Welcome!

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!!

49 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. Daniel, is there a guide out there, book or video, that helps people like me who have lived in cities for over a decade, finally just escape and start being closer to nature, in a world that doesn’t seem to really care about nature anymore? I have no money, no survival skills; all I have to my name is a fear of not fitting in with people who HAVE been fortunate enough to grow up around nature. I’ve never had the exposure to nature I’ve always craved ever since I was a kid. I didn’t have parents who cared about nature, but only cared about money (I’m sure you can relate to this). How the heck do I get out of the city, after years of letting the city life corrupt my passion for the outdoors?

    • Good question… Hmm, I don’t know of such a guide book. If you find one could you share it her??
      Greetings–Daniel

      • Hi,
        Maybe it’s uncharted territory and I’ll have to end up writing one myself.
        It seems that having a good chunk of money saved up is essential, to purchase land in the woods to build a cabin on. For someone like me who has no experience constructing anything, I’d need even more money to buy the cabin itself, already built.
        It seems a little ironic to me that to escape society, which is centered around money, you need money.
        Maybe one possibility is to try meeting other people who also want to abandon the urban life and we can all pitch in towards building something. But I dunno, I value my solitude and that’s part of the reason why I’d do it anyway – to be alone.
        Another roadblock is the comfort I’m used to, of course. I need to convince myself really deep down that I really do want to live out in the woods, and probably have no internet access or very limited internet access. It’s hard for me to do that when much of my life is centered around using the internet. I don’t like to admit it, but I can barely go walk in the small bit of woods in the park for 1 hour without having my mind on going back home and being on the internet.

        • There are many who have volunteered at animal sanctuaries and such….many near woodland. Organic farms take people on who are willing to learn and work part-time… It’s a start..

          • Thank you, yes those farm stays seem to be very trendy. I’ve thought of giving that a try. I suppose a good way to get experience, but hopefully one day I could have a peaceful little home of my own. I have to be honest, I see myself more as a tree and plant lover than someone who could constantly be helping animals. Each to their own right?

  2. Hi Daniel!
    Thank you for the documentary (Open Dialogue). It’s was fun watching it.
    This is where I found the video:
    https://offenerdialog-ev.de/krisenbegleitung/
    (The website (link) belongs to a NGO here based in Leipzig, Germany, which offers Open Dialogue for people (like me) to survive psycho.-social crisis .)
    Wishing you the best. Good luck.

  3. Daniel. Hi. I know you arent big on labels but i have one im ok with. It describes my experience that many therapists havent been able to realate to. Dissociation. Outside of self. As if im watching a two dimensional movie. Detached from feelings and cognitive abilities throttled to zero. Result of a trauma and a subsequent issue with a therapist for which she lost license. So im looking for a new therapist. What modality would be best? Somatic experiencing?? Idk. Any direction appreciated.

    • Hi Wa Jaur,
      I never recommended therapy much based on modality. I think what’s more important (this is just my personal opinion) is the quality of the therapist. I wish I had good referrals but I don’t. But I think the quality of the therapist, the humanity of the therapist, is much more important than the modality. A bad therapist with a “great” modality is still a bad therapist! Daniel

  4. Hi Daniel,
    I have been labeled with schizophrenia and I would like to know what my options are in getting weened off meds.
    Who can I trust?

  5. hello daniel
    maybe you can make a video of school traumas? what i have heard from people there is a lot of traumas caused by the times in schools, and a lot of people carried unresolved traumas from there, for entire life

    Many thanks

    • Hi Adi,

      Good subject, for sure. I did mention school at least twice in videos, once here specifically related to a specific school trauma I experienced: https://youtu.be/xVjLbyMYLfE

      And once here more in general, though I can’t remember if I talked about traumas here: https://youtu.be/5o-dPKDIJNk

      But I am thinking of making more videos about this…

      Thanks for the idea.
      
Wishing you the best,
Daniel

    • Hi Daniel,

      Just to say a big THANK YOU for The great film about open dialogue in Finland, which I’ve just watched, excellent work, beautifully put together, great contribution, keep it up!

      Gratefully, Gordon Barclay (exUK NHS consultant psychiatrist, now private trauma therapist)

  6. Hello, I’m not sure where to start but my son needs help. He is 20 and was diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis four years ago after three very traumatic experiences within the month or so before he did acid and didn’t come out of his “trip”. When he didn’t improve from that, they diagnosed him with schizophrenia. There was some trauma as a baby at the hospital, he had a couple of experiences in elementary with his peers, and his dad was verbally abusive which translates in to mental, emotional, and psychological abuse. I’ve begged him for these four years to seek help for all of this trauma but I have also been wrong and sent him to hospitals and forced him to comply with meds. After seeing one of your videos I’m left feeling absolutely terrible for him and how I’ve handled things. He is convinced he’s just fine but he isn’t and he is in desperate need of help; the right help. Please guide me in finding him the help he needs.

