Guestbook

Feel free to sign my guestbook, and share your experience of my website or my work. Note: if you do share your email address (which is not required) it will appear next to your comment below.


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(212)
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(182) eliza eller
Fri, 9 September 2016 15:02:05 +0000
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Hi Daniel,
Can you write me? I am seeking downloadable versions of the TRAILERS of your films.
THANKS and peace,
Eliza

(181) Ove
Mon, 5 September 2016 08:57:28 +0000
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Hi Daniel,

we met some years ago in Stockholm at your lecture at Magelungen. Hope you are well.

I have a tip for you for your next movie. There is a great group called Urkraft in Skellefteå, Sweden who work with Supported Education with about 100 participants. They do amazing work in getting people back on track. Their attitude is similar to Open Dialogue. If you are interested, contact me for next step. The project leader is Katrin Lundmark, and I have met with Peter Brännström.
See urkraft.se

The projects name is Texas and they support people with mental illness back to school and work. Wonderful, wonderful work.

All the best from Ove Valodius
I studied the last 3,5 years at university to become a social worker.
Mail: ove.valodius@hotmail.com

(180) Franco
Wed, 24 August 2016 10:12:35 +0000

Hello Daniel

I wonder if you could read the book by Alice Miller's son Martin and what you think about it. It seems that as a mother she was not very sympathetic with her son, even at times when she had already written her best books. The book wasn't translated in English yet, I think. But maybe you understand enough German?
Always following you on your way (as far as possible)!
Franco


(179) Petr Bakalar
Mon, 22 August 2016 12:11:34 +0000

Dear Daniel,

recently I came across your video where you talk about your experience with training in psychotherapy; it came as a revelation to me – I have always had the same feelings – the stiffness, the absence of humor, the inability to get out of the box, the middle-age church like rules.

Thanks for that, finally somebody has formulated and summarized something I have in mind.
Not only the content, but also your personality seems likeable and well-composed (good energy, no air of narcissism etc.)
I am looking forward to see your other things, because you are exceptionally sound and sincere.

In return: There is a very snappy question one can use as a diagnostic tool when speaking with people in power, kind of a final countdown:
“How could a person in your position misuse his/her power? And how do you personally combat these temptations?”

And a real-life joke. Once my therapist asked me, what kind of relationship I had towards authorities. I replied: “I can´t judge it, I have never met any.”

Best and thanks once again,

Petr


(178) Azucena
Wed, 17 August 2016 05:09:44 +0000

Soy Azucena, de Zaragoza, España.
Estoy interesada en el sistema de recuperación de psicosis sin medicación utilizado en Noruega.
Tengo un hijo de 25 años diagnosticado de varios trastornos, ahora no toma medicación, y pasa el día en su habitación, cortándose e la realidad, y yo su padre no me rendiré, y buscaré hasta hallar lo que le pueda ayudar a salir y poder vivir de otra manera.
Estoy dispuesta a hacer lo que haga falta y si hay que viajar a Noruega para la recuperación no dudaría en hacerlo.
La esperanza y el amor a mi hijo es mi fuerza, y mi perseverancia mi ayuda.
Muchas gracias por tu atención, y espero tu respuesta.

(177) J
Sun, 14 August 2016 23:28:20 +0000

Dear Daniel
thanks for your website and your videos. I just watched "A formers therapist s critique of psychotherapy." I can relate to a lot of your insights and observations about the field and about the people in it. But still, its nice to hear someone pointing it out so clearly. I am a therapist myself (since 8 years) and what interests me is this: you talk a lot about persoal growth and evolving as a person / and the way you talk about it could be misunderstood (in my eyes) in such a way that you pull all the wisdom out of yourself, which then would be kind of self-centered and self-focused. I wonder it you have any spiritual practice which helps you evolving as a person? I m only curious since this has been part of my experience about a fundamental aspect missing in therapy. And I also wondered if you ever read Eugene T. Gendlin? For me he has been also very inspirational, since he rarely or not at all talks about content and only about getting in touch with yourself (the felt sense) and start to feel your emotions and find out what is really going on. I like your description of a therapist as an artist and a healer. I think Eugene Gendlin is definitely both. Anyway, it has been really interesting to see the video and I am curious to watch more of them.
Thanks so much for your inspiration and for your work!
Jenny

