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Old 03-16-2007, 01:24 PM #1
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Default Recommended Reading

I thought it would be helpful to initiate a topic related to recommended reading. I certainly found a number of books and articles to be helpful in understanding, interpreting and recovering from my own experience and I'm going to assume that others have as well, or will.

It is my hope that others will add to this thread according to the reading they have done that was most helpful to them.





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Old 03-16-2007, 01:38 PM #2
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Default Re: Recommended Reading

<blockquote><font size=4>Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency &amp; The Renewal Process</font>

John Weir Perry


<img align=right src=http://thefifthbody.homestead.com/files/53985_cov.jpg>Stress may cause highly activated mythic images to erupt from the psyche's deepest levels in the form of turbulent visionary experience. Depending on whether the interactions between the individual and the immediate surroundings lean toward affirmation or invalidation, comprehension of these visions can turn the visionary experience into a step in growth or into a disorder, as an acute psychosis. Based on his clinical and scholarly investigations, John Weir Perry has found and formulated a mental syndrome which, though customarily regarded as acute psychosis, is in actuality a more natural effort of the psyche to mend its imbalances. If the upset is received in the spirit of empathy and understanding, and allowed to run its course, an acute episode can be found to reveal a self-organizing process that has self-healing potential.

This book examines what the acute "psychotic" experience stirs up in the psyche and how to empathetically respond. Understanding the function of mythic themes is reached through the author's investigation into myth and ritual of antiquity and also the visionary experience undergone by prophets and social reformers in various ages and parts of the world.

John Weir Perry is Former Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of The Heart of History: Individuality in Evolution, published by SUNY Press; The Self in Psychotic Process: Its Symbolization in Schizophrenia; Lord of the Four Quarters: Myths of the Royal Father; The Far Side of Madness; and Roots of Renewal in Myth and Madness.

Source: SUNY Press

<hr width=100% size=2>

Related Resources:
[*] Treatment or Therapy?
[*] Visionary Experience in Myth &amp; Ritual
[*] Dr. John Weir Perry &amp; Diabasis
[*] Interview: Mental Breakdown as Healing
[*] The Far Side of Madness: Psychosis as Purposive
[*] Visionary Experience or Psychosis?
[*] Diabasis - Prague




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Old 03-16-2007, 02:04 PM #3
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>Soteria: From Madness to Deliverance</font>
Loren Mosher, Voyce Hendrix with Deborah C. Fort


<img align=left src=http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL438/8397669/15643275/238243500.jpg>This book is the story, told by Loren R. Mosher, M.D., Voyce Hendrix, LCSW, and Deborah C. Fort, Ph.D., of a special time, space, and place where young people diagnosed as "schizophrenic" found a social environment where they were related to, listened to, and understood during their altered states of consciousness. Rarely, and only with consent, did these distressed and distressing persons take "tranquilizers." They lived in a home in a California suburb with nonmedical caregivers whose goal was not to "do to" them but to "be with" them.

The place was called "Soteria" (Greek for deliverance), and there, for not much money, most recovered. Although Soteria's approach was swept away by conventional drug-oriented psychiatry, its humanistic orientation still has broad appeal to those who find the mental health mainstream limited in both theory and practice. This book recounts a noble experiment to alleviate oppression and suffering without destroying their victims.

The results of the Soteria Project sounded a thunderclap throughout the field in the 1970s. They completely and permanently changed my view of how to practice psychiatry. The passage of time has only increased the importance of these findings and endorsed their validity.

-- Dr. Richard Warner




Source: Soteria

<hr width=100% size=2>

Related Resources
[*] Still Crazy After All These Years
[*] Mosher's Letter of Resignation from the American Psychiatric Association
[*] Guidelines for the Treatment of Psychosis
[*] Soteria - Bern [PDF File]





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Old 03-16-2007, 02:38 PM #4
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>The Stormy Search for the Self</font>
Christina Grof and Stanislav Grof


<img align=left src=http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL438/8397669/15643275/238249091.jpg>
Many people are undergoing a profound personal transformation associated with spiritual opening. Under favorable circumstances, this process results in emotional healing, a radical shift in values, and a profound awareness of the mystical dimension of existence. For some, these changes are gradual and relatively smooth, but for others they can be so rapid and dramatic that they interfere with effective everyday functioning, creating tremendous inner turmoil.

Unfortunately, many traditional health-care professionals do not recognize the positive potential of these crises; they often see them as manifestations of mental disease and repsond with stigmatizing labels, suppressive drugs, and even institutionalization.


