An insider exploration of Yoga and Nonduality, and the intersection of spirituality and experiences labeled psychosis or prodromal. Mental health integrates evidence from all disciplines and does not ignore inconvenient truth. Look within and find the direct path to your own truth.
I have really appreciated the MIT trained cognitive psychologist and University of California professor Donald Hoffman since hearing him speak a couple of times at conferences. I recently read a book review and interview with him in Psychology Today available here.
The article discusses how Hoffman helped develop a mathematical argument that our perceptions most likely do not reflect reality.
He expresses how in a sense all we see is a hallucination, generated by our mind, that does not resemble reality. It may be useful like icons to click on the computer screen, but reality is something much different.
In case you had any doubts, mental health disorders are socially constructed and reflect a job of the mental health profession to enforce the dominant cultural norms. The disorders and their check list criteria are voted on by psychiatrists, who by the way are largely being paid by drug companies. I recently re-listened to a Madness Radio interview available as a podcast as well as here of the psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl, author of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia became a Black Disease.
wanted to remind myself of some of the things I previously heard about Schizophrenia
before the 1960’s being associated with frail or nervous housewives who were distressed
about their role or embarrassing their husbands. These days there is a common
association of violence with the Schizophrenia diagnosis. How did that happen?
Could it be systemic racism?
The interview highlights how in the 1960’s there was an increase in the professional literature of case studies of angry black male protesters suffering from new manifestations of Schizophrenia with symptoms such as hostility, aggression, and violence. Then in 1968, aggression and hostility were added to the schizophrenia diagnosis in the DSM manual of mental disorders.
Dr. Metzl discussed how black protesters were locked away in mental institutions. Black men would experience paranoia about the police and doctors, another symptom of schizophrenia. Black Lives Matter protesters in the past couple of weeks have brought to light the black and brown people’s justified fear of police, not paranoia.
In the Hearing Voices Movement, people are experiencing profound and substantial recovery after experiences that usually get labeled psychosis in clinical settings. Experiences such as having visions, experiencing different realities, and hearing voices. It felt so important to bring awareness of this world-wide established and growing approach to wellness to clinicians, so I wrote an article specifically for the American Counseling Association that was published by them as an online exclusive last month and is available here.