(176) CharlotteCook
Sun, 14 August 2016 17:20:38 +0000

I am working on a site about childhood trauma.
I agree with you, I think.I am not pro but have been actively mending my life since I became aware at 20 years old. I am 68. Having read spirit centered books first ,to heal, I have used yoga, movement therapy, chanting, sounds like Tibetan bowls and drumming. I have used acting process to get in touch with deeper feelings. After meditating for several months I received information from that dimension also on healing. My dreams have been helpful . I want to say, you have expressed it clearly, even if I did not hear the words neuroscience or pathologies. I once told myself , humans must be educated and be required to pass a psych test before being allowed to procreate. I believe in the last 30 years I have put me squarely in opposition to society and it's insane political correctness when it comes to " accepting " behaviors of other cultures in America . Crazy to me is not acceptable. Yet daily men want me to accept violation of personal boundaries because it is considered okay now. I didn't vote for that. I accepted the challenge of healing myself and gave up every comfort for the authentic me. Not going back any time soon. Keep up with the videos, thank you.

(175) A Younger Brother
Fri, 12 August 2016 21:06:05 +0000

You have a future with YouTube.

Much better future than HemiJeep19. That's for sure.

You're not a criminal.

You're not a fired Cop.

You can't juggle.

You're not a heart-broken CEO.

You can't prank people.

You're just like Sonny Ferguson.

And that's a compilment.

You and Sonny are the next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

(174) charlotte hagins
Tue, 31 May 2016 21:56:00 +0000
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Hi, I'm really connecting to your writing/blogging. I appreciate your voice and the path you've chosen. I'm an art therapist, but I struggle with the westernized view... I don't think I'm burned out, but I feel the oppressed by the poor (or greedy) management of our mental health system (North Carolina). Right as you left mental health, I entered this field. I wrote my thesis on various multicultural techniques that would guide my approach to creating a safe and artful space with clients. I don't know if you've come across "Ntu Psychotherapy," but it was a resource I'd found helpful. Basically, from the Afrocentric view, isolating a person in a room for an individual session takes away one of the most valuable resources: community healing. Anyway, I am very glad to have found your website as a resource for motivation/inspiration. I'm writing a small self-help book about portraiture/self-portraiture for self-reflection. I would really like to reference your writing/work (I sometimes paint portraits of other people who've opened my mind in some way).

"...the mountains are as transient as the clouds,"
Charlotte



(173) Peter Ansari
Wed, 27 April 2016 08:12:58 +0000
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Dear Daniel,
I really love your movie about the open dialogue in Finland. Allthough I am more interested in depression than in schizophrenia. I am writing a book on depression and I would like to know if you allow me to cite from your movie.
Of course I am giving your full name and the name of the movie - event the internet link.
... and I am writing in german.
So please tell me, if that is alright for you, because the publishing house needs this information.

Many thanks
Peter Ansari

www.depression-heute.de


(172) Zhi Li
Sat, 16 April 2016 02:56:58 +0000

I am a student from China,also a man called mad by psychiatrists.And I am interested in the work you have done.My qestion is how do you cure the disease.And could my disease be cured in China?By the way, are you Christian?Waiting for your reply.

(171) Suzanne
Tue, 5 April 2016 20:06:00 +0000
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Hi Dan,
Thanks for your beautiful work! You are a major inspiration. I have shared your videos (Take these broken wings, and the Finland and Swedish approaches) with so many people.
I know you get asked this a lot, but do you know of any personal healing and transformation centers, therapists or spiritual teachers in the USA that are not focused on medicating people, and focused on helping them live in a more healthy way; reducing depression, anxiety and intrusive thoughts. A place that utilizing diet, exercise, yoga, expressive arts, spiritual development and trauma release work, that are non-profit or not predominantly profit focused in the USA?
There has to be some innovative work going on somewhere in this country, that may not be on the Internet but is happening due to someone's dedicated spiritual and personal development work. I would like to to work with them. I have many skills to offer. So if you know anything now, or you hear of anything in the future, please keep me in mind. I am a licensed mental health practitioner, who knows there are better alternatives than medication and am looking to join with others to offer a healing community or center. (I am currently in California, but willing to relocate for the right situation.)
I don't know if you know this, but Esalen Institute was originally founded by Dick Price and Michael Murphy. Dick was from a wealthy family, studying at Harvard, when he became deeply depressed. He was hospitalized by his family against his will, and given all the "top treatments" of the day, "electroshock therapy" insulin shock therapy." etc. It was all so traumatizing and barbaric, that he swore he would create something different. They were doing some very radical approaches at Esalen in the beginning. That place has since become a lot more conservative and profit oriented. I know you have to deal with financing such a place, but as one of my mentors expressed it: "money is a very important, secondary consideration." Celebrating the music in all our hearts!
Blessings on Your Journey,
Suzanne

