My name is Daniel Mackler and I am a musician, filmmaker, Youtuber, and writer based in New York. I also worked for ten years as a psychotherapist in New York, though I ended my therapy practice in 2010. My creative work focuses on the destruction of our natural environment and the causes, consequences, and significance of childhood trauma. I see childhood trauma as ranging from the extreme, which is common, to the mild, which is so much more common that few even notice it at all, much less call it by its proper name. I view the norm in our culture as being highly traumatized and I view the average, and even above-average, childhood as being extremely traumatic – and the average parent as lacking both awareness of this and deep empathy for the child.
I see our world growing more pathological, confused, polluted, overpopulated, and disturbed by the day – and I feel that to stand by and say nothing while we destroy our planet is, at the least, irresponsible. Yet I write with great hope – both for individual healing and for the collective healing of our world. I seek to offer a new perspective – on relationships, on manifesting the best of ourselves, on the potential value of celibacy, on parenting, on the pathology of the family system, and on the future of our species.
Of note: I recently made a page for older comments from this welcome page to my website, because the hundreds or perhaps thousands of comments were making this page terribly slow to open!!
At 25 years old, I’m realizing that the western lifestyle really is crummy in many ways (which I realize is in contradiction to a post I made a while ago lauding what a good country America is).
It’s frustrating because I was born in Nepal but my parents immigrated to the US when I was 3, and later Canada.. I’ve lost so much of my Nepalese identity. I’m jealous of newer immigrants who aren’t as “whitewashed” as I am. I’m jealous of their uniqueness.
I know I’m supposed to be grateful for being in a western country.. People would call me all sorts of nasty things, like an ungrateful little whatever.. because so many refugees flee their countries to move here, etc etc.. But I really do think western countries are like a devil’s deal. Maybe when new immigrants move here, they’re in a honeymoon phase, allured by all the riches and comforts.. but maybe some day, they will begin to feel this sense of being crushed and overwhelmed that I’ve been feeling. I really am overwhelmed. Porn, drugs.. I feel like ADHD is inevitable living in the west. Truth be told, I don’t want to be like all those American kids I grew up around in school.. I’d rather get to be myself in my own country. But that’s not what happened.
And I think living in the west can make you lose your empathy. For example, you might lose your compassion for someone who is injured, because we’re expected to just keep working and not complain about injuries. It’s dehumanizing and really sad. I hate the rat race so much.
Whenever I bring up these points to my parents, they say “well other Nepalese families came here too.” I don’t care what poor decisions other families made, I want my cultural identity back. And my parents can’t understand that for the life of them. If it were up to me, I’d still be living in our village, growing my own vegetables.
Older people from western countries often move to countries like Nepal to escape the rat race, to live a simpler life closer to nature. It’s frustrating how older people would judge me for being addicted to technology, yada yada.. But it wasn’t my choice, it wasn’t my decision.
In lieu of all this, I totally understand why you travel to wonderful, interesting places like Africa, and I absolutely understand why you do it in an unorthodox way (hanging out with locals, staying with them) – as opposed to just staying at a hotel in Africa and drinking Starbucks. I really do admire this. You probably get excellent sleep while you’re travelling, breathing in fresh air and enjoying nature. We went back to visit our village in Nepal once.. the air there is really something else, the sound of the pigeons fluttering in the morning.
If I ever make those videos I said I wanted to make, I’ll be sure to talk about this.
Thanks for sharing this, Parik. Wishing you the best! I have a feeling others will be able to relate to this too.
Thank you.. Honestly I wish I could delete what I wrote, because it’s so tricky.. there’s a lot of cool people in the US and Canada who are so much more funny and real and alive and passionate than my parents, who have treated me with a lot more respect than my own parents and other people from my culture.. I find some things about western culture absolutely amazing. So I DO have a lot to be grateful for. But it’s tricky because there’s also so much meanness and nastiness in the west too – a lot of the meanness comes from authority figures like teachers, as you’ve talked about. So I don’t think the problem is “American kids” as I said earlier, it’s often the adults.
I think I’m turning into my dad – he always had a sour attitude towards the US despite living there. I always thought the sports culture of the US was absolutely amazing, and my dad hated that stuff. And there are many toxic elements of my own culture/parents which have hurt me and destroyed my self esteem.. I am certainly not blind to the toxicity of my culture (many people talk about the toxicity of Asian/south Asian cultures and they’re absolutely right). Like I said, it’s a tricky one and I do wish I could delete what I wrote earlier, because I do have a lot to be grateful for living here. But oh well, no point in hiding my thoughts I suppose. Whether or not what I wrote earlier was toxic, let it be out in the open haha.
“Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues”
And precisely what I think is missing in our world. I have to check myself sometimes.
Agreed—truth is usually bitter, at least for the ego. However, to avoid truth is to avoid oneself. Yikes , that is not how I want to live my life:in ignorance of my own true self.
I find humor is the best thing for that. Learning to laugh at oneself – wish I had the type of friends who could help with that.
Well, you’ll find meanness and toxicity anywhere. It’s not limited to certain cultures.
Hope the best for you.
Absolutely true. I’ve seen it in all cultures. I guess I forget that sometimes.
*and in myself. I couldn’t see it before, but I definitely see the meanness and nastiness in my own self. There have been several good people I’ve hurt.
i’m currently reading your book “Breaking from your Parents” and i just finished the chapter about friendships where i;d love to hear your advice:
almost a year ago i stumbled upon an old acquaintance at a social event and by just speaking my mind about childhood trauma, it clicked with her so strongly that we became very close friends till this day. there’s a great deal of honesty, respect, support and intimacy of the character for a true ally which i’m really glad to have. yet, while there are parts i’m healthier at and others that she is, i find myself emotionally developing neediness and internally repeating childhood dynamics and neglected feelings. for example neediness for a hug or feeling strong rejection after a cancelled hangout from life circumstance. i’m fully aware that things are off and come from my current processing and healing of wounds, but still this is frustrating. For example a “rejection” recently threw me back to the trauma of my mother’s silent treatment which was cruel and cold blooded. it’s not the first time and we have talked about these occurrences with great honesty and respect which helps me and gives healthy feedback, but on the other hand this is a really weird for me. it feels almost like an unhealthy romance in the making and i’m not attracted to her. also, to some extent this helps me to be more aware and find out of old emotional trauma wounds but i can’t shake the feeling that something in the dynamic is off on my part. That is, i want to feel wanted and respected but i don’t want to be needy and recreate my repressed emotions.
do you have any advice other than continuing my healing journey and communicating as clear as possible my struggles?
Thanks and with deep appreciation,
Warm greetings. And thanks for sharing. I’m actually off traveling rather intensely in a remote part of the world right now and I’m not quite in the headspace of giving advice… But maybe others are? But I’m really wishing you the best, and I just wanted to make sure that you knew that I’d read your message! Daniel
Daniel, your work has been indispensable in my journey to save my life.
Thank you so much,
Thank you Dan!
I am happy to make your acquaintance.
As someone who has always had the inclination to lead a rather unconventional lifestyle, being something of an outsider has caused me a great deal of trouble with the mental health system. I too have done my fair share of hitchhiking and spontaneous adventuring. Unfortunately, some adventurers are not as well-received as others. This lifestyle choice, as well as other rejections towards standard models living, has been deemed as ‘symptomatic of psychosis’. So my experience with the mental health system has been very difficult, to say the least.
I have had the misfortune of being involuntarily admitted to a mental hospital 22 (yes, 22) times in my 28 years of life. For the past 2 decades, it has been a living hell of forced drugging, beatings, mutilation, humiliation, incrimination, abuse, exploitation, manipulation, torture, mockery, isolation, civil rights violations, soul death, mind death, resistance, handcuffing, ‘guardianship’ battles, self-mutilation, drug overdoses, kidnapping, and perhaps, even worst of all, the mundane drudgery of enduring ‘group time’. So, coupled with the conditioning of therapists that is usually tailored to suit their maladaptivity-perpetuating business models, I have thus been molded into further incompetence.
While I don’t claim to be the victim of these circumstances, I still am much like an ex-con who has trouble adapting and assimilating to the newfound external world after a lengthy prison sentence. And frankly, this situation has become utterly laughable. I have been called every name in the book: ADD, Anxiety, PTSD, Depression, Bipolar, HPPD, Asperger’s, Personality Disorder, Schizoaffective, and for the grand finale, I have been slurred with what is commonly referred to these days as Schizophrenia. So I have begun to to take none of this seriously, which is not necessarily to my own detriment.
So now that I’ve established a brief outline of the deep shit I find myself in, I would like to ask you a few questions. How do I survive? How do I resist incurring any more permanent brain damage than I already have? How do I avoid further entrapment in psychiatric torture rings? And more importantly, how do I escape from my individual family unit which has been the sole contributing factor to prolongment of this mess? See, I have a ‘family’ of psychopaths that all gang up on me in a strive to scapegoat and triangulate me into further diagnosis and hospitalization. I have a very, very, very fucked up ‘family’. Unfortunately, at this time, I still rely upon them for my survival needs. Part of the reason why this is the case is because:
1. I have no social skills or life skills which makes it difficult to function in society.
2. I have been imprisoned to the point of incompetence.
3. I have a great deal of trouble assimilating into a standard employment setting because I cannot stand even the thought of having the soul beaten out of me at a 9-5 job.
4. Whoring oneself to a disability label can only take you so far if your aim is to not live in the ghetto.
5. I have no formal college education which limits my employment opportunities and this is in the pure awareness that college can lead me into a much darker place intellectually and medically than I find myself in currently.
6. The mistakes I have made have impaired my reputation and my abilities to gain and maintain independent housing, employment, and education.
I suppose I very well could get a job as a waiter, somebody in the IT field, or even as a plumber. I can try doing any of that, make the sacrifice of my creative spirit, risk failure, and gain maybe even a sliver of fulfillment in the preservation of my independence. That part of me seems to be warring with the vagabond in me that still wants to live on the edge. But sadly that life won’t work ever again for me.
Maybe pretending to see a psychiatrist and pretending to take medication for the time being is the most suitable option while I live with these people. I don’t know. I’m about as honest as a 5 year old on truth serum in front of someone with a physical deformity. So lying might be a difficult undertaking.
So with all of this being said, please give me any advice you may have on how to end this waking nightmare. I could really benefit from some motivation, input, and Chicago-based resources from someone with an intelligent mind. Your YouTube channel has been one of the only forces of reason I have been able to find when considering these matters. So I want to thank you from the core of my heart for all you have done. You really keep me going.
With honor and respect,
Hi! Oh— I’m not sure what advice to give, to be honest. I wish I had some good advice. It sounds just rotten! But I have seen people in situations like yours where things improve dramatically. Right now I am on the road and I have almost no Internet. My head is totally elsewhere, so I’m not sure quite what to say. But I just wanted to reply and say I am thinking of you and I am wishing you great strength. Daniel
Having had some common experiences with you, my break came with discovering spirituality and knowing unequivocally who I truly am. In that moment all my problems took a subordinate position even if they didn’t disappear, and I have been on a healing journey ever since. I quit the 9 to 5, leaving a lod of money on the table, and in any case had burned all bridges behind me anyways. Through the addictions, losing money, etc, that realization held me up through everything and I continue to work on myself. Thats the thing – healing from this is a daily task, almost the only task, and it can pay the bills itself. Somehow my bills get paid.
You come to learn that there’s really nothing wrong with being alone (This point is how I found Daniel’s channel and everything he said resonated on such a deep level) and that you really cant die from these problems unless you allow yourself to, and you also see that death is nothing but your own energy anyway, nothing wrong with dying, sexuality, being ‘bad’, even being crazy – all of these things are allowed to be. You learn how to accept- allow – things to be as they are and in so doing give yourself tremendous power to heal, i.e. *adopt a new state of being* the words in asterisks are what healing is about, its what some religions call ‘repentance’. Essentially, healing requires opening your mind really wide because the reason why life seems painful is because of massively nonsense beliefs we ‘ve accepted about among others good and bad, morality, how much money you should have, when, and progress you should make, who you should worship and even who you are etc. To really heal you cant subscribe to anything without question and have to let go of a lot. Life becomes about your inner world more than any job you can take – it becomes about what feels good, because thats what leads you to where you are or should be going. At some point, you stop caring what will happen because its all good here and it feels stable.
Some of the teachings that have majorly helped me were Advaita Vedanta and teachers like Bentinho Massaro, Abraham Hicks. Bentinho’s Trinfinity Academy (free) especially cuts to the chase and if you are looking for something, you will not be able to put it down, though the material made me really uncomfortable because of my limiting beliefs. But if you don’t find colid answers there, I don’t know where else you can find them.
