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

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

My inspiration

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

Alaska, 2012

On the mud flats, Alaska, 2012

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

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

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

A bit more about my past

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

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

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

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

My future

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

–Daniel Mackler

225 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Daniel

    I can’t thank god enough for letting me find you. I have never been so fascinated and amused by the rawness and down-to-earth analysis and thoughts of someone else. It has been a true pleasure.
    Like you, I find a lot of comfort in Alice Miller and her books, specifically The Drama of the Gifted Child. I am, too, going through the process of mitosis of my mother.

    I have wanted to become a therapist for as long as I can remember, but you helped me understand that I don’t have to become a psychologist in order to make sense of my feelings, and for that, I am very grateful.

    For quite some time now I’ve been wanting to ask you a few questions regarding the topic of how much is it ethical to bring a child to a world where you suffer yourself. As a woman, I always feel like I came to this world to have children but as more as I live, I find that idea very disturbing.

    Do you think, there can be a time, maybe in like a thousand years, when a legal system requires Parents to be qualified to have children, or is it something that is too… ambitious for us, the broken children?
    I don’t know what this place or system will be built like, but if it was up to you, what do you think is a more harmless way to bring a child into a world like ours?

    I was thinking about having a limited number of children you can have and going to courses where you need to dig out all those repetitive behaviors of yours.

    But will it really help? I know that suffering helps us as people, building us and encouraging us to be better and try harder, so will a “fixed world” become meaningless eventually?

    Please don’t feel the need to answer if you don’t find this topic interesting or worth your time.
    Thank you for the very helpful content you create,


    • Gabor Mate has an answer that resonates for me and is food for thought…the fact you are that concerned tells me that you wil probably be a lot more present and conscious as a parent. Will you be perfect? No. Will you hand on some of the legacy of your family system? Yes. But it will be so much less that it will be much more over-come-able.

  2. Hi Daniel,

    Thanks so much for everything.

    One question I had is if you have ever thought about how “Asperger’s syndrome” or “high functioning autism” relate to your concept of authenticity.

    I am diagnosed with this “syndrome” and have met many others who have been as well. It seems to me like we are far more resistant to losing our sense of self than other people. In fact, I think the reason some people hate us so much is because we lack the ability to be fake like most other people in society.

    Anyway, I could write an essay about this topic, but I was just wondering if it’s on your radar.

    Thanks so much again! Your work helps far more people than you can imagine.

    • Hi Lesley,
      This is an interesting idea. I can’t say I’ve thoughts so much about it, but what you write makes sense…… I’ll have to think about it more!
      Greetings to you—–

    • Hi Lesley,
      I know this question was posed to Daniel, but l can relate so l felt like responding also.
      I feel l have to temper myself and my responses to everything and everyone for fear of being too honest and direct which could appear abrasive.
      I relate intensely to the profile of being an HSP, either that is the issue which hinders my easy acceptance by others. I wonder about the diagnostic tools used for these appraisals.
      Close attributes between hsp, high functioning autism and bpd?
      Anyway curious how you navigate this with others.
      take care

  3. Hi
    I watched Recovery Homes video today and it was beautiful to see people in a loving accepting home setting healing rather than a cold scary institution

    What I see going on in America today is the harms of chronic severe high thc use which is causing teens & young adults to experience psychosis resulting in more & more forced hospitalizations and anti psychotic drugs

    How can we help these kids? I wish I knew because when they are using they lack insight

    I wish there was more widespread information on the harms of cannabis cause it’s not your grandmas weed anymore

    I know there’s every brain matters and Laura stack has a book out about the harms after her son Johnny took his life

    Please spend the word if you can because it’s crucial to help our young people

    Thank you

  4. Hi, Daniel. I have recently been going through an existential crisis related to an unintentional adoption of a very mechanistic outlook on life that I developed while hardcore delving into science. Your videos have really helped me break out of that a little bit. I hope to escape it entirely. I hope your week is going well!

  5. Hi Daniel, I am trying to heal from my childhood trauma but I feel stuck. I am in college, which gives me some distance from my parents, but I keep having to go back home each break and I feel like I emotionally dissociate whenever I am at home. It doesn’t help that there is nothing to do at home. I am trying to set things up so I have something to do during the summer and I can not be with them but being at home is really mind-numbing and I feel like I forget all about my growth.

    I am also struggling with lots of dreams about sexual assault. I have never been sexually assaulted but several people in my family have, including my mother. I definitely feel like my mom has engaged in an emotionally incestuous relationship with me so I don’t know if the dreams are about the sexual assault in my family or the unfair closeness I feel like I have to my mother. At the same time, I am very distant from her and untruthful with her so maybe I am just totally misinterpreting the situation. My sister has her own problems with my mom, including boundary issues, so that may be at play. My mom is a narcissist.

  6. Hi Daniel,

    Thank you so much for posting videos on YouTube. They are of weapon grade quality. Your language skills are supreme. I enjoy watching them a lot.

    I broke free from my parents over two decades ago, and since then one by one I had to cut my contact with whoever tried to persuade me to reconcile with them. “Do it when they are still alive, or you will regret.” I have not. They both passed away. I feel I can breathe better now.

    You are right, Daniel. It’s painful. But there’s no better way of doing it.

    Take care of your good self.


  7. Hi Dan!
    I wanted to reach out bc your youtube channel has been really inspirational to me recently. My journey has been incredibly volatile, sometimes very scary, and sometimes very rewarding.
    TLDR: during covid I started having panic attacks about death, not just from illness but at all. And I felt so isolated in my feelings in thoughts and terrified of the concept that I had to turn toward medication to get back to “normal.” I turned toward spirituality and meditations and with medication as the main crutch I was good for a long time.

    That was 3 years ago, I was doing okay for about 2 years but then about 8 months ago they began again much to my dismay. But they were different this time, they were equally as extreme and scary, but I consciously didnt want to take medication to make them go away and spirituality didn’t have the same liberating effect. The past 8 months i’ve dealt with (undiagnosed) psychosis, paranoia, despair, fear, and heartaches. Also very scary, I feel like my heart knew the only way “out” was in. And i began to just do the work, slowly and steadily. I laid with my emotional body every day after work, i let my body be afraid, i let my heart break.. i followed my breath and looked for truth, or rather felt for truth and tried to turn my brain off.

    Recently, the days have been looking far better. They are not without their struggles, but my body’s ability to process and digest emotions and thoughts has changed dramatically. Some days I wish I could go back to the way I was, and some days I realize that the most important choice I had ever made was to turn my attention toward my fear, and bring it into my heart.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with telling you this, but your channel has been a real resource for me. I have felt so extremely alone in doing this work, allowing my body, brain, and emotions to be, to understand my place in my psyche, and trying to turn off my brain when it is producing fear. I wish you all the best and hope you continue to make videos.

  8. Hi,
    I’ll get past the obvious fact that I’m a big fan and really like your thoughts on things.
    I dont know who else to ask so here goes nothing.
    I am the son of emotionally and physically abusive parents. And I’ve also recently become a father. Everything is going well, however I feel strong outbursts of impatience and anger towards my child, almost wanting to scare her into obedience. I recognise the same patterns I’ve seen in my mother, with shocking precision.

    So firstly I’d like to ask: What precisely are the effects of a parent that is physically and emotionally abusive when the child misbehaves (or doesn’t act in accordance to their wants), but is otherwise emotionally supportive and patient when approached?
    And then secondly, more importantly: How do I prevent this to negatively impact my child.

    Thank you for all your work, and in advance if you read this. Have a good day.

    • Hi Eren,
      Hmm, well, on the first question, about what traumatizes a child… I wonder if this video might answer it: https://youtu.be/qD3PGGvASrI (It’s about eight different types of psychological trauma. But definitely lack of consistent love from a parent is one…)
      As to how to prevent this from negatively impacting one’s child, I think the only way is to heal one’s own buried trauma, the unresolved emotions one has from one’s own childhood… Here’s a video playlist I made about that subject: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRHLaIzKomTjZpFsYI0NPnHUteoRHLTiL
      Maybe it could prove helpful to you??
      Sending greetings!!!!

  9. Hi Daniel,

    I recently discovered your YouTube channel and it’s such a blessing. You are yet another vlogger who is really helping me, along with a few others, as I’ve walked my own recovery journey in the past 5 years.

    You recently did a video on speech impediments and trauma. Any thoughts of seizures and trauma? Especially seizures in children? What about Tourette’s?


    • Hi Lila,
      Hmm…seizures. I’ve thought about this, but I really don’t have experience to know one way or another. But I’m curious!! Tourette’s also… I’d be curious to hear your point of view on this — and that of others too.
      All the best,

      • I grew up in a family that was kind of like yours–middle class, educated, but deeply dysfunctional on the inside. My parents were two very different people from different cultures and religions, who probably shouldn’t have been together. To make a long story short, it was an abusive marriage, and my dad died by suicide when I was 12. It was a devastating loss for me, also deeply traumatic, and left me with an incredible about of internal psychological stress. I began developing severe OCD–“Pure O” as its called– just ruminations on the inside of one’s mind that don’t go away. I stuffed and repressed my pain. I used to twitch in my sleep sometimes, and in college, I lay in bed, I convulsed. I think it was the repression, I couldn’t keep things inside anymore.

        In college, I became a born again Christian. The tics stopped after that. It was a spiritual awakening, which, I believe, helped me begin to released the trauma, though it still took many years for that process to be complete. I believe that Jesus gets us in touch with our hearts and our spirits, and will reach our deepest wounds.

        Years later, I worked on a pediatric unit of a big hospital. I flunked out of that job, but in the 6 weeks that I oriented there, I saw alot. I saw a 14 y.o. with a seizure disorder alongside other psych issues. I felt so bad for the poor kid, he was so sweet, inquisitive, intuitive, but clearly very wounded. Dad wasn’t in the picture. I wondered, then, if there was some underlying trauma.

        Of course, some kids just have epilepsy.

        At one point, I inquired about a program for women with BPD and love addiction. They mentioned something to me about women with severe trauma having seizures.

        Trauma can become rooted deep in the core of our being, in our deep brain, and in our bodies. I wonder sometimes, if Seizures or tourettes, if it’s the result of some deeply rooted tic, or deeply rooted traumatic memory.

