Senses:

    By examining the “affects” experienced in judging another, one learns a great deal about how the illusion of self-containment is purchased at the price of dumping negative affects on that other. The level of “affective transmission” is marked in terms of how one party carries the others negative affects; his aggression is experienced as her anxiety and so forth. By means of this projection, one believes oneself to be detached from him or her, when one is, in fact, propelling forward an affect the other will experience as rejection or hurt, unless the other shield’s themselves by a similar negative propulsion, in a passionate judgment of their own. (p, 119.)

    Discernment, in the affective world, functions best when one is able to be alert to the moment of sensation, which allows the negative affect to gain a hold within. Any faculty of discernment must involve a process whereby affects pass from a state of sensory registration to a state of cognitive awareness, this does not mean that the process of cognitive reflection is without an affect itself, just that this affect is other than the affect which is being reflected upon.

    In our illusion of self-containment, reason and passion or affect-emotion and cognition keep appearing in binaries, despite arguments for their separation. Such binaries attempt a distinction between the ego and a faculty of discernment, between the affect-passion and the “other I” which reflects on them, as in the palpable experience of being pulled in two directions. One direction feels more passionate, the other, more reasonable.

    The point of affective discernment though is in the work of the senses, (touching, hearing, smelling, listening, seeing) and the expression of the senses, affectively, accurately, in words, often defined and limited by traditional vocabulary. The naming of feelings is one thing, but the ability to discern the affective world within and without, requires more. Such an investigation requires a conceptual vocabulary and some means of circumventing the “affects” combined distractions. (p, 120.)

    The Limits of Language:

    At present we only have a rudimentary language for connecting sensations, affects, and words, for connecting bodily processes and a conceptual understanding of them. The further development of such language requires an attention to the pathways of sensation in the body. We need to formulate bodily knowledge more accurately and increase the rapidity of human understanding. Extending knowledge in this way is the reverse of gathering it by “objectification,” or studying bodily processes disconnected from living sensory attention. (p, 153.)

    Extending knowledge of sensation, following it further along its pathways, means extending consciousness into the body, infusing it with the conscious understanding from which it has been split, by a subject/object orientation. That split has hardened with the sealing of the heart as an organ of sensory reception and transmission, yet it has also come under examination in all the practices and knowledge’s that, taken together, presage the resurrection of the body.

    Some of these systems of knowledge already nestle in the arms of objective science, especially those focused on the complex systems of both body and brain, while others are found in more ancient, holistic health systems. What these systems of healing have in common with the study of the body and its complexity, is the notion of systems–of language and communication, insofar as a biochemical chain or a DNA sequence can be structured like a language in another medium. (p, 154.)

    The more conscious we become of what we repress in our subject/object orientation (remembering that primary repression is the repression of unprocessed sensory information) or ignore, the less we think in projected and judgmental terms. But such conscious consciousness is only possible when we invent or reinvent the words to say it with. The transliteration into language from the minutia of sensory knowledge and its sifting, may be processes entirely unknown to present day consciousness.

    Extending consciousness sensation, finding the words or images, means grasping the nuances of fleshy grammar and alphabets. It means describing and accounting for sensations, which entails translating them into the everyday currencies of speech and so extending the range of their visualization. What our subject/object ego orientation represses is not available to consciousness. This ego and its repressions, present themselves as disordered flesh, when in fact the ego and its repressions are the cause of such disorder. Disorder is not inherent in the body or the flesh, which loves natural regulation. The body thrives in health when its real needs are respected, as distinct from the ego’s imaginary anxieties. (p, 155.)”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    In writing your well crafted essay Hannah, how aware are you, of your own internal functioning, your energy arousal, and can such internal functioning ever be captured by our tendency to be objectively rational, in our linguistic chains of meaning?

    Please consider the late Teresa Brennan’s understanding of the “illusionary” nature of our taken for granted, yet rather objectifying thoughts;

    “Vertical and Horizontal Chains of Meaning:

    The linguistic chain is split from other chains of life meaning and logic–hormones, genetic codes, solar systems–by the insertion of the subjective “I” where it does not belong. It does not belong in an order whose logic is at right angles to that of the human perspective, as if the codes of living logic, together with the chemical senses, communicate on a horizontal axis, while the human historical viewpoint functions on a vertical one. Without the insertion of the subjective “I” position into the original codes of the flesh, the structure of the linguistic chain is homologous with that of other living chains within. With this insertion, the structures of living meaning are more or less at right angles.

    Life meaning is the result of interweaving–yet diverse–chains, capable of transformation from one order of symbolization to another. Symbolization dependent on understanding the proportionate and rhythmic intersection of numbers of vast and small internally consistent chains that are all communicative and in this respect like languages. If sensory energy is composed of fleshy codes that parallel those of language, this explains why the body seems to do its own thinking, so to speak. (p, 145.)

    It behooves us, as a species, to reconnect conscious language and understanding with the fleshy and environmental codes, from which our consciousness has been split by subjective fantasy and illusion. Those natural codes do their best work in the dark, although bodily physiological and chemical processes do push for admission to consciousness, past the blocks of a self-obsessed linguistic gateway. For us speaking beings, consciousness has been changed into parallel systems of signification; the linguistic, the sensitive, and the affective.

    They belong in a certain natural configuration, and a correct alignment appears necessary for an unimpeded or less impeded flow of nature’s energy. Correct alignment might be described as a symbolic transformation, meaning that the different alphabets of the flesh could be aligned in such a way that life is released from one order into another, yielding more freedom, intelligence, and energy. Symbolization is the means for transformation as the process whereby energy locked up in an alphabet in which it cannot speak (such as traumatic grief) is released back into the flow of life by words, or by the strange chemistry of tears. (p, 149.)

    The notion of aligned codes, like that of the transmission of affect, is at odds with subject/object thought and the “visualization” basic to “objectification.” The gateway between linguistic consciousness and codes of bodily sensation is manned by visual images. Which is to say, to make itself conscious, a bodily process has to be imagined–given an image. Our unconscious ego acts as a visual censor blocking bodily information surfacing to conscious awareness. It is a visual censor because it identifies objects from the standpoint of the subjective “I.” Images are stored from the three dimensional standpoint of a subject arrayed against an object. It is only when we depend on visual perception that we are led astray, into the subjective thought that takes the human standpoint as central. Such thought requires that one stand apart to observe the other and reduce it to predictable motion, the better to study it as an object. It also requires the intention of the body’s life energies, be prevented from fully connecting, in an embodied process. (p, 150.)

    “Hallucinations tend to make the abstract concrete and visa versa. This reflects the ambiguous position of image in Western epistemology, generally. Image has been assigned an inferior function, somewhere between sensation and thinking. On one hand, images are the “dregs of sensation,” carriers of information about sensations, on the way to the summation of sensations into concepts. If, on the other hand, it is realized that sensations cannot account for the formation of concepts, imagery may be granted the function of illustrating autonomous and immaterial concepts in sensuous terms. In ancient times, images were gods or messengers of gods versus sensuous misrepresentations of the unrepresentable.

    The status of image was much higher before we discovered the intellect. The idea of man as slave to his senses was a later transformation of the subjective enslavement to the power of the image. Perhaps this was necessary as a long transitional defense against the image. Distance was gained from the image by seeing it as immediate and concrete. Indeed, it is likely that the very birth of intellect was associated with the cognition of image as image (rather than, say, an idol).”

    Excerpts from “The Transmission of Affect” by Teresa Brennan, PhD.

    Please forgive this long comment. In my defense, I don’t believe that the nature of a Societal Delusion over so-called mental illnesses and the triumph of medications, can be understood from the objective viewpoint of the “world out there,” alone.

    The image of rationality is vital to our collective sense of self, and as Brennan points out above “The status of image was much higher before we discovered the intellect. The idea of man as slave to his senses was a later transformation of the subjective enslavement to the power of the image. Perhaps this was necessary as a long transitional defense against the image. Distance was gained from the image by seeing it as immediate and concrete. Indeed, it is likely that the very birth of intellect was associated with the cognition of image as image (rather than, say, an idol).”

    In his essay “The Triumph of Bad Science” Robert Whitaker points out the need to protect the image of the drugs;

    “As such, this story can help us understand why we, as a society, may end up deluded about the merits of psychiatric medications. The evidence base is massaged in a way that protects the image of the drugs. Dishonest science gets published in the Archives of General Psychiatry and is archived in PubMed, while in-depth criticisms of that bad science are relegated to the “readers’ reply” corner of the journal’s online website, and thus excluded from the PubMed archives. Meanwhile, the media tells of Gibbons’ “findings,” but omits the part about the scientific dishonesty at the heart of those reports.

    And voila, you have a process for creating a societal delusion.”

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/07/the-triumph-of-bad-science/

    Yet following on from Brennan’s conclusion, “the idea of man as slave to his senses was a later transformation of the subjective enslavement to the power of the image,” I suggest that the real culprit of our societal delusion, is a core need to protect the image of an idealized and rational, self?

    Thank you for your eloquent contribution to the debate here on MIA.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Some great questions here Sandra, with what seems like a rather fatalistic tone though? I was surprised, to not read any references to your research of the “open dialogue” approach, when you wrote;

    “My modern day Dr. K’s peppered me with questions about what they could do other than to give their unhappy patients SSRI’s and their sleepless patients hypnotic drugs.”