When you do get to healing work itself, reading wasnt enough for me, and I almost gave up and lost in addictions (several!) unti I discovered a silly-looking method called EFT Tapping. Whats special about it is that our programming and social conditioning that makes us repeat self defeating patterns isnt in the mind but stored in our energy field, and EFT and other variants such as Matrix Reimprinting reach in there and neutralize ego-defenses to your True Being (but the right perspective is needed to bridge this process, hence the need for the proper spiritual mindset) There are hundreds of people like you and me on the journey who continue to write sequences that take you through a healing process and I have tapped to so many of them the last 1 year, and I am a remarkably different human being from the one who started.
What I’m saying is that this is an inner game. The outside circumstances only reflect that. I leave that here and if you’re prepared to hear it, you will, but if not it will sail right past you, and you will do nothing. And that’s perfectly okay, but always remember the option always exists. That was my experience anyways.
Daniel, I’ve really wanted to upload my own videos where I bounce off your videos and share my own stories and experiences – to tell you HOW MUCH I RELATE to all your stories and experiences.. Hating the fakeness of university; having parents who were too cowardly to defend me from bullies, etc. You’ve asked for an ally, and I’ve wanted to be that ally through making my own videos for you to watch and listen to.
But I’m at such a horrible, awful place in my life right now. Before I had found your channel, I had tried to break from my parents in an extremely reckless and dangerous way (living in shelters). And on top of that, psychiatrists gave me meds which have screwed up my brain even more. I’m worried I might even have neurological damage from some of my coping mechanisms (self harm). I would love to make my own videos, to be that ally that you’re looking for. But I’m dealing with the most excruciatingly awful period in my life, due to the absolutely foolhardy and reckless way I tried to go about living on my own.
Wishing you the best, Pat — great strength. Life can be so difficult, but really can improve. Daniel
I can totally understand why I made the decision to move out. It’s similar to the reason you love travelling and hitchhiking. I was so tired of being addicted to the internet at my parents’ place, playing computer games all day.. They never taught me any cool, practical skills like building a house. I wanted to experience the world, I wanted to do all the things my parents never taught me.. To experience nature.. There was so much more to life than just sitting in front of the computer all day playing games. I didn’t want to go down the path of so many young people and be addicted to screens my whole life (like my dad).
I should mention I’ve been back living with my parents for the past couple years.. Sadly, when I was out living alone, my dreams did not come to fruition. I never learned to build a house, because I was so stuck in my comfort zone that I grew up with. I didn’t find anyone to mentor me like I wish I had, to teach me those skills. What happened was, I carried all my traumas and weaknesses with me and it held me back a lot.
I honestly don’t know if things will ever change. 🙁
I just called the cops on my child abusing dad and my siblings warned him and he destroyed all his ‘collections’, im watching ur stuff and everything u say is true, thank u, i feel crazy being alone, honestly my whole life i felt crazy acting out wo knowing why and feeling horrible not knowing why, telling the truth i feel the best of my life like slime is wiped off, even tho externally i have no one, i never had those traitors stuck in stockholm
Hope it all goes okay!
Is treating PTSD without medication possible? I don’t wanna take any meds. But what if a PTSD is severe?
For sure, Hopie, it is possible. I’ve seen it many times. It can be a difficult and painful journey, mostly is from what I’ve seen, but medications are definitely not necessary, and sometimes the medications make the situation worse. I’ve done a lot of healing from painful trauma without medications, and I know people with much worse trauma do it also.
Wishing you the best on your healing path.
Hello Daniel OR anyone else,
do you know any therapist online who opposes psychiatry and also on using psychiatric drugs and who is honest, Caring, loving and supportive?
Because I would like to talk to him/her to discuss some of my things through his/her Email. So is she or he has there own website, it will be a lot helpful too.
Hi Anyo — I’m a little out of the loop with referrals these days, but I think the website madinamerica.com has a list of therapists who might fit the bill…
All the best,
I just found your Youtube channel and I’ve found many of your videos to be helpful in my personal healing journey. I strongly suspect myself of being somewhere on the scale of traumatized, as you discuss in your “Everyone is Traumatized” video, and I am in the process of getting in touch with my inner self more. I am at a point where I feel like I’m misunderstood by all of the people around me, even professionals like therapists and psychiatrists who try to help me, and I’m looking forward to embracing my own agency in my healing process. As much as I think your videos have helped me and the people around you, I worry about your views towards medication and how they might be taken by people who are struggling. Admittedly, I am very young (just out of college) and I am NOT an expert in medicine or psychology aside from a few classes. However, I know many people in my personal life who have taken in the view that medications such as SSRIs are poisonous and damaging — people that are in dark points of their life, who lack the resources they need to better themselves in any other way.
To my understanding, the way that SSRIs SHOULD be used (although they very frequently are not) is that they should be taken to help get unhelpful or overwhelming feelings under control while the person goes through a guided healing process. For lots of people, SSRIs become a crutch to numb their emotions and disconnect with themselves, ultimately hindering that process. I think this is reflected in the fact that many people find that these medications help for the first many months of taking them, but they end up just as depressed as they were when they started after about a year of consistent use. I think this is terrible and is a major oversight in the way that psychiatry and therapy is practiced, when so many people are hurting due to trauma and not “brain imbalances.” However, many of the people in my life have taken in well-meaning messages that these medications are harmful and end up avoiding entirely what could be a helpful or necessary step in their healing journey.
My ex-boyfriend when we were both around 16 was a deeply depressed person, and had major issues with abandonment and isolation in his childhood that he was completely stunted by. He had dropped out of high school, wouldn’t brush his teeth or shower, and would stay up all night and sleep until the evening. He internalized the view that psychiatric medication was just a way to numb and underlying problem, but instead turned to hallucinogens like LSD to attempt to confront his feelings. Obviously, taking medication or not is an incredibly personal choice, and it wasn’t my place to force him into anything he wasn’t comfortable with. But, I can’t help but feel that if he had considered how the medication is supposed to be taken — as a temporary tool to help improve symptoms that are preventing healing, supplemented by rigorous mental work — he wouldn’t have felt the need to turn towards other substances. I am also a person who goes on and off SSRIs, and I think they’ve put a bandaid on a bigger issue that I still haven’t resolved. I am going through a deeply difficult time lately and do not have many support structures in place, and my feelings completely overwhelm me, and I sometimes injure myself as a way of processing them. I have started back on my medication temporarily, just because I believe that if I didn’t have something physically in place to help quell my emotions in the short-term I would physically be in danger, and I wouldn’t be able to start my path forward by how blinded I was by my overwhelming feelings.
So I agree with a lot about what you say about medication, but I also worry about how that rhetoric might harm people who don’t have many support structures in place. I hope this message doesn’t come off as overly critical, and I really do appreciate what you’re doing online and in the world. You probably have gotten other comments like this and have considered them, but I just worry about these things a little.
All the best,
Well, I certainly know some people who feel the medications helped them. I also know people who have killed themselves on psychiatric medications — even short-term doses. Also, I know a lot of people who start psychiatric drugs with the intention of being on them short and have a terribly difficult time gettin off them… And then there are also the side effects… Taking meds or not is definitely a personal choice. However, I think often people have a lot of healing resources within themselves that they don’t realize — and that I encourage — an inner exploration. Often things that people can do themselves (call is self-therapy or whatever) can help people deal with these feelings in a much healthier way than by taking any sort of drugs — and also do more than just deal with these feelings, but actually process them… A painful journey, yes, but one I have found to be worth it.
Wishing you the best!
Do You have any opinion on the subject of health anxiety (hypochondria)? What causes and what’s the cure for this specific mental condition?
I’ll have to think on it! It may be different things with different people… Maybe I’ll even make a video on it.
Sending you greetings-
Hello Mr. Daniel Mackler, i would like to know your opinion on misandry and how common and unotice it is and how damaging it is for society.
I know the question was for Daniel, but I know he has one video that briefly touches on the topic of misandry.
I think it’s the one titled “Society gives mothers a free pass to talk sexually about their sons.” (https://youtu.be/C8PQNEEPaLA)
He mentions how women get away with this because usually they’re the victims of being sexualized and men are often the perpetrators, therefore society gives women a free pass to do this to women (which IMO is not okay.)
I know this is not directly covering the topic of misandry, but I think that’s the closest video he has on the topic. I would be interested to hear Daniel’s thoughts on the topic as well.
Yes, I think people in the world can redirect a lot of their rage and sadness and hurt and feelings of betrayal at their traumatizers from childhood onto one gender or another, and in so doing become quite prejudicial and sweeping in their attitudes. I think it’s fairly common.
I totally agree with you on that Daniel, but that doesn’t explain why misandry goes unnoticed by the vast majority of society, while misogyny is very well known.
Incels are a living proof of modern misandry. Have you ever read about their philosophies? They have their ways of explaining this stuff.
How are Incels proof of modern misandry?Incels are a Product of the misandry in todays soceity.
That is what i meant by modern
In regards to “true joy versus fake joy”, I very much share your love for nature, which is by far the best example of feeling true joy. You’re right, being out there feels like connecting to your spirit – you feel as pure as the flowers, and as free as the cool river air. It feels like you don’t need anything else in this world – everything humans have built only detracts from this incredible majesty and purity. And the amazing thing is, nature costs absolutely nothing – you get to soak in this symphony for absolutely free. It’s truly an amazing, colorful gift, and it’s right under our noses.
Everytime I go out there, I’m awed at what I’ve been missing out on – I begin wondering why people don’t make more of an effort to tap into their spirit. And then I walk back home, where I have a TV and a microwave and other modern things, and I forget how magical I felt just an hour earlier. It’s amusing how drastically and quickly the magic fades, between the park and my apartment.
I can totally understand why you, Daniel, make such an effort to answer the question of why people are so disconnected from their spirit. That is to say, I can understand how nature inspired this pursuit you’ve embarked on. Like me, you want to live in a world where you can feel that incredible all the time, everywhere. In fact, I decided to write this because I’m missing that feeling right now as I sit in my apartment typing this.
(And modernity is not solely to blame. You see people doing all sorts of abusive, nasty things in the world and you wonder why the world has to be that way.)
I recently came across one of your videos from some time ago, where you commented that animal activists are often wounded, traumatized people who are acting from a place of trauma. I found the topic to be incredibly interesting and I wanted to reach out to you to learn more about your views on this subject.
From my observations, I’ve noticed that many activists (not just animal activists) are angry people at their core and I am particularly interested in understanding how childhood trauma plays a role in becoming an activist. I used to be an animal activist myself, but since being on my healing journey, I’ve felt less compelled to go out and protest. I would like to know more about the link between childhood trauma and activism.
I would be extremely grateful if you could spare some time to share your thoughts on this subject with me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you for your time.
Yes, I’ve seen this to be true with a lot of activists — not all, though. It’s a displacement of otherwise healthy anger at one’s traumatizers from long ago, externalized onto a cause. And people also can project their feelings toward the victim they once were onto the victims in the cause in which they are active, and in so doing unconsciously seek justice for themselves by proxy. I wrote about this more, I believe, in my book Toward Truth…
i’ve recently been thinking about the concept of growing pains. it is commonly said that children have pains because their bodies are growing, sometimes relatively fast. personally i remember how my legs hurt a lot at certain nights when i was about 10. But now that i’ve started to study my past (and grieve it)m i wonder how much of that pain is from my body’s growth and how much of it comes just from the shitty and emotionally abusive environment of my parents. Since this comes to the physical body, i will note that i’m not an expert or a doctor. Though, at least from my own experience the body and the emotional core are highly intertwined.
ideally, healthy growth i imagine as a wonderful thing and not a painful one. it’s as if the physical growth happens no matter what and the pain is from the emotional lack of growth from all the trauma around. like pushing through a barrier by force instead of just removing or opening it beforehand (or not even placing one).
What do you think?
Roman, Dr John Sarno wrote physical pain (including growing pains) as subconcious emotional suffering. Highly recommend his work. And Steve Ozanich continues his work writing about this. All the best
Wow, Daniel! What a breath of fresh air you are! I am late to the game, as I just discovered your materials, but so grateful I did. It sure gives me hope that other real people with common sense not only exist, but they speak up and the information circulates. There is hope!! I finally want to make a leap into the counseling/therapy profession in the US, after many years of looking in from outside, but I am terrified of coming up against the system. Thank you for all the honest insights, together with like minded individuals I believe a significant change is possible.
