I show your film, Healing Homes, in a mental health class that I teach. When I showed it, the students asked for \"evidence\" that it works, and what happens long term to the people who receive this services. I also show the video on Open Dialogue in another class and a lot of research is cited in that video, and I include articles on that approach in their reading list. Can you point me to any \"evidence-base\" for the Healing Homes approach? What\'s the research?
Thank you for giving me some insights into Open Dialogue. What a refreshing change from my experiences with the psychiatric system in Canada! I thought you might like to learn about my focused listening music therapy for healing mental illness, including schizophrenia. It comes with a novel neurological paradigm that explains how the therapy produces left-brain dominance in the integrative processes of the cerebral hemispheres. Over at Mad in America a number of people are reading a brief summary of a therapy that could be drug-free in an Open Dialogue context. If you would like to copied in on \"Awakening Normal\" just email me and I would be delighted to do that. It provides an introduction to my ground-breaking discoveries while healing our son Daniel of schizophrenia. I hope it will make a \"hand in glove\" fit with Open Dialogue supporters.
Thank you for what you are doing!
I just saw your video \" If I Had Kids How Would I Want to Raise Them? -- 36 Ideas from a Former Therapist\" Sounds wonderful.
Have you ever heard about Waldorf education. My son was in a Waldorf School. I think it would meet your ideas and expectaions. They are all over the world.
Here is a video about a school in Nairobi. One of so many.
Love your honesty!
Lots of love to you.
These days I\'m spending time watching your videos and I find a huge wisdom in them... I can apreciate the effort of self-knowledge that you did and are still doing and how, from your proces, you explain it to us in a tremendous useful and direct way.
I can only be greatful for such a generous website, youtube channel, etc....
My greetings from Spain
Hi Daniel. I\'ve bee a fan of yours for a few years now. I stumbled upon your YouTube videos a few years ago and spent a very fair amount of time listening and absorbing. I can honestly say that you have made me think and have challenged me to ask myself some hard questions. For that I thank you and can report that you have provided me with a great deal of support and validation. Thank You!!!
For the most part, I agree with much of what you say, almost all of it. Even much of the stuff I don\'t fully agree with, like the stuff about having kids, I probably agree with somewhat but to a much lesser degree than you. I am a married man with four kids, I am also an Orthodox Jew and my Judaism, which reflects the Torah, which is understood by Orthodox Jews to represent the revealed will of G-d in this world, explicitly demands that one do all that one can to have and raise children.
I think you make some very valid points about people having and raising children, but I am unable to reconcile your point of view with that of the Almighty\'s, whom I, for one, believe created the world and all that is in it and continues to recreate it and influence everything that happens in the world day to day, moment to moment.
Who am I, and for that matter, and please forgive me for being presumptuous, who are you to contradict G-d who is perfect in all ways? If he prescribes the pursuit of having and raising children to be an absolute good, how can I (and for that matter, how can you) with our very limited, finite, and small minds (in relationship to The Almighty\'s \"mind,\" if you can actually say such a thing) think that we know better? I just can\'t get on that bandwagon, even though you make some very salient and valid observations!
Although I could absolutely discuss this subject in greater detail, such as how to then incorporate the mandate to have children and remain a therapist, this is not the point of my correspondence here today with you.
My intent here today is to connect with you, introduce myself, perhaps even begin a dialogue with you. Mostly, I wanted to communicate my support to you and admiration for who you seem to be. And really, to just say thank you!!
I am about your age, I received my LCSW in 2012, but I have been an MSW since 2007. I agree with so much of what you say about being a therapist and just wanted you to know that I am listening closely and appreciate your perspective. I share, as I said, just about all of it.
As an Orthodox Jew, I suspect that politically, and socially, we likely diverge on many of our perspectives. I tend to favor a more conservative approach. Which is fine, I can tolerate and consider another\'s perspective. But it is interesting how much of your perspective on trauma, parenting, mental health, and relationships I feel that I agree with you on.
So please keep at it! Your efforts are much appreciated.
Oh yeah, thought I\'d mention this to you. I find it threatening to refer my clients to your videos although I often have the impulse to do so. I guess I fear that my clients will then have more of an edge on me and will more easily be able to see through me and through the veneer that I apply to my relationship with them (which is only the result of my own insecurities and years of trauma). But I think I am going to start to do it. I am going to start to send them in your direction and que sera sera. It will be good for me.