(170) Mary Reid
Wed, 30 March 2016 11:12:10 +0000

i wonder if you are aware of Bruce Alexander, Gabor Mate , Jerome S. Bernstein, and Stephen Levine? Your work is a prize. These men helped me immensely Bruce in particular. He became my friend. You would connect in an important way that would illuminate so much of this very difficult work we must do on trauma.

(169) Ania
Thu, 24 March 2016 00:17:14 +0000

Hi Daniel, I found your and some of your work on YouTube and I find it refreshing. While there are some ideas I don't quite agree with you on, I am generally impressed with the work that you do. And actually I am writing with a (possible) strange question. I live in Los Angeles, but I am relatively new here (it's been 9 years, but it's still feels like "new"). I haven't been able to make many real friends or true connections. I have made a couple, but after reading your book, I even question how real they are. So I was wondering maybe you could connect me to some people in LA are who share your "phylosophy" (I guess you could all it that), or simply your ideas. I am not active on Facebook, so the best way would be to email me. I would really appreciate your ideas on the subject.

(168) Damien Cardamone
Sat, 19 March 2016 00:09:33 +0000

Hello, I'm writing from Australia in regards to stopping antipsychotic medication. I am looking online for places that offer support stopping taking medication, I experience side effects everyday for 2 years on Clozapine. I've been taking other antipsychotics for about 20 years. The sideffects have really hit me on Clozapine the past two years. I'm offered no support or alternatives to medication, I'm actually on a cocktail of mood stabilizers and anti depressants as well.
. I would like to slowly stop taking medication but I am looking for some strategies before I jump into it. Do you know of any literature or advice in stopping or anyone you know of in Australia?
Regards
. Damien Cardamone.

(167) gypsy
Sat, 27 February 2016 08:22:59 +0000

I recently stumbled upon your work. It gives me a little hope. I am so stuck right now. The ironic thing is that my own brother is a very well to do psychiatrist and does not talk to me. I'm very sad about that but I realise my mental illness makes him uncomfortable. Such a shame. I have been on medications for years and trying to get off of them but there is just not enough support and I am poor. Poverty and mental illness goes hand in hand it seems and without love and family it requires even more strength and determination. lately I am finding it extra hard. I have no voice. But I want to thank you for giving people hope. Thank you for making people like me feel worthwhile. You are a blessing.

(166) Nora
Thu, 18 February 2016 02:54:22 +0000

I found this site when (cant remember why!) I was looking up 'Psyche', linked to 'Bruno Bettelheim' (discredited largely I found online), Alice MIller and now you. I just wondered if you give your name anywhere or prefer to remain anonymous? Either way it is very helpful and satisfying to read of others' adult realisation of childhood abuse I find. I had a very violent father who drank a lot not sure if alchoholic maybe not it seems. He also was subjected to violence as a child I believe but I did not hear it from him directly.

I have wanted to train a a therapist for so many many years but never have the money needed which is a lot of course over a few years. I have a degree in psychology but that is not useful without further training.

I did some part time counselling courses locally years ago, and looking back, am dismayed at the superficial nature of some of the training and how many students now practice as a counsellor perhaps based on that qualification. I did a year foundation on a postgraduate psychotherapy course also (could not afford more) and saw that though better than the counselling course, it was assessed by very subjective tutors who openly preferred this or that student and openly disliked others I would like to say thsi was part of the training but it was not it was just horrible unchecked bias. The course was peopled with around a dozen wealthy postgrads many of whom just saw becoming a therapist as a way of earning a decent income for themselves when their options were limited it seems. I did learn from the course in other ways I hope. Now all I need is to start doing a lottery so I can pay for the training I would .like to do . Probably thsi is not what you were looking for from people signing your guestbook so sorry! Therapy and therapy training is for the main part for the wealthy here in the UK it seems. At least thousands of people could potentially benefit from therapy but never get to because they cannot afford it and our healthcare system rarely gives access to it. When it is available the wait can be a year or more for six sessions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and that is all. I myself cannot afford therapy and I would love to be able to to. I will read more of your site.