Wishing you the best, Irina!
I concur—-Daniel is precious, and you sound pretty precious yourself!
Firstly I just want to appreciate your honesty that not many people possess, I am also honest about the way I am feeling a lot of the time and I find not many people appreciate it especially the psychologist I was seeing, she told me I have a social communication disorder then told me that she can no longer see me due to her being unwell, however she told me she was unwell a month ago and didn’t give me any notice whatsoever as to her dropping me so I feel like she dropped me because she didn’t like me I was given no explanation as to why I have this disorder and we didn’t even have another appointment to explain things over. Nonetheless I feel dismissed everytime I have been to therapists because they have not listened to me and what I have been through instead they all think I have a low iq of 69, this makes me feel powerless and hopeless like I can’t do anything to help myself. I just want someone to actually listen to me for once, my problems started when I my mum got sick from cancer when I was 9 and passed away two years later ever since that my dad has just been trying get into new relationships, he ended up physically assaulting one women for years and I saw this happen until he went to jail when I was 15 and I had to move to move in with my grandparents. I was bullied a lot at my new school by the teachers and students because i was labelled as being dumb, once my dad got out of jail I moved in back with him but couldn’t stay because he manipulated me into giving all my inheritance to him and he spent it on drugs, whole I was running out of money and I didn’t know how to help myself, I eventually moved back into my grandparents but I was kicked out last year due to not being able to hold a job while studying, I got too stressed and went to the gp almost everyday and they couldn’t help me. Now I am back at my dad’s but he is planning to kick me out in two months and I don’t know what to do, I want help but I feel like no one can help me. All I really I want is someone to listen to me and care about me, I actually feel stuipd because that’s all I am told by everyone around me I feel like I don’t even know who I am. Sorry for the long rant, I appreciate whoever reads my comment
I’m really wishing you the best, Hayley!
Dear Hayley, thanks for sharing your story. It is heartbreaking and I am very sorry.
And I also feel sorry that you were not taken care of by this therapist. I don’t think that you have been properly diagnosed here, I not even have heard that such a psychiatric concept exists.
I think it’s great that you reach out to find help or rather to find out how to help yourself. I think you are asking the right question here. Because it’s true. With such an amount of violence, grief and loss that you describe you have experienced you have to learn to help yourself because others cannot do it for you.
The good thing is that there are many, many people that have walked that path and have found relief.
I’ll give you a couple of resources that I all know are safe and beneficial from my experience and that might be of help for you:
1. A book by Jack Kornfield “The Wise Heart. A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology” – It’s a very well written introduction to the Buddhist teachings by a meditation teacher and psychologist. I recommend it to you because he found himself in the same situation as you in his early twenties. He grew up with a father that abused his mother physically and found himself confused and in a lot of pain as a young man.
One of the most important messages that I got out of this book when I was also in a similarly difficult situation in my twenties was that at my core there was nothing wrong with me (I was sent to therapy when I was ten and it made me believe that I was wrong and broken at my core) – but quite the opposite, at my core I was just as every human being beautiful and resourceful and that I had everything to find my way through even overwhemlmingly diffcult things.
2. Once a month there is an online group organized by New York’s Eastside Institute. They do Social Therapy, an approach to psychotherapy and social activism that puts connection and mutual group support in a warm and compassionate atmosphere at its center. The monthly online group meeting is called Creating Our Mental Health and you can there connect with others who are struggling or have been through crises and difficulties and you will be very welcome to share about yourself and what you are going through with the group and the facilitators/therapists. I think that they also offer indiviudal online support if you should need it.
3. Also a wonderful opportunity to learn in a group setting about how you can learn to support yourself with your challenges is the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Seminar I. run online by the Copeland Center. You can also find out about if a group that you could meet in person in your region exists. You can apply for a scolarship in case you cannot afford participation.
4. Last but not least: Try yoga that helps you to learn to support your body and mind reducing stress levels and bring them back to a good place. Try to do it once or twice a week for 20-40 minutes on Youtube during a couple of weeks (Kassandra is great for beginners) and I bet that you will find it extremely beneficial as a support in your struggles in no time and you will naturally want to do more. – Science has the evidence that for people who have experienced overwhelming amounts of grief, stress and loss as we have Yoga is the best starting point.
The famous book The Body Keeps the Scar by one of the leading psychiatrists and reasearchers into childhood adverse experience Bessel van der Kolk has a very funny message that is not very flattering to psychiatry and psychotherapy. It states that despite 40 years of research common psychotherapeutic interventions still have to prove its efficacy and in general doesn’t help people. But that there is one group that does exceedingly well. It is those who decide to take their life and healing journey into their own hands and do something with yoga.
I wish you many blessings on your path!
Thankyou so much for you kind message. I will try some of the things you suggested. Apparently social communication disorder is a actual diagnosis but it’s similar to what they thought I had before, which was autism, but I have always thought in my heart that it was wrong. I don’t like labels. My youth worker also ditched me yesterday so that was good of her, she said I was too much to handle and she couldn’t help me anymore and suggested I go to another therapist but I am scared of going back since I feel like they never listen to me and judge me. So now I pretty much have no one to talk to, I have no friends, can’t hold a job, going to be kicked out of the house in 2 months so it’s just too much for me at the moment it’s hard to have a clear mind. Now I am almost 23 and feel very far behind in life, I feel I need to fix this soon otherwise it will be too late.
My name is Sebastian Francois. I am studying Social Work (BSW). After reading some comments, I learned that you obtained your MSW from NYU. Hopefully, you understand what I am trying to convey to you. What was once an affinity and passion soon become something I despise. Each day in Social Work school becomes unbearable as I dislike Social Work—especially the kind of practice I’m currently using in my field placement.
Interestingly, I stumbled upon your video “Why I Quit Being a Therapist.” Your video resonated with me greatly because I’m in the final year of undergraduate studies where I have field placement. In my field placement, I work as an intern practitioner giving young children social-emotional support. It is emotionally taxing. I’m 21 years old and I’m lost in my life.
Any advice? Thank you very much!
Well, I guess for me the key was finding a place where I felt I fit in and where I didn’t hate the field — and then developing myself and my skills there… And then as quickly as possible heading into private practice — more privacy, less of the horrible system….. Wishing you the best! Daniel
Thank you very much for your advice! How do you find a place where you feel you fit in?
A lot of hard work and searching…
Hello David. It’s been a few years for me and im still liking your content and return to your old videos as it is still hard to find people like you on the subject of family dysfunction. I am almost ready to let this topic go at this point in my journey but there is this lingering resentment/anger I feel when I hear therapists talk about how because parents didn’t know what they didn’t know and everything can be traced back to it being capitalisms fault, that at the end of the day a child chooses to be angry with the parent because they have to be mad at someone.. I understand this thought process as being helpful for the parents to relieve their guilt and heal, but I have heard it being explained with such a dismissive attitude from mainly older generations that it seems like many say it to avoid taking responsibility or allow themselves to be held accountable. I’ve heard many older therapists say this in context to their relationships with their own children who have chosen no contact with them. Anyways, do you have any tips as to how I can move past this roadblock?
Thank you for sharing what goes on for you about certain perspectives of psychotherapists. In the end you say that you experience this situation as a roadblock.
I won’t directly going into giving you advice. I rather have questions.
Why do you see that these opinions of psychotherapists are blocking your road? The image that comes to my mind is that you are on your path and then see some fire in the forest and you leave your path to go and see what’s going on. And there you meet this bunch of psychotherapists sitting around a bonfire, drinking too much and sharing their theretical perspectives on life inspired by bourgeois thinking of the 19th century (Freud, Marx) and that involves claims that people like you are on the wrong path. And now you sit down with them and begin to discuss with them with a certain motivation, and true, you are not anymore on your path.
When this happens often to you, it is worthwhile to have a closer look at this to find out what it is that keeps you emotionally stuck in inner discussions with these guys.
What is it that you hope to achieve here? And is it a realistic hope that you can achieve this?
My experience is that on my path there are a lot of challenges around cutting through the illusion that white older men (and their wives) have somehow all figured it out. I think here the fallacy is that not only we but also them themselves are prone to think that because they possess the most political power and privileged access to resources worldwide that they also have the best insights into life’s important questions. But it is not true.
It is not that they don’t have skills or knowledge but despite certain liberatory rhetorics that come with it I think that their direction is not one of freedom, justice, and love, but quite the opposite. They are simply a part of the ruling classes and the most important thing that these people have to do is to secure their positions and privileges. And on the left it is done through pseudo-liberatory theories and practices like Neo-Marxism and Psychotherapy. And this is what’s being discussed at this bonfire.
Rebecca, as far as I can see, with all the drinking and stuckness that is going on at that bonfire they are people who are not even able to take good care of themselves. There is nothing that you can learn from them.
What is it that you aspire to?
If you want to find true love and understanding I think you should definitely look out for wisdom and liberatory practices elsewhere and go and look for yourself what that could be for you.
I want to thank you a lot for sharing your insights around violence against children in families and how to get out of this hell and reclaim one’s life.
I bumped into your videos exactly at the time where I was preparing to not see my mother anymore because life with her had brought me to a burn-out in my thirties. I then immediately ordered your book Breaking Away from Your Parents.
I am writing to let you know that it has served me greatly over the last five years. I see that the process has come to a point where I am able to not allow anyone in my family anymore to drag me back into our old ways of relating.
The stories that you tell of yourself and other people were so helpful because I didn’t feel alone with my struggles and challenges. The insights you share on a more abstract psychological level about for example the guilt trips that are triggered inside spontaneously towards your parent when you begin to put your own healty needs and interests first were also incredibly helpful. In the beginnning I remember this kind of inner experience was very strong and painful. But then after one day the latest I could see through and connect my experience to what you had described in your videos and book.
I could give you many more examples of how helpful your work was for me.
What I was maybe the least prepared was the grief about breaking away. I found it extremely painful to lose these family connections. I already lost my father when I was a child and nobody acknowleged it or helped me understand my pain and I not only stopped seeing my mother but I also ended the relationships with my siblings and greater family afterwards because I found out that this was necessary too. Even though I knew exactly why I was ending these relationsships and that it was the only way to get my life and spirits back I sometimes found myself in the deepest pain of losing them as real people. Also breaking through the illusionary hopes of being loved and wanted someday by my family members that had kept me going within the familiy for a long time was painful.
I am very proud now that I made it to the other side. I feel like I have liberated myself from a millstone that was tied to my back since I was a little child of abusive parents figuratively and when I was suffering from episodic depression for almost twenty years before the break with my family I see my mental health now slowly and happily restored.
Sometimes I tell people about it all because they want to know why I am able to take such good care of myself and where they can learn some of it themselves. I then mention that beside other things like yoga, meditation and self-help group formats it was an ex-therapist with a channel on Youtube that was the greatest personal support from outside that I received.
Thank you Leah! I really appreciate hearing this.
Yeah, detaching from all the things with which one is familiar and even comfortable, even if unhealthy or worse, is serious business.
Hey Daniel, I’m the commenter whom initially brought up selective mutism and I just watched your video on it. I just wanted to express gratitude for your voiced thoughts on the subject – your observations on people sensing you can be trusted when you honour their silence is SPOT ON in my experience as to this day I remember the rare adults who were accepting of my silence because they left a good lasting impression on me. I sent the video to my older sister with whom I was unfortunately selectively mute with when I was younger (she never hurt me – likely a trauma projection) so she can perhaps understand herself better why our relationship was so strange in childhood even though she’s practically the only person in my family I trust! (And again, her respecting my silence when I had it is a reason why I love her and speak to her when I’m estranged from most of my family – very rare to have that respected)
I’m rambling, but honestly I really enjoyed the food for thought and I really appreciate some extra input regarding such a strange disorder and wanted you to know you’re spot on in your own experiences and observations of other selectively mute people. So many thanks and thanks for honouring the boundaries of us quieter folk! 🙂
Thanks Alex! Warm greetings 🙂
Thank you for sharing your experiences on your YT channel. I found you during my research on why anyone would ever decide to have children in this chaotic world, which led me to your video “Why is it a bad idea to have kids?” and I have learned a lot from you since.
I believe I have parents that have the same psychological profile as yours and, thanks to you and others like you, I have understood what was done to me and I have done my best to break from them, internally and externally.
I am about to start reading “Breaking from Your Parents” (thank you for writing it and publishing it) and I have a question for you:
I’ve recently finished reading “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving” by Pete Walker and “The Drama of the Gifted Child” by Alice Miller. Have you read them and what are your thoughts on them?