    • Hmm, Michelle — good question.
      I’m not sure. I think she’s obviously gone through a lot, and I’m definitely against this whole idea of people being labeled incompetent and then stuck with conservators. Like she’s said, I believe, it’s infantilizing. However, she does seem pretty lost, though certainly all those years of being forced with conservators and who knows what else didn’t help her… And I imagine her parents were terrible when she was little…

  10. Dear Daniel,
    I watched your videos on sexual abuse of mothers on sons and I found exactly what I realized by myself after reading Alice Miller’s book.
    I am wondering if you can recommend other videos or books on this topic but more focused on Mothers/Daughters. My experience involves enmeshment, control, and a mother living through her daughter life, seeing her as an extension of herself.. no boundaries.. no emotional and physical privacy, requesting and giving body exposure, and objectification of the daughter as a mean to be gratified. It also involved psychological violence (not talking to her child for several days as a punishment), requiring full disclose of her daughter romantic life when teenager and threatening with violence if otherwise. I am also wondering what behavior could develop in the child due to this type of relationship, anorexia, self-harming, headaches, etc..?
    Anything you can suggest to help understanding, it would be great. Thanks a lot!

    • Hi Luna,
      Hmm…. I’m not sure I have any good books on this subject to recommend!!! There are probably some good books on the subject out there — and maybe some other followers of this website could recommend them. Wishing you the best — Daniel

      • There are quite a few books & video series on parental enmeshment .. there’s a book called ‘Emotional Incest’ which you may find helpful/validating, others you’d find if you search on the topic of parentified daughters and also engulfing/devouring mothers. A very insightful YouTube account with videos on enmeshment is by Deborah Lara (she’s a couples & family psychotherapist), also psychologist Dr Kim Sage. Both I really rate.

  11. Thanks for your YouTube videos, Daniel. They helped me put my family and my experiences with psychotherapy into perspective. I’m considering fixing a few trauma symptoms with self-therapy. I read your essays on the subject and would like to know if you think someone can apply some of the techniques of somatic and Internal Family Systems therapy to herself. For me, working with therapists is too much like dealing with my family. It can cause as many problems for me as it solves because of the similarities. I’ve been through many years of therapy with minimal successes and am hoping that self-work will take care of a few matters.

  12. Wow I am so on your wavelength. You are extraordinary. I just want to dive into you and immerse myself there forever.

  13. My adult son has estranged from me. He was not abused or neglected as a child. We had a good and loving relationship that was mutual. He married a woman who we thought was wonderful. But as it became closer to the wedding, she began excluding our family. They soon became pregnant and I was overly excited at being a first time grandparent in my mid 60’s. Her mother (who is truly a narcissist), would purchase the same gifts as me just because she knew what I was getting. She made sure her gifts arrived before mine. This upset me and I didn’t handle it as graciously as I should have. Before the child was born , I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to be involved in this child’s life.

    I was severely traumatized by my son’s father. We were married 8 years and I was pregnant when we separated. This trauma did affect my reactions to the rejection from my daughter-in-law.

    I just watched video “Two reasons people reunited with their parents”. During this time, I have spent hours deeply reflecting on my part in this estrangement. I’ve studied family relationships, watched 100’s of videos and been to counseling. I did realize how I need to heal from my x’s abuse and took actions for that healing to occur. I realized that I overwhelmed my daughter-in-law. I also realized that I have an intensive personality.

    I am a different person today. My relationships with everyone else are better and they acknowledge the change in me. My husband and other son and I are are closer than ever.

    My estranged son will read my emails but in over five years has only responded three times. They have been informed about the changes in my life and I have sent sincere apologies for my actions. I have volunteered to let them tell me anything they want to without me defending myself.

    I have now come to the conclusion that his wife is not a narcissist but has learned a lot of that behavior from her mother. Her mother placed her in a situation that she had to choose between me and her mother. She love bombed everyone in the beginning and then began convincing my son that he should turn his back on his family.

    Your video said there were two reasons why children would reunite. One was an honest change in the parents and the other was societal pressure.

    What else could be keeping my son from me? I now have two grandchildren. One I’ve never seen.

    My heart is broken. Most days, I function well but in those quiet times, I still grieve heavily for the loss of my son, my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren.

    Their silent treatment is abuse.

    Is there any hope?

    • Hi Mickey,
      Sorry for my very short reply, but I have almost no internet, and won’t for several weeks. But I want to say this: there is always hope…somehow!!
      I also made a video on the subject you brought up: https://youtu.be/aoV6lYl3hZM
      Perhaps you have already seen it… And perhaps something in it applies to your situation, though I don’t want to be presumptuous.
      Maybe others here have ideas too.
      All the best, Daniel

  14. Dear Daniel and Friends,
    I come here to ask about the topic of doubt. I’m thinking about the situation where a person is starting to doubt even what they see/hear. But I also mean another kind – doubting whether one is doing the right thing, saying the right thing, etc. quite chronically to the point of extreme panic, etc. I believe they might be too unrelated, but if you can make a video on either, or none even. i realise a lot of people ask for videos. If you think this will be useful to people, I’d love to hear you on this.

    I ask for this because I’m going through a similar situation. I was shamed everyday about very fundamental things, and this hasn’t gone much down (I’m 22). They shamed about eating habits, the way I talk/sound, the way I sit, the way my eyes move (yes, sounds bizarre but they picked some tiny thing and exaggerated it to the point that I have started to have problems – eye twitching, I end up staring at people for too long etc. I didn’t have these at all before 2020, they developed because of things my family did. They bullied me initially into shame and doubting myself, after which it just became a cycle of social anxiety, shame and even more self doubt . My face and other muscles start twitching before I even say hi, I keep doubting “am I staring rn?”, “am I doing something wrongly” etc. when I do manage to control it for a while.
    The whole thing has developed to the point that I’m having to hide my face. I can control it for a short period when I go to the kitchen etc. to put my characteristic poker face (been doing it for years. Positive emotions are met with disinterest, negative ones with rejection and violent fights even. Maybe this caused the twitching?). Otherwise I hide myself in my room. It’s heartbreaking, I’m mocked by people outside, and I fear my family will soon figure out what is happening with me.
    They deny saying the things they say just minutes after, and violate me all the time. When I am journalling, I start gaslighting myself – “maybe they’re right they didn’t say it”. I’m aware of it, but it clouds my mind from writing until my mind is blank. Essentially inducing doubt to the point that I’m tired of fighting and blank out.

    I just finished uni somehow. It was lonely and stigmatising with all these things going with my face and all this panic. I want to get a remote job and move out. It’ll be hell, and seems impossible, but it’s the only way I can see to even begin to have a sense of safety to start anything. Your channel actually led me to even be at this point, otherwise I might have been much much worse. It gave me encouragement to cut off my friends who were feeding into and on my shame. It also feels that I have an ally, who was able to provide great insight into my family when I was fully doubting myself and thinking my family had legitimate reasons to shame me.

    Thanks for everything man. I feel sad for making a long ramble post. Only posting it hoping that someone finds their experience mirrored in this.

    Big hugs,

    • I recognise myself in you. When I was younger (between 12 and 18) and started becoming an individual, I was critiisized a lot by my mother (only). Whatever ever I did should have been done differently, was done wrong and I was made to feel inadequate or stupid.. I lost all confidence. What healed me was moving out and not seeing my parents much (3 times a year). This gave me the opportunity to become myself and grow in confidence. and my life truly started. I have never regretted moving away from my parents although peace is there with them (and my mother in particular) now. This did not happen without councelling and self discoveries. Find yourself by moving away in my advise . With you in spirit .

  15. Hi Daniel, is there any way to safely search for therapists in California who are ideologically opposed to forced psychiatric commitment on suicidal or extremely mentally struggling people? There’s so much evidence against it, it’s horrifically traumatic, and if a huge hand in completely destroying me as a person and making me more aggressive and chronic in my suicide attempts for years. I have written lots about my story in different places and people seem to be very sympathetic for the most part. I am tired of trying to justify my trauma to therapists who believe in this. It is extremely retraumatizing. Nothing else in my life holds a candle to how traumatic the experiences I had were and it created a revolving door cycle as it often does because I kept attempting suicide. It’s an anomaly I am still alive. Rape, emotional/mild physical abuse from my mother outside of psychiatry, extensive doxxing and harassment online, nothing is even close to the damage of the gaslighting from my mother and the government’s use of the psychiatric system to drug and abuse me in every form into pretending to want to live.

    What do I do Daniel? I feel less alone as I have found other survivors, but most American professionals have drank the Kool-aid of dehumanizing suicidal people for “their own benefit.”

    • Hi Janice,

      Here are some resources that might help you narrow down your search. I don’t know if any of these groups have updated lists, but if you do some hunting and maybe look at their links and their affiliated pages (facebook, etc.) you might find something good. It really can be a challenge to find someone good, especially someone good who is willing to take a real stand, and who doesn’t charge a zillion dollars an hour. Like you said, so many therapists have drunk the Kool-Aid (in more ways than one).






      All the best, Daniel

      P.S. I’ll also reply to this on Youtube, as I saw you posted it there too. Maybe it will be able to help give others some ideas too

    • Hi,

      I’m sorry you are in this position. It’s truly awful and so isolating and such a barrier to actual help when it is greatly needed. I have dealt with institutional abuse, inappropriate chemical restraints, and other trauma and have long struggled with not being able to be honest with anyone when I need support to keep myself safe because that road has previously been harmful to me without helping. It’s very difficult to say the least. I’m not sure if this is helpful but this is a resource that might give you some places to search or people to contact. It is kindly made free and downloadable by @tiny.lantern on instagram (in case it doesn’t open the document properly). They are an advocate for community support rather than carceral intervention when there is risk of suicide as well as suicidal ideation. You might try messaging the person who runs the account for further resources. I am not certain if they are located in Canada or the States but hopefully they could point you towards some safe practitioners and spaces. I wish you all the best and peace and health and the future, and I truly hope things become less painful for you and you can access the support you need and that is helpful to you.