Best Wishes

Nora

(165) Don St John
Tue, 2 February 2016 20:33:16 +0000
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Dear Daniel,

Your story is inspiring and like you I feel more youthful as i continue to heal the severe traumas of my childhood. I wrote a book; Healing the Wounds of Childhood: A psychologist's journey and discoveries from wretched beginnings to a thriving life. My entire personal and professional life has been about the healing journey. I would love to send you a copy of my book for your review; let me know if you would like that. Don St John, PhD.

(164) Janet Linda
Fri, 22 January 2016 15:46:15 +0000

I agree that man is more than an animal. My bipolar disease causes me to act like an animal. This hurts me deeply. Some thoughts I have are: The ability to self reflect is a gift. I causes me to reach beyond my grasp and to want more for myself and for others. Not Physical wants but connectedness. To desire to increase their desire to learn and not besatisfied with dy to day media and what is spoon fed to them from others.
I have had three major episodes. I am currently medicated on Lithium BID and 1/2 trazadone when neede at bedtime. Thankfully not often.
I am 65 and believe in neurogenisis. It is my hope that people can come to realise that to accept lies told to them in childhood are not the values they can live with today. To understand the possible reasons behind the dysfunctional toic environment is to realise it was not on purpose. I helps dissolve the hate and anger. Forgiveness is key. I found you cnnot forgive yourself untill you forgive others. Your brain wont let go of it.
i also believe it is not totaly unlike Post Traumatic Brain Injury the way in which my first depression occurred.
I give you permission to quote, paraphrse or use what I have said to help others. Feel free to email me.
Sincerely, Janet Linda

(163) Dr. Dunja Voos
Sun, 17 January 2016 04:57:51 +0000
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Dear Daniel,
your wonderful film "Take these broken brings" really impressed me. I am a psychoanalysis trainee and a blogger. I proposed your film on my blog here:
http://www.medizin-im-text.de/blog/2015/39945/take-these-broken-wings-schizophrenie-heilen-ohne-medikamente/
I hope this is ok for you.
Best wishes from Cologne, Germany
Dunja Voos

(162) dhanya haremboure
Sat, 16 January 2016 12:29:38 +0000

Dear Daniel , I found you while looking for Alice Miller one week ago. Downloaded your first book on Kindle ( not available as book on Amazon) and
read it, watched your film on Schicophrenia, read the interview of Martin Miller
(whose book I will buy) and also your long version about A.M. writings,which
I read many years ago. In short your discovery has provided excitement and
joy for me, thanks for existing in our pretty screwed-up world.
The ongoing rise of autistic and/or medicated kids shows clearly that our so
called civilisation got it all very wrong. Courage is needed to speak up,and you
did and do .Talking of abuse, it starts in the mothers womb by "scanning"
followed by "programmed date" of delivery too often via cesarian section,
followed by "fomula-feeding"vaccinatio to undermine the immature immunsystem and early "care-centers" topped by "pre-schooling
and/or hours of overwhelming TV ! All this done with "the best intentions"and
"scientifically explained".
I am born 1940 on a mountain called "Change" (Wechsel) worked as a
Travel Agent for inner Space, and tracking myself consistantly to trust my very
own gutfeeling/intuition ,my reason for writing this letter.
Be well, greetings from Dhanya

(161) Initially NO
Wed, 6 January 2016 04:09:08 +0000
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Hi Daniel,
We met in Melbourne 2013 for a viewing of your Open Dialogue film at Melbourne University. I wish to bring to your attention an artist in Vermont named Pamela Spiro Wagner. She has been exposing her experiences of the psych system in telling images the last few months and now is in Battleboro Memorial hospital, Vermont, (in her words) 'being tortured' with mechanical and chemical attacks on her body. I'm wondering if you could incorporate her story into a filmmaking project. Her artwork is very powerful. She has taken great courage to speak out. Pamela is asking you to write to News@reformer.com to get the media to investigate. She'd appreciate support. I really don't want her to lose her ability to do art, or suffer further, nor would many other people she has engaged with.