Cheers, take care Mr. Mackler.
– Enlightened Witness
I haven’t read the Pete Walker book, but I’ve read all of Alice Miller’s work, and interviewed her son on my Youtube channel. I think she was brilliant and on-point in so many ways, but also very screwed up…
Here’s a webpage I have on her, linking to things I’ve written: https://wildtruth.net/on-alice-miller/
And here is a link to a playlist of my Youtube videos on her, including my interview with her son: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRHLaIzKomTjA-1rT8xCYrjjI_y5aJrfw
I have read the same book and I really liked it. In particular, it was probably the first place I encountered the concept of ’emotional flashback’. I have found it rather useful for putting my present-day relational difficulties, weird feelings and general suffering in their proper context as remnants of the crappy experiences of my childhood, not as responses to my actual reality. The book also helped me by showing that my screw-up-edness is a normal result of the conditions I was raised in, and not something ‘fundamentally’ wrong and evil about me, and that healing is possible.
I am now reading another one of his books, “The Tao of Fully Feeling”.
So, what I wanted to say is I would also love to hear your thoughts on this guy and his work, if you did decide to read his books!
Do you have any advice on how to keep being empathic but not too much? That is, how not to over empathies to the level that it negatively affects yourself? Personally the more i’m connected with myself and grieve my historic traumas, i feel more able to feel empathy for others and slowly also for myself. but sometimes i find it hard to “operate” in the world, especially when i hear horrible things of others’ pasts. Is it possible to be compassionate for other people and not “soak in” so much empathically?
Since you haven’t got an answer from Daniel up to now I feel invited to say something.
I think what you experience is very common – both ways actually – either to not be moved at all by other’s stories or getting drawn into it so much that you are not really of good help to the other person.
Personally I have found the psychology of mindfulness and of compassion and self-compassion that heavily draws on Buddhist meditative insights of the workings of the mind most helpful.
Instantly there comes a resource to my mind, an online training that is offered by the Buddhist online magazine Tricyle with Sharon Salzberg to my mind that is called Real Love, a five weeks introduction to mindfulness and compassion meditation.
Sharon has tremendous knowledge here.
ok, i got part of the answer from the video “Feeling Other People’s Denied Feelings — Exploring Empathy and Projective Identification”
I discovered you last week whilst I was looking at some of Alice’s Miller books. I’ve also discovered her recently (Gabor Mate recommended her first book, which I read and her views opened my eyes and made me realise some mistakes I have done to my own daughter). I decided to apologise to my daughter, despite the advice of everyone that slapping her was not anything major and she should learn not to swear which was what I also thought when I did it (it was for her own good…). But after reading her books (and 2 more after that), it was clear to me that I was just perpetuating the behaviour of my father (who was the good one of my parents – I had realised from a young age that my mother was very unstable and dangerous, but my dad was the good one, the one that was hitting us with control and was caring about us…). So, this had to stop and I should be the one to do it. When I said to my daughter what I have understood and that it was an abuse of my power to slap her and I shouldn’t have done it, it had such an impact on her that she started talking to me and telling me all the things she has suffered from her dad (with whom we are now divorcing) but till now she had kept it for herself, trying to protect him. It was shocking for me to see the effect of accepting the truth of being wrong had on her.
And then, I read your critique on Alice Miller and thought, hmmm… Maybe he is right. Maybe she is not so perfect as I thought. How was she with her own children? And I came across your interview of her son, that was an even deeper eye-opening experience… I have ordered his book too. I know I will not feel the same admiration towards her after reading that, but
I will always be grateful for what she has written and will recommend her books to parents/parents to be, because there is a chance that some of the harm we inflict in our children may be avoided… And if they can read her books, then I may even be braver and recommend your videos…
Hi Emmanuella. Yes, Alice Miller is brilliant and her ideas are largely excellent…but had a lot of unresolved issues…. I still recommend her books to people… Wishing you the best on your journey! Daniel
Surprising that you would recommend Miller’s books considering that she, apparently, was a major hypocrite.
I recommend her works, but with a caveat or asterisk… I put three of her books at the top of my list of recommended books: https://wildtruth.net/some-book-recommendations-psychology-and-more/
I feel her basic ideas (or most of them) are still excellent, in spite of her personal limitations and hypocrisy…
Thank you for your response Daniel.
To have an excellent idea and not endeavor to practice it oneself indicates ego blindness. We need much less talk and way more walk.
Reminds of when I hear a certain pop star on the radio or at the grocery store and have LOVED most of his music since I was a little girl, but as it turns out and can really no long be refuted, was a blazing pedophile. Poor guy; so lost and degenerate .
Thanks for your comment. I felt very sad when I first read Daniel’s ideas. But I’ve adjusted over time. My daughter is only 3 years old but like you’ve found, it’s amazing what a difference to your relationship and their well being when you change behaviour.
Sounds so good and am happy for you. Change can be brutal—I mean REAL, honest to goodness CHANGE!
Hi Daniel, why you are not replying to the comments on your website? Why is it taking too long? And In which day and time you replies the most?
Hello Nayigiri —
I do my best to reply to comments when I have time. Sometimes I’m extremely busy doing other things — traveling, trying to make money, etc… But I do my best here! It just takes a lot of mental energy for me…
Lately i’ve been thinking about children of parents from the USSR. As one myself, born in Ukraine and immigrated (with my parents) to israel at a very young age, i start to notice a recurring “theme” of sorts. from what i’ve gathered till now, and i feel only at the beginning of my journey and piecing of my history, i;ve experienced a lot of neglect, fright, mockery, distance of authority between me and my parnets, silent treatments and the “holy grail” of spanking. There was a general feeling of terror and coldness at home and the perception of more like a pet to be commended. Personally i’d even say that my spirit and true self were beaten down very early on.
And as i started my healing journey, i’ve noticed that i’m not alone in my experience. for example i’m taking quite a distance from my parents and barely speak with them and i heard of other people with soviet parents who are similar. it probably helps that i’m now in israel and not still in the soviet block because here people notice the stiffness and hardness of russian people, to the point that even a psychiatrist i went to once told me something similar.
So first i’d want to ask you (or anyone else that wants to respond), since you’ve been a therapist in New York, have you came across a similar phenomena? That there’s a similarity in the traumas of people from russian or soviet origin?
Secondly, unfortunately i have no real allies or people to talk and compare experiences with within my extended family. lately i’ve learnt that one of my cousins, who’s approximately 13 years old, decided on her own accord to go a boarding school and visits home only on holidays. When i integrate my memories from their (her parents, my uncle and aunt) house and add the way they treat their pets, it made complete sense to me she’d want to get away from them. one of my intuitive reactions was to call her to give some support for her decision. But, at the age of 13 when she’s still dependent on her parents, i fear i’ll “spill too much” about childhood trauma since this is a big chunk of what occupies me now. i don;t think it is a good time for that. On the other hand, i imagine that if someone came to support me at the age of 13 it would be almost like a miracle, even though i’d probably would have been too dissociated. and yes, i see the fantasy of what i wanted in this.
So what do you think? is there any benefit of talking with her even if just a little without going “all out” or is it too big of a risk for her life right now?
Either way, thank you.
Interesting insightful post thank you for sharing and wondering what insights Daniel would provide
I submitted this earlier, but it never posted, so I’ll try again.
I’ve started a self-therapy peer support group on the chat app Discord. This group operates off of principles similar to those espoused on this website, and even uses resources lent to me by Daniel himself. If anyone would be interested in joining this self-therapy peer support group, you can use this link to join: https://discord.gg/FUSxZ4tS5T
I just ask that you read the rules and principles of the group in their entirety before participating.
Hi daniel, i have seen in your videos that you say medications are bad. so my question is,
Are all mental illness treatable without medications ?
He has documentaries about recovering from schizophrenia without medication. Schizophrenia is usually considered to be the most extremely mental condition, so if that’s possible, any mental distress can be recovered from if approached properly.
Well, I believe that psychological problems are healable, given the right set of emotional and social circumstances for healing. Sometimes it could take a long time, though. The problem is, a lot of what gets labeled as “mental” illness isn’t necessarily mental at all — for instance, brain damage from psychiatric drugs that were initially given to treat so-called “mental” illness. Later the effects of the psych drugs (or the effects of their withdrawal) gets also labeled as “mental” illness, where it’s actually neurological damage and often NOT so easy to heal… Social and emotional support can help, though… Wishing you the best, Daniel
I owe you an apology, which I realized after watching your video “Real consent versus fake consent”. I had made a criticism of your channel in the past, but I didn’t ask for your consent/permission to make the criticism first. I feel like a big jerk now in hindsight, and rightly so.
For reference, the criticism is when I left a comment here on wildtruth where I basically said “while I greatly appreciate and agree with the message behind your videos, they tend to be repetitive.”
I feel especially bad about that comment, considering your videos have been a beacon of light for me after a lifetime of interacting with fake, bitter adults in the fake, bitter society society they’ve created. This was a horrible way for me to say thank you, by giving you unsolicited criticism. I am so sorry. I understand that it must’ve felt terrible to you. Again, I feel like a jerk.
And the irony is, the more I come to realize how right you are about the enormous magnitude of a child’s emotional needs.. how spontaneous and creative children are, and how quickly adults crush that spark.. the more I realize that it’s OKAY that your vides are repetitive. The truth behind your videos can’t diminish.
Thank you for having such an enormous amount of empathy, courage, insight, wisdom and love for truth. I could never put out videos like yours, because I’m way too afraid to speak out in this fake society around me.
Very heart-warming, as heartfelt apologies usually are.
Hi Pat, this is very kind of you to say, but definitely no apology necessary! I appreciated that comment that you said, and actually I do repeat myself a lot, and sometimes it concerns me! Yet the thing that goes through my head again and again is that the message bears repeating, and that I try to tackle it from different angles. And by the way, no need to ask permission to criticize me or my point of view! Criticism is fair. Warm greetings! Daniel
Yeah, that is so true.And when one thinks about it many of our issues in life revolved around a central dilemma that one is “tackling from different angles.”
Well upon delving into your channel even deeper, I discovered that your videos are not as repetitive as I initially thought. You have many fresh insights that do indeed cover the topic from a wide variety of angles. So my criticism was spoken too soon.
I am glad to hear your thoughts about having children and subtle forms of abuse that occur from parent to child.
As a mother of a 3-year-old it was hard to hear but I think I’ve known these things deep down but never found the words to describe. Although excruciating, I’m now in the process of examining myself, and starting to think and act in ways that I hope will help my daughter.
I do not think we should give up hope of being able to improve the experiences of children in our society.
Hi Daniel, my name is Nick and I recently came across your videos on YouTube. Pretty much everything you say resonates with me. I became a therapist after going to Rutgers grad school in 2013. I’m about to be ten years into this profession and a part of me wants to quit. I did do a lot of good in the last several years and I’m proud of it. I even earned a Humanism award from a foundation that funded the agency I worked at. I want to quit because I’m disgusted with some of the people I’ve worked with. I share your views on therapy and it was nice to know I’m not alone. And like yourself I desire to do other things. I’m also a musician. There was a time when I studied Percussion in college. I passed my juries at the end of the first year and I switched majors. I didn’t leave music and in fact I’ve been slowly making my way back into it. I play in a jazz band with some nice people which hopefully is just the beginning of my return to music. Thank you for the inspiration and thank you for being honest about yourself and honest about Psychotherapy.
Hi Daniel, you have been a therapist for 8 years right? So in those times do you have any clients who have Algophobia (fear of physical pain)?.
And Daniel, I have been going through Algophobia ever since my childhood. because when i was young, one day i was playing with my friends and suddenly i fell on the floor which broke my elbow and it was very painful. anyway it got healed after some months but from that time onwards i started fearing physical pain. So Daniel, I have some questions if you reply them one by one it will be very helpful for me;
1. I don’t wanna take any medication to treat my algophobia. Is medication important to treat this phobia? What if this is severe?
2. And as i am currently going through algophobia, now i also fear other things like electricity, fire etc as all of these causes pain and physical distress. So can a good psychologist be able to get me out of all of these?
3. Is there even any HOPE for me to get out from this without medication?
You REALLY should look into EFT and phobia or EMDR or phobias, primarily because you have a clear traumatic memory and psychogenesis of your symptoms.
These kinds of modalities help you re live that event and process the memory which in turn should heal that fear of pain. It these modalities tend to have long term results in comparison to things like CBT etc.