  16. Hey Daniel,

    Do you know Scott Kiloby and his inqueries?
    If you don’t know him, I think you HAVE TO watch some of his youtube videos.
    He teaches healing from childhood trauma by accessing repressed emotions.
    The context of his view on trauma is the same as yours and he has developed laser sharp tools to access and release repressed emotions.
    Check him out.
    I’m so enthusiastic because I’m in the middle of healing from trauma and it really works.
    It’s not easy.
    As you know I have to deal with grief, hurt, anger, sadness…
    But already feeling so much relief in my day to day life.

  17. Hi Daniel,

    I just watched your video about why you quit being a therapist. My husband sent it to me because of how frustrated I feel lately. I am not a therapist and I am glad I am not. But I got into the business of working with people on their emotional wounds. I have training in a somatic trauma processing modality (Embodied Processing) and I learned from other icons in the field like Gabor Mate, Richard Schwartz, Peter Levine and Stephen Porges. I first applied everything I learned to myself (and I keep doing that with new information before I use it with other people). I used to be anxious 24/7 almost my whole life but when I started working with what I learned I saw the anxiety dissipating. I never went to see a “professional” about it because I knew they would diagnose me and put me on pills. And here I was healing myself without any of these things. Everything you said in your video about the mental health industry is what I already noticed myself without even being a therapist. I understood that just from observing and talking to people and then applying some common sense.

    I am writing to you because I am about to give it all up. Fore once because I hate the business aspect of it. Always having to fight for clients and worrying about my own survival in this horrible world where existing has a price. Also, I am not a licensed mental health professional. I don’t want to be one because of all the things you said. I know what I do helps people. They come to me after they’ve been to therapy and it didn’t help them. But I also know I need to be careful with what I do or say and I am so frustrated by how limiting this is. So I call myself a coach which I hate for what the coaching industry has become. I wish I could just keep helping people for free because I love what I do and I am weirdly able to handle it. Of course since I’m not a therapist I am not dealing with the really heavy cases, so maybe I wouldn’t be able to handle that. Who knows. But I am ok with what I do. I mostly work with the trauma that most people would not consider as such and that we all have (I call it ordinary trauma). The one that comes from “normal” parenting and just existing in this broken world.

    Not sure why I am telling you all this. But everything you said in that one video deeply resonated with me. I wish there was a way to collaborate because even all your other videos and what you write on your website is like a YES, YES, YES to me. I would be saying all of those things publicly too, however sadly I am not allowed to because I am not a licensed mental health professional…

    I think that if we really want to change the world to the better we would have to help every single person understand everything that you are saying and start a revolution from within. I think that that would make a lot of industries obsolete or at least minimize the need for them. Which would of course piss a lot of people off…

    Anyway, I could go on and on. Thanks for reading this. I am very glad that I came across your videos. Thank you so much for being a voice in the right direction!


  18. Hi Daniel,

    I want to just let you know that your videos have had a profound effect on my life, and I am eternally grateful for your work, and kindness. For context, my father passed away 5 years ago. He was a talented writer, but suffered from schizophrenia. I spent every weekend with him for 25 years, and though I don’t regret it, I always found it sad that he was completely alone and abandoned. He was medicated almost all his life, and at times suffered greatly. I believe the medication, hospitalisation and mental health system caused just as much of his pain through its lack of empathy.

    Your videos have allowed me to see my father for who he really was, a deeply traumatised man, for whom his parents were ashamed to admit their failings for. Before he died, my father confessed that he was abducted as a 2 year old child when his father had passed out drunk while looking after him. He was found 48 hours later, but was never the same child. This story was gaslit by my family at his funeral, to suggest it was a “funny story”, rather than a trauma that affected his life immensely. His psychosis was dismissed as a “chemical imbalance” rather than a reflection of childhood trauma, and the neglectful mistakes of his parents, my grandparents.

    Your videos are healing in a way therapy never could be. Due to your compassion, your broken wings videos, I have finally processed my fathers life, and am able to heal. For as long as you are around, I’d like to donate to you every so often.

    Thank you Daniel. You have changed my life for the better.

    God bless.

    • Thank you Justin. I’m wishing you the best. Thank you for sharing what you’ve shared. Very intense.

  19. Hi Daniel, I too recently came across your videos on YouTube and I’ve gained much insight after processing what I’ve seen so far. What are you’re thoughts on homosexuality? Specifically, is it from psychological trauma from childhood or are people born that way?

    • Hi John Doe,
      I’m not sure. I’m not sure exactly why I’m heterosexual, to be honest!
      But I think that childhood trauma can affect all sorts of things regarding sexuality, including people’s expression of heterosexuality (and homosexuality and bisexuality and all of it).

  20. Hi Daniel, l find myself stuck in emotional releases based deeply in self pity rather than grief and it is debilitating yet l can’t seem to get out of that mind set. Any suggestions or advice, ? I feel the unexpressed emotions have done and are clogging up my system to the point of dysfunction as an operating person. It’s horrible. Thanks

    • Pete Walker has a book: The Tao of Fully Feeling
      It explains the wisdom and flow of emotional processes while healing from trauma. It may answer your questions. I listen on audiobook. Good luck!

  21. Dear Daniel,
    I just watched your youtube video “The Two Things That Deeply Psychologically Change a Person” and you touched me deeply with it because I can relate to it. You were able to express into words what I was feeling and going through the past years. Afterwards it strenghtened and encouraged my feeling of hope, independence, connecting with my inner child and having the courage to live my true self and setting boundaries. I will turn 25 this year and even though I sometimes feel bitterness and think “Oh I will never be able to resolute this and heal” hearing your story lifts me up. I’m able to work through this. Thank you so much for your honesty, your work, your kindness. You inspired me! Selma

  22. I found a single video of yours this morning; it covered your thoughts on OCD which absolutely enthralled me. Since being diagnosed with my smorgasbord of neurodivergences, I have always been fascinated with information concerning them. For the better part of this Saturday, in between studies, I have been watching many of your videos, encapsulated by each. This semester I have undergone exponential self-evaluation, discovery, and psychological pruning. I believe that I had a good childhood; though I was emotionally hurt in many instances by my parents, I still think that they gave me a fine childhood. What brought me to this page was your video on authenticity. After nearly reaching the end, I recognised that I could feel that sense of incoming tears when a topic strikes close to my heart, and by the end of the video, I was holding back tears, tears of joy in being understood. That video was beautiful; the way you converse and speak your mind brings me back to the way I thought as a child and teenager, even as a young adult. The one moment that pushed me to this site was the one where you spoke of your doubts about publishing the video. I would like to let you know that you are helping people heal. I thought that I was engaging in the right behaviour to develop, but your words have altered the alignment of my neural rails in such a way that I believe my course to be truer than before. Thank you

  23. Hey Daniel. In a video you made (I can’t recall the exact one) you said you believe if theoretically someone resolved all their traumas they would no longer have an unconscious mind. I’m curious what exactly you meant by this. Would this person have basically a perfect memory? What difference would that make practically? There are people with extraordinary memories. Remembering what they ate for breakfast 20 years ago, etc. I’d assume they can recall traumatic events with similar clarity. Would it be like that? Do you think perhaps the unconscious could just be a biological limitation for most people independent of a reaction to trauma? Thanks.

    • Hi Daniel.
      I am a young clinical psych phd student. I study psychoanalytic therapeutic methods derived from object relations theorists and self psych theorists. I’ve noticed you often use their language and conceptualizations of the self and how change occurs. I particularly enjoyed watching the video discussing your critiques of psychotherapy. I am curious about your opinions on psychoanalytic theories. I hear their influence on you, but I wonder if you are trying to avoid jargon or if you diverge from their ideas in some fundamental way.

      I also enjoyed one of your videos where you discussed your viewer’s criticism that your videos are too intellectual. I don’t think so. Seems like effective sublimation on your part – you keep everything digestible and experience-near.

      This is all just to say that your videos are very intellectually stimulating and affectively activating. Almost a substitute for real social interactions!

      Nearly all of the comments on this page have requests for advice or some sort of response from you. There are not many spaces to discuss these topics in such depth and clearly people are craving it.

      I would like to know one thing if you have the space to respond. Are you naturally this conscientious or did you have to develop it?

      • In answer to your question…probably both. But I think I had to be extra-conscientious in order to survive some of the crazy things in my childhood — to have any hope of escaping and having a functional adulthood…

  24. Hi Daniel, I’ve been listening to your videos a lot recently. You seem like the type of therapist I have wanted to have, but sadly never got matched up with. I know you don’t practice anymore, but do you have any therapists you could vouch for? I would like to work with someone that I can believe in, but have no connections in this world of therapy.

    • Hi Benny,
      Alas, I don’t have any therapists to recommend. I having been making referrals in quite a while…
      I’m sorry about that.
      I’m sure there are some good ones out there, though!!
      Wishing you the best,

  25. Hello Daniel, I randomly stumbled upon one of your videos on youtube [The Two Things That Deeply Psychologically Change a Person] and now I am here. I am a 22-year-old from India. I was happy to come across someone who also spends time thinking about the ‘universal dilemmas of children’. It is such a complex issue, I mean, there is nature involved and there is science involved and there is free will involved and a whole new life as well! [from the parents’ perspective]. There are no prerequisites for parenthood and love has such twisted meanings in each and everyone’s dictionary. Children either really grow up in their childhood [when they are not supposed to] or they never do.

    I have a theory [for whatever it is worth] that I have come to develop as a result of trying to understand this conundrum: All children fall on a spectrum with empathy on one end of the spectrum and narcissism and sociopathy on the other end. A child could fall anywhere on the spectrum depending on the kind of childhood they have had and the requisite coping mechanisms they developed as a result. [of course, keeping nature v. nurture in mind].

    But no matter where one falls on the spectrum, the aim should be to try and make it back to the center, to be able to take care of oneself, to be able to set boundaries, and to practice empathy and gratitude.

    Just wanted to share my views on that I guess, sending all my love to you.

    • I was reading your comment Nidhi, Thank you for sharing this…

      What stuck out for me was empathy and gratitude… This two things are key for me and I bring myself back to those two crucial ideas as much as I can remember too…

      Because I choose to empathize with my late father and mostly my mother and some what with my sister who might die from cancer as well with others who I share this human experience with, I can not really get into the “whoa is me Tripp” and have been and am doing now – getting over myself and accepting that I got fucked over and damaged by people who were inadequate as parents … Well, obviously I am not the only one to suffer this , I mean, get into a long line ahead of me with my grievances and story to tell…

      I tend to be and show Narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies as well as show large degrees of empathizing provided that I feel safe with a particular type of person and situation… That’s how my psyche developed, and I tend to be compartmentalized in how I navigate this consensual reality that we all co exist with…

      Anyway, thank you for your insight Nidhi .

