My new article is about the revolutionary work of John Weir Perry, the leading Jungian in the area of compassionate treatment of extreme states. I completed the follow-up research on his Diabasis House. It was a medication-free program for young adults going through extreme states/psychosis. We were close friends and colleagues for many years, until John’s death in 1998.
Tag Archives: madness
Merciful Love Can Help Relieve the Emotional Suffering of Extreme States
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.
How Parents Can Help Their Children Without Psychiatric Meds
Here’s an interview of me in Psychology Today exploring ways parents can help their children who are having problems without the use of psychiatric medications.
Revisioning Madness: Compassionately Responding to People in Extreme States, January 27-29, 2017
I’ll be leading this upcoming weekend workshop at Esalen Institute with my friend, Dr. David Lukoff, on January 27-29, 2017. Since 2011, I’ve organized and co-led six week-long or weekend workshops at Esalen, all aimed at a group exploration of expanding our understanding of extreme states, and the development of enhanced ways to compassionately respond to people in extreme states.
Mad in America: Why Parents Give Amphetamines and Other Risky Psychiatric Drugs to the Children They Love
My new article here explores the often taboo topic of
why parents may give potentially harmful psych meds to their children.
I’ll be discussing it with Dr. Peter Breggin on his radio program this Wednesday at 4 pm EST at http://www.prn.fm
Please join us!
Mad in America: The Elusive Emotional Wounds of Omission That Our Culture Inflicts On Us – and the Healing Balm of Love That Can Heal Them
My new article on Mad in America about the price we all pay for our universal and core needs for empathy, compassion and love not being met in our wasteland culture.
SPIRITUAL EMERGENCE AND OTHER EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES/PHENOMENA
Day 12: Michael Cornwall on Being Present to “Madness” | Psychology Today
In this Psychology Today interview I share about how the work of Jung and Laing helped me through extreme states and still informs my therapy work with others.
Mad in America: Is an Ominous New Era of Diagnosing Psychosis by Biotype on the Horizon?
In this new article I sound the alarm on an ominous shift in how psychosis is diagnosed, that will use a system of bio-marker tests to label people in extreme states as being in a psychosis biotype group.
Mad in America: For Me, Self-Love Requires Both Mercy and Defiance
This is a very brief and personal sharing about needing and being able to find self-love. Please click on the Mad in America location of the article if you wish to see the comments and take part in the discussion.
This entry first appeared at Mad In America on December 6, 2015.
This is my 31st article on MIA and the most personal. It’s about being tender and loving with myself when I’m suffering, and how for me that means being merciful and defiant at the same time.
As a boy who was abandoned by my parents at an early age, I’ve always felt vulnerable to the disapproval and judgments of others, afraid of being shunned, forgotten and rejected.
Especially when I was in madness, I felt freakish and alien – an outsider, as if looking in on the warm world of others from outside a window pane, the window condensed with moisture on the inside from delicious food cooking – with me unseen standing out there in the fading light of evening – while happy lives of family occurred inside the houses with the safety and warmth, and warm dinner food and love – of them all together, in a vision that broke my terrified and isolated heart.
But I somehow realized that love can be portable. That I could carry it in me like a little flame in a secret chamber of my heart.
So even when I was homeless sleeping in the rain under a tree with bugs crawling all over me or sleeping in the dugout of the high school baseball field, I could hold that loving grace through the night.
People who knew me then looked at me strangely, I know – the pre-med Michael now an unwashed wild-eyed denizen to be dodged on the street – them crossing to the other sidewalk side when they saw me approaching.
But I held my heart light closer then to balance the pain of those chance encounters.
So when I figured some of it out, I realized I’d never digested the poison pill completely – the one marked “unworthy of love.”
I refused. I said fuck that – I deserve the mercy they’d give a dog. I’ll give it to myself. I’ll love myself if no one else will.
And I did. And I still do.
I’m almost 70 now but I had a dream recently that proved to me how much my defiance has always helped me embrace love.
I was being led along a mountain hillside with a rope around my neck in a procession of captured slaves by mounted horsemen with long spears or pikes – the mounted King’s men.
For some reason, unbidden the words welled up inside of me…
“There’s one thing I’ve always wanted to say… ”
And then I shouted at the top of my lungs knowing it would bring my certain death…
“FUCK THE KING!”
“FUCK THE KING!”
At once to my left a huge mushroom about 10 feet tall erupted from the hillside. It was full of numinous vibrant energy and the sky over it became a mosaic of thousands of small shimmering patterns of ecstatically beautiful circular energy, as a huge chorus of voices intermingled in sustained notes of sacred release all brought about by my treasonous and blasphemous defiant cry against the tyranny of the king.
I can still hear that long sustained note of a thousand souls in my head.
Love is my birthright – and I believe it’s yours too. Please don’t let them tell you otherwise.
There’s a love that doesn’t wait to be claimed, received.
There’s a love that doesn’t wait and long to be returned.
There’s a humble love that just is, is.
A hidden flame that just burns, burns.