You have just crossed my youtube path and to be honest I never reach out like this but I have just watched your Questioning Forgiveness video from 4 years ago and basically, YES YES YES to that message!!!
For a long time, I struggled with the concept of forgiveness and finally decided that some things are simply unforgiveable and all the bypassing that happens everywhere only deepens the trauma.
Firmly laying down the blame where it truly belonged (psychologically and emotionally) was such an act of self-love and left me feeling so free and so much lighter as I no longer carried that BS around.
Thank you for your videos. They are such an inspiration.
Best wishes from Scotland
Thank you Alison,
Much appreciated. I’m wishing you only the best! Daniel
I simply want to thank you for your bravery to put yourself out there and be a friend or a companion to so many of us. It’s so hard to find anyone who respects and fully empathizes with the child’s perspective. With your videos and your essays I feel less lonely and I’m so grateful to you.
All the best,
I agree. Daniel has been a resonating voice for those of us that struggle with the attitudes of the world around us.
Daniel, I’m watching this youtube channel that criticizes the government and politicians as being our slavemasters and oppressors. I think that person’s criticisms of the government are ultimately correct, but it’s still so boring to listen to!! Even people like that who criticize the government are still stuck in a loop where it’s all they can talk about.. and they still fail to express their true inner creativity. That’s just how most adults are I suppose – whether they support the government or oppose it, they’re still boring and cannot tap into their inner child. It feels like I’m stuck in history class again, bored out of my mind. For me, this reinforces what you say about how politics reflects our family dynamics, and how we should focus on our family dynamics instead. You couldn’t be more right on that IMO.
I have watched most of your YouTube videos, and I believe that you have discovered something very big here! I applaud your courage for not diluting the message of your discovery!
As someone who very likely has RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) due to childhood trauma, I am at a loss on how to proceed towards wellness. The usual approach is the therapeutic model, but as you know, finding a good therapist is very difficult. Do you have any advice for someone like me?
Hmm…perhaps some form of self-therapy would work? Journaling? Finding ways to get in touch with deeper feelings? I think most people have some form of Reactive Attachment Disorder (if you want to use that term), though some definitely more extreme than others… I think a lot of the tools I share about for self-therapy might be useful for this, it’s just a question of picking and choosing what works best for you. My self-therapy book might be useful too — perhaps? Or maybe you already have tried it?
Wishing you only the best!
I’m wondering what your thoughts are on ketamine assisted therapy. I used to see a therapist and she was big on talk therapy at first, then it was all about bioenergetics and now it’s this new ketamine assisted therapy. I don’t know anything about this type of treatment and would love to know your thoughts.. thanks!!
I’ve never tried ketamine assisted therapy myself, but I would be quite skeptical. Ketamine is a very strong drug and I’ve known some people who have had pretty nasty reactions to it. I made a whole video about doing Ayahuasca for healing, and if you can find that, that pretty much sums up my point of view on using heavy drugs like ketamine and mushrooms and MDMA for therapeutic purposes. Perhaps they could help some people but I much prefer a natural healing path that uses no drugs at all. It’s less risky and also the person knows they’re doing the healing from within, versus needing to use some external drug to change their life. All the best to you, Daniel
Thank you for your response. Honestly I was feeling pretty skeptical about it myself. I’m not in therapy and don’t feel a need to be. I was in therapy for almost six years with the same therapist. In the beginning we did a lot of psychodynamic talk therapy… it was a slow process but I felt the most comfortable going that route. About 6 months in she was strongly encouraging me to engage in bioenergetic therapy which I was super uncomfortable in… it was physically painful and made me feel uncomfortable emotionally as well. I have since stopped therapy as I felt secure and at peace with myself . So fast foreword a few years later to now and on her Instagram and FB she is big time advocating for Ketamine assisted therapy. I was given Ketamine after major surgery to help with pain while in the recovery room… it helped me with pain but I can not imagine using a psychedelic drug in therapy! I find it concerning how in 2013 my therapist really believed in psychodynamic therapy… then she leans towards bioenergetic therapy.. and now all she talks about is Ketamine assisted therapy. It just doesn’t sit well with me.
I have been watching your videos lately and they have helped me a lot. I have never seen someone else bring up the problems in psychiatry so well, so it feels good being able to relate to it all.
Recently i just left a clinic where i was treated horribly, and i was misdiagnosed as possibly psychotic, depressed and anxious, and with a body dysmorphic disorder. All my attempts to bring up developmental trauma were ignored or shut down. One doctor downright said that apparently years of being bullied and isolated by all my peers cannot traumatize a person.
I am now in the process and trying to get them to be responsible for what they did, and having my distorted diagnoses removed from my record. Confronting the people that i saw there is scary for me, and i am afraid that the shame and freeze response will kick in when i talk to them again like it always does. Do you have any advice for me on how to move on with this? I wish i never went to that place because they made my symptoms worse, and no one obviously believes me over any authority figure.
I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through. I’m also sorry to share that unfortunately it is very common. In terms of what you shared, about “having my distorted diagnoses removed from my record,” basically, from all that I’ve seen over the last 20 years, it unfortunately is just about impossible to get anyone to change your medical record. I have seen people try and try and try many many times and basically no one gets anywhere. They will almost never admit wrongdoing and the people who try to get them to change end up wasting a lot of energy and bringing themselves more pain. I know this news is not good, but this is what I have observed. Back when I was a therapist I also tried to help people get their records changed and even then I got nowhere. I talked about this in one or two videos but I can’t remember which ones. Maybe I should make a video specifically on this topic, because it’s a good topic. Wishing you only the best on your journey forward. Daniel
” One doctor downright said that apparently years of being bullied and isolated by all my peers cannot traumatize a person.”
Wow, as someone who’s no stranger to being bullied in K-12 as well as by family members, I know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone who says something like that is in denial, hasn’t been bullied but has little empathy for those who experienced it, or is likely a bully themselves.
Sounds like so many clueless “doctors”
That doctor did show some other bad signs too. I sensed no empathy, and sometimes when i made a logical argument against her empty claims, she just remained silent for 2-3 seconds and then continued like i never said anything. She also had this weird subtle smirk/smile on her face often. I never figured out what that meant, but i have read that some narcissists do that.
I really understand what you are going through. I wanted to complain about my therapist who was an expert at retraumatising me, and did not really believe in childhood trauma. I found a lovely therapist who had wanted me to put in a complaint, but she warned me that I would meet a very defensive institution and that in itself would be re-traumatising. I decided to leave it, and focus on my own battle for self-acceptance. I did not have a registered diagnosis to fight, so I really feel angry on your behalf. I agree with Daniel (who is enlightening and such a gift to us) that you are probably best continuing your own healing journey, but make note of what has been said by people in support of you. That might be useful in the future.
Thanks, can we talk more about this on maybe facebook?
Jesus said forgive them for they know not what they are doing. when I started attributing god to my life I found grace and healing. without god you can do nothing. when there where one set of footprints in the sand that was god carrying me through the tough times in life.miracles happen all the time but if you don’t recognize the power of god in your life, and being thankful like the Bible describes there will BE GNASHING OF TEETH and suffering. I recommend the course in miracles and anything from Jidda Krishnamurti. these are not religious books or christian ideology. The only thing that can heal is the spirit. not therapy not people not yourself. GoD alone. good luck wish you all the best Daniel.
I really love your perspective. However, when you say that God alone heals, what does that mean? Are we not all potential instuments of healing in God’s great symphony. Will he not use any of His creation to promote healing? Does God bring into existence all kinds of herbs and plants (and human beings) for our healing? Surely, God alone is the Healer, and then how does that manifest in the realm of creation?
You say “Without God you can do nothing.” I would revise that as “Without God I can do nothing. Without God, Scott Sombers can do nothing.” If God has helped you, then that’s great. But you shouldn’t speak on behalf of other people – we are not all the same person. If God was so helpful, then why do we need to shove it down peoples’ throats?
Religion and spirituality are often used by abusers to let themselves off the hook for their actions. A kind person does not demand forgiveness, he takes responsibility for his actions. I recommend the youtube video “Narcissistic Pseudospirituality” by Dr. Ramani. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzD-GZBTQVI
Apologies—the “universal you” was intended. However, I agree that it is more succinct to think in terms of “I” or “one.” Thank you for your response.
Hi Pat. I do know that narcissists and abusers love the idea of being g forgiven but that’s ok. Im not saying to continue to allow people to abuse. However if we continue our lives in the past and identify as a victim of something. Then that is our destiny. To never move on. Once u can forgive and not the narcissist but the one before the narcissist became. If u know what I mean. Then u can be forgiven and live in the now and forget the past and future. Narcissus are extremely weak hurt and desperate individuals that are pitiful sad. Why fight with them. It’s a waiste of energy. Everyone is the same before they become conditioned therefore we r all one therefore if I cannot do anything without god then either can anyone. Because we r the same.
Hey, is there information somewhere about the damage that SSRIs or other psychiatric drugs can do? I have eaten some of them when i was still a teenager for a few months at a time at most, and i have been thinking if they somehow affected my physical development. I haven’t found much information on this anywhere. I don’t mean the temporary side effects, but the possible long term effects like hormonal problems etc.
Hi Curious! Hmm, maybe rxisk.org or madinamerica.com
I’m not sure about hormonal problems as a result of psychiatric drugs, but I definitely would not be surprised if it’s possible. Then again, I have known a lot of people who have had problems with their thyroids after lithium.
Wishing you the best,
Just want to thank you for your work. It’s helped me a lot. I broke with my parents about 2 years ago. I’ve struggled to find good resources that support me through the healing. I’ve got your book on the subject and I’ve found all your YouTube videos very helpful as well.
I think it’s brave of you to speak out so boldly about a topic many struggle or refuse to understand. Breaking with my parents has cost me other relationships. I’ve got a new perspective on my present life and my past. Some days I struggle with doubt and guilt about this new path, but your content has helped me stay focused on my truth.
I’ve got a long journey ahead, but it’s comforting and inspiring to know that someone else found a way and made it through.
Thank you for what you do.
Thanks for sharing this, Leslie. Wishing you all the best.
Any comment on the notion that psychology/psychiatry were hijacked by a UK/U.S. project around the 1940s and 1950s?
Videos if you want to watch
There is quite a bit of evidence that the public information about MKUltra was meant to distract from its real purpose, hence the reason Richard Helms destroyed one group of documents but not another.
Weltanschauungskrieg is a German word for ‘world view war’, and this project was meant to globalize a psychiatry paradigm which would benefit Western Europe, or more specifically the UK worldview.
If you have not read, already, I highly recommend “Anatomy Of An Epidemic”
Daniel has a video about conspiracy theories (I’m not saying that MKUltra is a conspiracy theory – merely that he has a video with his thoughts on conspiracy theories.) He doesn’t talk about MKUltra in that video, but I left a comment mentioning MKUltra, and Daniel replied saying he agrees that MKUltra is an example of a conspiracy theory that turned out to be true. Besides that, I don’t think he has a video where he talks about MKUltra specifically.
That being said, many of Daniel’s videos criticize psychiatry and psychiatric medications, as you’re probably already aware of.
(To be honest, I haven’t really done any proper research on MKUltra myself. It’s a topic that interests me, but I don’t know how to begin doing proper research and verifying the evidence. All I’ve done is watch a couple documentaries on it, which is of course not research.)
*Also, what you said about the official, public version of MKUltra being a cover for its real intention (to hijack the field of psychology/psychiatry) makes sense. If the official version was the true one, then we’d never have heard about it.
But if the goal was to hijack psychology/psychiatry, then my question is, what did the field of psychology/psychiatry look like before it was hijacked? Was it better than it is today, or was the field always one that was severely lacking in truthful insights into trauma and the human mind?
And also, how exactly would these secretive projects have gone about hijacking the field? Officially, we’re told that people were confined and experimented on with various drugs including LSD. Do you think there’s more to it than that to facilitate the hijacking of the field?
And it really is awful that a certain nation or empire would try to forcefully and cruelly shift a world view in their own favor – in favor of their own profits. It’s awful that they would try to change human psychology just for their own benefit. Daniel’s channel happens to be one that focuses on family dynamics, rather than exploring what’s going on in society at large that would lead to such abusive dynamics. The macroscopic view is something that Daniel’s channel doesn’t really address (and I’m not criticizing him for that, I’m just stating it how it is.)