In The Stormy Search for the Self, Christina and Stanislav Grof, the world's foremost authorities on the subject of spiritual emergence, draw on years of dramatic personal and professional experience with transformative states to explore these "spiritual emergencies," altered states so powerful they threaten to overwhelm the individual's oridinary reality. This book will provide insights, assurances, and practical suggestions for those who are experiencing or have experienced such a crisis, for their families and friends, and for mental-health professionals. It is also a valuable guide for anyone involved in personal transformation whose experiences, though generally untraumatic, may still at times be bewildering or disorienting.

Source: Penguin Books

See also: Spiritual Emergency


<hr width=100% size=2>

Related Resources:
[*] Defining Spiritual Emergency
[*] Spiritual Emergency or Psychiatric Disorder?
[*] Assistance in Spiritual Emergency
[*] Guidelines for Family &amp; Friends
[*] The Homecoming





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Old 03-16-2007, 02:56 PM #5
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>Models of Madness</font>
John Read


<img align=right src=http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL438/8397669/15643275/238251734.jpg>

Essential reading for all those involved with the mental health system, this book is powerful, scholarly, up-to-date critique of biological approaches to madness and the role of the pharmaceutical industry, together with well presented and refreshing analyses of psychological and social approaches.

- Terence McLaughlin


This is a wonderful book. It's a scholarly academic text that is very well supported by the literature in the field, but remains easy to read and understand, which is no mean feat, given the complexity of the material it covers.

- Lynne Huddleston


This is mandatory reading for all psychiatrists. Read et al. have issued a serious challenge to psychiatry. Are we totally on the wrong track with both understanding and treating schizophrenia? Are we doing more to create mental disorder than to prevent it? Since we have shuffled off responsibility for almost everything except mental illness, this challenge to the medical model suggests that we may have sawn off the last branch on which we had any purchase.

- Carolyn Quadrio


Is schizophrenia an illness? Is madness preventable? This controversial, but carefully reseached, book argues that what psychiatrists call "schizophrenia" is not an illness. Models of Madness shows that hallucinations and delusions are understandable reactions to life events and circumstances rather than symptoms of a supposed genetic predisposition or biological disturbance. Featuring 23 contributors from six countries, the book represents a range of disciplines and discusses the history, economics, and politics of madness. Contributors critique the "medical model" of madness, document the role of drug companies and outline research-based alternatives to diagnoses and drugs.

Models of Madness promotes a more effective and humane approach to understanding and supporting severely distressed people that will prove essential reading for psychiatrists and clinical psychologists and be of great interest to all those who work in mental health service.

[b]Source: Amazon

<hr width=100% size=2>

[b]Related Resources:
[*] Rethinking Schizophrenia[*] Think Again[*] The Talking Cure[*] Dr. John Read



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Old 03-16-2007, 03:16 PM #6
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill</font>
Robert Whitaker


<img align=right src=http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL438/8397669/15643275/238257159.jpg>A riveting social and medical history of madness in America, from the seventeenth century to today.
In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker reveals an astounding truth: Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries, and quite possibly worse than asylum patients did in the early nineteenth century. With a muckraker's passion, Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. Tracing over three centuries of "cures" for madness, Whitaker shows how medical therapies have been used to silence patients and dull their minds. He tells of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century practices of "spinning" the insane, extracting their teeth, ovaries, and intestines, and submerging patients in freezing water. The "cures" in the 1920s and 1930s were no less barbaric as eugenic attitudes toward the mentally ill led to brain-damaging lobotomies and electroshock therapy. Perhaps Whitaker's most damning revelation, however, is his report of how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies in an effort to prove the effectiveness of their products. Based on exhaustive research culled from old patient medical records, historical accounts, numerous interviews, and hundreds of government documents, Mad in America raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, what it means to be "insane," and what we value most about the human mind.

Author Biography: Robert Whitaker's articles on the mentally ill and the drug industry have won several awards, including the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and the National Association of Science Writers' award for best magazine article. A series he co-wrote for the Boston Globe was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

[b]Source: Barnes &amp; Noble

<hr width=100% size=2>
[*] Reviews[*] The Rad Geek: Chapter Excerpt 1[*] The Rad Geek: Chapter Excerpt 2[*] Chemical Warfare on Humans



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Old 03-24-2007, 02:46 AM #7
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>The Holotropic Mind</font>
Stanislav Grof & Hal Zina Bennett


<img align=right src=http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL438/8397669/15643275/240261816.jpg>For over two hundred years the Newtonian perspective has dictated the criteria for what is an acceptable or unacceptable experience of reality. Accordingly, a "normally functioning" person is one who is capable of accurately mirroring back the objective external world that Newtonian science describes, Within that perspective, our mental functions are limited to taking in information from our sensory organs, storing it in our "mental computer banks," and then perhaps recombining sensory data to create something new. Any significant departure from this perception of "objective reality" -- actually consensus reality or what the general population believes to be true -- would have to be dismissed as the product of an overactive imagination or a mental disorder.