    Duane makes very appropriate comments about emotion and illness;

    “I wonder how many physical ailments, even real diseases have as their root emotional distress and the need to be listened to, heard. Emotions play havoc on our bodies if we have no place express them…”

    Having grappled with my own emotional issues, with what the medical model labels bipolar disorder type 1, I’ve had to learn how to sense within my body, the ‘affective’ states of mania & depression. Six years ago, it was Allan N Schore’s book “Affect Dysregulation & Disorders of the Self,” which prompted a search within, for the roots of this strange term “affect.”

    Most psychiatrists I ask about this term, shrug off the question with a quick acknowledgement that it relates to emotion and feelings, yet are quiet shy about being more specific. I can hardly blame them for their reluctance to discuss the subconscious nature of affect, although it does seem like we will have to face up to the primary role of “affect,” in the nature of mental illness.

    Certainly, in my own recovery journey, the task of discerning my mind’s ‘affect’ on my body, and my body’s ‘affect’ on my mind, has been the challenge of a life time. I’ve had to stop making assumptions with my mind and learn to explore the sensations of emotional distress, within my body and its nervous system mediation. I had to give up the belief, “its all in my head.”

    Over six years of intense self-education and experiential self-exploration, I’ve come to understand my psychoses, as combined, body-brain-mind states, rather than symptoms of a brain disease. I’ve experienced the painful process of sensing an internal constriction, as a defense against the trauma of my birth, and subsequent life experience. These days I understand, both within my mind, and within my body, the internalized sense of threat, that my euphoric psychoses, were attempting to overcome. My improved self-regulation, involves a new mind/body sense, of the respiratory, muscular and vascular nature of an internal constriction, with its variable affect on the thresholds of my sensory awareness. My awareness, of sensations, emotions, feelings and the thoughts in my mind. My approach involved gaining a more organic sense of my core emotions, to bring to mind their nervous stimulation and understand my internal functioning. Understanding the voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) nature of my self-regulation, has slowly built a new paradigm of mental health. My experiential approach to self-therapy, accords with a recently emerging therapeutic view, described by Allan N Schore as “Toward a New Paradigm of Psychotherapy” Please consider;

    “The current shift of attachment theory from its earlier focus on behavior and cognition into affect and affect regulation reflects the broader trend in the psychological sciences. In a recent editorial of the journal Motivation and Emotion, Ryan (2007) asserts:  

    After three decades of the dominance of cognitive approaches, motivational and emotional processes have roared back into the limelight. Both researchers and practitioners have come to appreciate the limits of exclusively cognitive approaches for understanding the initiation and regulation of human behavior. (p. 1)

    For the last two decades, I have argued that no theory of human functioning can be restricted to only a description of psychological processes; it must also be consonant with what we now know about biological structural brain development. Three other themes that continue from literally the first paragraph of the first book are that the early stages of life are critical to the development of all later evolving structures and functions, that emotion is central to a deeper understanding of the human condition, and that unconscious processes lie at the core of the self, throughout the life span. The book thus also attempted to reintegrate psychoanalytic ideas of the unconscious mind into developmental science. Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self— which is now in its 14th printing— was the first book to document not the cognitive development, but the social-emotional development of the infant.

    Now it is true that the current surge of research is being fueled by advances in a variety of cutting-edge neuroimaging technologies that can observe and document ongoing brain structure– function relationships. The reader should note there is a major limitation to current in vivo imaging techniques— their limited temporal resolution does not allow them to capture the real-time dynamics of brain function. But even future advances in technology would not be enough. We also need an integrative psychoneurobiological theoretical model that can not only generate testable hypotheses but also conceptualize the vast amount of research and clinical data in a meaningful way.

    And we need an interpersonal neurobiological perspective that can account for brain-to-brain interactions. As editor of the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, I see this quantitative leap and qualitative shift in emotion research as a powerful source of updated models of psychotherapeutic interventions that are grounded in developmental, affective, and social neuroscience. It is now clear that psychotherapeutic changes in conscious cognitions alone, without changes in emotion processing, are limited. In fact, a clash of psychotherapy paradigms can currently be seen, especially in the treatment of more severe disorders that present with a history of relational trauma and thereby a deficit in affect regulation. In such cases emotion more than cognition is the focus of the change process, and so CBT is now being challenged by updated affectively focused psychodynamic models, including ART. In his most recent book my colleague Philip Bromberg (2011) also describes the paradigm shift in psychotherapy:  

    Interpersonal and Relational writers largely have endorsed the idea that we are in fact confronted with a paradigm change and have conceptualized it as a transformation from a one-person to a two-person psychology. I feel that this formulation is accurate, and that three central clinical shifts are intrinsic to the conceptual shift: A shift from the primacy of content to the primacy of context, a shift from the primacy of cognition to the primacy of affect, and a shift away from (but not yet an abandonment of) the concept of “technique.” (p. 126)

    The current radical expansion of knowledge and paradigm shift has wider implications beyond the mental health professions to the cultural and political organization of societies. In my 2003 volumes I argued that the right hemisphere nonconscious implicit self, and not the left conscious explicit self, is dominant in human adaptive survival functions. Offering data at the neuropsychological, cultural, and historical levels, McGilchrist (2009) echoes this principle:

    “If what one means by consciousness is the part of the mind that brings the world into focus, makes it explicit, allows it to be formulated in language, and is aware of its own awareness, it is reasonable to link the conscious mind to activity almost all of which lies ultimately in the left hemisphere” (p. 188).

    He adds, however, “The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless” (p. 174). In contrast, “the right hemisphere … yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known— and to this world it exists in a relationship of care” (p. 174). Indeed, the “emotional” right hemisphere “has the most sophisticated and extensive, and quite possibly most lately evolved, representation in the prefrontal cortex, the most highly evolved part of the brain” (p. 437).

    An essential tenet of McGilchrist’s volume (2009) is expressed in its title: the right hemisphere is the master, and the left the emissary, which is willful, believes itself superior, and sometimes betrays the master, bringing harm to them both. Offering interdisciplinary evidence that spans the sciences and the arts, he convincingly argues that the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. I agree that especially western cultures, even more so than in the past, are currently overemphasizing left brain functions.

    Our cultural conceptions of both mental and physical health, as well as the aims of all levels of education, continue to narrowly overstress rational, logical, analytic thinking over holistic, bodily based, relational right brain functions that are essential to homeostasis and survival. It is ironic that at a time when clinicians and researchers are making significant breakthroughs not only in right brain social-emotional models of optimal development but also in right brain models of the etiologies and treatment of a wide range of psychopathologies, strong economic and cultural inhibitory restraints and cutbacks are being felt by practitioners. How can we understand this? We are constantly told that the reason for this lies in objective economic factors. But the paradigm shift in psychology and neuroscience suggests subjective unconscious forces are at play here.

    Listen to McGilchrist’s (2009) description of what the world would look like if the left hemisphere were to become so far dominant that, at the phenomenological level, it managed more or less to suppress the right hemisphere’s world altogether. He imagines that this left-brained world would lead to an increasing specialization and technicalizing of knowledge, as well as the following: increased bureaucratization, inability to see the big picture, focus on quantity and efficiency at the expense of quality, valuing technology over human interaction, lack of respect for judgment and skill acquired through experience, and devaluing of the unique, the personal, and the individual. Even more specifically; 

    Knowledge that came through experience, and the practical acquisition of embodied skill, would become suspect, appearing either a threat or simply incomprehensible.… The concepts of skill and judgment, once considered the summit of human experience, but which come only slowly and silently with the business of living, would be discarded in favor of quantifiable and repeatable processes.… Skills themselves would be reduced to algorithmic procedures which could be drawn up, and even if necessary regulated, by administrators, since without that the mistrustful tendencies of the left hemisphere could not be certain that these nebulous “skills” were being evenly and “correctly” applied.… [F] ewer people would find themselves doing work involving contact with anything in the real, “lived” world, rather than with plans, strategies, paperwork, management and bureaucratic procedures.… Technology would flourish, as an expression of the left hemisphere’s desire to manipulate and control the world for its own pleasure, but it would be accompanied by a vast expansion of bureaucracy, systems of abstraction and control. (McGilchrist, 2009, p. 429)  

    Sound familiar? I suggest that this “imagined” left brain worldview now dominates not only our culture but also the current mental health field in the following forms: an overemphasis on psychopharmacology over psychotherapy, an undue influence of the insurance industry on defining “normative” and “acceptable” forms of treatment, an overidealization of “evidence-based practice,” an underappreciation of the large body of studies on the effectiveness of the therapeutic alliance, a trend toward “manualization” of therapy, a training model that focuses on the learning of techniques rather than expanding relational skills, and a shift of psychotherapy from a profession to a business.

    Can we reverse this current imbalance of the hemispheres? The paradigm shift has generated a quantum leap in our attempts to understand a number of fundamental questions of the human condition that can be elucidated by recent discoveries of the early developing right brain. A prime example is the surge of deeper explorations of our human origins by contemporary developmental science. In 2005 Insel and Fenton articulated this widely held principle:
    “Most mental illnesses … begin far earlier in life than was previously believed” (p. 590). More recently Leckman and March (2011) are asserting that “A scientific consensus is emerging that the origins of adult disease are often found among developmental and biological disruptions occurring during the early years of life” (p. 333).

