Somatic Wisdom Technique Part 1

The Somatic Wisdom Technique (SWT) is a way of accessing our body’s innate wisdom, to become aware of any deep set negative emotional state and then to develop the tools to loosen and release that emotional state. The first step in utilizing the SWT is to sit or lie down in a comfortable place. Allow yourself to breathe deeply and slowly for 10 long breaths. Allow your body and mind to settle down. If anything is bothering you from the day, allow your mind to see your thoughts and then gently move back to following your breath. Sometimes it is helpful to count between 6- 8 seconds on an in breath and between 8-12 seconds on an outbreath. … [click on title to read and view more]

The Nourishment Model of Counseling

Though most counselors do not use these early Freudian psychoanalytic theories in their practice, they still use much of the same structure for helping people to heal. Conversations are limited to specific periods of time, are usually done in an office setting and generally focus on examining personal experience and looking towards restructuring thoughts and beliefs and making personal changes to improve life.

Though counseling in this way can often be deeply helpful, I think we have become excessively focused on the cognitive approach to healing people in emotional distress. Instead of a cognitive based approach, I think we should place much more focus on somatic “body-based” counseling. Often times I hear people complain that people would rather go to a doctor for psychiatric medication than go to a therapist. Part of this has to do with the idea that it is easier to simply take a medication than engage in therapy, but part of the reason is because medication actually causes immediate physiological changes and affects how one feels and thinks by affecting the nervous system. People who are in distress are often looking for a way to alleviate that distress and talking about it does not generally produce that alleviation they are looking for. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Folk Healing, Industrial Agriculture and the Rise of Psychiatry

The idea of food and local herbs as medicine mostly dried up after world war II. Processed foods, microwave dinners, industrialized agriculture and shopping markets filled with food from far away started to dominate the Western landscape. Food became veryimages bland and tasteless. The notion that food was the essential medicine was overwhelmed by the idea that medicine was found in a drug.
The psychiatric revolution really began in earnest in the 50’s at the same time that industrial farming took off. The first antipsychotic known as thorazine was synthesized in 1950 and was given to people who were deemed psychotic or labeled with schizophrenia. Interestingly, this first widely prescribed psychiatric drug was first developed as a pesticide to kill parasites in pigs. … [click on title to read and view more]

Madness, Possession and Transformation: A Personal Narrative of Healing

By Jon Keyes

In the early 90′s, I went through a profound experience of psychosis, a complete and radical change of my consciousness from a state of relatively normal perception and comprehension to a state of deeply unsettling confusion, anxiety with a persistent altered mind frame. Thoughts were easily jumbled. I alternated between periods of frenetic excitability and then spiraled into deep despair and hopelessness. Social interactions could often be torturous to the point where isolation often felt like a good answer. I felt like I was cracking, coming apart. On a deeper level, I believed something had happened to me, changed me; that something possessed me. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

What is Mental Health Herbalism?

By Jon Keyes

Mental health herbalism is the practice of working with herbs and other plants to improve well being, develop keener insight into patterns of imbalance and to reduce emotional distress. As a licensed professional counselor and herbalist, I often incorporate the use of herbs for helping people to get stronger and feel better. I have seen herbs improve mental health and I have also seen herbs bring profound insights that help a person work through emotional knots. Plants not only work on a physical level, they are able to transform people emotionally and spiritually as well. … [click on title for the rest of the post]