  26. Daniel – great stuff. Love it.

    When I was 9 my dad was murdered in a home invasion robbery at my grandparents’s house. Up until that time I had an amazing life. Love and joy pervading my family. My dad was amazing. FULL OF LIFE. His murder crushed my family and my extended family.

    And here’s the tough part – no one knew how to show up for me afterwards. I’m 62 now. 20 plus years of sobriety in AA, the last 7 years doing work with a somatic experiencing therapist for shock trauma and the last 2 years doing work with a NARM coach for childhood developmental trauma. Also working an ACA program the last 2 years.

    Your video describes what’s happening to me.

    I’m going through a phase where I’m separating from my family of origin and FINALLY healing. HARDEST thing I’ve ever done.

    All the work I’ve done over the last two decades plus has brought me to that place where I’ve FINALLY adjusted my locus of control so it is shifted INWARD instead of OUTWARD. It’s a process but it’s finally rooted deep within. I’m clearing away old debris from family members when I was a child and finally feeling what it’s like to be an adult or having adult consciousness.

    I can honestly say I feel blessed by what initially was a horrific experience- dorsal vagal shutdown and dissociation and toxic shame to a huge degree. (Love Stephen Porges’s work -Polyvagal theory and also the Kaiser ACE study.)

    Now after all this time I’m finally having the grief cries you described. It’s incredible. Like a full body release. Just started happening 2 years ago. I never could cry like this before. Now it’s the BEST natural high EVER. Every time I cry that deep, soulful cry I feel vibrancy and vitality expanding.

    The last thing I’ve noticed is the compassion I’ve developed for my family. I now recognize THEY didn’t have the capacity to help me regulate my nervous system 53 years ago when my dad was murdered. All the work I’ve been doing AND continue to do moment to moment has lead me to a place where I can see all their flawed attempts to be caregivers to me but they failed me despite their best efforts as they lacked capacity. They could have tried to gain capacity but they didn’t. And that’s on them. That’s not my responsibility. So now I am able to detach from my family and start a NEW life with people I can TRUST through earned attachment slowly and appropriately.

    So I just wanted to reiterate how much I appreciate your video about trauma and grief based upon your childhood trauma history and the evolution of your healing. It tracks mine. Which is validating since I do believe from a scientific perspective (Kaiser ACE study snd other studies which validate it) childhood developmental trauma is probably the most insidious danger to the wellbeing of our species and needs to be brought more and more to the forefront of our human, lived experience BECAUSE it is NOT okay what is happening to the human family.

    So bravo for your hard work and putting beautiful content out here. I’m sharing it with my AA brothers as I often share in the rooms of AA how trauma is a likely culprit for CAUSING addiction and needs to be addressed for a deep healing to occur.

    Thanks again.

    Great work. ❤️


    • Thank you David, and thank you for sharing this. I am really wishing you the best — only good things!!

    • Dear David thank you for sharing your story. I’m similar age and also just finding the courage to separate from my last family members who’ve perpetrated the toxic view of me. Anyways. Greetings from me in Australia. I’m longing for those deep sobbing crying releases

  27. Hello Daniel,
    I have contacted you a while ago when I first found your channel, but I have been listening to your videos every day since (I listen to them as podcasts with headphones on and going through the entire playlist every time) and I am profoundly impressed. It is not an exaggeration to say that your videos have been way more helpful to me than anything else I have read or watched that is psychiatry related and I have been doing research on the subject for over 10 years. I have noticed that most psychologists and psychiatrists go on and on and on about the problem of dating narcissists or psychopaths or borderlines and view those abusive experiences as isolated incidents in one’s life, disconnected from their past and blame the events in the adult person’s romantic life about their symptoms. They also never (or almost never) mention anything about abusive parents or what leads someone towards choosing abusive people as friends or partners once they grow up. That was very frustrating and I felt that we beat around the bush, but I was never able to pinpoint the real problem and your videos have helped me do exactly that.

    Especially your video about borderline personality disorder, I was walking on the street hearing it and I had to sit down and listen to it again, twice and it was so difficult to not start crying in public by your kind validation. I have been a diagnosed borderline ever since 17 and it was an extremely humiliating, stigmatizing and abusive label and it was greatly weaponized by my abusive parents. You are excited? You must be hypomanic, about to be manic. You are setting boundaries? You are so hostile and must be going through splitting and devalue us, we did nothing wrong. You remember past abuse? Ok, now you must be getting psychotic, those things never happened, you really need to see a psychiatrist to ”get the help you need”. Of course we need none, if anything, you should be grateful that we do the best we can for you, despite your mental illness. You are the only person I have ever come across who does not view borderlines as some kind of defective seductive beings with a bit of psychosis, who will love bomb you and discard you afterwards. You will always have my gratitude for that.
    You mentioned in one of your videos that thanks to your website you have made many friends. I don’t know when that took place and if you would want a new friend, but if you ever feel that, you are always welcome to email me and I would consider myself honored to be your friend.
    Thank you for your great work,

  28. hello my friend i looked at your website your yt videos i feel the same but i am very touched by your story. i wrote to you in yt. i hope you can answer me.
    ps are you still without an apartment ? on the road.
    i am from germany. and yes my family is just as toxic . . all sad. daniel
    the question how to write a diary correctly ? what to keep in mind ? do you have something like a guide ?
    i just wanted to check in. dear friend. until then all the best.
    ps your books gibst unfortunately only in english? or is what for German also planned.
    ? I can a little english but not fluently to understand everything.
    in love in gratitude.
    may god protect you. daniel

    Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

    • Thank you Frank! Yes, I still do not have my own home, but I travel a lot and often rent short-term places to live — and for now this works for me and I am happy. Someday maybe I will settle down and try to get a proper home of my own! I don’t know if there is a proper way to write a journal. I think it is best sometimes just to try, to explore, and to see what happens. I do have a self-therapy book for sale on this website, “From trauma to enlightenment,” and maybe that is something of a guide for journaling. I wish you the best!

  29. Hi. Michael Murray here Psych B.A. foster child broken home, and by your terms, perhaps running in dissociative state for years… Please contact for I think your insight may help my young family of 7.

    • Hi Michael,
      I’m not sure exactly what I can offer to help you, but I hope you find my writing and my videos of some value!
      Wishing you only the best,

  30. Daniel, you are a spectacular human being. What you have shared on YouTube is being integral in my own personal healing. I wish to share my gratitude, but anything I can say here is only the tip of the gratitude iceberg. I found you looking for someone saying bad things about Jordan Peterson (to show some of my baggage I was carrying). I have cried many times watching you. I am now Journaling and it is a life changing experience. Thank you for your beauty, your wisdom and your raw, unfiltered truth. Like so many things, truth is more nourishing when unfiltered.

  31. Dear Daniel,
    Thank you for being one of most profound teachers along with Gabor Mate, Peter Breggin, Gordon Neufeld, Alice Miller, Carl Jung, Lao Tzu, Krishnamurti. You might be a modern day mystic how you break down these topics so beautifully in your signature Daniel way :). Doesn’t feel right taking in your material and not letting you know just how absolutely exceptional of a teacher & human you are. To be vulnerable in public the way you are and validate the rest of us who are still figuring out how to blossom authentically into our true selves, is a gift you give to the world. Thank you for your courageous truth of self healing. I’ve been crying for about 3 years now and knew I felt lighter after each cry but didn’t understand exactly what was going on. I now realize with your help that I was grieving & still grieve today. The emotions that were locked in my body was causing it to physically break down. I’m an evolving work in progress through self healing, which is more than I can say from 25 stagnant years of therapy in TN & CT.
    What is most difficult is not my history or the grieving, it is that I traumatized/traumatize my 14 year old daughter by projection & repeating dysfunctional patterns. When I started to see my unconscious bad qualities I put on my child the guilt was overwhelming at times. Although progress has been made I still mess up, I struggle with self hatred for this. Through your videos I have learned I was in no position psychologically to have a child in the first place and that is heartbreaking to admit. Why being impatient and selfish is so hard to banish I don’t know, seems so easy to just learn new ways and stop already but that’s not my experience. Do you have any input or videos about how to deal with this? I really have to work on getting to know myself and inner child, understand triggers, work to integrate my shadow.
    I love your videos, especially ‘What a Child Really Needs 1 & 2’. From here on out my life is dedicated to providing her the most empathic, loving, nurturing, attuned, present parent I can be. No dating, drinking or drugs, getting sleep, regular exercise, mediation, yoga, healthy food choices, NO corporal punishment, not gossiping, limited use of technology & internet to reduce exposure to porn, no cell phone, understanding & respecting her & my autonomy, practicing boundaries, has been a start toward goals of being a better parent. I can’t expect her to embody concepts if I don’t do them myself and set a good example. Homeschooling her the past few years has been nice also along with tending a garden, propagation of plants, planting native flowers for the local pollinators, bike to the Chesapeake Bay with our nets and goggles exploring nature, hike, build fires, cook, crochet, play with our 2 cats & Basenji. We are reading a fabulous book called ‘The Well-Armored Child’ maybe you’ve heard of it, a guide to preventing sexual abuse of children.
    Any who, this is where I’m at on the journey. I’ve learned much from you and I wanted you to know how grateful I am knowing you’re somewhere in the world spreading the beautiful truth helping so many.
    Love all your content and you! Thank you for being you! I eagerly await your next video. Many blessings, jackie

  32. Hi Daniel, I am turning 30 in about 3 weeks and im currently in the stage of life where i just want more for myself and to heal and to help others heal in the process. I listened to your youtube channel titled as “Why I quit being a therapist” and you reviewed all the reasons why i never became one or invested in becoming one. I used to dream as a young girl about helping other people through their own issues and eventually became the “therapist friend” in my friend group. I am very happy to be that person for them and to help them and guide them. I recently discovered Abraham Hicks teachings and started to realize how we manifest our world based on our emotions which is our frequency in this world. I want to help people and i don’t feel becoming a therapist is the least resistant way of doing this. Its so much money and my income is low. I have the will and means to get a loan and do what i need to do financially however i want to invest in something i know will get me to where i need to go as far as helping others heal and become the highest version of themselves. i read about self help coaches but that’s just a whole other topic and same side of being a therapist in this world. I do want to make money but not in the means of hurting others and taking advantage of them. Then i discovered about holistic therapists which see you more as a whole and get to the root cause of your issues. and i loved this as i resonate most with it. (also please excuse my poor English skills lol). but being a holistic therapist still requires to go through the huge loan borrowing big pharma therapist degree route. i want to be educated on the things that i need to learn to im not avoiding the years of education but i don’t feel like going through the American university way is always the best. at this point im just really looking for some guidance and you are a person i feel will understand what i mean. if you reply, many thanks in advance! thank you!