    We need, now, to use recent knowledge in order to reflect more deeply and act more directly on what is required— at levels of the individual, family, and culture— to provide an optimal human context for both mental and physical health. In addition to culturally supporting the development of intellectual and cognitive abilities, we need to foster the individual’s adaptive capacity to relate socially and emotionally to other human beings via the right brain functions of intersubjective communication, affect processing, empathy, and interactive stress regulation. The large body of studies on the critical survival functions of the right brain can be applied not only to individuals but also to cultures (Bradshaw & Schore, 2007; Schore & Schore, 2008).

    Here in the United States, how are we reacting to this crisis at the core of our culture? And if we are not responding, why not? In clinical models we speak of individuals having intrapsychic defenses against uncertainty, stress, and painful negative information. But defenses such as denial, repression, and even dissociation are collectively used by the culture to avoid more directly confronting the serious stressors that lie at its core. Forty years ago Jacob Bronowski offered the trenchant observation, “Think of the investment that evolution has made in the child’s brain.…

    For most of history, civilizations have crudely ignored that enormous potential. In fact the longest childhood has been that of civilization, learning to understand that” (1973, p. 425). In a current attempt to overcome that resistance and bring this problem closer to the forefront of cultural consciousness, my colleagues and I are producing two multiauthored volumes: Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy (Narvaez, Panksepp, Schore, & Gleason, in press), and The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic (Lanius, Vermetten, & Pain, 2010).

    Grounded in recent developmental neuroscience, psychiatry, and developmental psychology, these books cast light upon a number of serious psychological and social problems underlying our cultural blind spots. But more than that, contributing scholars from multiple disciplines offer practical thoughts about what types of early-life experiences are essential for optimal development of human brain and body systems— in order not only to generate greater understanding of scientific research and theory but also to promote informed public policy.

    In a recent overview of contemporary developmental neuroscience, Leckman and March (2011, p. 333) conclude, “our in utero and our early postnatal interpersonal worlds shape and mold the individuals (infants, children, adolescents, and adults and caregivers) we are to become.” At this point in time there is converging evidence that we can maximize the short- and long-term effects of our interventions by concentrating on the period of the brain growth spurt— from the last trimester of pregnancy through the second year. Whether or not our governments will fund such sorely needed efforts remains to be seen.”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    In your recent observations of the “open dialogue” approach, could you say that there was some “unconscious” affects going on, even though we lack the language to articulate, such unconscious processes?

    It’s great to see you address this “where to now,” issue here, although I do believe that beyond the headline public debate, there is a quiet revolution taking place, as Allan Schore alludes to. His call for a multidisciplinary approach to mental health, makes so much sense, and I think we are, all too slowly of course, seeing this happen beyond the usual ‘turf wars’ of elite specializations.

    Body oriented therapist’s are certainly embracing the paradigm, that Schore and others advocate.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • From the perspective of possible “unconscious” projection, I found the use of the word in this particular discussion, a bit Freudian.

    Both the other participants were sympathetic to charge of corruption, and Robert seems to use the term unnecessarily? Perhaps there some doubts forming, as to the “objectively” obvious cause & effect logic, we use in describing the causes of the epidemic and a societal delusion about the medical approach to troubled minds?

    Was Robert flagging a need for more exploration of the non-obvious, unconscious nature of apparent, reason & madness?

    Do the well functioning assume, they operate with pure reason, and is our faculty of critical thinking, more about self-defence than insightful perception?

    Regards,

    David.

  • Great thread guys, interesting takes on the role of critical thinking and the treatment of its apparent dysfunction.

    In his book “Doctoring the Mind: Why psychiatric treatments fail,” Richard Bentall expresses his views about the current “paternalistic” functioning of the medical model of psychiatric care. Such a paternalistic urge, seems to be “symptomatic” of societal functioning, as a collective emotional system, IMO. Consider;

    “In table 3 I list what I think are the main differences between two versions of psychiatric care. Of course, many mental health professionals would perhaps place themselves between the two poles indicated by this table, but this does not mean that the distinctions drawn here are not real and important. Although the poles could be given a variety of labels, I called them ‘paternalistic-medical’ and ‘autonomy-promoting’, reflecting the fact the most important difference between advocates of the recovery approach and those mental health professionals who favour more traditional services concerns their willingness to trust the judgements of the people they claim to help. Table 3. Two visions of the future of psychiatric care Paternalistic-medical Autonomy-promoting Principle advocates Biological psychiatrists; researchers studying the neuroscience and genetics of psychiatric disorders Clinical psychologists, many psychiatric nurses, CBT therapists, some psychiatrists, differences between these two visions. Of course, many mental health professionals would perhaps place themselves between the two poles indicated by this table, but this does not mean that the distinctions drawn here are not real and important. Although the poles could be given a variety of labels, I called them ‘paternalistic-medical’ and ‘autonomy-promoting’, reflecting the fact the most important difference between advocates of the recovery approach and those mental health professionals who favour more traditional services concerns their willingness to trust the judgements of the people they claim to help.”

    Bentall, Richard P. Doctoring the Mind: Why psychiatric treatments fail (p. 270). Penguin Books Ltd.

    I guess, each of us who advocates for a deeper understanding of the human experience, labeled as a mental illness, might consider the age-old dynamic of paternal authority and rebellion, when we participate in an equally age-old “us & them” debate. When it comes to the unconscious well-springs of the human mind and human motivation, are there any absolute truths, or simply subjective “judgments.”

    Perhaps the debate here is moving beyond the need to simply judge others, as witnessed by Robert’s recent use of the term “unconscious” in his discussion on Al Jazeera. It made me wonder if he was having some tingling doubts about the “objectively” obvious causes of a mental illness epidemic, and a societal delusion about the medical approach to troubled minds?

    Alas, too few writers seem willing to explore the unconscious nature of their motivation here, or so it seems to me. What forces of human nature underpin Bentall’s call for an ‘autonomy-promoting’ approach, in enabling an individuals emotional and functional growth? Should we be promoting self-education about the hidden nature of being human rather than arguing about how we treat human beings? Do we take far too much for granted, about our thoughts and written words here, with no thought to our internal development?

    Do we all take the mind as a given, without seeking to understand its development? Do you remember your very first thought, your first fully formed word? Or did you learn to crawl first? Forgetting with time, the “motoric” nature of the mind, perhaps? In my own journey, sensing the rhythmic patterns of my heart and its motor activity, has helped in sensing the impulse to my often paternalistic advice, to others.

    Is your mind really all about, what happens inside your brain? Is there emerging science about the body and its major organs, which ALL play a role in our states of mind?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • A wonderful speech, Chaya. As we move forward, beyond the “top-down” need for self and societal control, are we beginning to open the channel between our hearts & brains?

    As the burgeoning science of “pschophysiology” increases our understanding of how we function as an integrated organic system, rather than with the simplistic notion of cause and effect logic, which focuses upon the brain alone. Is a systems approach beginning to understand the vital role of our hearts, in states of mind-body coherence and incoherence?

    Can individuals use the power of the internet to learn a better understanding of themselves and their psychotic experience? The revolution the internet has brought about certainly seems to be leading us towards a growing self-realization and acceptance of our human condition, beyond the conservative need to simply maintain the status-quo.

    In my own ongoing journey of understanding & recovery, my heart is continuing to lead me back home to coherent nature I was born with. Healing from traumatic experience has involved a deeper understanding of my heart and its role in stimulating my mind.

    New knowledge has helped me understand my spiritual heart and the true nature of my euphoric psychoses. Please consider how understanding personal coherence is leading us towards global coherence;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdneZ4fIIHE

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.

  • Interesting that when asked about corruption, Bob suggests there may have been “unconscious” processes involved.

    Is this a hint, that while we hero worship does with high IQ’s, an ability to pass examinations and obtain qualifications does not really correlate with EQ or the getting of wisdom and emotional maturity?

    Perhaps emotional maturity may be considered as NOT needing to “guild the lily” when pitching one’s cognitive constructs, with a rather adolescent slip of tongue, while at the same time, posturing a rather paternalistic care and concern for one’s fellow man. Yet the average “conservative” seems to make these lazy observations all the time, or so it seems to me.

    Like the esteemed Dr’s take on our amazing brain, with more cells than stars in the Galaxy, apparently? Yet a quick check reveals;

    “An adult human brain has more than 100 billion neurons”

    “The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter containing 200–400 billion stars.”

    We see the same conservative IQ’s like Kay Redfield Jamison and Elyn R. Saks make the same slips of the tongue, while projecting the appropriate paternalistic care and concern, in stating categorically that Bipolar and Schizophrenia are brain diseases.

    Why does the majority of the American public lap up this kind of apparently authoritative and paternalistic advice? Are there unconscious processes related to emotional needs, projection, and emotional maturity, involved?

    Lastly, why the taken for granted assumption that mental health is “all about the brain?’ Is this a projection of how the brain and nervous systems guide the business of life, with an unconscious pattern of stimulus matching “expectation” which leads to our conscious assumptions?

    Is the experience that many on MIA know well, all about the brain or the creature in which the brain resides? Is our experience symptomatic of what it means to be human?

    When will does of us with lived experience address Dr Michael Cornwall’s profound question “if mental illness is not what psychiatry says it is, then what is it?” Do we simply assume that we can’t find the science which supports our experience as a natural phenomena, and refutes the science which psychiatry uses to make its claims.