All the best!!
PS-My website really stinks! I know it. I\'ve put about zero effort into it. With all of my work and responsibilities I just haven\'t put in the effort it requires to be any good. So if you check it out, please don\'t judge me by it. Thanks again!
I\'m a Brazilian guy from Florianópolis and it\'s said that I have schizophrenia or schizoaffectivity.
When I had my first and unique episode, the psychiatric hospital didn\'t show me any options of treatment with no medicines. They forced me to take medicines. If a treatment without medicines is possible (even if it\'s hardwork), they should make it available.
After watching your documentary, I felt I was disrespected and violated.
I hope the best for you and keep your work.
Luiz Paulo Brüggemann.
Oh yes Daniel you get the criticism from those who are like your parents and from those who wish to break free but can\'t. You make yourself very vulnerable. I would like you to know I was a teacher and the children gave me their trust. That was what mattered most to me. But now I am a mother and I find myself feeling guilty towards my child. It is hard for me as a parent to find out that all what I have learned in my life was not enough. I still make mistakes and my child shows me. I am truly sad about myself then and disappointed. I believe this is what every generation has to go through. Less or more. Much love to you Daniel,
Hi Daniel, I\'m so grateful I\'ve found your Youtube videos and films. Your theories about self-healing and self-development is unlike anything I\'ve ever heard of. The truth in your videos about the corruption of the mental health industry and psychiatry is so rare. I watched your recent videos on \"Healthy vs. Unhealthy Love\" and \"Is My Therapist Good or Not?\" and they\'ve given me a lot of insight on projecting \"neediness\" onto someone else and how that can be mistaken as love. I\'ve been struggling with unhealthily needing my therapist and being far too reliant on her that it is getting out of hand. I\'ve been so entirely emotionally strained from this issue so I want to talk to someone that understands and I don\'t know anyone else in the world who even partially understands my attachment to my therapist other than you(perhaps). I\'ve spoken to my sister and some other counselors and they understand it on a surface level, but they don\'t understand how emotionally straining it is. I tried to say to my therapist that it is just painful without her and she has failed me in recognizing my pain. I honestly don\'t know anymore if my therapist is good or not. There were past moments where I simply saw her as a god and idealized her, but now I understand that that was just me seeing things in the lense of my neediness. She is far better than most mental health people I\'ve met, but recently we\'ve had a setback in therapy and I can\'t seem to tell her things. I would be so happy to hear what you have to say about this. On another note, what projects are you working on lately? I was glad to see your recent videos and I watched them so many times already. I aspire to get involved in mental health research and becoming a doctor, and you’ve been a great inspiration to me. Best wishes,
To your Dec. 27th 2017 video...
You are doing the right thing in a world that it totally off. You are fighting the right battle. But fighting it alone that is what creates the anxiety. I am with you Daniel. It is important to create a support system.
Much love to you Daniel.
Hi, I\'m Australian and was wondering if there are any organizations here which support coming off antipsychotic meds? Thanks, Claire
I found your website and think you are essentially living your life in a good way. The type of things you do--making music about the most important issues, writing frankly and clearly about what concerns you, taking action once you\'ve identified an inner problem (not being afraid)--are some of the deepest desires I hold. Currently I am a college student growing more disillusioned by the day. I yearn to be free. To challenge myself. To throw my kite to the wind and finally embark into the ocean. My parents were not abusive and my childhood was very happy... But I still mirror them. It was not difficult emotionally to become who I am today. I have been blessed with advantages and I desperately want to break from my fear, the traps that will keep me in inadequacy like my parents. My life is following their exact pattern and I face a crucial moment where I break free and become myself or fail and become a copy. There is a deep well of curiosity and acceptance within me. I want to learn about everything. I want to learn from everything. I want to experience music and art and movies and make them as well. I want to meet people: good people, terrible people, weak people, strong people, those who are all that and more in one.
I am studying for finals at top-ranking college in the US. My major is worthless. I have such a fortunate position and yet I think what I am doing is almost worthless...
Here is something I wrote today~
All I want is a good job.
All that I should want is a good job.
All that matters is having a good job.
Everything may be sacrificed to achieve the ultimate goal, which is of course having a good job.
Lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving, hurting others, foregoing happiness, and moral failure are acceptable means to the end of a good job.
We should lie, cheat, steal, deceive, hurt others, forego happiness, and fail morally in the uncertain pursuit of a good job.