    • Hi Melisa,
      I’m very sorry to hear this. Hmm, it sounds like he and you may have very different ideas on what he thinks he needs, even now. It’s always different for me when a parent reaches out to help their child. Of course I feel for you and for him, but at the same time I’ve seen repeatedly and learned repeatedly that unless someone wants help for himself or herself, someone else’s idea of the “best” help (including my idea too) doesn’t really mean all that much. It’s always much better if someone does the reaching out himself or herself — in this case, if your son reaches out. That makes things a lot easier — and yet, still, in this modern mental health climate, it’s still very hard to find good, respectful help. However, he might be interested in such websites as http://www.madinamerica.com and https://mindfreedom.org, or perhaps even he’d like my antipsychiatry video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiC-8suDDaI&list=PLRHLaIzKomTgmKD0F9TZOaDuqxzBpItuN But if he’s not interested in it, then I really don’t know what to say, because at that point things coming from a parent, or from anyone, when he’s not specifically asking for it or for help, might well just come across as another violation… I am really wishing you both the best, though!! Daniel

      • Thank you for your reply. That’s definitely the situation and so the cycle continues. I will share the info you shared with me with him. I’m trying to give him info in hopes that he figures it out; that said, he does not want my help at all so in turn it is a violation. It’s never ending it seems but hopefully he comes around to getting help. I will do my best to not push it or even speak of it too much.. I just miss him terribly and want him to be ok. Thank you again for your reply. Take care.

    • Melissa!

      I went through the same thing at age 21.
      I’m 28 and I’ve healed quite significantly. Psychotherapy and trauma therapy were crucial. Send me an email at s.leal@utexas.edu. I’d love to be a resource to help

  7. Hello, Daniel:

    I find your videos to be enlightening, your discourse very intelligent, clever, deep, authentic, unique. Listen, I want your feedback, please, if you don;t mind. I graduated from college with a master degree in counseling psychology in 2007. I never used my degree to get employment. My experiences in college with hypocrites, backstabbing professors, and also my horrific experiences with evil, psycho “therapists” I met seeking help for my clinical depression, made me hate that profession. I was told the most horrible things by those people. I was great at providing therapy during my short-term internship, but I was so traumatized with the stuff I was told by wicked counselors and psychology professors that I never ever wanted to be a counselor. What do you think, Daniel: was I right when I refused to work as a counselor? I’d appreciate your opinion. Wish you peace. Thank you !

    • Hi Melissa, It sounds like you probably made a good decision. I think it’s possible for someone to be a good therapist in the mental health profession, but it requires a lot of different factors to help. I think it’s probably easier in some places than others. I myself much preferred working in private practice, also, but it took a lot of years of working in some stressful and awful places to build up to that. I feel lucky I didn’t lose myself along the way. I think it’s easy for many therapists to lose themselves — often, I think, the kindest people can lose themselves the quickest. Sending you warm greetings–Daniel

      • Hello, Daniel:

        Thank you for your kind response. I found many counselors sold their souls to the Devil, figuratively speaking, they lack compassion, empathy, treat people who desperately need help as second-class citizens. I endured a lot of emotional abuse by those “healers”, and that fact made hate the profession. It’s true I could have been different kind of therapist in private practice, but at what price? First I had to work for the system for 3 years and see all the corruption, hypocrisy, experience the burnout. I think that subconsciously I wanted to become a mental health counselor to “empower” myself, lol: I didn’t need it. I believe I made the right decision.
        Many blessings to you.

  8. I saw your “take” on Jordan Peterson and personally I think he’s a psychological fraud who ONLY wants to confirm the supposed virtuousness of his own psychological repressions. Some people can’t clean their rooms because they are so effed up with dependency needs or existential emptiness (hoarding). Ordering them around won’t help but its sooo easy to pontificte and get people to love u through mass hypnosis and never ever get any true feedback. I ACCUSE this Peterson guy of being like that. And the idea of obeying your parents without comment is medieval and horrifying. But its no wonder people eat this stuff up, they are the newest generation of ABUSIVE PARENTS. This creep should be locked up. Ever notice he can’t seem to CHILL or even smile??