    I firmly believe that there is emerging science which strongly refutes this taken for granted and myopic focus on the brain, as the sole mediator of emotional/mental disorder.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • This was a great comment on “perspective” Scott. I really liked “The environment is constantly in interaction with the underlying structures of the brain from the moment the first neuron is born.”

    Yet I wonder, in terms of human development whether we just “assume” that all neurons are born within the brain? In embryology, I believe there an understanding that the first neurons develop within the heart & nervous systems. Please consider a more holistic view of our pesky neurons, from a body-brain-mind perspective which suggests to me at least, that while the brain may be the “driver” of human motivation, the heart is the engine of our motivation.

    http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Heart,%20Mind%20and%20Spirit%20%20Mohamed%20Salem.pdf

    Sorry about the motorcar analogy, I guess its a mechanically minded “male” perspective? A bit like the patriarch’s of the APA, perhaps?

    Regards,

    David Bates.

  • “What needs to be done? Let’s start by throwing out everything that has been created by Big Pharma corrupted mental health institutions and thought leaders. And let’s begin a “Mental Health Enlightenment” based on genuine science, which would mean an admission of exactly what psychiatrists and psychologists do and do not know.”

    IMO The difficulty in understanding what psychiatrists and psychologists do and do not know, seems to be about discerning what is genuine science research into the human condition, as opposed to the research conducted by a “treatment industry,” which takes pathology as a given.

    My personal concern, is that we may inadvertently collude with this taken for granted worldview of pathology, by not pointing out the genuine science which does support the view “that many emotional problems are often natural human reactions.”

    IMO the general support for the “chemical imbalance” metaphor for emotional/mental distress on a continuum from anxiety to psychosis, is based on a self-soothing need for a plausible “how & “why,” in an age of cause & effect education principles. The general public, families and sufferers WANT a plausible how and why explanation no matter how simplistic or false it is. Most of us are still trapped within a linear cause & effect paradigm of thinking, even as science, including the neuroscience of human development has move into systems models of functioning.

    IMO the “Mental Health Enlightenment based on genuine science, mental health researchers and practitioners would be uncorrupted by Big Pharma,” already exist, yet are so busy voicing our objections to the obvious faults in the status-qua that we fail to even look for this genuine science?

    IMO there great confusion about the biobehavioral nature of being human within the psychiatric survivor community, based understandably on painful experiences with the “for profit,” misapplication of neuroscience research. Particularly research which takes “pathology” as a given and “assumes” that emotional/mental reactivity is all about what happens within the brain, with no reciprocal feedback from the body. Where is the systems view, in this myopic focus on the brain alone? Is it an emotional projection of our need to control nature, particularly our own, and “top down” structure of our hierarchical societies?

    IMO Stephen Porges “polyvagal theory” does change everything, by bringing the body and the heart in particular, back into the picture of what causes “natural human reactions,” and points us towards a more holistic, non-pathologizing and systemic, “how & “why” explanations for emotional/mental distress on a continuum from normal anxiety to delusional psychosis.

    Please consider comments on the polyvagal perspective here;

    http://www.nicabm.com/comments/trauma-2012-porges/

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • A wonderful essay which to me seems to be exploring the “core” issue of “arousal?” Is arousal about the brain and mind, or essentially about the heart and the innate orienting responses we cal primary emotions? As you say;

    “Hearing only what a patient says under questioning when frozen by paralysis, or subject to the hyper-arousal of anxiety”

    The questions address the person’s cognition as a function of the cortex (higher brain function) yet arousal of our core orienting responses to life, like fear, anger, joy, etc, are sub-cortical functions overwhelmingly concerned with the body and movement, and setting the “tone” of our cognition. Imo being with someone in distress involves an ability to observe the “unspoken” language of the body and “feel” the emotional arousal of the another person. Hence you write;

    “I write “all the professionals do is listen for the truths” but the ability to do this, to stay with distress, is something that has to be cultivated through gently guiding the professionals hand away from the book, so they can actually be with the person in front of them.”

    Beyond the headline debates about the DSM-5 and professional turf wars, with jealously guarded territories, is a slow education process happening beyond the ivory towers? Beyond assumptions about brian diseases and pecking orders of rank and status, is a somatic approach to emotional distress gaining ground after decades of cognitive misunderstanding? Please consider;

    “Toward a New Paradigm of Psychotherapy

    For the last two decades, I have argued that no theory of human functioning can be restricted to only a description of psychological processes; it must also be consonant with what we now know about biological structural brain development. Three other themes that continue from literally the first paragraph of the first book are that the early stages of life are critical to the development of all later evolving structures and functions, that emotion is central to a deeper understanding of the human condition, and that unconscious processes lie at the core of the self, throughout the life span. The book thus also attempted to reintegrate psychoanalytic ideas of the unconscious mind into developmental science. Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self— which is now in its 14th printing— was the first book to document not the cognitive development, but the social-emotional development of the infant.

    Now it is true that the current surge of research is being fueled by advances in a variety of cutting-edge neuroimaging technologies that can observe and document ongoing brain structure– function relationships. The reader should note there is a major limitation to current in vivo imaging techniques— their limited temporal resolution does not allow them to capture the real-time dynamics of brain function. But even future advances in technology would not be enough. We also need an integrative psychoneurobiological theoretical model that can not only generate testable hypotheses but also conceptualize the vast amount of research and clinical data in a meaningful way.

    And we need an interpersonal neurobiological perspective that can account for brain-to-brain interactions. As editor of the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, I see this quantitative leap and qualitative shift in emotion research as a powerful source of updated models of psychotherapeutic interventions that are grounded in developmental, affective, and social neuroscience. It is now clear that psychotherapeutic changes in conscious cognitions alone, without changes in emotion processing, are limited. In fact, a clash of psychotherapy paradigms can currently be seen, especially in the treatment of more severe disorders that present with a history of relational trauma and thereby a deficit in affect regulation. In such cases emotion more than cognition is the focus of the change process, and so CBT is now being challenged by updated affectively focused psychodynamic models, including ART. In his most recent book my colleague Philip Bromberg (2011) also describes the paradigm shift in psychotherapy:  

    Interpersonal and Relational writers largely have endorsed the idea that we are in fact confronted with a paradigm change and have conceptualized it as a transformation from a one-person to a two-person psychology. I feel that this formulation is accurate, and that three central clinical shifts are intrinsic to the conceptual shift: A shift from the primacy of content to the primacy of context, a shift from the primacy of cognition to the primacy of affect, and a shift away from (but not yet an abandonment of) the concept of “technique.” (p. 126)

    The current radical expansion of knowledge and paradigm shift has wider implications beyond the mental health professions to the cultural and political organization of societies. In my 2003 volumes I argued that the right hemisphere nonconscious implicit self, and not the left conscious explicit self, is dominant in human adaptive survival functions. Offering data at the neuropsychological, cultural, and historical levels, McGilchrist (2009) echoes this principle:

    “If what one means by consciousness is the part of the mind that brings the world into focus, makes it explicit, allows it to be formulated in language, and is aware of its own awareness, it is reasonable to link the conscious mind to activity almost all of which lies ultimately in the left hemisphere” (p. 188).

    He adds, however, “The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless” (p. 174). In contrast, “the right hemisphere … yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known— and to this world it exists in a relationship of care” (p. 174). Indeed, the “emotional” right hemisphere “has the most sophisticated and extensive, and quite possibly most lately evolved, representation in the prefrontal cortex, the most highly evolved part of the brain” (p. 437).

    An essential tenet of McGilchrist’s volume (2009) is expressed in its title: the right hemisphere is the master, and the left the emissary, which is willful, believes itself superior, and sometimes betrays the master, bringing harm to them both. Offering interdisciplinary evidence that spans the sciences and the arts, he convincingly argues that the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. I agree that especially western cultures, even more so than in the past, are currently overemphasizing left brain functions.

    Our cultural conceptions of both mental and physical health, as well as the aims of all levels of education, continue to narrowly overstress rational, logical, analytic thinking over holistic, bodily based, relational right brain functions that are essential to homeostasis and survival. It is ironic that at a time when clinicians and researchers are making significant breakthroughs not only in right brain social-emotional models of optimal development but also in right brain models of the etiologies and treatment of a wide range of psychopathologies, strong economic and cultural inhibitory restraints and cutbacks are being felt by practitioners. How can we understand this? We are constantly told that the reason for this lies in objective economic factors. But the paradigm shift in psychology and neuroscience suggests subjective unconscious forces are at play here.