    • Hi Steph,
      I can certainly understand the hesitation in taking out a massive loan. I did it — and ended up paying it all back — and loved my career as a therapist, but just didn’t love working in the mental health system… But I guess you know all this already! I’m not sure exactly what thoughts I have for you. So many different options… Also, any therapist (or coach) of value, regardless of training, is going to be holistic — have a broad knowledge base, look at as many aspects of a person’s life as possible, and try to figure out the root cause of a problem. However, many people who come for help don’t have the motivation or energy to work to heal the root cause — it’s so much work! Many people want easier fixes. But still, as a clinician it’s always important to seek the root causes, if only to have the insight to know what the problem is… I send you greetings wish you well on your career search!!

  33. Daniel, I have just received a detailed psychological assessment by a psychologist. The assessment was done in order to keep my social security benefits. I expected your standard psychiatric language and basic focus on symptoms, but was crushed by the very personal and detailed breaking down of my character, life, and behavior. I felt like an animal reading it, being studied in a clinical, cold manner. Though I recognized some truth in there, it was very painful to read.

    This assessment took place in the span of 2 and a half hours, over the phone, and she read a bunch of questions. I felt like even in that short time she could see right through me, breaking down all my deepest faults. I feel so much shame.

    I was wondering if you, people you know, or your former clients ever had this experience. How you or they dealt with it, or any thoughts you’d share with someone dealing with this experience.

    Thank you for your work. I’ve been following it for about a decade now.

    • I am so sorry to hear this Brian. Some mental health professionals are so incredibly stupid and awful. They forget that their job is to be useful to people, not to harm them. Unfortunately, I have heard many stories like this. The only thing I can think of is to somehow figure out how to try to derive value from it. The closest in my personal experience, in my life, is that a few times when I was younger I overheard people saying terrible things about me, and it made me feel like I wanted to die. But, over the years, I found I was able to learn from some of these things and use them to grow. That was the only consolation I got from it! Wishing you only the best. Daniel

      • Thank you so much for your response. I have mixed feelings about it. Towards the end of the assessment the tone of the conversation shifted. She became very supportive instead of analytical and cold, and sort of minimized the absolute validity of the assessment. I didn’t have to read this assessment, though I got the impression she said this because she thought I may and might be disturbed by it.

        In order to get my benefits (I would like to work in the future, but struggle at the moment), this kind of assessment is necessary, and an intense focus on the issues I’m struggling with is necessary as well for a successful case. She’s working on behalf of a non-profit that helps low income and homeless people…so I think she is simply trying to do her best with a flawed system.

        I wanted to know more about myself. Most of these things I already knew, or were kind of subconscious, but to see it spelled out in such a blunt and intelligent way was overwhelming. I felt a lot of shame, anger, embarrassment, and hopelessness. Thank you for being so open about your suicidal ideation. I actually had that response after reading this assessment. I didn’t have a plan or anything but started looking up disturbing information online for a little bit.

        I called my therapist after that. Luckily, he is very trauma focused and supports me first and foremost, not my family system. He said it is likely these are ancient wounds being opened up of feeling constantly scrutinized, criticized and judged as a child. I agree.

        I’ve settled down a little. I just read it today. I talked about it with my therapist, a friend, and shared this with you. That’s been helpful to ground myself.

        I do think there are things of value in this assessment. I’ll try to keep them in mind, but try not to get overwhelmed by a shame spiral.

  34. Hi Daniel, I’m living with my narcissistic family and probably my father has NPD. I’m in the age 28 and struggling with surviving. Last year, I was diagnosed as bipolar, however it most probably was CPTSD. Anyways, even if the symptoms were bipolar symptoms, I decided to stop taking my meds. I started it gradually at first, like I was taking 2 lithium per day and then started to take only 1. Then, after a month, I stopped taking it completely. Now, these days, most probably because of stress, I can only sleep 4 hours a day. I wanna rule the possibility of getting manic and losing my opportunities for a healthy escape and independence from my heavily abusive family out. I saw you were saying the off-med transition takes a while, but I didn’t know what to do and stopped taking them, I had enough of their side effects. I would be glad if you can help me in this surviving journey of mine. Peace.

    • Hi Furkan,
      I don’t know that I have good advice for you, except try to live a very healthy lifestyle! Also, it is quite possible that you came off your medication too quickly. That can cause real problems. Many people take 6 months to 1 year or longer to taper off their medications. That is often safer. I also know some people who go back on the medication for the while if they start becoming manic, because becoming manic can be a drug withdrawal reaction. And then, when they are stabilized, they start tapering again. I would google “Harm reduction guide to coming off psychiatric drugs.” It is a book that offers free downloads. Also, look at Inner Compass Initiative. And http://www.madinamerica.com — much good information in these places. Wishing you the best. Daniel

      • In regards to a harm reduction approach to safely coming off of psychiatric medication, survivingantidepressants is a brilliant and revolutionary peer support online forum. Their highly knowledgeable, experienced, dedicated volunteer staff of moderators do phenomenal work guiding thousands towards becoming and living drug-free, incl. how to design and manage successful tapers.

  35. Dear Daniel. I have been inspired by you tube videos and have found them very helpful in understanding my own challenges. Do you have any thoughts on anti psychotic medication withdrawal as a result of reduction and/or discontinuation. I look forward to hearing from you .Helen

  36. I am 21 years old struggling dude trying to understand my own traumas and challenges. I love your work so much. It’s very insightful and encouraging to actually see somebody think HONESTLY AND DEEPLY about their true selves. It encourages me to think about my experiences in the same way and also be more accepting toward others. Best psychology videos on the internet! Good luck! David from Slovakia

  37. Hi Daniel!
    I’m realy intrested what are your thaughts on the subject of personality disorders. Could you consider making a video about it?

        • Yes, I do. I’ve seen quite a few people who were diagnosed with different personality disorders grow and change and no longer be diagnosed with them. Personally I never diagnosed anyone with a personality disorder, though. I just see those labels as insults. But people with lots of problems can definitely grow and change. Some people don’t, some some people (especially with a good healthy environment and a lot of inner motivation to change) can and do. Wishing you the best, Daniel

        • dear jakob, what is a personality disorder? [retoric] what is a damaged personality? at age 14 i became a member of christian religion, jw.org. many were depressed. until my 20th year i did not believe in depression. but when life became unbearable i speak out in 1999, at age 38. a year later a colleague said: you are so depressed!

          anyway…i am still in my path of healing


  38. Hello Daniel, please make a video about making ethical money. I mean based on truth, you true self etc. I don’t want to live a fake live working in a corporation, but also don’t want to eat fruits from trees or be a freegan… 😉

  39. Hi Daniel,

    I have been really glad and happy to find your website and videos in the past couple of years. They speak to a lot of my own experiences in getting to know myself, being honest with myself, and working through what I’ve been through with my own parents. It is affirming, empowering and validating to see and hear of the experiences of someone else doing this very honestly. So thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I wanted to contact you because I wanted to ask if you’d be interested on speaking together or sharing your experiences and thoughts on how you feel (if you do) this all intersects with the traumas of society – that is, what it’s like being pushed into masculinity as a man, and for me, what it has been like being pushed into femininity as a woman (and obviously there are other things too like race and class). I recently watched your video identifying Amy Schumer’s comments about her son as what they are – not ok – and also noted when you spoke about how women may take out their pain from sexist abuse on their own children, and in turn men take out their pain from their mothers sexually violating them, on women in their lives. For me this was the first time I heard an explanation that made some sort of sense because ever since beginning the journey with myself in getting to know myself, I know first-hand of course that people cause harm for their own emotional reasons.

    I see people talking honestly about getting in touch with their childhood traumas and inner selves, and I see feminists accurately and honestly explaining the power structure that means women and girls are at the bottom, always making us at the service of men. But I have never seen these two worlds interact. I’ve never seen people plainly talk about it all – childhood trauma, and what this also means according to whichever gender you are.

    I think it is a powerful and crucial truth to talk about and provides answers to a lot within ourselves and within society.

    So, no pressure of course, if this isn’t something you want to engage in or talk further about. I thought I would put it out there and see if it’s something you’d be interested in chatting about.

    Thank you again for all you do.

    Kindest wishes,


    • Hi Samara,
      Thanks for your words. I appreciate it. At this time I’m pretty much keeping to myself — but I thank you for the offer to talk.
      And I’m glad you have found some value in what I have shared!
      all the best,

  40. Hi Daniel. I’ve been trying psychotherapy for a little over a year now and your content has helped me make sense of a lot and get through some roadblocks in this journey. Your approach has often encouraged me to verbalize and challenge many of the concepts you mention (forgiveness, good enough parenting, authenticity in therapy etc) and my therapist has been quite flexible in joining me, although not inclined to from the get go. The bond we have built has been unmatched for me so far, in spite of all the limitations of the therapeutic relationship. One thing I can’t move past currently is the concept of termination. I understand I might not actually NEED therapy at some point, but I can’t get over the idea of completely cutting ties with a person I’ve experienced this with. My therapist is very solidly focused towards that ending though. I’d appreciate your thoughts and perspective on this. Thanks

  41. Hi, Daniel

    I’ve posted once before to say hi and to ask a question, which you answered. Thank you for that. Now, I have another question about journaling. A long, long time ago, I took a class called “At A Journal Workshop”, which taught the methods developed by Dr. Ira Progoff and his use of the Intensive Journal Process. Do you know about this process? And, if so, what do you think of it? I found it to be very, very powerful, and more than a bit scary. I just think that I didn’t have the support system around me at the time to help me deal with all the emotions that came boiling up while journaling. So, I put the book and the journal away and haven’t touched them in 30 years. But now, in my 70’s, I want to try again. Never too late, I guess. Also, one last comment: I was reminded recently of a saying that I didn’t truly understand the first time I heard it in my youth, but I think I do now: “Every man is born twice: first from his mother’s womb and again when his father dies.” Have you ever heard this saying? It makes me take a deep breath every time I think of it. Yours on the journey, John

    • Hi John,
      Greetings again and thanks for the comment. I haven’t heard of that writer, or his process nor had I heard of the quotation you mentioned. Interesting! Warm greetings to you and good to hear from you,

  42. Hi Daniel,

    My name’s Georgia, I’m 23 from Australia. I recently came across your Youtube channel and have gone down a bit of a rabbit hole watching your content over the past few days. I find what you have to say so incredibly inspiring and brave. I have been so moved by your videos and you have given me so much hope and belief in my own healing process. I have a long way to go but seeing how authentic and passionate you are gives me hope that I can live my life in an equally authentic and passionate way.

