I have been both fortunate and unfortunate in my life — in my family of origin and my culture.  I grew up in an educated, middle class, American family — full of books, family time, toys, healthy food, and a stable bedtime — to a mother who was often unhappy, often perverse, and alcoholic, and a father who was desperate for external approval, occasionally cruel, and often neglectful of me.  Both my parents were quite wounded from their own childhoods — and acted out their unresolved issues on me abusively.

Yet at the same time both provided well for me in other ways — better than their own parents had for them.  This contributed to my growth, which paradoxically provided me the strength to be able to break away from them.  Although breaking away has come at great personal sacrifice, it has been vital for my development as a human being and my connection with my true self.

My inspiration

My basic inspiration comes from looking within.  My true self, like the true self within all of us, is a powerhouse of purity and energy.  Self-reflection has been my life’s devotion for nearly 20 years, and experience has shown me that the answers are within each of us — if we can find them.  My path of self-study and self-exploration presently involves journaling, analyzing my dreams, maintaining strong sexual boundaries, practicing creative expression, spending time with healthy friends — and engaging in hard work!

Alaska, 2012

On the mud flats, Alaska, 2012

Yet I have also been influenced by others on my journey.  In the field of psychology my greatest inspiration has been Alice Miller, despite her limits.  But by the time I came across her writings I was already well on my way to having developed my own point of view.  She did, however, give me validation for certain ideas, and helped me crystallize others.

I have also derived many of my ideas from conversations with friends and colleagues.  Several of my closest friends are gifted and courageous therapists — some of whom I’ve met through this website.  I myself worked for ten years in New York City as a psychotherapist — a job which is so much more than a job.  Being a therapist was an unparalleled experience in my life — and an enormous privilege.  I am eternally grateful that I could witness so many people’s deepest dilemmas and truest selves — and provide guidance to the best of my abilities.

I ended my private practice in March of 2010 for a variety of reasons.  I was ready for new horizons, new challenges, and a new freedom, and so far that is exactly what I’ve found.  I’ve done a lot of traveling and couch-surfing and hitchhiking since then, I’ve made three new films, I’ve been learning new languages, I’ve been studying myself and continuing to heal from my history of childhood trauma, and in many ways I’ve stayed intimately involved with the mental health world — by studying it, critiquing it, trying to make sense of what is good in it, and also trying to figure out how to make it better.  Yet I no longer have a calling to be a paid therapist.  In fact, many days I’m not even sure if I believe in this thing called psychotherapy anymore.  I’m much more a proponent of self-therapy…

A bit more about my past

In a few words, I would say I’ve had a pretty rich life so far.  I was born in 1972, I lived in both the city and the countryside as a kid, and I feel comfortable in both environments.  I grew up spending a ton of time outdoors — hunting and fishing and camping and swimming and playing sports and having a relatively free and wild life with my friends from a very early age.  But I was also extremely academic, and had the good fortune to get a good formal education, which, even though I grew to detest formal academics because of its shortsightedness and general high level of denial and stupidity, has served me well in the long-run.  But I learned more from my non-academic life:  being around animals, incubating duck eggs, catching butterflies and moths, having pet turtles and snakes, building snow forts, going sledding with my friends…

At 18 I went to Swarthmore College and graduated with a degree in biology, which steeped me in scientific thinking, something I respect to this day.  I hold the scientific method in high regard, and have internalized it deeply.  I love to evaluate and collect data and test for myself the world around me — and, perhaps more importantly, the world within me.  I never worked professionally in biology though.  Instead, after college, I waited tables, I tossed pizzas, I hitchhiked around the world, I was lost and depressed a fair amount, I did temp-work in New York City, I worked as a kids’ folk musician and storyteller, I played a ton of guitar, and eventually I found my way into the mental health field as a professional.  Meanwhile, I have also put a huge amount of effort into studying children, parents, and families.  This subject, and especially the subject of the universal dilemmas of children, is one of my great passions.

I have also broken away from my own family of origin.  I came to realize that my parents were unhealthy for me and that having a relationship with them was impeding my relationship with myself.  The more I grew the more I realized I could not afford this.  So I don’t talk with them anymore, and haven’t for years.  And I have no plans to talk with them either.  This has been a major relief for me — and a major liberation.  I breathe better because of this, I love myself much more, and I find much more passion and honesty and health in my days.  And it’s odd, because even though they harmed me a lot in my childhood, and really set my life’s path in some twisted directions, I’ve worked a lot of this out over the past fifteen or twenty years and don’t go through my days thinking about them much — or feeling angry at them.  Mostly they’re not on my mind — though I spent many years when I thought and dreamed and journaled about them daily, which was necessary for me to process what they’d done to me.

But now I’m in a different place.  Although I still have more inner work to do regarding my childhood, as I still have some unresolved issues, I feel I’m really over the hump of the worst of it and have come to a great deal of clarity and self-love.  Had I stayed close with my parents I feel this would have been impossible.  The gravity of the family system simply would have sucked me back in and crushed my expanding self.  I have broken out of their orbit, and feel very grateful as the result.

My future

The more I’ve become free of my childhood traumas the more my future opens up for me.  I find this immeasurably exciting.  Although I am now in my 40s, I feel more youthful passion than ever, yet what I love now is that I don’t live under any oppressive or mixed-up parental regimes.  Now I am my own parent and take pretty excellent care of myself.  I’m not sure exactly where my future will take me, but my plans are as follows:  1) To continue to work hard to spread my messages. 2) To continue to become as emotionally healthy as possible. 3) To take more and more healthy risks, to step out of my comfort zone, to try new things, and to really do my best to manifest my deepest truth.