    Listen to McGilchrist’s (2009) description of what the world would look like if the left hemisphere were to become so far dominant that, at the phenomenological level, it managed more or less to suppress the right hemisphere’s world altogether. He imagines that this left-brained world would lead to an increasing specialization and technicalizing of knowledge, as well as the following: increased bureaucratization, inability to see the big picture, focus on quantity and efficiency at the expense of quality, valuing technology over human interaction, lack of respect for judgment and skill acquired through experience, and devaluing of the unique, the personal, and the individual. Even more specifically; 

    Knowledge that came through experience, and the practical acquisition of embodied skill, would become suspect, appearing either a threat or simply incomprehensible.… The concepts of skill and judgment, once considered the summit of human experience, but which come only slowly and silently with the business of living, would be discarded in favor of quantifiable and repeatable processes.… Skills themselves would be reduced to algorithmic procedures which could be drawn up, and even if necessary regulated, by administrators, since without that the mistrustful tendencies of the left hemisphere could not be certain that these nebulous “skills” were being evenly and “correctly” applied.… [F] ewer people would find themselves doing work involving contact with anything in the real, “lived” world, rather than with plans, strategies, paperwork, management and bureaucratic procedures.… Technology would flourish, as an expression of the left hemisphere’s desire to manipulate and control the world for its own pleasure, but it would be accompanied by a vast expansion of bureaucracy, systems of abstraction and control. (McGilchrist, 2009, p. 429)  

    Sound familiar? I suggest that this “imagined” left brain worldview now dominates not only our culture but also the current mental health field in the following forms: an overemphasis on psychopharmacology over psychotherapy, an undue influence of the insurance industry on defining “normative” and “acceptable” forms of treatment, an overidealization of “evidence-based practice,” an underappreciation of the large body of studies on the effectiveness of the therapeutic alliance, a trend toward “manualization” of therapy, a training model that focuses on the learning of techniques rather than expanding relational skills, and a shift of psychotherapy from a profession to a business.

    Can we reverse this current imbalance of the hemispheres? The paradigm shift has generated a quantum leap in our attempts to understand a number of fundamental questions of the human condition that can be elucidated by recent discoveries of the early developing right brain. A prime example is the surge of deeper explorations of our human origins by contemporary developmental science. In 2005 Insel and Fenton articulated this widely held principle:
    “Most mental illnesses … begin far earlier in life than was previously believed” (p. 590). More recently Leckman and March (2011) are asserting that “A scientific consensus is emerging that the origins of adult disease are often found among developmental and biological disruptions occurring during the early years of life” (p. 333).

    We need, now, to use recent knowledge in order to reflect more deeply and act more directly on what is required— at levels of the individual, family, and culture— to provide an optimal human context for both mental and physical health. In addition to culturally supporting the development of intellectual and cognitive abilities, we need to foster the individual’s adaptive capacity to relate socially and emotionally to other human beings via the right brain functions of intersubjective communication, affect processing, empathy, and interactive stress regulation. The large body of studies on the critical survival functions of the right brain can be applied not only to individuals but also to cultures (Bradshaw & Schore, 2007; Schore & Schore, 2008).

    Here in the United States, how are we reacting to this crisis at the core of our culture? And if we are not responding, why not? In clinical models we speak of individuals having intrapsychic defenses against uncertainty, stress, and painful negative information. But defenses such as denial, repression, and even dissociation are collectively used by the culture to avoid more directly confronting the serious stressors that lie at its core. Forty years ago Jacob Bronowski offered the trenchant observation, “Think of the investment that evolution has made in the child’s brain.…

    For most of history, civilizations have crudely ignored that enormous potential. In fact the longest childhood has been that of civilization, learning to understand that” (1973, p. 425). In a current attempt to overcome that resistance and bring this problem closer to the forefront of cultural consciousness, my colleagues and I are producing two multiauthored volumes: Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy (Narvaez, Panksepp, Schore, & Gleason, in press), and The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic (Lanius, Vermetten, & Pain, 2010).

    Grounded in recent developmental neuroscience, psychiatry, and developmental psychology, these books cast light upon a number of serious psychological and social problems underlying our cultural blind spots. But more than that, contributing scholars from multiple disciplines offer practical thoughts about what types of early-life experiences are essential for optimal development of human brain and body systems— in order not only to generate greater understanding of scientific research and theory but also to promote informed public policy.

    In a recent overview of contemporary developmental neuroscience, Leckman and March (2011, p. 333) conclude, “our in utero and our early postnatal interpersonal worlds shape and mold the individuals (infants, children, adolescents, and adults and caregivers) we are to become.” At this point in time there is converging evidence that we can maximize the short- and long-term effects of our interventions by concentrating on the period of the brain growth spurt— from the last trimester of pregnancy through the second year. Whether or not our governments will fund such sorely needed efforts remains to be seen.

    Fifteen years ago, A. Schore outlined the essential role of attachment in the regulation of affect and emotional development. In his seminal 1994 volume, he integrated a large amount of existing interdisciplinary data and proposed that attachment transactions are critical to the development of structural right brain systems involved in the nonconscious processing of emotion, modulation of stress, self-regulation, and thereby the functional origins of the bodily based affective core of the implicit self that operates automatically and rapidly, beneath levels of awareness. In 2000, within an introduction to a reissue of Bowlby’s (1969) classic volume, Attachment, A. Schore proposed, “In essence, a central goal of Bowlby’s first book is to demonstrate that a mutually enriching dialogue can be organized between the biological and psychological realms” (p. 24), and argued that attachment theory stresses the primacy of affect and is fundamentally a regulation theory. This linkage of the theory with affective dynamics was mirrored in Fonagy, Gergely, Jurist, and Target’s (2002) Affect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of the Self. Indeed, Fonagy and Target (2002) concluded “the whole of child development to be the enhancement of self-regulation.” In parallel work on attachment from the social psychology perspective, Mikulincer, Shaver, and Pereg (2003) have offered extensive work on “attachment theory and affect regulation.” The current shift of attachment theory from its earlier focus on behavior and cognition into affect and affect regulation reflects the broader trend in the psychological sciences. In a recent editorial of the journal Motivation and Emotion, Ryan (2007) asserts:  

    After three decades of the dominance of cognitive approaches, motivational and emotional processes have roared back into the limelight. Both researchers and practitioners have come to appreciate the limits of exclusively cognitive approaches for understanding the initiation and regulation of human behavior. (p. 1)”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    Have we become so “conditioned” to understand ourselves as a “thinking” being, that we literally cannot see unspoken body language, or feel the the true meaning of emotional expression, because we are oblivious to how we “distance” ourselves from our sens-of-self, with layers of “rationalized” defence?

    Enough with questions, that are essentially about “self-defence,” and the health care professionals NEED to remain as unaffected by another’s emotional state as possible. Hence the “visceral” term “shell shock” used after world war one, has been transmuted into a less emotionally resonant PTSD label. Thus allowing the observing intellect a comfortable distance from the HEART of its own arousal.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • “Pandora’s box should never have been opened”.

    IMO the box was opened by Darwin and we are still grappling with denial about our susceptibility to trauma and its effects on the human mind. We are still largely in denial about the embodied reality of being an evolved animal, labeled human.

    This current anti diagnostic movement seems to be pointing towards new possibilities in human self-interpretation, and I wonder if an era of further self-realization has begun?

    The evolutionary worm turns, slowly, and we are, I believe, on the verge of a new era of self-perception and understanding, with Stephen Porges “polyvagal theory” as important a revelation as Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    The Polyvagal Theory gives use a solid science perspective on the social context of emotional distress, in recovering from traumatic experience. His discovery of a third process of innervating the human heart, via the nerves of the head and face, which he calls “the social engagement system” gives a solid science platform for what we all know about the therapeutic process of healing. Its the quality of the “emotional” relationship that is crucial in allowing people to feel safe, and reengage a neural stimulation of the heart, in face to face engagement with another human being. Its what Porges calls “the face-heart connection,” and how we learn to be human in the first years of life.

    IMO Porges “social engagement system,” is the social context of which so many psychologists speak, and it gives a clear foundation for a biobehavioral approach to un-pathologizing behaviors, seen too simplistically as a mental illness. The Polyvagal Theory gives us a clear framework for exploring emotional/mental distress as natural reactions to overwhelming stress, going beyond the historically simplistic “chemical imbalance” metaphor, in a “how” and “why” explanation.

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • A wonderful essay Faith, I really appreciate your openness to exploring the human condition and its functional nature, I particularly like;

    “Do we need to know the specific neurological correlates of internal conflict?

    How does the fear of being alone pass between our synapses?

    Does hope light up our brains, or just our hearts?

    Is it even possible to know? Is it important?”

    In my own journey to understand the nature of my psychotic experiences, “how to know” seems to lie at the very heart of understanding. Should I be able to think my way to understanding, or is a combination of thoughtful knowledge and “felt sense” required?

    Along the way to becoming totally medication free and independent, my self-interpretation (self-awareness & understanding) questions shifted from dependence on acceptance of the generalized brain disease medical model of a “treatment industry” approach based largely on ignorance, fear and historical accidents. Towards a more holistic sense of my profound nervous dis-ease, as involving my heart, lungs and gut, as much as my brain.

    Put simply, my experience of manic psychosis is a NEED of appropriate orientation towards reality, of organism know to the social environment as David Bates. What has allowed me to understand this growth process involved in psychosis, is reading the kind of neuroscience which seeks to explore the reality of the human condition rather than defensively judge it, as in fearful assumptions about pathology.

    Question! Can we really ‘assume’ that the experience we label “mind,” is all about what happens within the brain, alone?

    I personally believe that we are on the verge of a paradigm shift in the perception of ourselves, and what really means to be human, to be a sentient species.

    Please consider this important paper by the brilliant Stephen Porges, on the “Reciprocal Influences Between Body and Brain in the Perception and Expression of Affect”

    EMOTIONS, AFFECT REGULATION, and interpersonal social behavior are psychological processes that describe basic human experiences in response to events, environmental challenges, and people. These processes shape our sense of self, contribute to our abilities to form relationships, and determine whether we feel safe in various contexts or with specific people. Although these processes can be objectively observed and subjectively described, they represent a complex interplay between our psychological experience and our physiological regulation. These psychological–physiological interactions are dependent on the dynamic bidirectional communication between peripheral organs and the central nervous system connecting the brain with these organs.