And because of this, I think Daniel has a tendency to put 100% of the blame on the family system. But to be fair, it’s very hard to have an understanding of these corrupt social dynamics. These aren’t exactly mainstream topics, and you have to look in some unusual places to find this sort of information – things which might easily cross into the conspiracy theory threshold if you’re not extremely open minded.
Guys, I’ve had a few things happen today that released a lot of emotions. I feel amazing about myself for like the first time in my life. It made me realize how rarely I feel like this. DANIEL WAS RIGHT. I am a beautiful soul, and I want to connect other beautiful, intelligent, empathic, radiant souls.
It made me realize that I live with a monster of a father who will do anything to crush that beauty in me – physically and verbally. I lived for so long thinking I didn’t have any positive traits. But I am bursting with positive traits. They had just been suppressed for so long.
And like I said, this positive feeling is incredibly rare. First time in my life. Most of the time, I live with a lot of self-hatred.
Good on you Pat B
Daniel is a visionary, maybe in 50 or 100 hears he will get the recognition he deserves. His work informs my work.
As for fathers, mine is a covert narcissist so his abuse is far more subtle, he doesn’t mean to, but cant help himself and wont do any deeper work himself, as a holocaust survivor, hes just to damaged.
The children of holcaust survivors seem to be stuck with a lot of passed down unresolved trauma.
Yes for sure, my 3 sisters and I all struggle.
In my research, It is apparent, to me at least, that it is the grandchildren of the holocaust survivors that get hit the hardest. Any thoughts?
Thats an interesting theory, for sure my nieces and nephews are struggling. I have tried to stop the transmission by being in psychotherapy for years, then trained as one and also done loads of other self development work. Time will tell.
Christine, your theory is interesting because it takes into account our ancestry and history when factoring in trauma. However, as someone whose traumas have gone unheard and unnoticed my whole life, it does bother me when people try to claim there is a certain group that has “endured more” than another.
But again, what you propose is very interesting, because there could be all sorts of things that happened in history that could affect present day family dynamics and abuses. For instance, what if someone in the family committed murder, or was the victim of murder? Or what if they had committed a cruel act during a war, or were the victim of a cruel act in war? I have no doubt these things would have a huge impact – it’s just not a connection our society ever addresses.
I’ve been really enjoying your content on Youtube. You have a fascinating mind. I don’t mean to label you, but I’d be shocked if you weren’t an INFJ. Regardless,I sincerely thank you for your willingness to share your ideas.
I was hoping you’d be generous enough to impart wisdom on me regarding psychotherapy. I’m a new therapist who is struggling to find much value in the commonly taught modalities. I’m an incredulous person by nature, and I can’t bring myself to practice method on clients that I wouldn’t practice on myself. It all seems inauthentic and shallow at this point, but I do truly want to help people.
I gather you practiced eclectically, but would you be willing to share book recommendations, approaches, or other sources that you actually found credible? What positively impacted your practice? What informed you?
Greetings and thank you! I can’t reply much at the moment because I’m away from my computer and have almost no Internet. But I will reply in a few weeks! Warm hello,
I pegged Daniel as an INFJ as well because INFJs tend to be people who possess introverted natures but are visionaries others can come to for counseling. I also happen to be a fan of Myers-Briggs and other personality typing systems.
There’s something that I’m curious about and after watching your video about quitting therapy on YouTube, I thought that you would be the perfect person to ask.
Did you in your practice ever deal with people who had issues with a normal (i.e. non-extreme) religious upbringing? My feeling is that there is a ton of overlap between the aims and categories of spirituality and those of psychotherapy. My sense is that therapy is taking the place of religion and spirituality in the secular epoch, almost becoming a secular religion (people go to therapists seeking the same help that they would have sought in a priest/pastor/rabbi earlier). Perhaps this is fine for those who need such spiritual transformation, but it would also seem to imply the same problems of subjectivity and authority, and the potential for psycho-spiritual damage, inherent to religion.
I notice how it is always the same spiritual people who gradually replace (or integrate) their religious terminology with therapy terminology. Once religion comes to seem too authoritarian it is replaced with spirituality and once spirituality is discovered to contain an element of the arbitrary it is replaced by therapy. But the same operations, and the same arbitrary authority, remain present.
One might object that either way it is a personal choice, except that as psychotherapeutic language and categories become more popular, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid those who would irresponsibly insist on having an influence on one’s mind.
How can one trust in the conceptual vocabulary of psychotherapy as it gains so much popular authority (thereby evading, say, social issues and recasting every issue as a personal one)? How can one be of a skeptical-critical mind without going crazy by the gaslighting normalized by those wishing to define what is and is not normal?
P. S. What is your favourite novel and why?
Sorry for my short reply but I am presently in a place that has almost no Internet and I am without my computer. I will reply in a few weeks. Sending you a hello.
I feel so overwhelmed when I imagine finally connecting with likeminded souls, overwhelmed at the idea of living in a world where our creativity is nurtured. I don’t know why it terrifies me, despite being something I’ve always longed for. I too wish the world would just hurry up and resolve its traumas already. But the idea of feeling all these feelings, of getting to express my inner beauty without having to hide it.. It gives me a knot in my stomach, as if I just ate something rotten. It is terrifying. I’d much rather just hide in my room all day.
Is this simply a defense mechanism where I’m afraid to be myself, because so many people crush us and hurt us for being ourselves? Or is there more to it?
I’m glad of having discovered your YT channel. On a video where you’ve done 20 predictions for the next 20 years, you’ve said people who break from their parents will exit the parent cult and want to meet other folks. You know how society is, still the majority will treat you bad if you don’t agree to the family value system and it’s hard to find suitable peers without expressing publicly your views.
Do you have any channel like a Facebook page or a forum or some other way where your followers can gather and search for other peers, maybe more suited to their geographic area?
I’ve lived for 20 years(I’m 33) in chronic loneliness and it was coupled with many years of major depression and self doubt,thinking there was something wrong with me. In the last couple years I’ve come to the realization I was sane and intelligent but I was not lucky of having met the right people.
Alas, I don’t have any kind of forum like that. It’s a good idea, and it would be great if someone created it, but I don’t have the energy to do it myself.
I am wishing you the best!
There is a website and forum called out of the fog for people that have personality disordered parents, siblings or partners. I found this to be quite supportive in my own journey of separating from my dysfunctional family of origin
The thought of meeting face-to-face with likeminded souls is a dream.. But also quite overwhelming. It’s so much easier to just sit in my room all day and avoid meeting anyone, even if they feel the same way I do.
@Pat B I’ve lived in loneliness for 20 years, but I can say I have the luck of having one very good friend that has been super good to me but also a lot older than me. She’s been more of a mother but very friendly and jokes a lot, in complete contrast with my biological mother who is very strict and suffering from (undiagnosed) schizoaffective disorder.
But contact with peers and society is very much needed and healthy, even for me that I enjoy my solitude I feel like I’m slowly dying by not having a richer connection with society. I don’t want to necessarily meet people with my same mindset, it’s more interesting to meet people with complementary traits than ourselves, but I need a common ground based on respect and to not be judged as insane given my perception of the world.
I think that’s the main issue with modern society, there is a lack of letting “weird” people express themselves.Ancient cultures had the figure of a shaman who was one of the most respected figures in society, he lived at the edge of the tribe/town. He wasn’t engaging much socially(apart from cerimonies) but people back then knew that life is not only about the material and for existential or crisis in their lives they went to see a shaman so to have a different perspective of their problems. Now I’m not sayiing me or most weirdos have the capabalities and knowledge of a shaman, but the way society treated them was by first considering they were either in contact with spirits or gifted with unconcentional wisdom, before they would had been judged automatically as strictly mentally sick or unrecoverable.
Come join Reddit raised by narcissists;
Cptsd; and narcissistic parents forums. This sounds like what your looking for. And sounds exactly like myself/everyone else on the forums. Many of us are NC from our family of origins. Understanding what happened helps tremendously with the loneliness/healing. Turns out…my story is almost identical to people on those forums and Daniel from his videos. And I met one of us in person…who was already a friend of mine for a year. Not a coincidence. We are finding each other.
Sounds good! I just hope that a “cult” of sorts is not formed around breaking with parents.
I’ve recently picked up a book at the library called, “A Way of Being,” written by Carl Rogers. It’s a collection of essays and reflections on his life and career. I’ve also read some of his ideas in miscellaneous quotes online, and I think I really like his ideas and worldview. Could you tell me what you think of Carl Rogers?
I’ve read a few Carl Rogers book (none in the last 15 years, though). I feel mixed about him. He was actually one of the first psychologists I read. I remember reading “Counseling and Psychotherapy” and feeling like I couldn’t make sense of it, especially all the direct transcripts he put in of his conversations with clients. I did get a feeling that he was a gentle and caring man (and I feel this still), and I got the feeling that these were important qualities in a therapist, but past that it didn’t help me at all — and maybe it even made me feel insecure because I couldn’t follow his line of thought. A few of his other books I found more understandable (and again I liked his gentleness), but then I read part of his book on encounter groups and I felt like he’d gone weird… I wasn’t into that at all… It felt culty to me, from what I remember…
Hey Daniel, I just watched something that proves your point about “what lies beneath our leathery hides.” (I’m sorry if this is too graphic for your website) – but I watched a video of a teenager getting stabbed by a store owner 7 times for an attempted robbery. It was absolutely brutal to watch. I don’t think the store owner had to go that far – it’s as if he was itching to hurt someone his whole life, and he finally got the opportunity to let out all that rage. I think this was about more than just whatever product the kid tried to steal. I saw the video on Reddit, a popular social media site – and I checked the comments.. Many people were defending the store owner, and throwing jeering comments at the teenager. I feel that these people are just as emotionally detached as the store owner. I think this shows how our society empowers cruel behavior from emotionally detached people – how our laws protect people like the store owner, and how emotionally detached people cover each others’ backs. I used to fear that raggedy person on the street – the teenager or the homeless person – but now I know who the real danger is, who has the leatheriest of hides: it’s probably the normal, well-adjusted, wealthy person who owns a business, runs a shop.
I also look at sports as another example of something that brings out peoples’ hidden rage and cruelty. There are probably lots of examples of violent acts committed in sports, by fans and players – I’ve even seen a famous soccer manager poke another soccer manager’s eyes! There’s lots and lots of money that goes into sports, which is a huge red flag to me. You just know it’s gonna be full of sleazy, cruel behavior.
Ugh, maybe I shouldn’t have shared this here. I know there are some sensitive souls here, just like me. I apologize.
I saw that video too online — it was very disturbing. You may well be right…
Hi daniel, nice to meet you. (Also sorry for my bad english).
I know you are a therapist no more. But as you were a therapist 10 years ago and had some knowledge and experience in the field of psychological therapy, I want you to tell me If my condition Is treatable.
So sir my question is will my this condition be treatable and curable? I don’t want to take any medication so are there any other forms of treatments available for my this condition?
My story is,
I had an accident some months ago and got injured, bleeded a lot, my bones fractured and dislocated and yeah… it was very painful. From that i start Fearing pain. I fear that something painful may happen to me.
After that incident, I also started developing some phobias including Algophobia(fear of pain).
When I remember my accident incident I suddenly shock and cry a lot and now slowly going into a state of depression too.
Not only that, Now i fear other things too like, electric shocks, acids, poison, Vomiting, death without getting air or oxygen, choking and many other things. I fear after Even if I see or hear about these things because all of these things leads to physical pain and other physical troubles.
Another thing is that, When I see any disturbing news like murders, other things like death of people by electric shocks, chocking etc, I start fearing, get sad and get depressed when thinking about the pain and other physical troubles those people had experienced at that time and then i cry a lot. when I see them screaming in pain it also makes me sad, Fear and depressed. It also triggers me a lot.
I don’t wanna live anymore in this painful world.
Sometimes I wish I would have never even existed.
All these things are affecting my psychological and mental health very negatively.
I’m sorry for my delay! Well, it certainly sounds like you were quite traumatized from the accident you experienced, and I see no reason why what you’re experiencing now is a post-traumatic reaction.
So with that in mind, I see no reason why you can’t heal from it and move on with your life in a healthier way. The question is how to heal from the trauma. There are many possibilities, and I hope you find one that works for you. I write some about self-therapy on this website, and I have videos on it. That might help you. Perhaps a good therapist would also, though sometimes they can be hard to find. I don’t recommend psychiatric drugs, just so you know.
I am really wishing you the best,
Hi Andrew, I’m so sorry for your experiences. It may be helpful if you can find a therapist who specializes in trauma or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They may be able to help you through various treatment modalities, like exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT).