    – Georgia

    • Thanks Georgia!
      Warm greetings to you. Meanwhile, I actually lived in Australia for almost a year in 1993, studied biology and zoology at Melbourne Uni. And I hitchhiked all around Australia. Had a wonderful time. Warm hello, Daniel

      • Thanks for your reply Daniel 🙂

        Oh wow! Did you happen to go to Broken Hill? I would absolutely love to do a big trip around Australia sometime soon – I definitely haven’t seen enough! If you have any recommendations let me know! Also, I’m currently at Melbourne Uni studying psychology and english.

        – Georgia

        • Hi Georgia,
          Interesting, so you are at Melbourne unity. I did a film screening of my film “open dialogue“ at Melbourne Uni in 2013, and it was the first time I had been there in 20 years. It was odd to be back, but good! I don’t know Broken Hill. I guess I would say I really loved the northern part of Australia, and also the outback. So beautiful, but actually the north east is beautiful and so is Victoria and New South Wales. Your whole country is gorgeous! All the best to you, Daniel

          • Oh amazing – just had a look for your film – it’s on the Melbourne Uni recovery library. I’ll check it out!

            Broken Hill is a small mining town on the border of NSW and Vic. It’s claim to fame is that it was where Mad Max was filmed and it’s very typical Australian bush lands. I was curious if you went because my family is from there 🙂 I love the north of Australia too – Northern Territory is beautiful.

            And your country is gorgeous too! I love America and its wilderness.

            All the best, Georgia

  43. Hi Daniel,
    I choose healing as my number one priority since fifteen years (I am 30 now). It has been a pretty lonely often scary but also rewarding path for me.
    I just want to express my gratitude for the work you do. Your videos gave me a great deal of Validation and make me feel nurtured in a very healing way.
    Thank you for being so brave to stand up for yourself and what you believe in! This makes me feel safer to do the same.
    Much love from Germany,

  44. Thanks for a very inspring video, Daniel. We watched it here while keeping the corona virus isolation.
    Are there any similar set ups like the one in Sweden, in other countries? Specifically, we’re asking about Israel.
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Gadi,
      There is soteria in Jerusalem. There’s a link to a person involved with them at the bottom of my open dialogue page in Hebrew, and he would know more than I do! http://wildtruth.net/dvdsub/he
      Just click on the first film and scroll to the bottom. His name is Itay kander.

  45. Thank you Daniel for sharing the truth! Your videos and movies are a charitable work to humanity. It is indeed comforting to witness that our essence never dies and can be retrieved with help and determination as seen in your videos, readers comments and my life. The courage and outcome of the women with the diagnosis of schizophrenia you have interviewed gives me hope. Family cult is a great word. Disconnecting from the renewing well of poison is the first step towards sanity from the brain washing. Keep up the great work! I believe what goes around comes around!

  46. Hi Daniel,
    You have helped & inspired me immeasurably. I connect so directly with your thoughts. I found your books when I needed them the most – thank you. I’ve learned so much & have found more helpful ways of navigating my role as a parent through your books, videos & links to other works. I particularly found the book by Alice miller’s son a compelling read & found I related in so many ways to the dynamics he described in his relationship with his mother. Staggering that she held such intellectual insight yet was unable to connect the dots in her own personal/emotional life.
    I wanted to ask you – is there anything you’d say or recommend reading/watching re the issue of grieving the parental & sibling relationships that we’ve felt no other option but to end ourselves (a choice that feels the most healthy by far but still is deeply painful..including the fear of future situations of death /[self]-destruction of said others to anticipate).
    In a nutshell, grieving the loss of those who are still living.
    Thank you in advance for anything you’re able to share on this.
    All the very best to you.

    • Hello A,
      Hmm, I actually don’t have any good recommendations for books or videos on this… Maybe they are out there but I just never found anything that really helped me on this subject… Maybe others who will read this have recommendations? Meanwhile, thanks for your kind words!

      • Thanks for your reply Daniel. I have read & listened to lots of things that have helped in round about ways – & I think I will re-read your book which I haven’t read since breaking from my parents (I came across it just before I came to the conclusion this is what I had to do for my sanity). For me, it’s a multi-faceted thing of grieving the losses of childhood & the nature of the parental rships as they were as well as grieving the ending of those rships, whilst continuing at times to wrestle with or at least reflect on the decision to break away itself particularly in the context of inevitable actual death of all those I’ve ceased contact with. It’s about the search for closure & resolution as much as possible (& the fear of not having reached this or facing doubts over this or having to deal with potential judgements from others after the actual deaths occur). It is so surreal & still shocks me sometimes to acknowledge the reality of everything surrounding my self imposed orphan-dom! I did empower myself through this choice & I believe I saved my own life. But the aftermath of grief is not easy. My ability to make sense of things as much as I have, with help from you & others, has made the biggest difference & has grounded me in my truth. I’m forever grateful for your long-arm support 🙂

  47. Hi Daniel,
    Just watched your YouTube video. Your dialogue is all mine. I went further and changed my name by Deed Poll such was the depth of hatred I had for them. Never went to either of their funerals, never visited their graves nor do I intend to. It should be a birth-right to grieve for one’s dead parents – they even cheated me out of that!
    All the best on your journey. Cheers.

  48. Hello!
    I haven’t gone through all your stuff, but I ran across the Sermon on the Mount insight and was immediately taken with your ideas. I then hopped on over to your about page and realize you are someone I am very interested in collaborating with. I don’t know where you are in your work but if this sounds like a direction you’re interested in going, please reach out to me so we can speak directly.

  49. Dear Daniel,

    I have recently found your YouTube channel and watched a lot of your videos. You have helped me understand what I have done and I’m really grateful. I’m 57, married for 32 years. Our 30-year old son cut off all contacts with us around the time of your video “Advice to Parents Who Are Estranged From Their Children” (June 21). He sent us an email explaining exactly why he had decided to not have anything to do with us. I hit bottom. My family has been asking me to get treatment for my depression and anxiety for years. I did try a few therapists, but each of them either strongly suggested antidepressants/anti-anxity meds or focused on my marriage issues and “problems” with my son. I refused to take meds. I knew I wasn’t a “saint”. They never asked me about my childhood! Over a year ago, upon a friend’s suggestion, I joined an ACA group (adult children of alcoholics and family dysfunction) and began to understand why I am the way I am. Your video “Hurt People Hurt People” explains it so well! I was emotionally traumatized as a little girl and teenager, growing up in communist Poland with two parents who themselved were traumatized (and never realized it!!!) – my father lost his mom to suicide when he was 10, and my mom lost her dad when she was 12. It was a miserable marriage of two wounded children who had never processed their grief. Anger, rage, depression, horrendous anxiety – that is what my younger (47) brother and I have inherited. I can remember our parents fighting, arguing, shaming and verbally abusing each other – and their their kids. My dad passed away 5 years ago, my mom lives a lonely life in Poland (I’m still in NY, since 1985). Two un-lived lives, lived entirely through their children, never really allowing their children to grow up. My brother ended up on meds, diagnosed with bi-polar 14 years ago. He is in complete denial about his/our childhood. I don’t think he should be on meds.

    My son’s estrangement is extremely painful for me. My awareness that I harmed him emotionally to the extent that he had to completely break away from us is more than I can bear. I can see the harm that I have done my son. I know that I need to heal my childhood trauma, so that I can change and stop unconsciously hurting my family. Can you recommend a therapist who shares your approach, who is not afraid to give his/her clients the bad news, and help me grow? I refuse to use my sad, dysfunctional childhood as an excuse to perpetuate this horrible cycle of family trauma!

    Thank you so much for your honest, brilliant and insighful work, Daniel!


  50. “The more I grew the more I realized I could not afford this. So I don’t talk with them anymore, and haven’t for years. And I have no plans to talk with them either.”

    That s very sad to hear. Really sad. I could imagine, especially your father would be really interested and very lucky to hear what his son has become in this crazy world. Just my two cents.

  51. Hi Daniel,

    Do you have any advice for someone who wants to help people but does not want to spend six years at university in order to get a license? You don’t seem to mention any degree other than biology, so I wondered how you got yourself into the mental health profession?

    I am just finishing my second year in a Computer Science course, and it’s starting to dawn on me that this is not what I want to do. I want to live my own life and not the life someone else set for me.

    – David

  52. Hi, Daniel

    I really, really like your stuff on healing. I’m quite old now, but I understand at a visceral level that the damage is still there, working away on me. Sigh. Anyway, I would like to know, in addition to Alice’s work, what you think of Virginia Satir. I know she has a huge rep amongst family therapists but, for some reason, I feel ambiguous about her, especially her idea of “family reconstruction”. Have you done or could you do a bit on her work and ideas? Thanks, JT

    • Hi John — greetings! I read a Virginia Satir book about 15 years — I think it was “Peoplemaking” — but I honestly don’t remember it too well. My biggest impression of Virginia Satir actually comes from China. I lived there for three months last year and I got asked pretty much every day by psychologists what I thought of her. She’s heavily promoted there (she and her psychology model) and is one of the most popular western psychological theorists over there, which was a surprise to me. She’s being heavily market there… And I didn’t necessarily take that as a good thing… Past that I really don’t know much about her…. all the best to you, and thanks for commenting— Daniel

  53. Hi Daniel,
    In reading your story and watching your videos, I connect very much with who you are and your experiences and in a different life we would have made good friends. I don’t think I’ve been as intrigued by an individual as much as you. Also born in 1972 and estranged from my family now, I feel I have grown and been working through my childhood neglect and emotional abuse. You have given a lot of careful thought and done a lot of critical thinking of your life. You are someone of a high emotional IQ. I am at the point in my life now where I am ready and starving for individuals that have done the work themselves and have a high emotional IQ that I can really connect with and share my vulnerabilities but I do not know where to look to find those like minded individuals to connect at that level. I’d like to make the family I should have had. By family I don’t mean wife and kids, but people that love me and I connect with at a deep level.