Pamela Spiro Wagner is, being condemned for her expression. Freedom of expression must be allowed in a democracy, dictators must not. Psychiatry wants to dictate what people can and can’t say, so the organised crime of white-coteries can continue. That’s not okay, nowhere near okay, it’s an outrage.

Pamela's drawings and paintings are so honest and precise. For a long time visual art was her only means of communication. The world has to wake up and realise Pamela is just as much a political prison being tortured as Ai Weiwei.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1188585741168785&set=a.583671808326851.143669.100000521105108&type=3&theatre

best wishes Initia.

(160) Saskia
Tue, 5 January 2016 15:41:24 +0000

Hi Daniel,
I just discovered you and listened to your talks for about 3 hours. WoW!!! So inspiring, thank you.
I worked as a body-centered therapist, without an official licence for 20 years. In The Netherlands, where I'm from, that was possible. I do have a degree from artschool, I am an artist and a dancer. That makes sense to you, I think.
Ok, although I agree with you on many aspects, I also think it's important to have theoretical knowledge. Like: Alice Miller, Yrvin Yalom e.o. I studied, by myself and did 'the inner work', through reading and workshops. One way of working with people I love is "Hakomi, body-centered psychotherapy" founded by Ron Kurtz. I recognise a lot in what you're saying in what I learned from him. Especialy: the abbility from the client to heal him- or herself, the healing relationship, and to be able as a therapist to be in a state of loving presence. Do you know "Hakomi"? And I wonderd, listening to you, did you, yourself, do any bodywork? I met so many people I worked with who had therapy for a long time, but only talking and in the end that was not enough. What they needed and wanted, although it was very unusual,to work with their body; start breathing, moving like they wanted to, permission to be angry and kick some pillows, touching, etc. I realy would like to know your point of view on this.
Greatings, Saskia


(159) Stu Brooke
Tue, 22 December 2015 11:21:30 +0000

Hi Daniel,

I came across Open Dialogue about 10 years ago (then met Jakko S in 2006), but had no means by which to spread the word, so to speak, until I came across and bought your DVD.

In the time till now my DVD (and, ahem, a few copies) must have been seen by literally hundreds of folks down this way in or near Bristol, UK, including service users, their families, and networks; students and trainees; colleagues, managers and the Chief Exec of our NHS Trust.

It has, on the whole, been received with overwhelming gratitude and admiration - both for the introduction of OD and for the film itself (psychiatric conference not so keen, mind!). It has helped inspire myself and dozens of others to peck away in campaigning to get something off the ground here in NHS land. I must have seen it 20 times and, consequently, meeting Markku Sutela at a very small OD conference in Helsinki felt like meeting my hero.

Today, I received 2 dozen applications for a Peer Worker post - the final piece of our local (South Gloucestershire) jigsaw to enable us to join the UK national POD (peer supported open dialogue - as per the NYC Parachute model) research project, which will have 7 or 8 'spoke' Trusts setting up small teams of OD practitioners to trial this approach in the UK (training to Dec '16, research project to Dec '17). We will now make it onto this fantastic project.

http://www.nelft.nhs.uk/aboutus-initiatives-opendialogue

I've expended blood, sweat and tears to make it happen, but it simply wouldn't have stood a chance without your film as an approachable doorway into a different way of thinking, practising, relating - and hoping. I, and our nascent project (both as a local trial and as part of the national POD) owe you the most enormous debt of gratitude for this... and I wouldn't be surprised if your film has done the rounds in many of the other 7 or 8 participating Trusts too.

Daniel, I don't want to overplay the importance of what you've given us - but I honestly don't think I can Thank You,

Stu Brooke
South Glos Crisis Team / Psychological Therapies

(158) Mat
Tue, 22 December 2015 04:06:43 +0000
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Hey, really nice blog. Thanks a lot for all post;s ! All the best for you :)

(157) Pierre
Fri, 4 December 2015 20:55:56 +0000

Mercci for the support

(156) son
Tue, 10 November 2015 19:56:41 +0000
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thank you for your sharing ,the site is very useful to me.