There are also self-workbooks on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Retrain-Your-Brain-Behavioral-Depression) that help you walk yourself through treatments, but given your strong reactions, I think you could benefit from working through these issues with guidance from a provider/therapist/social worker/etc.
Your reactions since your accident sound completely reasonable to me, however, if you don’t seek treatment (therapy not medication), you may struggle your entire life. The sooner you find help, the better. Yes, finding a therapist is so difficult, so I would ask friends and family and maybe educational institutions where you live for recommendations.
Also – you MUST stop triggering yourself by allowing yourself to be exposed to the trauma’s of others. Don’t read sad stories or watch sad/difficult things on the Internet/where ever.
I limit my exposure to media intensely, because I’m very empathic and the pain of others becomes mine. I was hit by a train as a child and struggle with similar issues to you and these are my recommendations. Take them or leave them, but please seek help from a professional. I’m so sorry for your struggles & wish you the best. 🙂 Kat
Hey Daniel! If you have the time, out of curiosity I’d like to ask: had you ever had clients with selective mutism during your time as a psychotherapist? I ask because I had it as a child and it made for some traumatising interactions with my parents. I’ve read it’s not a disorder that is caused by trauma but I’ve grown rather skeptical of that claim, especially seeing as a lot of child abuse/neglect in society never even registers as trauma to people in the field. It’s incredibly rare to see this disorder mentioned at all anywhere so I couldn’t help but wonder if you have any thoughts on what could make a young child suddenly develop this disorder out of blue.
Regardless, thanks for your videos, as they’ve been very helpful in untangling my trauma and making me aware of a lot of the corruption in the psychiatry field I didn’t know about!
Yes, I had clients with it, and once a friend who had it intensely as a child, and also I had it a few times in my life as well. I don’t know about what caused my friend to have it (though his father did abandon him and his mother), but I did see in the case of my clients and in my own case that it was definitely trauma-based. It wasn’t safe to talk — to speak my mind — to express my feelings, to be me. Being me was dangerous and going silent, beyond conscious control, was safer for me. When I felt safer (by getting away from the awful people and also by healing my traumas) I could talk again, without a problem. I saw the same with clients. There is also a person in my film Take These Broken Wings (on youtube) who was selectively mute for a while. It seemed pretty clear it was trauma-based in her case too….
Whoa, that is actually fascinating, because from my personal experience escaping my parents ‘cured’ my selective mutism too – and I definitely recall instances where I’d receive angry and rejecting confrontations from a parent about the fact I refused to talk about ‘why I’m like this’ which needless to say made me freeze and go nonverbal even more out of fear, because I was afraid speaking would escalate the situation even more. Many thanks for your response – I’ve been meaning to check out your documentary too, and this is gonna be an additional reason to do so now as it’s so hard to find people with similar early experiences and it can feel isolating at times. Very surprised to hear you struggled with this too!!
I think I should make a video on selective mutism. It’s a good topic and I think it’s more common than people realize. Also, the woman in the film of mine that was selectively mute was in the middle of a deep psychotic break, and, come to think of it, I’m not sure if she was actually selectively mute, but maybe mute all the time — for a period of years. But I think the film also makes it clear that her issue was trauma related. Meanwhile, sending you good vibes! Daniel
If making a video on the subject truly interests you then I think it’d be a fantastic idea – there are such little resources and info on selective mutism as it is, and I feel like there’s got to be a lot of people affected by it who would really appreciate the visibility of a more (in my experience at least) stigmatised anxiety disorder like it. Especially considering current data seems to be reluctant to consider trauma to be the cause of the condition!
Appreciate the vibes, take care. 🙂
Sounds good—I couldn’t talk at one point or a couple points in my adult life
I would love this video!
I was hospitalized twice with psychosis. I was diagnosed bipolar. I take olanzapine now. I like what you say about trauma being part of it because I totally see connections to trauma in my psychosis. I know you are against pills. If I go off the pills, what is the alternative? What do you think I should do for recovery? Thanks
I would recommend The Withdrawal Project — they might have some good ideas for you!
Have you heard anything about psychedelics triggering a dramatic increase of intelligence? Experienced it after taking ayahuasca to say a Genius level even it eventually went away 3 months later but dont see much on it out there. Some say its kundalini but idk much about it.
I have never heard of that, Andrew. I’ve heard of people have very altered perceptions of themselves, though, after ayahuasca (and have experienced that myself). Meanwhile, what you’re describing sounds a bit like the book Flowers for Algernon — a classic book. In that case the main character was mentally retarded to begin with, though — different from your case. But still, it was a very interesting book — worth a read if you haven’t seen it.
Hi Daniel, I always see things as simple and valueless. Like, if I eat my favourite ice cream while enjoying it and after a while I get thoughts like ”uh! It’s just ice cream”. If I see a beautiful starry night I would be very amazed while seeing it. But later I get thoughts like ”uh! it’s just a starry night.. Nothing else”. These type of thoughts also make me very sad and depressed as I see everything as simple and valueless. I get thoughts like ”uh! it’s just a ‘physical thing’ it will die over time.I don’t need to show love/interest towards that. It is just temporary”. Also I get thoughts like ”uh! All things are temporary. no need to show interest/love towards them”. So how do I deal with these?
Hmm, Tim…good question…. Off the top of my head (I’m fried right now, too much work) I’m not sure what to say. Maybe others can contribute here. Also, I really welcome others who read these comments to feel free to jump in and answer as best they can. I know there’s a lot of wisdom here!
Thanks, Daniel, for inviting responses from your “Wild Truth” community!
Hello Tim, I feel that what you are expressing is very valuable. Without context the beauty of the starry night is just what you said . The sadness may originate from a place that needs, indeed requires aforementioned context. Don’t try to push away your insights or even try to stop feeling sad. Kierkegaard, who followed every idea to its “illogical final point,” loved his melancholy as he felt it was a genuine consequence of his stellar insights.
Hi Daniel, when you were psychotherapist have you ever trained in doing forms of therapy like EMDR, psychodynamic therapy, cbt etc?. And have you ever perform any of these therapy to any of your client at that time?
Psychodynamic therapy, yes, and some CBT — though I more just followed my own path and not any prescribed method. EMDR, no. I tried EMDR myself a couple of times and didn’t like it — didn’t do anything for me. I’ve talked to some people who have said it’s helped then and others who said it overwhelmed them and made them feel worse — even to the point of psych hospitalization. Daniel
Hi Daniel, thank you for your video on why you ended up leaving your job as a therapist. Have you seen/experienced severe burnout, and do you have any suggestions on what to consider before stepping away from the field? Appreciate your time.
Hi Marty– severe burnout, no. I was heading in that direction, though, before I stopped. Suggestions — well, maybe fewer clients, more breaks. Or a big break… More fun things. More focus on one’s own needs and not just the needs and feelings of others…
Hello I’m currently working on a research paper for an English class about certain questions that we have about the profession we want to enter. I chose psychology because to be honest with you I have a fascination about this field of study and I enjoyed having my lecture in class. My question to you is (and I hope this isn’t a bother) If our mental health is as important as your physical health shouldn’t health insurance providers cover therapy sessions for us? Why is therapy labeled “so expensive”? Is the salary of a therapist excused? should they make more, or should they make less?
Hmm…perhaps I’m not such a big fan of therapy anymore… I often think therapy is too expensive, though I think if a therapist is really great then maybe it’s worth a high cost. But I think, and this is based on my experience, that most therapists are not very good and really are just running a racket. They really don’t have much to offer people for their mental health struggles and sometimes are just downright bad and hurtful. And so much of the mental health system nowadays, especially when it comes to people with more serious problems, is about putting people on drugs. And the people who fund the system use that very argument– “our mental health is as important as your physical health”– to get more people put on the meds. I think it’s awful… And a lot of times the therapists themselves are the conduits to get people stuck on the drugs. It’s part of their training and very hurtful…
But a good therapist who really knows how to help a wide variety of people — very rare and very wonderful. And often, from what I’ve seen, these people charge LESS money. It’s because they have more of a heart.
Wow. Found your site looking up projective identification on YouTube. It’s very helpful to hear you say this, having been a therapist.
After a truly hellish time working with too many trauma therapists, including a very famous and very expensive one who forgot her own protocol because she was looking through the eyes of my mother introject, I have concluded psychotherapy (and particularly trauma therapy) is inherently flawed. It depends on one party to be unerring and experience no cognitive distortions. The profession encourages the narcissistic viewpoint that in the case of any relationship difficulties, the client is automatically wrong and the therapist is almost never projecting on the client. I believe this idea is totally false. I think therapists develop countertransference, aren’t humble enough to work through it, and terminate their clients for their own convenience all the time. ALL THE TIME.
I believe the therapists doing the particular protocol that harmed me are empathetic and begin “receiving baby’s transmissions” of how my abusive mother felt and thought about me when commencing the protocol. The therapist is very prone to confuse this information with their own perceptions of the client — and then the therapy is doomed. Worse yet, the therapy is harmful when performed in this state, so the clients are left destabilized and never knowing what hit them. Many times the therapist walks away feeling like they did something good for the client (must be something wrong with THEM that the therapy didn’t work!)
I’m doing my own art, music and dance therapy at home from now on. I will never trust a therapist again. I’ve been harmed so much more than helped. Most of the growth I’ve experienced has come from figuring out what the therapist should have on my own.
Thank you for your thoughtful work.
I am an ACSW who will have acquired the requisite 3,000 hours for licensure in a few months.
I wonder, when you were working as a psychotherapist, if you ever had days, one of which I had today, when you felt like an inept therapist?
Although you did list the (perhaps adjacent) enormous responsibility as a reason, you did not list occasions of feeling inept as being one of the 6 reasons you stopped being a psychotherapist; but it is certainly a reason that – when it happens – leads me to want to exit the profession. Mostly I feel as if I’m helpful – which is the whole point of the job – but when I feel the opposite of helpful, it feels horrible and discouraging.
Yes, sometimes I surely felt inept — but that was more early on in my work. I think I shared about this in a few videos, but I can’t exactly remember where. Later in my work I did sometimes, perhaps even often, feel that I wasn’t necessarily helping people in a way I could clearly see, but that didn’t necessarily then translate in my mind to my being inept. Sometimes I felt instead that they were just very stuck — or perhaps that I just wasn’t a match for them. Or perhaps I felt that they just needed more time — or I needed more time to think out creative solutions. But early on I did often feel tormented at feeling inept — especially when I read books by grandiose therapist-healers of their “wow” successes, and also had supervisors who admitted no flaws or weaknesses…tiresome and sad… Anyway, wishing you the best! Daniel
Hey Daniel, have you heard of the work of Lloyd deMause?
https://psychohistory.com/articles/the-history-of-child-abuse/ is a speech from him, it seems he convincingly concluded that sadistic cruelty towards children has been the rule throughout history.
In particular, one idea of his is that children are used and abused as “poison containers” that parents can dump all their toxic waste into.
His observations perfectly match with what you talk about. It really is a pity that the entire topic is not discussed much, and parents are somehow thought to be naturally benevolent, which is not supported by history at all.
Thanks again for all that you do!!!
Yes, I do know his work and I read a couple of his books. I found them mostly excellent. I also exchanged some emails with him about fifteen years ago, before he died. But unfortunately I never met him, even though we both lived on the same island — Manhattan.
And thank you for your kind words–
Hi Daniel, what type of therapist you were? Clinical psychologist? Childhood trauma therapist or just truama specialist? Also when you were therapist you also had clients who had problems like anxiety, depression, ocd, phobias, ptsd etc Instead of childhood trauma?
My license was as an LCSW — a licensed clinical social worker. But that really told nothing about what type of therapist I was, as it was only a license. I worked differently with each client I had. I always thought about trauma with my clients, but some people didn’t want to talk about their traumas (or didn’t realize they had any) and I didn’t push the subject. I also worked with clients of all sorts of problems — pretty much everything imaginable. I also focused on working with adults.
Hi Danial, I have been following your channel in YouTube for the past few days, it is quite interesting!
I actually knew your channel from a search on YouTube, about studying psychology, and I found out that you have the same background as me, I am a biologist also, but I have a huge interest in psychology. But my problem is that I cannot differentiate weather my interest is result of an actual interest or unresolved trauma, I am now deciding between a very good Phd position in my field, or studying psychology on my own, if you have an interest and time to advice me I really appreciate it.
Hi Salwa — Hmm, I’m really not sure what to say! Perhaps journal about it more to figure out what your motives are?
