Here’s my article for the Journal of Humanistic Psychology Special Edition on Extreme States. In it, I draw on my personal experience of extreme states over 50 years ago, and also of attempting, as a caregiver, to compassionately be present with people in extreme states for almost 40 years.
What if people struggling with madness could explore their emotions in a supportive sanctuary? Do frightening ‘psychotic’ experiences have the power to transform and heal? Is breakdown also breakthrough? Michael Cornwall became a therapist after surviving his own crisis — without medication or psychiatric treatment. For more than 30 years he has worked in the tradition of Carl Jung and R.D. Laing to support people to go through psychotic states in medication-free community settings, including John Weir Perry’s Diabasis House in the 1970s.