Re-Visioning Madness: Compassionately Responding to People in Extreme States | Esalen

Hi All,
Please check out this announcement for the upcoming workshop on the nature of madness and how to compassionately respond, that I’m leading with my friend David Lukoff at Esalen this November.
Best wishes,

4 thoughts on “Re-Visioning Madness: Compassionately Responding to People in Extreme States | Esalen

  1. Hi Michael…
    Reading with great interest the blogs, etc. you’ve posted…I had searched the web for information about the Ward 11 Project at Agnews State Hospital…I was a ” resident” on this ward in 1971-1972 & remember with love &’gratitude all the staff. Really I probably owe my life to the help I got there. I had wondered if there was still anyone involved with that work–( I see that certainly the idea has evolved & continues)… I had hoped to offer any information, insight, experience or whatever if that would be a value, as well as express my gratitude directly even after so many years if that were a possibility. Could you maybe direct me to an appropriate site or person if such exists? At any rate thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kind of work you are doing.
    Bob Dewhurst

  2. Hey Michael,

    Thank you for your article by the same title on the Mad in America blog. I’m currently serving as a caretaker for a dear friend going through this process and reading your article came at the perfect time and provided a boost of much needed inspiration.

    This is the second time I’ve been at the side of a loved one going through this, and I feel called to pursue work in the field. I have an undergraduate in English Literature, and I’m looking to get my masters in Psychology beginning in the fall. I’m curious about what you think the best way to go is if I want to work from the perspective of integration rather than pathology? I’m thinking of applying to a Jungian analyst program after I complete my masters, but I’m also very interested in the work of bioenergetics (Reich and Lowen) and am not sure which path would provide the most personal growth and enable the best service to others once completed.

    Anyway, I really appreciate your work. Thank you for putting it out there.

  3. ‘Madness, Mental illness’ are metaphors which convey information to our senses but have no objective literal meaning. ‘Mental illness’ is simply a denigrating description, a maddening metaphor, a pejorative psychiatric label for the stresses and strains of a person’s life beginning at conception such as the different timing of environmental risk factors like toxins, infectious diseases during mom’s pregnancy, and/or trauma; mental, physical, emotional, sexual (allostatic overload, Bruce McEwen neuroscientist) that a person Unconsciously Reacts to and is simply given a description of that lived stressful life, a ‘diagnosis’ by a ‘professional.’ So What?! To continue to call that person ‘mentally ill’ is to be obtuse, be ignorant of the facts, the reality, the truth of that person’s lived life. Very Simple. Allostatic overload effects epigenesis The simple is profound and tends to confound most. Or is understanding and having clarity about ‘mental illness’, does that take the money out of the equation? Kurt E. Wilkens

  4. I have read an article about a South American indigenous people who had a VERY high suicide rate once the ‘moderns’ began land-grabbing and completely ruining their lives: Brazil tribe plagued by one of the highest suicide rates in the .. Now these people would of course be deemed ‘mentally ill’ by those promoting and supporting and believing in the western biopsychiatric model. There would be NO acknowledgement of the land grab, and the destruction of their lives, both losing the land and their whole meaning of life. No, they would be told ‘you have a chemical imbalance’ and need drugs, and of course because suicidal sectioned into a ‘mental hospital’ and drugged. All their hurt, despair, rightful sense of injustice and all the emotions to do with this, all suppressed.
    Well that is what we are all suffering, albeit when the generations of oppression forget, even your despair can be made to ‘disappear’. You cannot understand WHY you feel so sad, lost, empty. the other deadened people around you also cannot offer you any clues and their cliched response is that you need ‘expert’ help, and so you go to the doc, the shrink, and and….We know what happens next, right?
    As well as land grab, we are soul-grabbed. We are told we are just electro-chemical robots living in a dead environment! This toxic myth, like the previous religious ones where we were told that we were born in sin and nature was fallen, and we had a choce of heaven or everlasting hell—these myths are EPITOME OF DIS-EASE. But many are prevented understanding this because they are blamed of being defective robots. How evil IS that??

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