First of all’ i’m kinda surprised that you consistently reply to most people here which i guess it’s not always easy
Secondly, i have a few unrelated topics that i’d love to hear your response:
1. i’ve noticed that throughout a a few of your videos you mention that it is really stressful for you to sit and film your opinion and truth publicly for people to see. While i intuitively get that, as personally beginning my own healing journey just 2 years ago, there is a part i’m almost not ready to except. How are you, such a profound and strong person that talks so much about healing trauma and went through so many internal and external challenges, is still very stressful about talking his own truth?
2. you were born in 1972 and you’ve mentioned that you used to go a lot to nature around you. We’re you also “raised by TV” for a period in your childhood? or watched a lot of it at least? i’m mainly asking since i was born a lot later than you (1995) and for me TV and cartoons were a big chunk of my childhood, which mainly were like a continuation of the pacifier and a great distraction from the pains of trauma and neglect. Later also i slowly transitioned to the computer and internet as a main distraction which still lingers to this day. This force of convenient distraction is a one a still struggle with, but on the other hand i find that by remembering or stumbling across old shows and cartoons recently helps me a bit digging up the past. Did you ever experience anything similar?
3. Generally i’m noticing more and more that it is very hard to live in our modern world and society when trying to stop dissociating. Not just on the interpersonal level of interactions and honesty with other people around you, but also almost everything else. For example, i’ve watched a short video about the conditions of chickens in farms that produce (chicken) meat and farms for eggs. i’m already trying to be maximally vegan but just watching that was soul crushing, and the only way yo actually keep consuming these stuff is to completely dissociate. Together with the state of the world of collapsing climate and ecosystems, pointless wars, silly corruption and neglect of even basic infrastructure (in many countries) and so many other problems – is both depressing and anxious. i guess i mainly vented here but if you have any suggestions on how to deal with trying to learn and live your truth in such a background it would be helpful.
So thank you Daniel for being who you are,
with warm regards,
Sorry, I’ve hit that point where at the moment I don’t have the energy to reply… I did my best to reply to your other comments, though!
Thank you for your kind words, also!
Hi there! I see how often and how quickly you reply to messages on your website, and I wanted to thank you for how much effort and energy you put into answering questions!
I just wanted to ask you what your opinion is on the phrase “it’s better to be alone than in bad company” in the context of having healthy friends? I ask because I moved to a new city at the beginning of the pandemic, where I didn’t know anyone. It was also around this time that I started my healing work, and I haven’t been able to find any friends in my new city that I feel are really healthy and on board with being honest and true. Is it better to hold out for people that are honest and true or are possibly unhealthy friends better than no friends?
Thanks for all you do!
greetings! Yes, sometimes I have some extra energy and time to respond (and sometimes to respond quickly). Sometimes not… Hmm, I think I actually addressed that topic in a video on friendships. I know for myself I do spend a lot of time alone if I don’t have good friends, but at other times (especially when I’m traveling in foreign lands) I make friends that I might not otherwise have. Also the same when I was younger — some friends were better than no friends!! But I have some pretty bad friends at certain points, and when it comes to that, nowadays, I’d definitely rather be alone!!
I want to know resources on how to deal with Schizoaffective disorder bipolar type. I’ve been taking meds since 2007 and can’t afford to get an alternative psychiatrist. Are there any books specifically to deal with the disease (Schizoaffective disorder bipolar type)?
I don’t know any such books. I would recommend looking at http://www.madinamerica.com and also https://www.theinnercompass.org These sites might be of some help to you.
Wishing you the best,
Hi Daniel Nice to meet you, I have a problem.(also sorry for my bad english)
When I was young I slipped and fell on the floor. It fractured a bone in my finger and was very painful. After a few days it was cured. But I am now experiencing the following:
1: I feel anxious that something painful like this Or something more painful than this will happen to me in future. And if anything like that happens then after that I become so much sad and will go into a state of extreme depression for sure. I also become again anxious too. I get a sudden shock feeling when i remember about that physical pain i experienced that time.
AND from there on, I start feeling anxious towards “physical pain” And get sad and depressed whenever I think about other people’s huge physical pain they’ve experienced.
2. I also feel depressed whenever I think about the Physical pain I have experienced at that time. Whenever i see any disturbing scene in news or at tv i gets triggered and then i goes into a state of sadness and depression. somedays ago i saw a documentary of hiroshima bomb exploding in japan.were 6000°c of heat hits people and whenever i think about those peoples physical pain they’ve experienced at that time, i becomes so much sad and depressed. Sometimes these things also pop up in my mind in the form of images were those small babies and peoples screaming and crying in that physical pain. some weeks ago i saw a video titled “ancient brutal torturing methods” it made me even more triggering and my condition became even worse. i also gets triggered and become depressed and sad when not only think about physical pain instead, when i hear or saw other physical problems too like Vomiting,dying without getting oxygen etc etc…! i gets triggered whenever i hear or saw some words like “unbearable pain” or “unimaginable pain”.I feel sad and depressed whenever I think about the person who has experienced the biggest amount of physical pain in this world. I also get scared when I think about these kinds of things
If there is anything in this universe worse than physical pain,I feel anxious and depressed when I think about it.
These kinds of thoughts are unacceptable and unbearable for me.
I want to get treatment but I don’t wanna take any kind of medication. I hate that and I will never take that. no matter what ! . Anyway now I start feeling ”HOPELESS”.
I feel like there would be no treatments that will work for me. there will be no solution for my problem. I feel like therapists are bad. Forms of therapy are useless. my mind started saying something like “There will be solutions to only some problems, not for all”. I am really losing hope now. Now what will I do? Will there be any solution?
I’m really not sure what to say, Winer — maybe self-therapy? That’s all that ever worked for me. I have a lot on this website about it and also on my youtube channel, including a playlist ( https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRHLaIzKomTjZpFsYI0NPnHUteoRHLTiL ). I’m wishing you the best, Daniel
Hello, I need urgent help. I took invenga sustenna for 6 months and it has destroyed my life, it took away all my dopamine and now I can’t sleep. Without sleeping I might get a heart attack or a seizure soon. My psychiatrist says it can’t be invenga but prior to get the injections I was fine and sleeping well. They should have never given me those injections. Can you help me?
Nina — well, Invega is an antipsychotic and lots of people coming off antipsychotics experience insomnia. If you google “Invega withdrawal side effects” you’ll see insomnia there, so I don’t know what your psychiatrist is talking about. It’s also possible you came off too fast. I’d recommend checking out the Withdrawal Project: http://withdrawal.theinnercompass.org
They might be able to be useful to you. Wishing you the best,
Hi daniel, I have 11 questions about psychotherapy and so on… Please answer in detail each question wise if possible.
1: I often heard that many people say that therapy and meds don’t work. So what shall those people do?
2: Is there any evidence that Therapy ever does much for anyone ?
3: I heard that Therapy and psychology just gives a “positive effect” for people and it doesn’t solve any problem. Is that true? 4: psychology/therapy isn’t focused on diagnosing mental problems so that they can be solved. just talking about one’s daily life and the problems they experience on a day to day basis endlessly…!
one guy commented that ”it just enables people to have emotional issues by putting them under a magnifying glass without fixing them”..like ”talk therapy” where someone talks about their problems and the therapist mainly listens without helping figure the person out from any problem. So is it all true?
5: Most therapists have no idea what it is like to go through hardcore problems and to live a life full of pain and suffering and thus they cannot possibly even begin to help people. Is this true?
6: Are the effects of medication or therapy permanent? and why?
7: One article said that for some people some therapy can make things even worse. So what do they do?
8: If therapy is very effective then when is medication prescribed?
9: Do therapists ever felt like they don’t have a solution for someone’s problem? If yes, what to do in this case?
10: I watched your video ”why i quit being a therapist”. so as our mental health industry is so broken, it means therapists and forms of therapy are bad and useless?
11: Finally, how can we find a good therapist?
I’ll answer your questions as best I can (briefly), but I also want you to know that I’ve answered a lot of these questions in my videos.
Here are two playlists of my videos that should be very helpful to you, or at least some of the videos on the list should be helpful:
a playlist about psychotherapy — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0Fi32LbXHA&list=PLRHLaIzKomTiyUtDGwvzc9YjcM3K9sdMG The first video in the playlist is the one you mentioned, so you can skip that one.
A playlist about doing self-therapy — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c95sfyv-M8M&list=PLRHLaIzKomTjZpFsYI0NPnHUteoRHLTiL
And also a video of mine that goes into detail critiquing psychotherapy: https://youtu.be/G2-p4A7Bl6s
So now I’ll answer your specific questions briefly.
1: I often heard that many people say that therapy and meds don’t work. So what shall those people do?
My answer: Well, I think in terms of effecting permanent change in people, and in their outlook to life, and their personalities, medications never work. They sometimes help people cope a little better for a while, and sometimes a long while, but often have terrible side effects even in the people they “help.” Good therapy, on the other hand, can work to effect permanent change, but it’s just very hard to find a good therapy. What worked for me is self therapy, and I provided my playlist on that above. I also have a self-therapy book for sale on this website under the book tab.
2: Is there any evidence that Therapy ever does much for anyone ?
My answer: Yes, there are quite a few studies showing how it helps people, even people with really serious problems including psychosis. I made films about the people in psychosis helped by therapy: http://wildtruth.net/films-recovery-schizophrenia/
3: I heard that Therapy and psychology just gives a “positive effect” for people and it doesn’t solve any problem. Is that true?
My answer: This can definitely be true of bad therapy. And bad therapy, unfortunately, is very common.
4: psychology/therapy isn’t focused on diagnosing mental problems so that they can be solved. just talking about one’s daily life and the problems they experience on a day to day basis endlessly…!
one guy commented that ”it just enables people to have emotional issues by putting them under a magnifying glass without fixing them”..like ”talk therapy” where someone talks about their problems and the therapist mainly listens without helping figure the person out from any problem. So is it all true?
My answer: again, this can DEFINITELY be true of bad therapy, which is very common.
5: Most therapists have no idea what it is like to go through hardcore problems and to live a life full of pain and suffering and thus they cannot possibly even begin to help people. Is this true?
My answer: This is true of many therapists who have very little real life experience of their own. There are many of these therapists out there. There are also therapists who have suffered terribly in their life and are miserable people but have NOT learned to solve any of their own problems. These are therapists who are to be avoided. They have the experience of misery but not the experience of the solution. And there are many different varieties of solution, not just one.
6: Are the effects of medication or therapy permanent? and why?
My answer: I think this is just a rephrasing of questions 1, 2, and 3. But yes, the whole point of good therapy is that its effect is permanent — the person grows and changes and learns how to better deal with life’s problems. But also medications effects can sometimes, very depressingly, be VERY permanent— sometimes the NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS of medication are permanent. This is called neurological damage.
7: One article said that for some people some therapy can make things even worse. So what do they do?
My answer: Yes, sometimes therapy can makes things worse for people. I recommend self-therapy, or maybe trying to find a better therapist.
8: If therapy is very effective then when is medication prescribed?
My answer: Therapists and psychiatrists recommend medication when they have no other idea how to help people grow and change. When I was a therapist I myself never recommended medication. The dangers are too great and the act of recommending is a sign of failure of the mental health professional.
9: Do therapists ever felt like they don’t have a solution for someone’s problem? If yes, what to do in this case?
My answer: Yes, for sure this happens all the time, even with good therapists. They then either can keep trying to help the person, or they can try to recommend another therapist — or perhaps some completely different thing. Also, sometimes people are very stuck and are unable to implement changes in their lives. This requires more creativity on the part of the therapist.
10: I watched your video ”why i quit being a therapist”. so as our mental health industry is so broken, it means therapists and forms of therapy are bad and useless?
My answer: I would say most therapists are bad and useless, yes. And the mental health system is terribly flawed.
11: Finally, how can we find a good therapist?
My answer: That can be a real challenge. I never found one for myself, and I think I’ve tried maybe four or five therapists myself. But ultimately I think the best therapist for each of us is OUR OWN INDIVIDUAL SELF. That’s why I like self-therapy. However, I did make a video on 12 ways to find out if our therapist is good or not: https://youtu.be/xz3rsX63epE
I hope this helps a bit!
Daniel, Thank you so much for your detailed explanation. it helped me a lot. Also thank you very much for fast reply.
Hello daniel, i was having some questions. so how i write them to you? can you please provide your email id?
Maybe you could share your questions here? Your name is anonymous so no one would know who you are, myself included. And then others might also benefit from seeing your questions and my answers.
Wishing you the best,