–Daniel Mackler

93 thoughts on “About

  1. Your recent video about Authenticity was one your best, it really struck a chord with me. Perhaps being authentic has been the greatest struggle of my life.

    A few times my mother has said to me: “you used to be so social when you were a little kid. We would go to the beach and you would make new friends with everybody, people we’d never seen before. Then later you became quiet, I don’t know why”. Seeing you talk about it definitely gives me some hints of what might have happened.

    I shut off. I became so lonely later, it took me a great effort to not be so lonely anymore as an adult. Like you, I think the friends I had when I was kid saved my life. We didn’t keep in touch, but the experience I had with them shaped my personality positively.

    These days one of the things that makes me so sad is knowing how much time I wasted not being authentic, how much life was wasted. I now know that many of the things that I did in the last 10 years or more was trying to escape, trying to be the real me, unconsciously. When I look back, it’s the common thread in my life that links everything together: trying to be real.

    But not knowing what was it that I was looking for, I think it set me up for failure. I sabotaged myself. I feel so sad about it. I wish I knew all this time what I really wanted, so I could go for it, be brave. I wish I had done more. I wish I had had some helping hand at least.

    Also, now I’m more connected to my feelings, but I still struggle with being authentic. It’s very easy to slide back to old habits. And I think that creates many times a feeling of being split, a tension between these two selves, which gives me a lot of anxiety.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share this. Thank you for your videos.

  2. Hi Daniel.
    (my first language is french, that may help you understand why some sentences may be weak or vocabulary may be slightly off!)
    i just stumbled upon your video of 6 reasons why you are no longer a therapist and it strongly resonated with my deeply felt impressions on the mental health system, so much that i looked up your name and ended up here.

    the reason i write is that i find myself very intrigued with what you say about having broken off the relationship with your parents.
    i wonder who you would recommend it to.
    i have heard it said that we only truly become an adult once your parents have passed.
    i love my parents dearly, but i have often found myself wondering how different i will be once they are gone, and intimately longing for it, while simultaneously feeling immense pain as i imagine their passing.
    Their vision of the world is a rigorously religiously one, passionate enough that they have made it their entire life mission (pastor’s kid here). i feel the tremendous weight of that still, in our present relationship, even though i’d say it is fairly good. i am 36 and i have not managed to break free, though i haven’t been calling myself a christian for a decade. i wonder if it will go away once i lose them, or if i decide to lose them. i doubt it.
    anyway this is me.
    i wonder also how you feel about a responsibility of taking care of parents once they are old and unable to care for themselves.

    best regards

  3. Hi, Daniel! I really like and share your views on therapy and psychiatric system! Do you by any chance know any good therapist in BC, Canada?

    Much thanks for all your work!

    • hi alex — hmm, i don’t know any good therapists in B.C. i was up there hitchhiking seven years ago — hitchhiked up to the yukon and over to alaska, but didn’t meet any therapists along the way…. however, since there there’s a unitarian church in vancouver that has shown at least one of my movies (open dialogue) and done a lot of advocacy against the harm of psychiatry. i’m not religious and don’t know much about the church except that they’ve brought together some good people to talk about mental health stuff… http://vancouverunitarians.ca/ their head minister also writes at the progressive blog madinamerica.com, i believe….. daniel

  4. Hi Daniel,

    Do you eat meat? I read a book called The World Peace Diet and I think many of the worlds problems could be resolved if we eliminated unnecessary death and rotting flesh from our diets.

    Thank you,


  5. Hi Daniel,

    Proudly just became a patreon member.

    I commented on one of your youtube videos, if I could re upload the video to my channel.

    I am also on youtube talking about many similar topics such as you share. Nonprofit.

    So this is just a follow up, as I would also like to upload your video on Anxiety.

    Would this be at all possible ? I can surely understand if it may not be suitable.

    Best Wishes


    • hi aron — greetings and thank you! yes, feel free to re-upload my video to your channel — i take it as a very respectful compliment! and hopefully it will reach more people. best wishes back! daniel

  6. Hello Daniel,

    You might be interested to know about New Vision for Mental Health … a new website that focuses on a central question: “What would our mental healthcare system look like if, knowing what we know today, it was redesigned from scratch?”

    It looks to gather and provide answers to this question by taking a critical, informed and constructive look at the current mental health system, the concepts on which it rests and its constituent parts.

    It explores ideas, insights and suggestions – from a wide range of individuals and organisations – that might, in time, lay the foundations for a new and quite different approach to mental healthcare.

    Access is completely free and open to everyone. And the site already references several items that are related to your field of interest. For example:
    • Healing Homes: recovery from psychosis without medicine: http://www.newvisionformentalhealth.com/2018/04/23/healing-homes-recovery-from-psychosis-without-medicine/
    • For Centuries, A Small Town Has Embraced Strangers With Mental Illness: http://www.newvisionformentalhealth.com/2018/04/25/for-centuries-a-small-town-has-embraced-strangers-with-mental-illness/
    • The Door to a Revolution in Psychiatry Cracks Open: http://www.newvisionformentalhealth.com/2018/04/04/the-door-to-a-revolution-in-psychiatry-cracks-open/

    Regards, Richard

    Richard Oldfield (Editor and Curator)

  7. You’re amazing. LOVED the critique on Alice Miller. I love her, for multiple reasons. Thank you for all your work! I cannot wait to delve deeper into your site!

  8. hello daniel,
    im from Mexico, I see some of your video trailers, and is a hope for me becauase my brother have squizofrenia diagnosis, for years he have to take pills and it was very bad for him, i aknowled your sincerity to talk abouth your life in your page, soundlike you be a very sensitive man, would you know some alternative therapist in mexico for psicosis ? thanks a lot and congrats tor your work

    • Josefina,

      Thanks Daniel for your contributions of truth that has co-partnered in the revolution that is taking place right now. Let me share something for this person making inquiry.