  9. Hello Daniel,

    I’ve been following your material since mid-February when my father fell victim to a violent crime himself. It put him in critical condition for a week. Thankfully he has been recovering well. Now, we’ll see how he moves through the psychological trauma of the event. That said, I’m deeply sorry to hear about your recent experience. As I’ve felt increasingly validated and connected absorbing your material it made my chest clench to hear your story. I wish you the very best moving forward. Your vulnerability is inspirational.

  10. I noticed while watching your latest video on the mugging how anxious you were. I have a friend who suffered from depersonalization after smoking fake marijuana. I wonder if there is anything you know about depersonalization, its intensity, similarity or connection to anxiety and depression, if it is real. Any thoughts?

    Also, you posted the first video the same night I got broken up with by my girlfriend, and the things you feel (confusion, anxiety, anger, depression) are like what I have been feeling. Though our situations are very different, I feel comfort in going through this with you. Thank you for your transparency throughout this process and for facing your insecurity/fear.

    • Thanks for sharing Alexander. Hmm, I think there probably a connection between depersonalization and dissociation and shock. I’ll have to think about it more. I definitely felt somewhat depersonalized after my mugging — almost like I was floating outside my body. I was in shock… I think I am still partially in shock now… Greetings to you, Daniel

  11. Hi Daniel. Im curious. We have tons of mental health people come in store. Mft phd psyd etc. They all claim they are forgoing traditional methods in practice to treat people with tarot astrology and crystals yet touting mft phd or lcsw. Somehow crystals bypass the work. Have you noticed? Isnt that disturbing??…as a psychologist

  12. Dear Daniel,

    My interests, channeled through the algorithm(s) of YouTube, recently revealed your videos to me.

    I grew up Catholic, the religion of my parents, but now live my life on terms that make more sense to me than Catholicism does. As a result, I can sometimes see more clearly not only the bad but also some good aspects of the religion now that I am no longer bound by it, at least not bound in the way that I was as a child, teenager, and young adult.

    One good aspect can be found, I think, in the Prayer of St. Francis (who to some extent broke with his parents to become a friar), particularly as sung by Sinead O’Connor (who like me has “broken away” from Catholicism). That is, the idea of being “a channel of … peace,” I think is a good one, notwithstanding the song’s imperfect way of communicating this idea (i.e., in the patriarchal language of Catholic theology).

    I mention all of this because I just listened to your very peaceful song “I Wanna Find a House” wherein you sing of being a “channel of sincerity to all.”

    Do you feel, as I do, sincerity in O’Connors’ rendition (link posted below)? Or do you find its insincere of her to sing the prayer of a religion that she has on some level left (which I think is a risk that she has taken)?

    With the above in mind, is there a place in the house that you want to find for imperfect language/belief, if it can fuel a critical but friendly form (such as a prayer fueling a singer’s performance as its content)? Or would the house only function with a certain quality of input?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJVeXC2JmDU

    Peace and sincerity, H.

  13. Hey Daniel,

    I watched your video on going to prison, the video where you drank from the cup.

    At the start you said prison can be a complex place for some people, well I was one of those and after being falsely imprisoned with the intention of defamation by the ‘victim’ and police.

    Do you know of a resource library I can see to filter in some of my experience in the right terms as right now it’s just a jumbled mess of thoughts and experiences.

    Sincerely,

    Cameron.

    • Hi Cameron,

      Sorry to hear this. Hmm, unfortunately I don’t know of any resources like this — it’s not really my area of expertise. I just looked at a few websites and they didn’t seem quite right to me… Either very religious or very technical, or rather harsh… I wish you good fortune on your search — I wish I had more to offer. And I hope my video was of some value. Daniel

  14. Hey Daniel,

    I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on Soteria houses? I know you did that documentary in Finland, right? Was that a Soteria house? Any thoughts on the one in Vermont or others in the U.S.?

    Thank you!!
    Sarah

      • Wow! Many thoughts I see!

        You mentioned that at Soteria-San Jose there might be “disruptions”/disruptive behavior from the residents, but usually would last days or weeks, as opposed to Alaska where it would might last much longer. I wonder if you noticed any pattern there with the amount of sunlight, if the darker months seemed more difficult or the opposite or whatever.

        I hope that Soteria-Vermont were able to apply some of what you’d learned in Alaska. I think I’d like to work for them or another Soteria house or somewhere like that someday. Maybe even try to start something new, who knows!

        Thank you, I now have many ideas in response to your writing!

        • I don’t know if it was light-related. I think more likely it was because so many people were going through heavy psych drug withdrawal at Soteria-Alaska.

