A Critique of Psychosis


Hi Everyone. The following is an academic paper I wrote about Schizophrenia (it is not too dry… I promise!) It proposes an alternative view of the disorder than that which we are most accustomed to in our medical society. I am also open to and WELCOME any feedback, especially from people who have experienced psychosis/ spiritual emergence, or have someone close to them who has gone through this, as I have been in neither position myself. I think this way of holding mental illness is the most humane and harm-reducing way of doing so, considering extreme states are such a mystery in the first place.  Yet I am open to the possibility that I may be romanticizing the experience of psychoses, and that the experience of going through it or being with someone going through it is much harder to navigate than I make it out to be. Enjoy… Continue reading

Resource if you or someone you know is experiencing a psychotic break

Hi everyone, The below link is a vitally important resource for anyone experiencing a psychotic break. There are different ways of viewing psychotic breaks, or psychosis. Here in the United States, nonordinary states of consciousness are hugely stigmatized and pathologized. From an experiential perspective however, nonordinary states can be spiritually meaningful, profound, and undoubtedly real. But they can also be frightening because for one thing, the nonordinary reality is highly incompatible with consensual reality, and those who subscribe to consensual reality are not only unreceptive to nonordinary reality, but can actively restrain, disempower, and even criminalize someone who is experiencing it. You may want to communicate what you are experiencing and get help, but you may not want to reach out to those who we think of as the obvious first choice for crisis intervention: 911. Being involuntarily confined and sedated is probably the LAST thing you want when in such a vulnerable state. However for most of us, it is the only option we know. Instead, I am posting this resource for those of you who may be going through this type of thing, and are seeking an enlightened community to support you:

The Spiritual Emergence Network

United States of Tara


I must be a little slow on the uptake because I JUST discovered United States of Tara! Oh my god… I am a total groupie. Not only is this show hilarious, with outstanding acting from some of my faves, wildly entertaining, and with witty writing, but it actually brings mental illness to mainstream pop culture… Woohoo!! I have so much gratitude for the way this show humanizes Dissociative Identity Disorder (more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder.) Watching this, I became not only fascinated with D.I.D., but could really appreciate what a kind of impact this disorder can have on someone and his or her family. The disorder, as portrayed by the fabulous Toni Collette, is so trippy, and really messed with my sensory perception of reality. When that happens, I know I’m onto something real.

It can be watched on Netflix!

The Recovery Model

I know it’s a slightly longer video but this video changed my life. It is an introduction to the Recovery Model, which is an entirely new way to approach mental health. Rather than having the objective of “curing”people, this model is interested in asking clients what their priorities are. These priorities can be above and beyond the realm of mental health. The idea is not to get rid of someone’s disease, but to help them have the best life despite their disease. The recovery model is so much more than that and I’ll let Mark Ragins explain the rest because he is so compassionate and charismatic. I am just so encouraged to find an approach where the clients are empowered, have autonomy in their own treatment, and where there is a collaboration and relationship between helpers and those being helped where the hierarchy is significantly leveled.

What a Shaman sees in a Mental Hospital


Another article about the dissonance between “mental illness” and spiritual emergency. I like this article from renowned and beloved Malidoma Somé because he goes into detail about what specifically is happening on a phenomenological level in the energetic, psychic, and spiritual realms when someone is in psychological crisis. He also goes into the wounds we carry as westerners, and how we can heal these wounds. He talks about the importance of ceremony, and what specifically might be done to reconcile the energetic rifts that have been created from our disconnection from nature and ancestral memory.

What a Shaman sees in a mental hospital

Recovery from Schizophrenia

Were you always under the impression that schizophrenia was an incurable disorder? Think again! What I love about this interview is that we rarely get a view into the internal experience of schizophrenia from someone who can articulate it coherently. Since this woman is “recovered,” in a sense, she can relay the experience in terms we can understand. What pulls at my heart strings about her account is that it captures a different perspective of such psychotic breaks. It conveys more of a spiritual emergence understanding than the pathologizing, objectifying, and dehumanizing interpretation we are used to from the western medical model. That said, not all psychotic breaks are created equal, and many people do not recover from their experiences naturally, nor are the experiences pleasant or experienced in spiritual terms. I still think there is a lot to gain from watching this interview though. This is one woman’s experience.