      I am a victor to overcoming schizophrenia, and current living in restoration and hope to help thousands like you and your brother. I offer you the inheritance of a satellite directed message to any place with wifi. Please take this life line and watch an invitation to a partnership in healing child hood traumas that manifest in forms like schizpophrenia. Tune into this link below. There is a full library to partner with Daniels work, as anonymous contributor to the network we are all sharing.

      P.S. Daniel if you need partnership tools to launch effective media without a high barrier to entry, enjoy IT Inheritance, please tune into http://www.multiplythefire.com for more inspiration and tools. Enjoy the video above as well and the links to supplement resources at the bottom of that page. Your work has been part of my recovery and given the patience and dedication, I may enjoy further partnership with you. Contact info is at the web site. This may be resources to your network.

      Signing off,

    • Hi Josefine– Very sorry to hear about you and your brother. I’ve been living in central Mexico, Tepoztlan, Mor. for 13 years. I have lived experience with psychosis, and am a trained facilitator for hearing voices peer groups. There is a man coming from the States at the end of January to give workshops in Mexico City on peer support for those with mental problems. He has published a workbook, and his focus is the punk community. Although I am not a trained psychotherapist, I hope to get more involved helping those with mental problems from a self-help and peer perspective. Not only did I completely transform from being labeled “paranoid schizophrenic,” in and out of hospitals for 8 years, but have published a memoir, done public speaking and facilitated a workshop on journal writing. Please contact me via donkarp.com and we will see how we can work together.

  9. Hi Daniel,

    Love reading your blog.
    Apart from Alice, I encourage you to read works of mystic Osho and his views on psychology and enlightenment. He died in 1990 but his
    views on sex, family, therapy were far ahead of centuries.

  10. I just watched your video on your thoughts about psychotherapy and i was so happy to hear what i have thinking about so long. I have studied psychology years ago although I was very much attracted to the field, I was totally disatisfied with my education all different schools with the pros and cons with superficial information, then came masters degree because i wanted to know more, still dissatisfied, i changed field and worked on advertising agencies for sometime. Then we lived 6 years in India (very challenging experience) where i started reading about psychology again. I discovered Alice Miller, Existentialism etc. It is there i thought a lot about the purpose of life. I had a yoga teaching certificate but i never thought. I’ve been in art therapy sessions, started painting lessons, then Photoshop. I was trying anything that involved creativity (although i suck in any of these). It was the only way i could deal with life. Then we moved back to my country. I started working in a preschool. Now, age 43, i want to be therapist for kids. We’ll se what happens… Thank you very much for sharing your experiences. Pinar

  11. Hi, Daniel!

    Somehow, your article ‘Reflections on Being a Therapist’ came to me, searching for answers
    about should I change careers (again 🙂 to become a psychotherapist. I am a musician, started playing when I was four, professionally when I was sixteen, and stopped around 30 to study film directing. In film school we had this classes “Psychoanalysis and cinema” where I become so fascinated by the subject that I finally took courage to do my own therapy, looking for growth and answers. Now, when I see how much work I still have to do healing myself,
    but becoming more and more fascinated by the process, I am wondering if I am not too ‘crazy’ to actually help someone with the same problems, when I haven’t sort my stuff, and I’m not sure if I ever will completely. But wanting to give back.
    So, your article was really inspiring for me, as I don’t know any other person who was musician, filmmaker And therapist, and now I see it’s quite possible. Thank you for that and I wish you luck with your films!


    (Sorry for my English, it’s not my native language)

  12. Hi Daniel,

    I recently read your essay about why you left the field of therapy. I appreciated your honesty and genuine passion for helping others heal in more human terms, but I also became a little discouraged about going into the field after reading it, since I have been considering becoming a therapist. I, too, have a passion for helping others heal through developing a personal relationship, but I have not even formally entered the field (just started college) yet I feel like I will end up being as upset with the system as you have been once I become more involved… So I guess my question is: should I still consider becoming a therapist? Can I still help guide others in a healthier direction in life while dealing with the “messed up system”? Also, I, too, have (since childhood) wanted to break away from my toxic parents, as I know what good self-healing that will do for me and how much their oppressive regime has messed me up, but how did you do it? Did you just one day pack up and leave? I am dying to leave, but too scared of what they will do if I even attempt it.

    Love & light,

    • hi M.,
      it’s been, or it was, a long process. lots of leaving and coming back to them — and ultimately leaving again. i write a fair amount about it in my book “breaking from your parents” — maybe you’d find it useful?
      all the best

  13. Hey Daniel – if you are ever in Toronto; hit me up…I want to take you out for dinner to discuss many topics. Take care.

  14. Wow! This is the first time I’ve posted twice in one day on someone’s blog! I am so happy to have found your site! I am in total agreement with your self-therapy concept. Even though I have spent time as a therapist myself and count that as the most rewarding work I have ever done, I have never made much progress in therapy myself. I find that the wounds go much deeper than words. I wonder if there is a correalation with pre-verbal trauma and the efficacy of talk therapy later in life?
    I have made the most progress in my life through programs like ACOA (Adult Chuildren of Alcoholics) andd CODA (Codependents Anonymous – codependency seems to be another word for self-abandonment.) Although my parents are both long dead, I am now voluntarily estranged from my siblings and their families.
    I wonder if you would address how you have come to peace with your estrangement as I continue to feel daily the guilt of that little girl who thought it was her job to save them all?
    After many years of healing, I have come to a place of no-blame. In order to do that I had to recognize and accept that I was, indeed, an abused child and that I was abused by the people who I loved and depended on for love and safety. What I then had to work on was finding and loving that child unconditionally. Only then could I come to the understanding that they (my family) had been abused themselves far worse than I and that much of the trauma I experienced was owing to dire circumstance and not necessarily malicious intent. Pain begets pain. I now understand that I was loved by wounded people in the only way they knew how to love. I also understand that a continued relationship with my siblings would be detrimental to the child who is alive and well inside this fifty-eight year old body and thank God, I have learned how to protect her. What lingers is the guilt and the bizarre notion that I should “take care” of them and not myself. Congratulations on a very meaningful website!