(155) Jackie Velnoskey
Thu, 5 November 2015 11:28:43 +0000

Dear Daniel Mackler and Matthew Morrissey:

My name is Jackie Velnoskey. I saw that you have written A Way Out of Madness. My question for you is: may I promote the book at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in L.A., early April? It costs you nothing. All I'm asking you in return is if we may add you to our book marketing email list.

I'm giving you two LA Times promotion options to choose from: 1: you may forward a copy of your book to our address (see below), and we'll display it in L.A., or 2: we'll include your work in the Hot Indy Author Guide that we're displaying and distributing during the LA Times event. Either option is free. Check out our Facebook page when we report live from L.A. where over 150,000+ are expected to attend.

At America Star Books we have a book promotion department that does nothing but offering book promotion at the lowest fees in the nation. We attend all of the big fairs and festivals: Book Expo America, London Book Fair, Frankfurt Book Fair, Miami Book Fair International, the American Library Association mid-winter and annual Conferences, Baltimore Book Festival, and so on.

All I am asking you at this time is if we may add you to our email list when we issue our next book promotion offers. You may at any time unsubscribe, and we will promptly cease sending you any further emails. America Star Books has been around for more than fifteen years, serving over 60,000authors. Participating in book promotion is entirely optional.

Thank you for considering this opportunity. I am looking forward to hearing back from you.

--Jackie Velnoskey
America Star Books Special Services, manager
jackie.velnoskey@americastarbooks.pub
301-744-7589
P.O. Box 151
Frederick, MD 21705


(154) Hans Wendlandt
Mon, 2 November 2015 15:52:14 +0000

Hey Daniel,

I'm an aspiring therapist and I've seen most every video you've made and I appreciate what you do, thanks for doing it!

Best,
Hans

(153) Paul Hingston
Fri, 30 October 2015 08:48:59 +0000

Hi Daniel

Having discovered you for the first time on YouTube yesterday I wanted to get in touch from the UK and welcome your honest and insightful observations about the practice of therapy and the training of therapists. I certainly admire your courage, as Voltaire (allegedly) said 'it is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong'!

Your recognition, clearly based on lots of experience, that many therapists are more troubled than their clients/patients certainly rings true from this side of the pond as well. Of course, the institutions that position the practice of psychotherapy within wider society reflect the interests of the people working in those institutions, not necessarily the people who use the services. The myth of diagnosis serves to entrench those interests, confusing the treatment of the human body as an object (rightly the domain of consensual medicine, requiring patient passivity and clinical expertise) with the exploration of human being as embodied possibility (which lies within the domain of philosophy and relies on the mutuality of dialogue).

Having trained for many years as an attachment-based psychotherapist, I agree with much of what you say regarding the legacy of traumatic childhood experience. While I would never want to say that all behaviour and subjective experience is comprehensible to the external observer, surely it is fair to say that one should never reach a conclusion about its meaning until a person's history and their social context has been fully explored. In that sense, medical-diagnostic approaches can rightly be criticised as prima facie de-humanising.

However, in the spirit of constructive dialogue and a shared desire to learn, I would like to explore a little more the tendentious notion of a 'good' therapist. I too have never yet met a practitioner/clinician who doesn't articulate the view that they are acting in a patient's best interests. This seems to be universal. The 'mad-doctors' working in 18th century 'mad-houses' said the same as they brutalised the inmates of that era.

Unfortunately, I think the simple truth is that a person choosing a therapist or reflecting on the value of a pre-existing therapeutic relationship can only rely on what you call instinct (as good a term as any). 'Goodness' is something that only exists in the eye of the beholder and cannot be objectively determined, in the same way that madness or truth are not objectively determinable.

What I find so admirable in the way that you present yourself is that it would provide a prospective client with a wealth of information prior to making contact. A person who has learnt to be suspicious of the yawning gap between what people say they do and what they actually do is therefore provided with some space to become familiar with the way you are/see yourself in the world before throwing themselves into the odd relational intensity that is created by psychotherapy.