Hope should be chiefly in the aim of a goo djob.
THE moral system is a good job.
I have read about 2 essays, 2 blog posts, and watched 1 video of yours about hitchhiking. Yet I already understand you well enough to know that you will react to that piece the way I want people to react. Read, let it hit you, accept what it is. Accept.
Thank you. I hope I break my fear.
I\'m on a painful, yet gratifying journey of discovery into what I suspect may be some significant, yet well covered childhood trauma... and it behooves me to do this work before I join others on their journey (I\'m pursuing a license to practice psychotherapy). Anyway, the work Daniel had done here contributes to this project, and I\'m grateful to him for sharing his wisdom and his voice.
Quick shoutout - Thanks for this brilliant and helpful website.
Off the bat, I don\'t agree with everything you say, but I certainly respect the pairing of bravery with tenderness that comes through in your writing.
\"A soft heart in a cruel world is strength, not weakness.\"
Hope all\'s going well for you off the grid.
I have watched your youtube videos. I love your insight. You are very good at being who the universe has called you to be....
Hi Daniel, just want to say thanks so much for your YouTube clips and writings. In November this year I celebrate 1 year of going no contact with my entire family system (except one aunt) with no hope of reconciliation. When I hooked my car up in my garage to gas myself and drunk a bottle of vodka in November last year, something really switched in me and I then fought back... I\'ve come in leaps and bounds from Complex PTSD. It thanks to several people such as yourself who go public with their ideas and give validation of others experience and existence that has helped me get through. I tried the nonduality approach for years constantly working on myself, changing myself to fit in the system. It didn\'t work. I have lots of loving non family relationships in my life and I\'m following my truth and passions in my work and personal life. Thank you!
In few days I have seen threw lot of the videoes you published in 2009 and also some of your documentaries. You really bring forward some good and important perspecitves. And you do it in an excellent way.
Hi I\'m from Singapore and I really love your message. Its truly remarkable and inspiring.
Hi My name is Dianne and not sure how I found your web site but very honored to have found your message. I am a hairstylist of 40 years and still going strong. Your simple songs are so sweet and simply inspiring. If your travels bring you to Ottawa Ontario I would love to cut your hair. JMJ
Hello Daniel, thank you for your website, musings et al. It was fascinating, and at times triggering, to read your views, essays etc. Of particular interest to me are your blogs/essays about sex and relationships. It IS only through deep connection to one\'s self and by delving within, regardless of what we see/find and then working on that, that we attain higher levels of consciousness, abilities to have a truly experiential, wonderful, transformative life. I have also personally found that an authentic and pure relationship with another can assist us to move towards the aforementioned . Sex acts are simple sure, humans are not, damn straight! Perhaps engaging in sex only when it is a connective force and expression of pure love takes some of the risk out of the complications that ensue when it isn\'t.....With love, light, and healing. Gemma 🙂
Dear Daniel, Although I see significant common ground between your views and mine, I’d like nonetheless to offer the following comments from a more critical perspective: (1) Relational trauma, as I understand it, is the victim’s experience, and resulting sense, of absolute powerlessness against having his or her boundaries violated by a perpetrator to whom he or she stands in a relationship of dependence, whereby the severity of the trauma correlates with the degree of dependence and with the severity of the boundary violation. Although childhood trauma in the family is as ubiquitous as it is, for the most part, invisible, I don’t think all harm inflicted on children by their parents warrants the application of the concept of trauma. There need not be a want of sensitivity in seeing no “trauma continuum” (a phrase you use in Breaking from Your Parents (BFYP)) between the invalidation of a little boy’s feelings when his parents laugh at his tears about being denied ice cream (Alice Miller’s example in The Drama of the Gifted Child), on the one hand, and the horrendous abuse that people diagnosed with dissociative disorders have suffered, on the other. While the former case constitutes humiliation, to be sure, in characterizing it as trauma, that concept is, in my view, overextended. (2) As stated in my previous post (09/07/17), I agree with you that the family – the institution – is a cult, which means, I think, it is a social system of mystified, that is, naturalized, power relations and of obscured conflicts of interest, maintained by sets of rules and meta-rules, as described by R. D. Laing in The Politics of the Family, which are inaccessible to reflection and negotiation (meta-communication). Parents’ institutionalized power consists in the child’s complete dependence on them for all of his or her basic needs, a dependence that is nearly total due to parents’ quasi-immunity to being held to account for what they do to the child, beyond the narrow scope of what by law