  15. Hello Daniel,
    I don’t know if you remember me, we spent some time together several years ago when I visited New York and we were both involved in that association dealing with trauma.

    Anyway, we came across you piece on Finland and got excited. Shannon Mayeda and I teach at USC School of Social Work. She is the designer of a course on Systems of Recovery in Mental Health. She would very much like to talk with you.

    You have y email. please let me know if you would be available to talk with her/me.

    Thanks, Wanda

  16. Hi Daniel

    I am from Sri Lanka – On the topic of Bad parenting etc and your personal relationship with your parents – — If you are saying Parents should be perfect and only perfect parents should have kids , this world will be a 100 times better place within a span of 50 + years because no parents will make kids because no parents in this world are perfect – But I do understand your point that very very bad parents should not have kids – yet some kids become very good to themselves and society because , they never want their Kids and others to suffer like they did –

    • hi Anne,
      i went to the site and read the open dialogue piece and thought it was weak. i skipped most of the last half or so because i found some of his early assertions to be so off-base and easily refutable that i lost interest. i wonder if this writer has read robert whitaker. i suspect he just dismisses him.

  17. Hi Daniel,
    Its me again and have read about your childhood trauma,the carreers you have undertaken and the plans you have fo the future.I am grateful for this inspiration that yuo have instilled in me.Following the outcome of my results which i had made known to yuo am planing to do medicine.I hope i will prosper the same way you have done.Thank you Daniel.

  18. Hi Daniel. I heard you speak for the first time on Amy Child’s Whatever Whatever podcast recently. I have a 6 and a 4 year old. About a year or so ago, without any input from anyone else, I came to the realization that I’m a shitty horrible parent. On the outside, I do so many things right…and I guess, to be fair, like all parents, fucked up or whatever, there ARE lots of things I do right…but since I have come from trauma, and have parents who suffered EXTREME trauma (as you know) I pass that on. I had no one to tell me that my decision to have kids was fucking insane. Also, I don’t think I could have comprehended it if anyone did. It would have made no sense. And when I came to the very dark place of realizing that I never should have had kids, I was in complete despair. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because it just sounded insane…like I was self-punishing, too hard on myself, blah blah blah. It was one of the darkest places i’ve been in my life. I’ve never done anything awful to my children (as defined by society, such as physical/sexual abuse) but much of the other insane stuff that every parent I know does, which is largely sanctioned and applauded by society. My point is, when I heard Amy’s interviews with you, and checked out your website, it was incredibly VALIDATING…it’s like, no, I’m not just some depressed, mentally unstable person…but am actually aware of the truth of our modern life…children are treated awfully, and nobody cares! Thank you for giving that aspect of my inner world a voice that would otherwise have not had one.

    My conundrum…what to do about it all. I can’t give back my kids…I’m too attached to even think of that. I love them soooo much. I really love them and want nothing more for them than to be self-actualized…even if it means that they one day they break my heart and divorce me permanently. I feel like I would be accepting of that, even though it might kill me. I guess reading your stuff has really given a voice to my own suffering…including the suffering that I have gone through grieving my parents and their, well, utter bullshit. But back to the conundrum…all I can do is try and make every moment better. I apologize a lot to my kids. We do a lot of “do-overs” where I go back to say the things I would have LIKED to have said instead of what I DID say. But obviously, I still find myself frustrated with myself. I look at my son (my oldest) and see the effects of my own trauma on his psyche…the way he carries himself, the way he hardens himself to the world when he is vulnerable, how volatile he is and how intolerable his own emotions are to himself, how much he lacks confidence, and it fucking breaks my heart. To see someone whom I love so profoundly, suffer at my own doing, it’s too much. I am not religious, but if I was, I would describe it as hell on earth. I largely live in this place of extreme psychological discomfort…some days are ok, and some days are more than I can handle. I do kinda wish you had a professional partner who believed what you do, but knew how to offer advice to parents who have come to their own dark realizations. Know of anyone?I do sense that you strongly dislike parents….but try not to take it personally. Because your message is too important…even though I’m sort of a lost cause as a criminal who brought children into the world when I really ought not to have…also, there is nothing you could think of me as a parent that I don’t already think about myself.

    I realize this feedback probably sounds confusing, maybe? I don’t know. It was important to me to put it out there and have you read it. Thanks for putting yourself out there the way you do…I can’t think of anyone who’s willing to be so honest.

    • hi alex
      greetings. i wouldn’t say i dislike parents — lots of my closest friends are parents. it’s just that i don’t like a lot of what parents do (and don’t do, and should have done, etc.). i also like myself but i’m not perfect. as for advice (whatever that is), i wrote an essay once that you might appreciate: http://wildtruth.net/better-late-than-never-twelve-suggestions-for-parents-seeking-enlightenment/

      wishing you the best on this painful journey!!