This makes me curious about why you stopped practising and I'd be interested to know whether you found it easier to be open about yourself after you'd stopped? For my part, I. too, stopped working as a therapist for a while because I simply couldn't bear to be associated with the absurdity of the mental health movement. Do you ever think about returning to practice?

One thought I would like to challenge is the idea that therapy is inherently asymmetric in terms of power, with the patient/client being unusually 'vulnerable'. In life, we can't avoid the need to take control over the people we become involved with (I'm not referring to psychiatric coercion here, which is a civil liberties issue masquerading as medicine). I've known people with genuinely healthy and supportive backgrounds who became embroiled in dreadfully confusing and manipulative relationships. The difference is not that some people have an ability to manage how a relationship will develop but rather that, when things go wrong, they can return to the care of friends and family, rather than being thrown back into despondent, self-recriminatory isolation. Equally, as I often advise people who are despairing of ever finding a good relationship, you only need to find one person! As with everything else in life, courage, resilience and tolerance for the shortcomings of others count for a lot.

I also wonder if there are some cultural differences here. As I understand it, the US system is much more regulated and, with more treatment privately-funded, there is a greater need to create diagnoses in order for therapy to be funded as 'healthcare'. Such a system is therefore very reliant on 'technical expertise' or, as I would call it, the manufacture of pseudo-illness. Patients are therefore forced into passivity from inception, necessarily deprived of a language in which to frame their complaints.

By way of contrast, in the UK therapy is still an unregulated lay activity (although it nearly fell victim to statutory regulation a few years ago). As many therapists act for third parties (more often the National Health Service or employers, rather than insurers) clients over here often enjoy what might be considered consumer rights and are not always shy of complaining. Equally, many therapists working in the public sector are relatively uneducated and come from working class backgrounds. This means that they can be quite oppressed by employers or more articulate clients.

To my mind, patient 'vulnerability' is not therefore an inevitable function of the therapeutic relationship itself but is instead induced by wider power interests that position psychotherapy within the world. I am sure there are lots of patients who have been entirely able and willing to tell their psychiatrist exactly where to stuff the medication that has been prescribed but judiciously recognise this will only result in further coercion or deprivation of liberty. Equally, the confident and well-educated can often induce shame and inadequacy in the less fortunate, irrespective of the chair in which they are sitting.

To me, this leads to two conclusions. Firstly, I wholeheartedly endorse your view that therapists should make their training and views of the world transparent from the outset. There are many, many schools of therapy - plenty of them mutually contradictory - so this seems to be the minimum that is required to allow patients/clients to make informed choices. Personally, I also agree that therapists should be encouraged to go further and explain much more about their history and lifestyle. However, this does seem more a matter of individual preference. While I personally love your open, thought-provoking style, I'd be willing to bet that it scared the life out of some of the people who came to see you, expecting instead a reserved, neutral 'professional' - barely a person at all.

Secondly, this analysis reinforces your idea that therapy is no panacea. Kinder communities, institutions and codes of personal conduct would be infinitely preferable to expanding the mental health movement. Learning from our children (not necessarily our own biological children) and other adults is more important than diagnosing and drugging those who make us uncomfortable into conformity. This seems to me to be an essentially a political struggle. Sadly, it seems to me that the US, once the proudest defender of individual liberty and a model of the benefits of independent thought, hard work and mutual co-operation, has now embarked upon a journey into pharma-induced torpor (sorry, that does sound a bit like Donald Trump but I guess there must be some reason he is popular over there). I worry about this because where the US leads, the UK usually follows. I was depressed to see that our own Lord Layard, an economist with no real knowledge of working as a therapist, has been doing the rounds in the US expounding the usual argument that 'mental illness' does profound economic harm. As we know, the truth is the exact opposite. It is the mental health movement that inflicts terrible economic harm and personal tragedy by undermining personal autonomy and mutual co-operation.

On a final, more positive note, nearly twenty years ago I was working in S Carolina assisting attorneys working on behalf of death row inmates. At the time, it seemed inconceivable that the US would turn against the obscenity of racist, state-sanctioned killing. Now, the death penalty is in terminal decline and mums in Colorado can legally buy marijuana cakes for the weekend. How times change!!!

So keep going, my friend, our time will come!

All the best
Paul