or public opinion is considered abuse or neglect. The family thus constitutes children’s being the quasi-property of their parents, an extreme power imbalance, though not an absolute one, as constituted by the literal property status of human beings in slavery. (3) It is the mystification of the power imbalance in any given social and political system which generates, I think, what in psychology is called defence mechanisms (such as denial, rationalization) in those who hold the inferior power position. Those in the superior power position don’t need such psychical defences against social and political reality -- for they DEFINE it. In other words: the more external power you have to define reality, the less internal defences you need employ against it. I disagree with Alice Miller that “contempt for those who are smaller and weaker” is a defence. (ibid.) Contempt is an attitude shown by those with (more) power towards those with (less or) no power. Parents’ contempt for their child’s vulnerability is not a defence against their getting in contact with their own wounded “inner child”; it is the exercise of power. By the same token, I would not say that all abusers rationalize their abusive treatment of children, as you write in your essay on Alice Miller. I’d rather say, to the extent that the institutionalization (hence the legitimization) of the power imbalance in the family obscures the difference between “use” and “abuse,” this renders such parental rationalization obsolete. (4) I don’t think that by inflicting trauma on their child, parents “pass on” their own trauma or “take it out” on the child. They do take something out, to be sure, but what the child suffers it is not “the tyranny of [the parents’] own unresolved childhood wounds,” to borrow your phrase from BFYP. When A, having been traumatized by B, in turn traumatizes C, what A takes out on C is not his or her suffering from a sense of powerlessness inflicted upon him or her by B., but is, on the contrary, a sense of ENTITLEMENT to power, actualized by victimizing C. This sense of entitlement is derived from A’s identification with B., whereby, as a consequence, his or her own childhood wounds are “resolved” – reconceived, that is, from the perspective of the perpetrator. Victim A’s identification with perpetrator B -- not to be confused with A’s identification with B’s image of her or him -- betrays A’s disposition, which is to be understood in MORAL and not psychological terms, to take, like B, a “might makes right” attitude toward others. But not all victims identify with the perpetrator; most identify with their perpetrators’ image of them. Conceived in these terms, the legacy of childhood trauma in the family reinforces the power imbalance and thus stabilizes the system STUCTURED by it. Trauma, in other words, is a function of the family – not its failure. (5) Envisioning a future in which more and more people would commit themselves to healing from trauma, you write in BFYP, \"Healthy people now become ready to have children – and they become model parents.” This leaves me wondering, why would healthy people want to have children in the first place? The answer to this question depends, of course, on what we mean here by being healthy. You speak of enlightenment. In the context under discussion, enlightenment must involve, I believe, becoming lucid about the sole motive for having children, i.e., the social power with which it outfits parents and derivatively, the benefits of the social status attached to being a parent. To the extent that this incentive was absent, so too would be the desire to have children. That people could be much better parents than they generally are is no better a reason for having a family involving children than a king acting benevolently toward his subjects is a reason for having a monarchy. Parents’ sense and attitude of quasi-ownership will prevail as long as this private tyranny that goes by the name of family remains the normal, default structure within which children are brought up. The family is the primary institution of oppression in a politico-economic system of oppression (capitalism). The solution is -- not hang fire till we\'ve birthed our true selves -- but abolition. All the best, Karin
Hi Daniel Mackler,
I nearly missed the significance of your video Healing Childhood Trauma, until I read your words to a new human species and printed out the page. I nearly missed because, although the video pushed me further to my real memory and who I am, time and again I attempted to reconcile with the consensus reality by trying to figure out a \"balance\". Now the attempt has been abolished.
I\'m vulnerable to my denial and distortion, or, should I say, my own collusion. I\'m working with a psychotherapist, who will be definitely unable to acknowledge my deepest desire. Fortunately I have learnt to USE psychotherapists instead of simply connecting to them.
I\'m hesitating about working transferentially with this psychotherapist. I have the fear that I might become dependent because the temptation to go back and mingle with the consensus reality is so strong.
The greatest consolation is to know this desperate \"betrayal\" has a meaning beyond the personal. And, of course, I\'m glad that I\'m able to relate to people despite the painful factor that they cannot validate who I am and probably will not tolerate my truth.
Thanks for your articulation. Otherwise I\'m like a gossamer in a gale, hardly able to grasp my own existence.