    • Alex,, The fact that you have so much insight into your problems, tells me that there is a great deal of hope for you to change. Often it’s hard to do alone. It’s very hard not to follow the script (or to see the flaws in it) you’ve been handed in your own childhood because those of us who have grown up in dysfunction see the abnormal as normal.
      I would suggest that you seek out a 12-step program like Adult Children of Alcoholics (alcoholism or addiction are not the only prerequisites, any kind of family-of-origin dysfunction works) or Codependents anonymous. These programs will offer support and a place to hear yourself address your issues in a non-judgmental environment in a way that can lead to positive change. After years of therapy, when I finally found these programs, I finally found peace.
      No. You do not have to believe in God and it is not a cult. It is just people helping people who are willing to be real and talk about the real stuff that plagues us as humans. No one there will tell you what to do. You learn by hearing others’ stories and how they progressed. I no longer attend meetings because I no longer feel the need to – but I am ever grateful that they are there and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back when and if…
      I wish you peace in your life and in the lives of your children…

  19. Dear Daniel,

    Maybe you remember me from your film projection in Split, Croatia – Renata. I just want to thank you, as your Open dialogue, Take these broken wings and Healing Homes caused a real revolution in my head – I really needed some other approach then what we’ve been told – “take your medications and you would function”. My response to my psychiatrist was – And when exactly I’m gonna live?
    I hope to see the follow up movie some day about the long term results when people come off medications. Thank you so much for your work and dedication, you are a real inspiration to me! Feel free to contact me if you ever return to Split (as now it’s not like the first time you came here and had no one to talk to :)). I would be very happy to host you as my guest in my home. Renata

      • Dear Daniel,
        I’m so inspired by your work that I’m trying to find a way to donate your films to some insitutions in Croatia. I’m waiting for the response from Ludruga if it’s possible to donate your films to a library – so that they become available to Croatians. I think it would be much harder to donate your films to HRT – Croatian Public TV House, but I’ll still give it a go. Hope that your films also find a way to be available through film festivals all over the world!
        Thank you, thank you, thank you! Keep up your good work!

  20. Hello! I am in the process of opening a Soteria-inspired (no medications; and also no diagnosis, no stigma, no shame…) home in Phoenix, Az. I am looking for allies, connections, support, anyone who might be interested in seeing something like this happen. Part of the business plan includes talking to “customers” to see if my idea is viable. I don’t know if this is an appropriate venue to solicit support, so I apologize if any boundaries have been violated. I am simply very motivated to see this happen. I want to create healing communities and change the conversation in society in regards to “mental illness.” I want to humanize the experience of altered states, crisis, depression… I hope to help change the language around these experiences – or at least the interpretation of such. Thank you!!!

    • Although I would have loved access to a Soteria-house kind of environment for my son at the outset of this journey with him; four years into the journey, I wish more that the Open Dialogue program had been available in our area, would now be available in our area. I am coming more and more to the conclusion that these ‘states’ (rather than place a diagnosis on it) occur for healing of the client and the systems within which he or she finds herself, normally families, communities, societies. Taking them out of their environments can help in acute phases but if the ‘whole’ requires healing then their ‘states’, ‘symptoms’, may re-emerge upon their return home. This is a traumatic journey for all involved, the clients and those who love and wish to support them but have neither the tools nor the knowledge to do so. In the greater isolation often imposed by these ‘states’, we were left trying to create the solution with the same tools and dynamics that caused/nurtured/manifested the ‘problem’ in the first place.

      Of course, to be a voice that these ‘crises’ can be temporary, that there are alternatives to the horrific prognoses, life-long effects of the various psycho-pharmaceutical concoctions that I can only see as my son having been experimented upon with, would have been tremendously helpful. I found evidence in case studies, including prior incarnations of Soteria house, and other resources outside the United States, and could believe there were other, more effective, approaches, but without strong support and with such vehement opposition from ‘standard medical practice’, ‘standard psychiatric practice’, mine was a very small voice just trying to survive and do the best we could. That my husband did not survive these stressors, having never been in hospital his entire life to have died two weeks after his first ever admittance, strong support that there was hope could have made the world of a difference to him, as caught up as he was in ‘logic’; even four months ago, the documentary on ‘Open Dialogue’ may have provided enough proof for him that what the ‘experts’ had been saying was not the most effective approach and it may have given him space to allow hope into his life and provided enough relief to allow his body to heal.

      So with your passion to open a Soteria House based environment, I would urge you to perhaps consider aligning with Jaakko Seikkula and work I understand he is attempting with others on the East Coast to make Open Dialogue approach available in the Southwest. The decades worth of research and proof would assist you more, I believe, in creating the difference you obviously are passionate about creating!

      I wish you luck and thank you for your passion.

  21. Hi There! I saw your video on Family Foundation in Sweden. Well done. I Liked the movie. I even considered to go there for my own therapie. Futhermore you talk in your video above about hiding your pain. I try to get of my pain since I can think. Now I am 27 and am got even worse. Why?! I Just wanna have a normal life.

  22. Hiya Daniel,

    I have recently found your site and I was quite surprised. I am 18 and have been on medication for 7 years then only recently going off. I was met with many therapists and psychiatrists who where constantly trying to keep me or put me back on the meds putting a real damper on my view of the people in the field. Though I wholeheartedly despise psychiatrists and I don’t think that will ever change, my over all view of therapists has greatly improved with learning of the many who are against psych meds as treatment through what you do and conversations with others on the topic. With that I thank you for the help you bring and would also thank the Freedomain radio community for their help as well. May I ask if there are any areas to chat with others on this topic and therapists you would recommend?