    How has that journey been for you and what tools and advice can you offer that has allowed you to fill that void of family and love since you have stopped talking to your family of origin? I’d love to hear more of that side to you. Thank you, and please keep sharing.

    • Hey PeteyPete,

      I, too, share sentiment with the two of you very profoundly with Daniel (possibly you as well I don’t know your details), but I met a very wonderful woman when I was 16 years old and married her and had three wonderful boys. The good news is, I was hyper sensitive to the traumas I suffered prior to even knowing that I was, and I have fought tooth and nail to alleviate even the most common traumatic experiences for them. My wife and I are very much in sync and she, too, labors towards the same agenda. The problem is, that I am following my own path and have not much, if any, model from which to plan our life and my indecision has likely made for some deficiencies due to missed opportunities or overlooked alternatives. I find myself doing nothing when I am so scared of doing the wrong thing (not when it comes to mentoring the boys, of course, but when it comes to our livelihood). While I’m very content about the boys independence, ability and achievement with self-valuation and self-love, healthy boundary assertion and their capacity and expression for compassion and love, I am continuously critical of my example as a provider and contributor. This could be a much longer story if I do not leave it at that for now.

      The reason for my finding my wife at such a young age is for the same reason that you desire a family now (even if you don’t seek the generic wife and children type). My seventh grade English course required a paper to include our future utopia if we could wish it true, and mine included a stay at home mom wife with seven children and I would be a very involved dad who was a business man who carried a briefcase to work and coached little league. This was my dream while most others were dreaming of sensational achievements, I only wanted a family. The weird thing was, I didn’t know I was trying to compensate until years after I was married, graduated from college and all three of my boys had already been born.

      We got very lucky that I had the wife that I found and that I was aware of certain abhorrent truths that plague most parent-child relationships before I even realized that they existed and that both my wife and I were victims of. That is attributable to God alone and I am extremely grateful for His protection over the boys from insecurities that could have resulted in the same trauma for them as their mother and I suffered.

      It seams I may have deviated from proving my originally attempted point, here. What I was initially trying to communicate to you, however, is when you have children and a family to lead and for whom to be an example of how to exist in this tumultuous world, you will find it hard to avoid the immense fear, anxiety and guilt of never being enough, never providing what they deserve, always missing the potential maximum of advantage you can for them;,of making so many mistakes and worse, having those mistakes adversely impact the most precious soles in existence. It’s a double edged sword, but I am certain that with just approximately seven more years, I may have been able to be much more sufficient for these boys; if they were all seven years younger I think that I could ensure they were off with a much more solid foundation all around, not just with self sufficiency, esteem and compassion for others (which is still very important, of course). Don’t worry about time and embrace your ability to much more effectively break the trauma chain that enslaves us all to untruth and further from love.

      • Dear Dan,
        The urge to find someone to tell you what to do will probably never leave you, however old and experienced you get. We’re all in the same boat with this need, which arises mainly from early childhood conditioning. If you can see that as the trap it is, try to avoid giving it to the next generation. The answer as to how is usually right in front of you.
        Think back to when you were a child. How different would your life have been with parents who actually wanted to know what you thought and felt about them, asked you for input and advice – and actually listened?
        Why not speak to your wife and individually to your kids about exactly these matters and take the time to digest how they respond?
        The people closest to you know you best. Making yourself vulnerable particularly in front of people you want to impress, be strong for and protect surely is the quickest way to see your mindset as just that – a structure that exists in your mind and nowhere else. Why not give real communication a chance to undermine your perception of yourself? Admitting you need help and allowing yourself to listen to advice particularly from people you consider inferior to yourself (i.e. as in: needing you to protect or guide them) is surely the bravest approach anyone can take and as original as it ever gets (if that is still your goal). 🙂 Good luck!

  54. Have you heard about Harvey Jackins Co-Counseling Method? (Hopefully I spelled his name right) I have a degree in Psych and I left the field for the same reasons….however this method can be taught to anyone and it is the most helpful of all. It is based on getting the trauma out of the way to release the inner genius and divinity that we all are!

  55. I admire your journey in finding who you really are. I’m struggling with some of the issues you had to deal with, except in my case the abusers were relatives other than my parents. Please feel free to recommend any books, videos, or other sources of help. Thank you for the inspiration you have given me and kudos to you for the good work you are doing.

  56. Hi, Daniel. A lot of these posts seem to be older. I have just today come across one of your videos, and “discovered” you. I am very impressed with your openness and honesty and even more so now that you have been open about your own life here in this forum.

    I will try to keep this as brief as possible. I can relate to you in some ways. I was adopted at birth and my adoptive parents were very abusive (mentally, emotionally, and physically – violence not sexual. Luckily, none of lot had to do with alcohol or drugs at all. They were just unhappy, angry people and my sister and I were their punching bag. I got it the worst because I was older and male Looking back, I truly think my mother was bipolar. But no one knew about that back them and there was no such thing as “child abuse” at the time. My father was just a bad-tempered German disciplinarian who only knew how HE was raised.

    Because I was afraid of the beatings and such at home, I was considered a shy, “goody-two-shoes” in school. I was afraid to do anything wrong or get into any trouble at school, and felt I had to be perfect or the teachers would call my mother and I’d get beaten at home. I was made fun of mercilessly by most of the other children as a result. Funny how the kids who were the troublemakers did not get phone calls to their parents by the teachers. I guess it was expected of them. But if anyone who usually did not get into trouble did something out of character, the teachers were on the phone in an instant.

    But I was a very, very strong person even as a young child. I never lost my optimism, always remained hopeful and very kind to others. I have always been very empathic. Despite my own problems to deal with, for some reason, many of the people who WERE my friends often came to me with their problems. This started already in early childhood. I would share my experiences with them, listen to them, give my advice. But the few times I felt i needed to be on the other side, they seemed to not know how to handle it and I was left to deal with my own problems all by myself. I grew up used to that. During the first half of my life, I kept everything bottled up. Never talked about my own issues, though helped many others with theirs.

    During junior year high school, I realized something very important that changed me. I realized that though it was my parents’ fault for how I was treated by others initially, from here on it would be my OWN fault if I allowed it to continue. I decided to stop being a vicTIM and become a vicTOR. I just stopped putting up with everyone’s crap. If someone said or did something against me, I did it back now. My conduct grade went from a usual A+ to a C+. I began to get “demerits”, which I used to hardly ever get. But I didn’t care. This was important for me. I had to stop the abuse. I was not out to cause trouble, but just to stand up for myself when others started something. My school, because of the shift in my demerit status, thought it was an issue that it wasn’t. They recommended my parents to send me to a therapist. That really did not do much, to be honest. He was a younger guy. And he was nice. Yes, I told him things that were going on. But his main interest seemed to be getting me to talk about being gay, which I guess he had figured out. Well, bisexual, but leaning much more toward guys. I tried to not mention it, but he kept on me. The reason I did not want to mention it was because I knew that was not my problem. My orientation was not a problem. I was comfortable with it. I did not want to broadcast it, but inside I understood and was fine with it. I told him I was not yet ready for my parents or others to know, it was not their business, and if and when I felt ready, I would tell them later on. The abuse I was put through earlier had nothing to do with my orientation at all, and I did not even have an orientation yet during the first several years of it anyway. My issue that year was just about standing up for myself, gaining self respect and respect from others. And I did. After half a year during junior year, everyone at school realized I wasn’t someone to be messed with anymore. The bullying stopped, and I actually became popular in the right way after that. My conduct grades went back up to normal again since I no longer needed to prove anything anymore. And no one gave me anymore trouble.

    I also stopped the abuse at home. Well, the physical, violent abuse anyway. One time, when my father went to beat my sister as she was cowering in a corner with a long metal shoe horn (she had made the terrible mistake of inviting a girl across the street to join us for Christmas midnight mass at church) , I stood between them. I had just reached a point of no return. They could do what they want to me. But I would not let them harm her anymore. I warned him not to do it. My Dad tried to shove me out of the way an strike her. But I punched him right in the face…for the first and only time. His glasses went flying across the room.He was shocked. My mother who just come home and had rushed in to help my father beat my sister also was shocked. I told them I would never allow it again and if they tried to hit us, etc., anymore, I would put an end to it just as I just did. That seemed to work. There were no more beatings or acts of violence by my parents on either of us ever again after that.

    My mother passed away of cancer when i was 21. It was unexpected. She refused to see a doctor as she had a phobia, and spent months in bed making excuses. Finally my father forced her to go by calling the paramedics. She seemed fine when we visited her. But a few days later, at 4am, we got the phone call she had died in her sleep. It was not until later that day the test results came back she had had ovarian cancer. My father was near suicidal after that for awhile. Even though they had fought with each other all the time (no violence with each other…just on my sister and i. Me mainly. But they argued and yelled at each other a lot). My father met and married a woman later that year. And sold the house though he always said he never would. I went to live in Chicago, where I had gone to high school (stayed at a dorm during the week) and Columbia College. My sister was very angry with my father for marrying another woman and though she and I were close, she distanced herself from all of us and just focused on her friends.

