By Ron Unger As we struggle to invent a humane approach to the extreme states that get called “psychosis” or “madness” or “schizophrenia,” it may be helpful to investigate some of the better approaches developed in the past. While these approaches are not without their flaws, they are often surprisingly insightful. (It can also of […]
I will be using the word trauma to mean any experience that causes the child unbearable psychic pain or anxiety. For an experience to be “unbearable” means that it overwhelms the usual defensive measures which Freud described as a “protective shield against stimuli.” Trauma of this magnitude varies from the acute, shattering experiences of child abuse so prominent in the literature today to the more “cumulative traumas” of unmet dependency-needs that mount up to devastating effect in some children’s development, including the more acute deprivations of infancy described by Winnicott as “primitive agonies,” the experience of which is “unthinkable.” The distinguishing feature of such trauma is what Heinz Kohut called “disintegration anxiety,” an unnameable dread associated with the threatened dissolution of a coherent self.” …
I continue to find that our bodies hold trauma and psychological distress in ways that we are just beginning to understand. We are truly holistic beings and our minds and bodies are intricately intertwined. The body, too, must be addressed.
Can psychotherapy be a replacement for medication for psychosis and extreme states? Should therapists hospitalize suicidal clients against their will — even when they could be traumatized by the very care intended to protect them? Dr. Toby Watson, clinical psychologist, discusses how to be an ethical therapist in an era of medications, diagnostic labels, and forced treatment.
What happens when two major intellectual and practical disciplines from separate cultures and contexts—both of which seek to understand, heal, and enhance the human mind—first come into contact after centuries of separate development?…Contemplatives often still view Western psychology and psychotherapy as limited adjuncts to meditation practice, and psychologists usually regard meditation as just another therapeutic technique to be applied and investigated in conventional ways.
“It is always refreshing to find someone who stands at the edge of his profession and dissects its failures with a critical eye, refusing to be deceived by its pretensions. Bruce Levine condemns the cold, technological approach to mental health and, to our benefit, looks for deeper solutions.”
—I recently returned from leading a 3-day training for 35 peer mental health workers in Alaska on healing emotional trauma. The training drew on my studies in somatic psychotherapy, process oriented psychology, meditation, and dance, as well as my own healing experience. My workshop was experimental and wove together basic ideas from trauma theory and […]