    • greetings joshua — i am hoping you can find others here to chat with. i think i need to start a web forum that is better than this. my problem is that i’m hardly on the web and have so little time. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! all the best, daniel

  23. Hi Daniel,

    I really enjoy your videos especially about the farm stay in Sweden. Just wondering about how you would be able to get treatment there. My partner has schizophrenia and would like to know more about the stays. He is a resident in England. He has dreamt about receiving treatments like it because he lacks the support of his family who do not support him in recovery. He has been on meds for 10 years and wants to get off them with support.

    Thank you again

  24. Hello Daniel,
    Thanks for posting your films on Youtube ! I’ve been watching “Take these broken wings”, and it’s so hopeful ! I wish i could meet such a competent therapist (though i’m not schyzophrenic) ! I wondered what your opinion is about EMDR and primal therapy ?
    Best regards,


    • hi melissa,
      greetings and thank you. hmm…..EMDR — i think it helps some people, but i also think it doesn’t help some people. i think it’s kind of a gimmick — and that ultimately it’s about talking about this stuff with a safe person who can really hear….. primal therapy…..i trust that less — i think there’s value in accessing the deeper feelings, but i think primal therapy forces the issue in many cases. better to let this stuff come up when it’s ready — and it does!! all the best, daniel

  25. Hi Daniel,
    I’m so glad I found about your website! This kind of insightful information seems to be rare, whether on the internet or in literature so accurately, and in a way that doesn’t make me feel worse after reading it. With that said, I was wondering if there was a way I could e-mail you (not for everyone on here to read) about a life dilemma, obviously concerning toxic parents? I’m not looking for a mirroring answer, because I am completely confused about what to do. I hope you understand that there is no person I can go to without receiving a confused and negatively biased answer. I can’t afford a therapist, in more ways than financially (i.e. disturbed therapists, condescending therapists, I like to think for myself, etc.). However, if you ever need someone to interview regarding persons who have had traumatic childhoods for a documentary, personal observations, research, etc. I would volunteer in a heartbeat as I think more of this social taboo needs to be understood out in the open. Plus I know and relieved to come across someone who seems to think on the wavelength as I do. It’s like everything you write and say is what I would say if I knew how to articulate it and wasn’t still in a conflicted transition towards accepting the “wild truth.” Thank you, and I apologize for rambling. This is something I don’t know how to articulate in three sentences.

  26. Just after I finished an one-hour consultation session with a psychologist, I searched EMDR suggested by her and some how found your Youtube video about critique on psychotherapy. And then your website. This is such a discovery! I found myself incredibly agree with you on most of your opinions. They are just like a good elaboration on what I want to express. Also since what I am trying to “heal” my childhood trauma which I have just discovered bothering me deeply, I think I am learning a lot from you. Thank you and keep spreading your messages!

  27. Dear Daniel
    To me you are a Shaman – a healer with an amazing gift – you have helped me immeasureably. I found you quite by chance two years ago – I’m so glad I did. I have been recommending you a whole lot. Thank-you (and Alice Miller) with all my heart for giving your wisdom so freely

  28. Hi Daniel.

    I am so happy that you exist…I thought I was alone….i do share exactly the same values like you do….I am gay and although it does not define my entire assistance but it has been a powerful motivator to see myself as who I am and heal myself. The thing I found your website late but I am happy to find a person like you. Wished I knew in person…

    Saddy 😀

  29. Hello Daniel,
    I just ran accross some of your YouTube vidoes and your Website for the first time today. I can only say “thanks”.
    I will be 70 years old on my next birthday. I went “no contact” with my parents and siblings many, many years ago and more resently with my two mid-aged adult children. I am still working through the grief of that decision, the biggest part being the loss of close contact with my two wonderful grandchildren. I truly loved being an active Grandma.
    I have spent the last 50 years working on having a peaceful happy life. I got side tracked about two years ago but am working in the right direction again now. This is, without a doubt, a life long process.
    Thanks for helping me get my thinking back on track.

  30. how old are you? quit crying. stop complaining. stop criticizing and stop condemning your parents. without them you would not exist. if i was them i would be ashamed of you too.

    • yours is a scary and age-old argument, john, that gives parents free reign to do whatever they want and gives their (grown) children no chance to heal. and when parents themselves can’t heal and instead deny what they’ve done, they do project their own hidden feelings (like shame) outward — most easily onto their children. sad.

  31. Dear Daniel:
    I am so encouraged by reading your words – please keep writing! I too wish you were still a therapist. Could you by any chance recommend a therapist (preferably skype or phone access) who would be appropriate for helping with grief from childhood trauma?

    Thank you very much.

  32. Hi Daniel. I wish you were still seeing clients. I would really like to talk someone with your views on psychology. It would be really helpful. Thanks for all that you’re doing though. Do you know of any good therapists that work over Skype/G+? All the best, A.

  33. hello daniel,

    greetings from davao, philippines! hope you are fine. just want to write you for gratitude for your video on youtube (childhood trauma and the art of healing). I found it while searching for materials for our plan of a Mental Health study/support group for this year. It is very helpful. hope it will reach many people. keep up the wonderful work!


  34. Hi Daniel

    I got to your Youtube videos as part of an internet search for Alice Miller. Her book, Drama of the Gifted Child was cited in a book I’m reading as a counseling course I’m just finishing at SACAP (South African College of Applied Psychology).

    I’m so glad in stumbled upon your clips and your website. I’m in my early forties and also past the major ‘hump’ of healing from my developmental problems caused by my parents’ narcissistic orientations. I like what you have to say about being a proponent of self therapy. Although my many years in traditional psychotherapy were foundational in my recovery, I feel I no longer have a need to rely on it for goals to be achieved? I think I pulled away at the right time as the challenge of standing on my own two psychological feet demanded exactly that – that I radically begin to do it for myself.