    For example, the neural circuits, providing a bidirectional communication between the brain and heart, can trigger either a rapid increase in heart rate to support protective fight/flight behaviors, or a rapid decrease in heart rate to support social interactions. Peripheral physiological reactions can be initiated by the brain that detect features of danger in the environment, and alternatively, changes in our peripheral physiological state can feed back information to the brain and alter our perceptions of the world.

    Thus, affect and interpersonal social behavior are more accurately described as biobehavioral than psychological processes, since our physiological state can profoundly influence the quality of these psychological processes, and our feelings can, in turn, determine dynamic changes in our physiology. Our nervous system functions as a sentry by continuously evaluating risk in the environment. Through neural surveillance mechanisms (i.e., neuroception—see below), our brain identifies features of risk or safety. Many of the features of risk and safety are not learned, but rather are hardwired into our nervous system and reflect adaptive strategies associated with our phylogenetic history. For example, low-frequency sounds elicit in mammals a sense of danger associated with an approaching predator.

    Through exposure and associative learning, we can link these features with other events. Specific features in the environment recruit physiological states differentially associated with feelings of safety, danger, or ultimate demise (i.e., life threat). Each of these states is characterized by a specific set of capacities for affect regulation, social engagement, and communication (Porges, 2003). Current research in affective neuroscience focuses on brain structures and neural circuits related to specific motivational and emotional processes (e.g., Panksepp, 1998a).

    These important discoveries emphasize cortical and sub-cortical structures in the emergence of the complex affective repertoire of humans and their contribution to social relationships (e.g., Schore, 1994, 2003a; Siegel, 2007). However, underlying these contributions are details of an important and often overlooked neurobiological substrate: the neural circuits mediating the reciprocal communication between body states and brainstem structures, which have an impact on the availability of these affective circuits. These underlying circuits not only promote feelings (e.g., Damasio, 1999), but also form a bidirectional circuit (e.g., Darwin, 1872/1965) that enables mental and psychological processes to influence body state, and to color and, at times, to distort our perception of the world.

    Thus, the study of affective processes, especially in their prosocial and healing roles, requires an understanding of the neural circuits both between higher brain structures and the brainstem and between the brainstem and the visceral organs (e.g., the heart) mediated through the autonomic nervous system. All affective or emotional states are dependent upon lower brain regulation of the visceral state and the important visceral, tactile, and nocioceptive cues that travel to the brain from the periphery. Moreover, there are distinct visceral regulatory states that foster different domains of behavior. These states do not preclude the important bidirectional information from higher brain structures.

    Emotion, Motion, and Visceral State: Features of Mental Health

    Regardless of the operational, and often arbitrary, distinction between emotion and affect or between emotional expressions and feelings, the measurement of physiological states (e.g., autonomic, endocrine, and muscle activity) needs to be embraced in affective neuroscience, particularly if there is to be a functional dialogue with experiential clinicians. In most cases, physiological state has been conceptualized as a correlate or a consequence of higher brain structures (e.g., cortex) presumed to be driving emotion and affect.

    However, it would be naïve not to explore the connections and potential bidirectional influences between peripheral physiological states and the brain circuits related to affective processes. Physiological state is an implicit component of the subjective experiences associated with specific psychological constructs such as anxiety, fear, panic, and pain. The convergence between physiological state and emotional experience is neurophysiologically determined, since the metabolic requirements necessary to modulate the muscles of the face and body require supporting changes in autonomic state.

    All emotional and affective states require specific physiological shifts to facilitate their expression and to reach their implicit goals (e.g., fight, flight, freeze, proximity). Through the study of phylogenetic shifts in the vertebrate autonomic nervous system, it is possible to link the different expressive features of emotion in humans with the phylogenetic transitions in visceral regulation observed in vertebrates. Physiological monitoring provides an important portal to monitor these reactions, since some affective responses are often not observable in overt behavior.

    There is a rich history of research linking the neural regulation of face and viscera (e.g., heart) with brain circuits. Gellhorn (1964) elaborated on how proprioceptive discharges from facial muscles influence brain function and promote changes in visceral state, thus providing an example of the bidirectionality between peripheral and central structures as well as a neurophysiological basis for the assumed relation between facial expression and body feelings. Even earlier, Darwin (1872/1965) acknowledged the important and often neglected bidirectional relation between the brain and the heart in The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals: “When the heart is affected it reacts on the brain; and the state of the brain again reacts through the pneumo-gastric [vagus] nerve on the heart; so that under any excitement there will be much mutual action and reaction between these, the two most important organs of the body” (p. 69).”

    In this paper Porges points out the historical assumptions which gave rise to our current paradigm of ineffective treatment for those suffering a presumed “mental illness,” underlining just how much the human heart has been left out of the equation, when comes to understanding mental health. Please consider;

    “Within the field of mental health, there is a similar acceptance of a disease model without a focus on the intervening feedback circuits that mediate the features of the disorder. Within psychiatry, anxiety and depression are defined by clinical features and not by a measurable physiological substrate. The prevalent strategies in mental health research that use neurophysiological variables (e.g., imaging, autonomic measures) are not directed at defining anxiety or depression, but use neurophysiological variables as correlates of a clinical diagnosis.

    The value of taking a different perspective can be illustrated with the construct of anxiety. If anxiety were viewed as dependent on a shift in autonomic state in which an individual’s physiological state is dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, new clinical research strategies might emerge that focus on characterizing how states of anxiety and a vulnerability to being anxious would be potentiated or dampened by different autonomic states. Treatments would then be developed either to (1) dampen sympathetic tone or (2) enable the individual to move to environments or shift contexts that are less likely to trigger the increased reactivity associated with higher sympathetic excitation.

    Unfortunately, most researchers in psychiatry and psychology express little interest in the mapping autonomic regulation as a “vulnerability” dimension for various psychiatric disorders and behavioral problems, even though visceral features are often symptoms of the disorders they are treating. Clinical disciplines rarely acknowledge the proximal functions of the visceral state. Likewise, clinicians seldom monitor the expression of vagal withdrawal or sympathetic excitation in their patients.

    Such a shift in autonomic state would be manifested in several physical and psychiatric symptoms, including flat affect, difficulties in auditory processing, hyperacusis (i.e., auditory hypersensivities), tachycardia, and constipation. In addition, conventional models of mental disorders neglect the contribution of neurophysiological mechanisms in dynamic interaction with contextual cues in the environment. In contrast, these disciplines have embraced distal constructs related to the functions of receptors within the brain that lead almost reflexively to drug treatment, while generally failing to recognize the important role of visceral state and visceral afferent feedback on the global functioning of the brain.

    This strategy is far from parsimonious and does not take into account either the phylogeny of the mammalian nervous system or the intervening neurophysiological and biobehavioral systems along a continuum from genes to behavior. Rather these disciplines have assumed that clusters of observable behaviors or subjective experiences are linked parsimoniously and directly to neurochemical levels in specific brain circuits. Thus, they overlook the important potential of psychological and behavioral interventions (including changes in environment) that would be therapeutic by virtue of their direct influence on physiological state, without necessitating pharmacological treatments.”

    http://austininconnection.org/documents/Reciprocalinfluencesbetweenbodyandbrain-inpress-1.pdf

    Porges “Polyvagal Theory,” gives a solid science perspective on the “how” and “why” person centered approaches like eCPR work.

    From my own reading of neuroscience outside the “treatment industry” I’ve come to know by way of a more balanced thought/felt sense, just how much I function with an ‘autonomic’ expectation about the external environment, and how this unconscious process leads me into “assumptions” that I tend to take for granted. Especially when I NEED to embrace my attachment processes and trust the “group think.”

    Please keep up the great work of “open hearted” exploration that you do, Faith.

    Best wishes

    David Bates.

  • This a really great essay Jay, highlighting how each of us will tend towards false assumptions when we fail to pause and feel the impulse to our rationalizations? The need for self-empowerment and its manifestation as critical thinking in our 1st world cultures and the fine line between critique and criticism.

    Just how much do we all fail to feel the power of now and autonomically function with an “expectation,” that produces its predictable observation bias? A biased product of remaining trapped in the mind-body split of critical thinking, and our false, “educated” assumptions about our own level of self-awareness?

    Do we act with a “look how much I remember from what I’ve been taught,” in a schooled sense of who I am? From an education system which never helped us find an inner sense of how we actually function? In the so-called developed world have we produced an over developed, “left-brained” sense of self? An “I think, therefore, I know myself?” Please consider;

    “Offering data at the neuropsychological, cultural, and historical levels, McGilchrist (2009) echoes this principle:

    “If what one means by consciousness is the part of the mind that brings the world into focus, makes it explicit, allows it to be formulated in language, and is aware of its own awareness, it is reasonable to link the conscious mind to activity almost all of which lies ultimately in the left hemisphere” (p. 188).

    He adds, however, “The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless” (p. 174). In contrast, “the right hemisphere … yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known— and to this world it exists in a relationship of care” (p. 174). Indeed, the “emotional” right hemisphere “has the most sophisticated and extensive, and quite possibly most lately evolved, representation in the prefrontal cortex, the most highly evolved part of the brain” (p. 437).”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    Another researcher, writer who takes a more “holistic” approach to the human condition within and try’s to see beyond the false assumptions of specialization, is Jakk Panksepp. Who points us towards our “observation bias” from the inside-out, so to speak. Please consider what he has to say about our tendency to rationalize our internal needs and ignore discoveries which challenge our left-brained love affair with our intellectual rationalizations, or our “cognitive constructs” as others call them;

    “SEEKING: Systems & Anticipatory States of the Nervous System:

    Self-Stimulation?