Grof's research suggests that profound healing happens automatically when people enter certain non-ordinary states of consciousness that are intrinsic to their own being. The process usually begins with a working through of emotionally charged memories from the lifetime. Eventually it deepens into a confrontation with biological birth and the inevitability of death, sequences that are intermixed with historical, karmic, and archetypal themes. Finally the process opens out into ecstatic transpersonal and spiritual realms, beyond the boundaries of individual consciousness. This book is full of fascinating case histories of people who have had the courage to look beneath the surface of everyday reality. Some of the accounts of healing and personal evolution described here will move and inspire you.

-- Review


Within the past three decades, modern science has presented us with new challenges and new discoveries that suggest human capabilities quite beyond anything we previously even imagined. In response to these challenges and discoveries, the collective efforts of researchers from every profession and discipline are providing us with a completely new picture of human existence, and most particularly of the nature of human consciousness.

Over the years I have seen profound transformations in people who have been involved with serious and systematic inner quests. Some of them were meditators and had a regular spiritual practice. Others had spontaneous episodes of psychospiritual crises or participated in various forms of experiential psychotherapy and self exploration. As their level of aggression decreased, they became more peaceful, more comfortable with themselves, and more tolerant of others. Their ability to enjoy life, particularly the simple pleasures of everyday existence, increased considerably.

Deep reverence for life and ecological awareness are among the most frequent consequences of the psychospiritual transformation that accompanies responsible work with non-ordinary states of consciousness. The same has been true for spiritual emergence of a mystical nature that is based on personal experience. It is my belief that a movement in the direction of a fuller awareness of our unconscious minds will vastly increase our chances for planetary survival. I hope that this book will make a contribution toward those ends, offering assistance and guidance for those who will choose this path or are walking it already.

[b]More Excerpts: <a href=http://www.iamshaman.com/library/texts/grof.htm>The Holotropic Mind</a>

Source: Council on Spiritual Practices



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Old 03-24-2007, 01:41 PM #8
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>The Modern Alchemist: A Guide to Personal Transformation</font>
Iona Miller


<img align=left src=http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL438/8397669/15643275/240344290.jpg>

“Not since Carl Jung wrote on inner transformation and alchemy has there been such a revealing, illuminating discussion of this art and its hidden message.”

~ Dr. Stanley Krippner
Saybrook Institute


Carl Jung revisioned the alchemical quest as one of turning psychological lead into spiritual gold. His descriptions of the dynamics of the psyche form a framework for illuminating medieval alchemy and making it relevant for today’s seeker.

This process was shown by C.G. Jung to be analogous to the process of individuation or coming-to-wholeness, experienced by many modern individuals. Hermetic philosophy is the common ground between alchemy and depth psychology. It is a means of acquiring a working relationship with the dynamic forces of the subconscious and the divine process represented by the Self.

According to Jung, we do not need to enter therapy to begin the process of inner transformation. Basic changes or different phases of life experience, or crises may precipitate radical psychological change. How we relate consciously to these changes determines whether they will be for the better or worse.

We begin to wonder what is really happening to us and seek answers within, perhaps through examining our dreams or fantasies. If we are lucky enough to be transforming to a greater degree of mental health and spiritual maturity we may experience a psychological rebirth. This is a natural process which leads us toward, and tantalizingly close to, our own unique perfection.

How does psychology define this inner dynamic which guides the process of individuation, leading toward the goal of wholeness? In Jungian Psychology, this symbol-forming power of the psyche is called the transcendent function. Before the transforming power of the higher Self is perceived in imagination (personified through one’s Angel, Guide, or Guru), it is known as a symbol-forming function.

Its purpose is to mediate between that which is unknown and that which is manifest. It performs its function by creating unifying symbols from pairs of opposites. In this manner, it gradually unites the fragments of psychic life. It creates a series of symbols which transfer consciousness to a higher perspective or awareness by reconciling opposites.

By synthesizing pairs of opposites into a symbol, the transcendent mode creates a method of transition from one set of attitudes to the next. An individual ego may work more effectively with subconscious processes by consciously attaching value to these symbols presented by the transcendent function.

Our task is to discover these transpersonal meanings, whether they are presented to us through dreams, attitudes, or behavior patterns. If the meaning were consciously understood, it would not be presented as a symbol. Therefore, once its meaning is realized over a period of time, another symbol appears to take its place, reflecting the new situation.