    Also I see that you are interested in producing a podcast series at some point? I have been an avid fan of shrinkrapradio.com for many years and was thinking that you may be able to create something similar. This kind of thing has so much value for all kinds of people throughout the world – especially for single people and those facing the isolation and loneliness of being in a sort of no mans land, between identities and learning to take healthy risks. It’s truly a greatly stimulating source of easily accessible support and motivation.

    I just wanted to share this with you as your website and approach resonated strongly with me.

    Thank you

    Kind regards


    • dig it!!! thanks darryl! much appreciated! and greetings from san diego, california. i’m traveling down here, and in and out of mexico, now!!

  35. Hi Daniel,
    I came accross this web page because I was searching for info on Schizoaffective disorder, My husband has been diagnosed with this mental conditions and it has been hard for me. He has a very good doctor that has prescribed anti-psychotic medication. I will read your book on how to deal with family and mental ilness and I will give it to my husband so he can read it. I hope it helps him cope with his family rejecting him because he has a mental illness.

    Take care and God bless…


    • greetings Ana,
      I hope you and your husband find the book helpful. It takes a pro-choice attitude on the antipsychotic medications, so it’s possible his doctor won’t like it too much. Many times psychiatrists are threatened by the ideas in the book. Some….but not all. I wish you and your husband all the best,

    • Dan,
      Okay…..but how does one respond to this? I can’t say I agree with you. Am I self-absorbed or self-reflective in a healthy way? I guess I’ll leave that for others (and my future self) to decide upon. I guess I am curious, though, how you came to these conclusions about me.
      all the best,

      • Intuitively. I actually liked what you had to say but I felt there was something in the energy that alerted me to really deep unresolved stuff and a misunderstanding at how the brain works mechanically that as a minimum might give you a greater compassion for your own parents that until you internalise is is probably a good thing that you are no longer a therapist.
        I spent two months recently with my severely alcoholic father as he died of cancer. I did not get even half of what you describe in a positive way with your parents and through deep deep empathy I could never have cut him out of my life.
        There is a part of me that just does not get this cutting out of parents…

        • Alma,
          hmm, what to say in reply to this? as i see it, you miss my some basic parts of my viewpoint pretty strongly. wishing you the best, daniel

  36. Hi Daniel,
    Im very touched by all of your words, your blogs and essays …. you are a gifted writer …..
    I am a 34 year old ‘runner’ ….when I say runner I mean it in the sense that I have run from my past at every opportunity using pretty much any means I can find to escape. But now …. now I have been forced to stop and listen, I think my higher power is fed up of being patient with me and has forced me into it 😉 so, onwards I will go ….

    I read that you were interested in interviewing people who had experienced childhood trauma and wondered if you were still looking?

    I admire your courage and indeed your honesty. My website is also very honest, very raw and I have had some people criticise me for that but I feel very strongly that childhood trauma, indeed any trauma should not be kept a secret, after all thats what perpetrators want isnt it?

    Take great care Daniel, you deserve it.



    • Hi Shelley—
      greetings from Tasmania (where I am right now). I appreciate hearing what you say. THANKS. Also, I look forward to looking at your website.
      About interviewing people — right now I’m not doing that, but I might start in the future. Thanks for popping the reminder back into my head!
      all the best,

      • No probs, look me up if you want to do it 🙂

        Id love to know your thoughts on the site …. its not just about trauma etc, its about …..well me, I guess 🙂 Have fun in Tasmania! My children and I just left Perth after an 8 month stay and are now living in India which is awesome!

        Namaste, Shelley

  37. We are looking at doing a presentation at a Mental Health Forum. Looking at your different DVD’s. Can you e-mail me at the e-mail that I provided you so I can give you the details and you can possibly guide me to the best choice for this event. Much appreciated.

  38. Hello Daniel,

    Your ideas on psychotherapy and life are awesome. I just heard of you recently from my landlady who went to one of your presentations. We watched your movie “Take These Broken Wings”, this movie was created with passion, sensitivity and creativity.

    I believe that more people should be involved with caring and taking in people who have mental afflictions, instead of hiding them and drugging them so much that they can not function. A similar thing happens with our elderly people when they get sick and the family is no longer able to care for them. I have seen this because of my long history as a CNA/HHA. I left the medical profession in 2004 because I was very much depressed about my own life situations and about the way certain people in my profession handled situations. I went through years of trying to find myself in college taking art and multimedia classes, only to keep coming back to the health field to help people.

    I currently am a private caregiver, who is unemployed and a Licensed Massage Therapist who does freebies. I am also studying about pressure point therapy and how it helps to clear channels and in turn helps to change emotional issues. Also, I am just starting to take qi gong which is supposed to do the same thing, clear meridian channels and help the body to be healthier.

    I also have a vision to use watsu, cranio sacral therapy and shiatsu in helping people (mostly children) who are disabled, mentally and physically.

    I was very much excited about your point of view not only because of my interests but, because I have a brother who is a year older then me who was diagnosed with paranoia schizophrenia when he was 17 and have seen him go from a fun loving, sensitive guy with a great sense of humor to a zombie because of the medications he has been on all of his life (he just turned 54).

    I believed, at first like every one else that my brother needed the meds to survive a real life, but, as time went on and I too was encouraged by doctors to take meds for my own depression and also have seen people close to me be encouraged by docs to do the same, with tragic endings, I changed my mind about meds very quickly.

    I ran from doctors who prescribed meds and started to explore holistic health to help myself, but now would love to help others with it as well, which is why I became a Massage Therapist. I also believe that nutrition plays a large part in our mental health.