    The Seeking System: Like other emotional systems, arousal of the seeking system has a characteristic feeling tone– a psychic energization that is difficult to describe but is akin to that invigorated feeling of anticipation we experience when actively seeking thrills and other rewards. Clearly this type of feeling contributes to many distinct aspects of our active engagement with the world.

    This harmoniously operating neurochemical system drives and energizes many mental complexities that humans experience as persistent feelings of interest, curiosity, sensation seeking, and in the presence of a sufficiently complex cortex, the search for higher meaning. Although this brain state, like all other basic emotional states, is initially without intrinsic cognitive content, it gradually helps cement the perception of causal connections in the world and thereby creates ideas. It appears to translate correlations in environmental events into perceptions of causality, and it may be a major source of “confirmation bias,” the tendency to selectively seek evidence for our hypotheses.

    When this seeking system is manipulated by electrical impulse in other mammals, they will eagerly continue to “Self-Stimulate” for extended periods, until physical exhaustion and collapse set in. There are powerful descending components, probably glutametergic in part, that remain to be functionally characterized, but they may be important for the generation of self-stimulating behaviors. When these descending systems are fully characterized, they may have powerful implications for understanding such psychiatric disorders as schizophrenia.

    1, The underlying circuits are genetically pre-wired and designed to respond unconditionally to stimuli arising from major life-challenging circumstances. 2, The circuits organize behavior by activating or inhibiting motor sub-routines (and concurrent autonomic-hormonal changes) that have proved adaptive in the face of life-challenging circumstances during the evolutionary history of our species. 3, Emotive circuits change the sensitivities of sensory systems relevant for the behavior sequences that have been aroused. 4, Neural activity of emotive systems outlasts the precipitating circumstances. 5, Emotive circuits come under the control of neutral environmental stimuli. 6, Emotional circuits have reciprocal interactions with brain mechanisms that elaborate higher decision-making processes and consciousness.

    It is remarkable how long it has taken psycho-biologists to begin to properly conceptualize the function of the self-stimulation system, in the governance of behavior. The history of this field highlights how an environmental-behavioral bias (world out there), with no conception of internal brain functions, has impeded the development of compelling psycho-behavioral conceptions of self-stimulation. One of the most fascinating phenomena ever discovered, yet still largely ignored by mainstream psychology.

    The prevailing intellectual zeitgeist is not conducive to conceptualizing this process in psychological terms. This would involve discussion of the inner neurodynamic aspects of the “mind” and the nature of intentionality and subjective experience. A neurophysiological understanding of such brain systems can explain how we spontaneously generate solutions to environmental challenges. And how this type of spontaneous associative ability characterizes normal human thinking, as well as the delusional excesses of schizophrenic thinking.

    Arousal of the seeking system spontaneously constructs causal “insights” from the perception of correlated events. Some of the relationships may be true, but others are delusional. Indeed, all forms of inductive thought, including that which energizes scientific pursuits, proceed by this type of logically flawed thinking. An intrinsic tendency for “confirmation bias” appears to be a natural function of the human mind.

    The seeking system can promote many distinct motivational behaviors, and the underlying neural system is prepared to jump to the conclusion that related environmental events reflect causal relationships. It is easy to appreciate how this may yield a consensual understanding of the world when the underlying memory reinforcement processes are operating normally ( i.e, yielding a reality that most of the social group accepts). It is also easy to understand how it might yield delusional conclusions about the world. If this self-stimulating system is chronically overactive, it may be less constrained by rational modes of reality testing.

    The fact that the system is especially responsive to stress could explain why paranoid thinking emerges more easily during stressful periods, and why stress may promote schizophrenic thinking patterns. If the normal function of this system is to mobilize the organism for seeking out resources in the world, then we can begin to appreciate how the seeking system might also generate delusional thoughts. Apparently when this emotional system is over-taxed and becomes free-running (self-stimulation), it can generate arbitrary ideas about how world events relate to internal events.

    Is delusional thinking truly related to the unconstrained operation of spontaneously active associative networks of a self-stimulating, seeking system? If so, we may have a great deal more to learn about schizophrenia from a study of the SEEKING circuits that mediate self-stimulating behavior? Through a study of this system, we can also begin to understand the natural eagerness that makes us the emotionally vibrant creatures we are.

    One might also predict that there is an intimate relationship between self-stimulation and dreaming. REM deprivation leads to increased “sensitivity” in the self-stimulation system It is noteworthy that schizophrenics fail to exhibit compensatory elevations of REM sleep following imposed periods of REM deprivation. There appears to be a fundamental relationship between the schizophrenic process and the emotional discharge that occurs during both REM sleep and the seeking system discharge of self-stimulation. These findings suggest that there may yet be considerable substance to psychodynamic theories that relate dreaming mechanisms to symbol-&-reality-creating mechanisms of the brain.”

    Excerpts from, “Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions.” by Jaak Panksepp.

    Panksepp suggests that if we can accept this stress sensitized self-stimulation system as fundamentally a SEEKING system, which requires discharge, new ways of alleviating delusional thinking may be created to provide discharge, while stimulating reality testing, perhaps via computer games for example?

    Its interesting how we love to study the world “out there” and of coarse, other people, yet fiercely avoid studying our own sense-of-self? Perhaps we’re afraid of discovering what we really are, having never been taught how to sense our internal stimulation, in our 1st world sense of education?

    As people sight these neuroscience references, will they pause to feel the “impulsed” reaction within, which stimulates our self-empowerment needs, and our mind’s love affair with its self-stimulating rationalizations?

    Best wishes to all,

    David Bates.

  • I understand your need to defend your “cognitive” sense-of-self Alice, and your reluctance to expose your limitations here. Perhaps I can help with simpler excerpt from Schore;

    “To do this the clinician must access his or her own bodily based intuitive responses to the patient’s communications. In an elegant description, Mathew (1998) evocatively portrays this omnipresent implicit process of bodily communications:

    The body is clearly an instrument of physical processes, an instrument that can hear, see, touch and smell the world around us. This sensitive instrument also has the ability to tune in to the psyche: to listen to its subtle voice, hear its silent music and search into its darkness for meaning. (p. 17)

    Intersubjectivity is thus more than a match or communication of explicit cognitions. The intersubjective field co-constructed by two individuals includes not just two minds but two bodies (Schore, 1994, 2003a, 2003b). At the psychobiological core of the intersubjective field is the attachment bond of emotional communication and interactive regulation.

    Recall Pipp and Harmon’s (1987) assertion that the fundamental role of nonconscious attachment dynamics is interactive regulation. Implicit unconscious intersubjective communications are interactively communicated and regulated and dysregulated psychobiological somatic processes that mediate shared conscious and unconscious emotional states, not just mental contents.”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    Allan Schore and others articulate a science perspective which does give great authority to what so many in this community “intuitively” know. My posting of such material against the “expected” norm of “us vs them” social-politics is in the hope that my brothers and sisters here will not simply throw out the neurscience baby with the bathwater, simply because they have been so hurt by the mismatch between science and its economically driven, clinical application.

    Best wishes,

    David.

  • Fantastic essay Alice, you really nail the “objective” dilemma here, where in reality “objects” ie, money is more important than “humanity.” How have we gotten our own reality so “backwards” in our thinking that objects like money and property are more valued than the precious vitality affects to human health, like a heartfelt smile?

    One suspects that this conundrum comes from a taken for granted subject – object orientation of the Western mind in which, rather than “being” with another and using the full capacity of our sensory nature, we sit in defense of our objectified sense of self and diagnose an “object” before use.

    Of coarse we make the right “lip-service” noises of an assumed empathy yet do so more in “simulation” technique, than the spontaneous flow of our sensitive nature. Perhaps after your hiatus you may re-kindle your love for the healing professions with an embrace of a paradigm shift in psychotherapy which is taking back to Freud’s “unconscious” realm, albeit with aid of technology. Please consider;

    “RIGHT BRAIN NONVERBAL ATTACHMENT COMMUNICATION: THE INTERSUBJECTIVE ORIGINS OF THE IMPLICIT SELF

    A. Schore has described how the emotion-processing limbic circuits of the infant’s developing right brain, which are dominant for the emotional sense of self, are influenced by implicit intersubjective affective transactions embedded in the attachment relationship with the mother (Schore, 1994, 2005). Implicit processing underlies the quick and automatic handling of nonverbal affective cues in infancy, and “is repetitive, automatic, provides quick categorization and decision-making, and operates outside the realm of focal attention and verbalized experience” (Lyons-Ruth 1999, p. 576). Trevarthen (1990) described how prosodic vocalizations, coordinated visual eye-to-eye messages, and tactile and body gestures, serve as channels of communicative signals in the proto dialogues between infant and mother, which induce instant emotional effects. Bowlby (1969) also described “facial expression, posture, and tone of voice” as the essential vehicles of attachment communications between the emerging self and the primary object (Schore, 2001a).

