From Recovery to Discovery in Extreme States

  By John Herold (as published on The Edge – The official blog of the Process Work Institute) October 1, 2018 I was in fourth grade when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.  From that moment I wanted to be an astronaut.  There was something about racing into space as well as the inherent risks in trying that held a strong appeal.  By the time the shuttle Discovery was retired in 2011, I assumed my space career was over. I Didn’t Expect my Wish to Come True Looking back, that 10-year-old aspiring astronaut wasn’t very specific about exactly where he wanted to travel.  Outer space or inner space?  And by what means? In December of… Read More

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Some Thoughts on Vocabulary

I am dissatisfied with much of mainstream vocabulary and ideas around matters of emotional distress and extreme states.  I operate from the position that common approaches toward something many are calling “mental illness” are in a pre-scientific phase and have a long way to go. Today’s labels (like bipolar, schizophrenia, and even depression) make a lot of assumptions that are unsupported by science (the chemical imbalance theory, for example).  They also don’t account for what can be a steep power differential between the labeler (a professional with privilege) and the labeled (a person in a marginalized emotional state).  Psychiatric labels describe behaviors as seen from the outside but say nothing about why such states come about… Read More

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Application Essay

Below is the essay I wrote for my application to the Process Work Institute in Portland.  This was written in July 2015. _ I know that if I could really understand mental illness, then it would be appropriate to make a big career shift.  I would become a therapist and a leader in terms of mental illness.  But I’m not in the position. John Nash (1928-2015)     In August of 2012 my wife Beth and I were faced with a horrific decision when we learned that our beloved younger dog Charlotte had terminal cancer.  After putting her to sleep I nosedived into a state of shocked sadness.  Beth and… Read More

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