    So I am writing this message to you to thank you for your insight, I cried along with you when watching your movie, I am hoping to come to one of your presentations in the future.
    Maryann D.

    • thanks Maryann! What a kind message! Thank you so much for sharing here — and I wish you all the best!! May we meet someday—-

  39. hi daniel,
    i am 60 this month.
    i grew up with abuse and neglect but also the pill and women’s lib.
    i think women now don’t have time to mother their children…..because it is expected that they work.
    what do you think?

    • i agree lee. if i had had children i would not want to work a full-time job. it’s a recipe for neglecting the kid. when i was working full-time as a therapist i saw young mothers who were trying to be full-time therapists and they had young kids at home. they were depressed about it — felt torn between being proper mothers and having a decent career. mostly they chose career. their kids suffered for it. i thought to myself, “if i had become a dad i would have quit being a therapist immediately. i wouldn’t want to devote so much emotional energy to helping people grow as a career when my own child deserves that energy of mine…”

      all the best,

  40. I too feel and understand your journey. The internet opened up the world of my secret sexual paraphilia, a spanking fetish. First came to lies, then while trying to physically partner with another so afflicted, but was rejected I sought and received via phone and Skype psychotherapy. Experienced latent PTSD flashbacks, saw the dissociation in me, and now have become an online outspoken advocate to ban all child corporal punishment. I believe I’ve read a posting somewhere else on the internet by you before Daniel, but don’t remember where. I continue my self work of healing body shame, and self loving. As I’ve discovered in awareness who I am and how abuse affected me, I’m conscious of how much deeper I can love someone than most. I thank you for your blogging, I hope I can follow you as you travel down the road of the rest of your life too!

    • very cool John!! thanks for sharing. i appreciate your honesty. greetings from england (where i presently am for a short time more). wishing you the best on your journey as well. thanks for posting. daniel

  41. The greatest thing you have to offer is a deep truth that cuts through the immense layers of spiritual and cultural denial. The process of true healing seems to float on a river of tears. The realizations I am experiencing about my parents and family are bringing up a lot of grief and I now recognize this as a very beneficial thing. My depression is getting lighter, my truth deeper, and my true self brighter. Gratitude for your courage and honesty.

    • cool brad!! wishing you the best on your journey. my journey has been both very painful and very rewarding, and presently seems to be much more of the latter than the former… who knows exactly what’s ahead…. greetings from london (where i presently am, for a brief time) — daniel

  42. Wow Daniel. I believe we are kindred spirits. I could not agree with you more on childhood trauma issues, and I also feel as though I’ve been driven by science, research and extreme self-examination my entire life. However, even with all this, my childhood trauma was so severe, that it took me most of my adult life to realize where all “my baggage” originated, and why I could never seem to get a grip, find some peace and just have some normalcy. I did all the things I was supposed to do, but still my life was chaos with moments of peace and sanity sprinkled in from time to time.

    In regards to your words above: Had I stayed close with my parents I feel this would have been impossible. The gravity of the family system simply would have sucked me back in and crushed my expanding self. I have broken out of their orbit, and feel very grateful as the result.

    I can assure you Daniel, you did the right thing. It was only this past year, at age 52 that I finally realized I had to cut contact with my family. Mainly my mother and my toxic siblings she has contaminated throughout their lives (My father passed away 20 years ago). I am the 9th born child of 13 siblings, and I am at least fortunate enough to have 2 sisters who had previously broken away from the family to turn to for support. I am 52 and my 2 sisters are 60 and 62. Sometimes we lament that we had so much potential, and a great majority of our lives passed us by before we woke up to “what was wrong.” But we do not lament too long, for we have already had too much time taken from us…we quickly turn our thoughts to our main goal, which is too make ourselves as aware and as healthy as possible and shine that light down on our grown children and precious grandchildren.

    We truly feel blessed that we made it out of the extreme insanity we lived in most of our lives and our focus is very much on what we can do to make things better for children in a society today that totally invalidates and outwardly accepts abuse as “normal.” One of my sister’s is a highly talented artist and I dabble in graphic design and media presentations. We are hoping in the near future that we can put together some form of media presentations on the outcomes for children who live with extreme neglect and abuse….and for that matter, even the everyday abuse that is now accepted by our society as o.k.

    I cannot express to you how much I agree with your views. If there should ever come a day that I should write a book or make a video series..and someone wanted to know who my inspiration was…I believe you, Daniel Mackler, would fit the bill. Thanks for all that you do.


  43. You are being a great service to the world in seeking and connecting with the clarity and meaning of your experience, for yourself.
    The current culmination of the path you have journeyed will/is awakening many, I am sure. It instills hope, on many levels, for me.
    In gratitude,

  44. Hey i want to buy lithuanian subtitled dvd of take these broken wings. But i cant pay via paypal because they not accept my debit card for some reason. But i dont have problems when im buying things from ebay. So im wondering is there any other way to pay for this dvd. Thanks

    • hi Tomas!! sorry it wasn’t working. but then I saw that you did order it with paypal and that it worked!! i’m glad it worked, and it’s already mailed off!! all the best to you!!

  45. Hi Daniel,

    everything is nothing without passion – My plan, after all, is to change the world.

    Steve Jobs: There is no reason not to follow your heart – the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

    fischbach report

    Some believe that our very survival as a species depends on a better understanding of human actions. Perceptions, Patterns of thought, and emotions …





    I had promised Miller to make Neuroscience public 🙂

  46. hey Daniel,

    That is GREATTTTT!!!!!!! The podcast thing will definately further my development. The crazy undecipline fool I still can be . 🙂

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