    The dyadic implicit processing of these nonverbal attachment communications are the product of the operations of the infant’s right hemisphere interacting with the mother’s right hemisphere. Attachment experiences are thus imprinted in an internal working model that encodes strategies of affect regulation acting at implicit nonconscious levels. Neuroscientists have documented that visual input to the right (and not left) hemisphere during infancy is essential for the development of the capacity to efficiently process information from faces (Le Grand, Lucci, Mazzatenta, & Tommasi, 2003). These findings support earlier speculations in the psychoanalytic literature that “The most significant relevant basic interactions between mother and child usually lie in the visual area: the child’s bodily display is responded to by the gleam in the mother’s eye” (Kohut, 1971, p. 117); that early mental representations are specifically visually oriented (Giovacchini, 1981); and that historical visual imagery is derivative of events of early phases of development (Anthi, 1983).

    It is important to note that these early experiences may be regulated or dysregulated, imprinting either secure or insecure attachments. Watt (2003, p. 109) observes, “If children grow up with dominant experiences of separation, distress, fear and rage, then they will go down a bad pathogenic developmental pathway, and it’s not just a bad psychological pathway but a bad neurological pathway.” This is due to the fact that during early critical periods organized and disorganized insecure attachment histories are “affectively burnt in” the infant’s rapidly developing right brain (Schore, 2001a, 2003a). These stressful relational experiences are encoded in unconscious internal working models in the right, and not left, brain. In a study of hemispheric lateralization of avoidant attachment, Cohen and Shaver (2004) conclude, “Emotional negativity and withdrawal motivation have been connected in psychophysiological studies with the right frontal lobe of the brain” (p. 801), and that avoidant individuals show “a right hemisphere advantage for processing negative emotion and attachment-related words” (p. 807).

    It is now accepted that the “non-verbal, prerational stream of expression that binds the infant to its parent continues throughout life to be a primary medium of intuitively felt affective-relational communication between persons” (Orlinsky & Howard, 1986, p. 343).

    Most relational transactions rely heavily on a substrate of affective cues that give an evaluative valence or direction to each relational communication. These occur at an implicit level of rapid cueing and response that occurs too rapidly for simultaneous verbal transaction and conscious reflection. (pp. 91– 92)  

    Scaer (2005) describes essential implicit communications embedded within the therapist– client relationship:   Many features of social interaction are nonverbal, consisting of subtle variations of facial expression that set the tone for the content of the interaction. Body postures and movement patterns of the therapist … also may reflect emotions such as disapproval, support, humor, and fear. Tone and volume of voice, patterns and speed of verbal communication, and eye contact also contain elements of subliminal communication and contribute to the unconscious establishment of a safe, healing environment. (pp. 167– 168)

    A fundamental question of treatment is how we work with what is being communicated but not symbolized with words. In discussing subsymbolic processing, Bucci (2002) observes, “We recognize changes in emotional states of others based on perception of subtle shifts in their facial expression or posture, and recognize changes in our own states based on somatic or kinesthetic experience” (p. 194). These implicit communications are expressed within the therapeutic alliance between the client’s and therapist’s right brain systems.  

    Human beings rely extensively on nonverbal channels of communication in their day-to-day emotional as well as interpersonal exchanges. The verbal channel, language, is a relatively poor medium for expressing the quality, intensity and nuancing of emotion and affect in different social situations … the face is thought to have primacy in signaling affective information. (Mandal & Ambady, 2004, p. 23)

    In the developmental attachment context, right brain– to– right brain auditory prosodic communications also act as an essential vehicle of implicit communications within the therapeutic relationship. The right hemisphere is important in the processing of the “music” behind our words. When listening to speech, we rely upon a range of cues on which to base our inference as to the communicative intent of others. To interpret the meaning of speech, how something is said is as important as what is actually said. Prosody conveys different shades of meaning by means of variations in stress and pitch— irrespective of the words and grammatical construction (Mitchell, Elliott, Barry, Crittenden, & Woodruff, 2003). These data support suggestions that the preverbal elements of language— intonation, tone, force, and rhythm— stir up reactions derived from the early mother– child relationships (Greenson, 1978).

    During heightened affective moments, these right brain dialogues between the relational unconscious of both the patient and the therapist (like the attachment communications of the infant and mother) are examples of “primary process communication” (Dorpat, 2001). According to this author, “The primary process system analyzes, regulates, and communicates an individual’s relations with the environment”:  

    [A] ffective and object-relational information is transmitted predominantly by primary process communication. Nonverbal communication includes body movements (kinesics), posture, gesture, facial expression, voice inflection, and the sequence, rhythm, and pitch of the spoken words. (Dorpat, 2001, p. 451)

    It is important to stress that all of these implicit nonconscious right brain– mind– body nonverbal communications are bidirectional and thereby intersubjective (see Schore 2003b for a right hemisphere– to– right hemisphere model of projective identification, a fundamental process of implicit communication within the therapeutic alliance). Meares (2005) describes,   Not only is the therapist being unconsciously influenced by a series of slight and, in some cases, subliminal signals, so also is the patient. Details of the therapist’s posture, gaze, tone of voice, even respiration, are recorded and processed. A sophisticated therapist may use this processing in a beneficial way, potentiating a change in the patient’s state without, or in addition to, the use of words. (p. 124)  

    Implicit right brain– to– right brain intersubjective transactions lie at the core of the therapeutic relationship. They mediate what Sander (1992) calls “moments of meeting” between patient and therapist. Current neurobiological data suggest that “While the left hemisphere mediates most linguistic behaviors, the right hemisphere is important for broader aspects of communication” (van Lancker & Cummings, 1999). In light of this, A. Schore (2003b) has proposed that just as the left brain communicates its states to other left brains via conscious linguistic behaviors, so the right brain nonverbally communicates its unconscious states to other right brains that are tuned to receive these communications. Regulation theory thus describes how implicit systems of the therapist interact with implicit systems of the patient; psychotherapy is not the “talking” but the “communicating” cure.

    The neuroscience literature holds that “The left hemisphere is more involved in the foreground-analytic (conscious) processing of information, whereas the right hemisphere is more involved in the background-holistic (subconscious) processing of information” (Prodan, Orbelo, Testa, & Ross, 2001, p. 211). Indeed, the right hemisphere uses an expansive attention mechanism that focuses on global features, whereas the left uses a restricted mode that focuses on local detail (Derryberry & Tucker, 1994). In contrast to the left hemisphere’s activation of “narrow semantic fields,” the right hemisphere’s “coarse semantic coding is useful for noting and integrating distantly related semantic information” (Beeman, 1998), a function that allows for the process of free association. Bucci (1993) has described free association as following the tracks of nonverbal schemata by loosening the hold of the verbal system on the associative process and giving the nonverbal mode the chance to drive the representational and expressive systems, that is, by shifting dominance from a left to a right hemispheric state. These nonverbal affective and thereby mind– body communications are expressions of the right brain, which is centrally involved in the analysis of direct kinesthetic information received by the subject from his own body, an essential implicit process. This hemisphere, and not the linguistic, analytic left, contains the most comprehensive and integrated map of the body state available to the brain (Damasio, 1994). The therapist’s right hemisphere allows him or her to know the patient “from the inside out” (Bromberg, 1991, p. 399). (This was my DIY self-therapy challenge, to understand my fearful emotional dysfunction from the inside-out.)

    To do this the clinician must access his or her own bodily based intuitive responses to the patient’s communications. In an elegant description, Mathew (1998) evocatively portrays this omnipresent implicit process of bodily communications:  

    The body is clearly an instrument of physical processes, an instrument that can hear, see, touch and smell the world around us. This sensitive instrument also has the ability to tune in to the psyche: to listen to its subtle voice, hear its silent music and search into its darkness for meaning. (p. 17)  

    Intersubjectivity is thus more than a match or communication of explicit cognitions. The intersubjective field co-constructed by two individuals includes not just two minds but two bodies (Schore, 1994, 2003a, 2003b). At the psychobiological core of the intersubjective field is the attachment bond of emotional communication and interactive regulation. Recall Pipp and Harmon’s (1987) assertion that the fundamental role of nonconscious attachment dynamics is interactive regulation. Implicit unconscious intersubjective communications are interactively communicated and regulated and dysregulated psychobiological somatic processes that mediate shared conscious and unconscious emotional states, not just mental contents. The essential biological purpose of intersubjective communications in all human interactions, including those embedded in the psychobiological core of the therapeutic alliance, is the regulation of right brain– mind– body states. These ideas resonate with Shaw’s (2004) conclusion:  

    Psychotherapy is an inherently embodied process. If psychotherapy is an investigation into the intersubjective space between client and therapist, then as a profession we need to take our bodily reactions much more seriously than we have so far because … the body is “the very basis of human subjectivity.” (p. 271)”

    Excerpts from “The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy” by Allan N. Schore.

    It will be interesting to note how you reply to this articulation of an “explicit & implicit” sense of self? I know you love the world of words and I’m curious to witness your response to this dual process that Schore describes. In my own journey it was a trauma conditioned block in my ability to “be” with my clients that drove me to explore the foundations of my “explicit” sense of self more deeply. A journey that has brought me face to face with the foundational denial of my human mind, “I’m not an animal and I have no “instinctual” motivation, for my intellectual rationalizations.”

    Again, a brilliant essay Alice, you really nail the “objective” illusions at the heart of our human denial.

    Best wishes,

    David Bates.