          • Yesyes, that makes sense, and your work in Scandinavia would probably give you some idea as to whether that seemed to be “a thing” or not. It’s probably just my bias as someone born and raised a little closer to the equator!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Rethinking Psychiatry recently invited Voyce Hendrix of the original Soteria House to talk, and the recording of this excellent presentation is at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDLCAeReWEKv8zMaKwACUtQ. Our next talk with be with the Soteria Vermont folks (a Sunday in April, I believe–sign up for our occasional newsletter at RethinkingPsychiatry.org to be notified about our talks), and we plan to have Susan Musante (of the now no-longer Soteria Alaska, and where Daniel and I met) and folks from Soteria Israel talk at some point after.
      What’s your interest in Soteria Houses?
      Grace

      • Grace,
        Thanks so much for your reply!
        I’m about to graduate a masters in counseling program, and I am looking for work!! I think my dream has been for a few years to work at something like a Soteria house. I’m acquainted with some of the GIFRIC folks and had a fantasy of moving to Quebec City and working at the 388. I thought I should probably know French for that though, and I do not know French..hah. I stumbled upon Soteria-Vermont in my googling fantasy of living in Vermont and just searching for jobs in the field there. It looked perfect! I only found out about a month ago from my mentor that Soteria is a whole international network. I am in Chicago and will probably have to stay here for a couple of years, but I will watch the video you’ve shared, sign up for the newsletter, and attend the next talk you all are giving. Thank you again so much for sharing it all!!!
        Sarah

  15. Hi Daniel,
    Thanks for your website and videos.
    There’s one mystery I can’t quite figure out and that’s how to experience my true self. I have experienced it a few times over the last couple years. As for grieving, I find it near impossible to grieve. Is there any other way you can help us understand how to shed our false self and experience our true self on a more permanent basis?
    Many thanks for any suggestions.

    • Hi Richard,
      Greetings and thank you. I actually recently recorded a video on this very subject. It’ll probably take me a while to edit and feel comfortable enough to put up in public, and maybe I’ll have to re-record it, but I very much like your question!! Sending warm greetings — Daniel. P.S. in the meantime all I can suggest, potentially, is more journaling…more self-investigation…

  16. Hi Daniel,
    I have known your essays and videos for a long time and there is a question I’ve been wanting to ask you. If I understand you correctly, a key part of your philosophy is remembering childhood traumas and grieving them, and yet you hardly ever talk about how it – the remembering – is to be done. I don’t remember almost anything of my life before around the age 12. I have tried journaling but so far it hasn’t been very effective. I have brought back a few (very few!) memories, but I still don’t know all that much about my relationship with my parents, aside from the very general stuff. I could ask them, but they are dishonest and I wouldn’t count on getting to know the truth from what they tell me. I think my lack of knowledge about my childhood is preventing me from grieving properly, and yet I have no idea how to go about remembering more. Is there any advice you could give me?
    PS Thank you for your videos and essays, they have been very helpful to me despite my lack of memory.

    • Hi Mateusz,
      Hmm, I’m not sure what to say. A few thoughts: perhaps continuing to journal might help. Sometimes it just takes a lot of time, years even… Also, if stuff is blocked from memory, often, from what I’ve seen, that suggests that there are a lot of painful feelings attached to it. Sometimes forgetting keeps the pain away. So that’s another reason that it can take a lot of time — time to build up inner resources, a stronger, more stable inner world. I think I’ve talked about this in various videos over the past few months, and I recently made a couple that addressed it more, but it might take me a while to edit them!! But I’ll keep thinking about it. Warm greetings! Daniel

  17. Hi Daniel,

    I am currently studying psychoanalysis (it is a part of the college degree in my country with clinical psychology) and I was wondering if there was a time in your life where theories stripped the “life” out of you. When studying a concept, like the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real from Lacan or some defense mechanisms like projection, I start noticing patterns in my daily life that make me very uncomfortable. I used to be extremely emphatic, but now I seem to see things from a “mathematical and rational” perspective, taking the “humanity” away from daily life. It is not a black and white thing, but a good part of it is being blocked.

    • Hi Daniel,
      Well, I have no problem studying theories if I feel they are connected to reality and are useful to me, but so often what I’ve seen with psychoanalytic theories is that they don’t qualify as that!! Sometimes they just strike me as downright wrong. And I have found Lacan undecipherable, and I felt stripped of life after reading about five minutes of him, so I can hardly imagine being forced to take him seriously in an academic program where I’m being graded!! Wishing you the best!! Daniel

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