I came across your website about 2 months ago. Since then, I have familiarized myself with your ideas and in doing so acquired the strong impression that we are, on more than one topic, on the same page.
I agree with what, in your book, Breaking from Your Parents, you state about the connection – I would say, the symbiotic interrelation - of psychiatry and the family:
“[T]he way that psychiatry treats parents is an extension of the way parents-in-denial treat their children (…) [I]f parents didn’t abuse their children there would be no psychiatry at all. The two function very similarly...”
I agree with you that the family is a cult, and indeed the prototypical one.
I see the family as a social system defined by an extreme power imbalance between parents and children, mystified by the cynical fiction of so-called unconditional parental love -- the family myth -- whereby the structural conflict of interest between the two parties is denied. As a consequence, childhood trauma is as ubiquitous as it is invisible; accordingly, the family is, contrary to popular belief, the primary institution of oppression.
Antithetical to any grouping organized along the lines of the family is a community of peers, possessed of equal power. Allied in solidarity against institutions of oppression - from the family to psychiatry to gender - such a community is, in itself, politically radical, at once transformative and liberatory, and a vehicle for political education, both of its members themselves and the public at large.
Looking for allies, a like-minded English friend of mine, James, whose educational background is in philosophy, and I, German, an early retired social worker (neither of us has children), would greatly appreciate an exchange of thoughts with you, in particular about your book, mentioned above.
Our views are informed primarily by the works of R. D. Laing, Aaron Esterson, and David Cooper, and to a greater or lesser extent by Thomas Szasz, Judith Herman, Alice Miller, Colin A. Ross, and John Briere.
I live in Denmark - the city of Copenhagen. I liked your forum. Razrishite to attach to it and communicate!
Good wind and success!
Daniel, thank you. I have spent this day with your writing and films - and one song - and I consider it a gain.
First, I would like to ask how familiar you are with http://www.traumacenter.org and the work of Dr. van der Kolk?
I would be glad to learn from your thoughts on - and perhaps your experience with - body-based therapies and artistic expression as paths to healing from trauma.
The JRI annual trauma conference is coming up:
Second, after having read your essay about your plans for starting a community and your fear of failure and I would like to share something that has helped me navigate through fear: the book \"Designing Your Life\", which proposes \"wayfinding\" as an acquired \"failure immunity\" and even more, as guaranteed thriving - we cannot fail when we live and learn through experiences that we design for own growth. We win, come what may.
How does this sound to you?
do you interested to have your book translated in russian?
After reading your About page I\'m relieved to know I am not the only one has this abnormal relationship with family. I\'m coming to a point where I\'m about to jump the sinking ship so at least one of us can lead a healthy and positive life. I\'ve always felt bad about my relationship with my family and have drastically improved myself in order to fix it. Although I\'ve grown to become a much more patient and strong person, the relationship with family remains in an amateur state. This made me realize in this instance, the only way to fix this issue is to leave it.
Thanks for sharing your story!
Came off of 32 years of psych Meds and \"treatment\" by myself without support and with resistance from family. I am a strong advocate my son has my same energy enthusiasm, and empathetic brain I refused psychiatric labels treatments or Meds for him. He currently has his dream job at 25 working with virtual gaming technology lives in Seattle does not take Meds or recieve psychiatric treatment. I am a high school drop out twice divorced.
I\'ve spent the past two years recovering from a dr increasing my SSRI when I told him it would exacerbate my mania he said\"I don\'t have a problem with that\" and handed me an RX for 90 klonopin I was having seizures most likely from serotonin syndrome rather than take me off psych Meds they installed a pace maker somehow with my consent while I was incoherent on a 72 hour hold resulting from the original statement. It did not stop the seizures. It\'s a long traumatic tale of social injustice which nearly led to my death. It did lead to the loss of my spouse, my home, the entirety of its contents, my job, my friends, my sanity...I will not stand silent and let them kill someone who is perhaps not as resilient or tenacious as I might be. I had a legitimate law suit, unfortunately by the time I recovered it was too late to sue. I am in the process of going through the Wyoming state medical board to fine a grievance.
I\'ve been off all Meds for over a year now, I did this alone without medical supervision I do not recommend this! I feel... Well, I feel.
When I watched one of your videos I was very much struck by you saying that our different problems manifest from traumas. Thankfully, you also said that some good therapists don\'t charge much and that you know some around the world. Could you recommend me some in London, UK?
Nice movie: open dialogue.