The transcendent function (seen as one’s Inner Guide, Angel, or Guru), embodies the transmuting power of the symbol. The personification of the higher Self allows us to take up a relationship with the inner Self, and encourages dialogue and the development of feelings of loving devotion for this inner friend.

All the symbols and archetypal figures in which the transformative process is embodied are vehicles of the transcendent function. It is the union of different pairs of psychological opposites (like male/female, good/evil, Sol/Luna) in a synthesis which transcends them both.

The uniting symbol only appears when the inner psychic life is experienced as just as valid, effective, and psychologically “real” as the world of daily life. Fantasy animates both our inner and outer “realities.” This is why mystics call time, space, and the ego three great illusions.

The transcendent function, or Inner Guide, restores the balance between the ego and the unconscious. It belongs to neither, yet possesses access to each. It forms a bridge for the soul to ascend, by lying in-between and participating in both inner and outer life. By relating to each independently, it unites ego and the unconscious.

[b]Source: The Modern Alchemist

See also: Clients vs. Patients



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Old 03-24-2007, 08:57 PM #9
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>Healing Journeys: Shamanism as Healing [PDF File]</font>
Ian Prattis


ABSTRACT: An effective therapy for transforming deep seated traumas can be found in shamanicpractices that amplify the healing process by placing it in an altered state of consciousness (A.S.C.). This essay is not merely an academic presentation of theoretical building blocks but an endeavor to understand my own healing process. These experiences enable me to construct a general model of healing which illuminates the therapeutic role of an A.S.C. I explicate the significance of breath work, then provide a meditative healing journey based on the preceding building blocks. My understanding of the healing process is in energy terms, and I consider it essential that the power and energy of creative self-healing and mindfulness are brought to bear on transforming the energy of separation and trauma.

Introduction: Ignorance about the nature of our consciousness can lead to internal separation that produces illnesses, which are difficult to heal. When we are able to bring awareness to the causes of separation, deep traumas can then be released and wholeness is ours to reclaim. Of the many therapies available, I would argue that the healing aspects of shamanism open our eyes to a heightened awareness that enables methodologies of healing to surface and clear that which makes us ill – physically and psychologically. It is my belief, based on many years of experience, that the energy invoked in shamanic healing practices impacts the energy of deep seated traumas and releases them from the body and mind in a way that most other therapies cannot. This has to do with the importance of the healing process taking place within an altered state of consciousness (A.S.C.), whereby the energy of healing is amplified to the extent that it dissolves the energy of separation.

Shamanic experiences are quite natural, only our culture has become so removed from them that even our scientific observers do not possess the appropriate concepts or experience to understand them. Many of the events associated with shamanism that are labeled as anomalous have to do with the shaman's ability to move into, and through, as eries of related altered states of consciousness (A.S.C.). Without a corresponding ability to enter into an A.S.C., it becomes exceedingly difficult for the scientific observer or medical doctor to understand what may be communicated. A shaman may communicate to the observer about experience and events several times removed from the reality within which the observer is located. Thus the shaman communicates S, and the observer understands it as O, thereby misrepresenting the features, structure and process of whatever the shaman communicates about. To reduce this disjunction in communication and the distortion of recorded information, requires of the scientific observer the willingness and ability to suspend disbelief and travel through the shamanic experience (or something similar) in order to code information from a different level of personal experience. This is what this work is about. ...

In keeping with many indigenous cosmologies and eastern philosophies, I assume a mind/body/soul unity as the potential state of being fully human. The impediments to experiencing this state are a series of internal blockages and disjunctions that draw their origin from social and cultural conditioning, genetic heritage and karma. This combination of factors creates dislocations in the body and mind and prevents the mind/body/soul unity from taking shape. I regard the dislocations as the underlying cause of physical and psychological illness. When they become too great, connection to the soul is lost and intervention is necessary to restore connection and balance, and therefore health. Given this perspective, what is required in the healing process is attention to, awareness of, and dialogue with the dislocation, so that which blocks inner unity from taking shape is identified, understood, transformed and then transcended. This process is at the core of most healing and meditative systems, and the remedies involve a process of surfacing and clearing.

Source: Healing Journey [HTML View]

[b]See also: Schizophrenia &amp; The Hero's Journey



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Old 03-27-2007, 08:43 PM #10
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<blockquote>
<font size=4>The Spiritual Competency Resource Center</font>

This site provides access to online resources that enhance the cultural sensitivity of mental health professionals. Spirituality is now accepted as an important component of cultural competence for mental health professionals. These resources include online courses, guides to internet resources, and articles.

All courses are free to read. I recommend the following:<blockquote>[*] DSM-IV Religious & Spiritual Problem
[*] Spirituality & Recovery from Mental Disorders
[*] Meditation & Mental Health
</blockquote></blockquote>




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