    I focused on pursuing my dreams. I was born to be an entertainer. I am an actor, writer, occasional dancer, an artist, and I started my own theater troupe, had my own weekly radio show (this was in Las Vegas, where I moved after a brief stint in the Army – something I chose to do just to challenge myself out of temporary boredom). I had a successful free lance art business in Las Vegas also. But then my Dad had a stroke. I gave everything up and moved in with him during his recovery. His wife had to spend most of the day working her job. When he was fully recovered enough, it was time to get back to my own life. It was always Los Angeles I had wanted to settle in since childhood. And I finally just did it. i made several arrangements for the move months in advance. Then, despite myself, i met someone and fell in love more so than with anyone else in my life. We both knew I was scheduled to move, but couldn’t help ourselves. I thought about postponing the move for this person. But, though he did not want me to go, he did not want me to ever resent him later for holding me back from my dreams. I visit Illinois when i get the chance. And visit him, too. And 20 years later, many relationships later for both of us, our feelings, chemistry, and connection has not faded in the least. But we are across the country. Each with his own business. And he wound up accepting a marriage proposal from another person. But our feelings for each other are still there.

    My father passed away in late 2014. I went to the funeral and was a pall bearer. My niece was there, but my sister herself did not show. I soon after found out my father’s second wife showed her true colors and I realized i should never have given her the benefit of the doubt or been nice to her all those years. Oh, well. Despite a still young age and looking very young (people often mistake me for still being in my 20’s, so I am very lucky in that at least), I was shocked to find out I had non-hodgkins lymphoma cancer with a tumor in my abdomen. I had to go through chemotherapy right away. I had 15 minutes to make that choice! Because I had a strong will to live and still wanted to continue accomplishing many things, I chose to go ahead with the chemo for that 50% chance of surviving. It was 8 months of being stuck in the hospital most of the time. My body did not handle it very well. But in the end it worked.All traces of the cancer were gone from my body. I was told it was not likely to come back.

    However, in early 2015, though never having been diagnosed with heart problems ever before, I had a mild heart attack and was told I had to have open heart double bypass surgery right away. I was not happy about this at all, and I had a difficult time believing that doctor that I needed that. But I went through it. I woke up horrified at my seemingly mutilated body. A purple torso. Hooked up to all kinds of tubes and machines. A slash down the middle of y chest. A slash down my left wrist. Legs and feet gs swollen like an elephant’s legs with no more ankles! Unable to walk. Having to be lifted like a rag doll. incredible pain. Especially when I coughed. I was in the ICU for 2 months. And there 2 months more of recovery at home. A physical therapist had to teach me to walk again. This recovery was even more grueling than the cancer recovery was. But I made it. My body eventually got back to normal. And I am eating much more healthy and am fully healthy again.

    I started my own party / even entertainment company here in Los Angeles. It went very well. We have an excellent 5 star reputation and a lot of our clients have been VIPs and a few celebrities as well. That all makes me very happy. I have endured on and off poverty because I refuse to give up on my dreams and goals and become a miserable person like my parents. As for my business sometimes it is great and we are swamped. Sometimes it is very slow and we go a long time without clients. I would still choose this over having to work under somebody else, being under someone else’s thumb, any day! I have reached a point where I HAVE to be my own boss. But I have always maintained my optimism,my kindness, my youthfulness, my childlike sense of wonder, and more. With everything I’ve been through – both mentioned and not mentioned here, i should by all accounts be a bitter, cynical person. But I am the opposite. I have not snapped, never cracked, never caved in, and I do not carry my baggage, as so eloquently put by some of my friends. I am still a go-to-person for advice for other people. But I am also still my own therapist. I don’t keep things bottled up anymore. That ended long ago. But I still handle my issues mainly on my own. And i understand myself and my motivations and where things I do come from, etc., very well.

    From what I have seen and read so far, it looks like you have gone through some similar things. And I fully understand your video on why you stopped being a professional therapist. People have often told me I should become one. But, I never felt that was my calling. I always felt that, because I am so empathic, that it might affect me too much. Anyway, i am VERY sorry for the lengthy email! I am very glad I found out about you today. Would be great to meet you someday. I would enjoy hearing about your experiences.

    • Wow Brother,It was a hard reading but definitely worth it! I feel identified with you in many parts of your story,specially regarding the emotional-physical abuse by my parents.Thank you for sharing with such honesty and i am glad you found the courage within you to do what is right FOR YOU.Big Hug!

    • I read all of this and loved it. I love your view of life and the strength in you. I wish I had hit my dad same way as you did.

  57. Hi Daniel,
    I just watch your youtube about break up with parents. Hearing at your experience, it quite same as my experience. I want to share a bit, my mom passed away when i was 3 years old, and i was raised by by dad. He married again when i was 9 years old. Since approximately 6 years old, i been tortured by my dad, you could name the things that people can use to hit. And when i was 22 years old i run away from home as my dad punch me bit long big iron. My body had many wounds at that time. My dad and step mom also abuse me emotionally. You can named it, i maybe have it most of all. Even i can remember the detail and it keeps traumatize me. Now i am 36 years old, and i feel i couldn’t move my past. My bad is i visit them regularly even give money to them, even i always experience emotional abuse at my reguler visit, but you know as a child especially if you born and raised in Asian culture, parents need to be honoured. Your youtube really open my eyes that it is not wrong to cut relationship with parents if they are toxic. Every time i visit them, i feel like lose my self esteem. They keep verbally abused, and my step mom even had spit on my face. Now i already been in session with my therapyst, as you know i feel not normal like most people, i feel there is something that hold me not to move forward. So your youtube give me a bit light that it’s a choice and maybe best decision to cut off relationship with toxic parents.
    My question is what should i do if i feel an urgency to visit them? it is like magnet. And i keep hoping they change one day. And how i can maintain the beliefs that it is the right act not to visit them again? Should i do not contact or interact at all? Thank you.

    • Gify,
      I’m a person who just learned about Daniel Mackler on 1.1.19. I watched some of his videos and then came to this website. I feel moved to reply to you. I’m 61, and have not visited or seen my parents for 4.5 years. It has been even longer than that since I last saw my siblings or my niece. And it is fine with me. I follow a spiritual path, but it is a path in which I check each decision for myself, within myself. I was fortunate to grow up in rural areas. I know from that direct, personal experience that nature holds the highest amount and quality of pure positive energy, and that this energy is meant to amplify and strengthen the same energies which we each have within ourselves. I encourage you to start spending as much time as you can, outside in nature. I believe that by doing that, you will gain easier access to your own inner spirit, and will be able to sense and direct your inner strength and your own wisdom about how to make discernment and decisions that are right for you. True insight, strength and wisdom are all within you (and in each of us). Access it and find your healing. Live well, be happy, enjoy life!

    • Dear Gify,
      in the video, Daniel gives a few examples of actions you can take. To start with, you can write a journal. You can write it down and NAME it (as you say!). The list will become longer, as you keep on remembering. You will have an overview of what you remembered has happened to you. Write also about recent stuff and verbal abuse. Then you will take a step back and evaluate if its really worth visiting them. You will understand that “parents” as a concept of someone supportive does not exist in your life and that it is an illusion. But you go there because you always somewhat heal from the last visit, the bad things disappear and you hope you will be acknowledged, that it will be as you imagine. As an adult, you need to accept this will not happen. They will not change. But can you visit someone that will give you what you want? Yes. A supportive friend. Better yet, invite them over. Share. Open up. Listen to them. You will have a supportive adult respectful bond that you actually wish to have with your parents, but its not possible. Lots of hugs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    best regards

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

    Much thanks for all your work!

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

  61. Hi Daniel,

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

    Thank you,


  62. Hi Daniel,

    Proudly just became a patreon member.

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

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

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

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

    Best Wishes


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

  63. Hello Daniel,

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

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

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

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

    Regards, Richard

    Richard Oldfield (Editor and Curator)

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

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

    • Josefina,

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

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

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

      Signing off,

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

  66. Hi Daniel,

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

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

  68. Hi, Daniel!

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


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

  69. Hi Daniel,

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

    Love & light,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks, Wanda

  73. Hi Daniel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      wishing you the best on this painful journey!!

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

  76. Dear Daniel,

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

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

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

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

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

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

      I wish you luck and thank you for your passion.

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

  79. Hiya Daniel,

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

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

  80. Hi Daniel,

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

    Thank you again

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


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

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

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

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

  85. Hi Daniel.

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

    Saddy 😀

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

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

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

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

    Thank you very much.

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

  90. hello daniel,

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


  91. Hi Daniel

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

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

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

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

    Thank you

    Kind regards


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

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

    Take care and God bless…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Take great care Daniel, you deserve it.



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

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

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

        Namaste, Shelley

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

  95. Hello Daniel,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      all the best,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  102. Hi Daniel,

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

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

    fischbach report

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





    I had promised Miller to make Neuroscience public 🙂

  103. hey Daniel,

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

    • Hi Daniel! Thanks so much for your content. I discovered you today on YouTube from my feed and am watching a whole bunch of your videos now.

      I relate to what you’re saying quite a bit. I was born and raised in Manhattan and started my sojourn as a patient in the mental health field at three years old due to the fact that I had panic attacks at that age (uncontrollable shaking etc…) because I had already developed crippling claustrophobia. Now as a 35 year old “adult” I’ve come to basically all of the same conclusions you have about the mental health field… just from being a patient for so much of my life.

      Currently I do take some psych meds for conditions I was diagnosed with. I’ve been off and on meds for awhile. They still seem to be serving a purpose but at the same time I do dream of one day being able to taper off them entirely. I have trouble creating stability for myself and the meds do seem to keep me from undoing the stitches that I so carefully knit at one point — this is metaphorical — I’m saying that the meds prevent some — not all — of my life imploding decison-making processes. I also have a Jungian analyst. I have gotten a lot of benefit from dream journaling and analyzing my dreams in the Jungian style. I’ve also been a compulsive journaler since I learned how to write in first grade.

      I just cut contact with my parents — almost three months ago now — and I feel the same way you do. I know it’s what I have to do to live any sort of meaningful life that is authentic and true … with them I can’t have them and have me too. That’s the basic gist of it although I’m sure I could expand on it and probably need to — my dream journaling and regular journaling help me understand the rhyme and the reason of my true self.

      It seems I live a very similar lifestyle to you. I don’t have a permanent home and travel around quite a bit which I find gives my life a lot of depth and momentum.

      Professionally I’m a little lost but I have the grand overview. I’m finishing up the editing process of my first book and I’m excited to see where it goes.

      Thanks for your content. It’s always nice to find kindred souls!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *