I work with individuals who experience (or have experienced) altered and extreme states of consciousness. I also work with the support networks and families of people who have had such experiences — often perceived by mainstream professionals as psychiatric disorders.
WARNING: My views are not mainstream! Forget what you’ve seen on TV about this thing called “mental illness.” I use a different framework, informed by my own experience as a psychiatric patient as well as my master’s degree in Process Work.
I employ a non-pathologizing approach – one that does not assume illness.
I strongly believe unusual sensations, altered realities and big moods are purposeful, meaningful experiences. They contain important information for the broader community as well as the individual who is experiencing them.
The mainstream medical/disease/psychiatric model tends to view altered and extreme states as unwanted. For proof, look no further than the vocabulary of “mental illness” and “disorders.” Diagnostic language reflects how polarized many of us have become against people who live with unusual experiences. In the mainstream view, the general goal is to make these states go away. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. There is nothing wrong with wanting to take psychiatric drugs, either. What can get us into trouble, in my view, is when we get stuck there; believing there are no other options beyond wanting an experience to go away.
In the Process-Oriented view, there is no prescribed goal other than to follow what is happening and help bring it into conscious awareness. Disturbing experiences are not viewed as a sign of a disease. Rather, they are a sign of something that wants to be known but probably hasn’t been able to express itself. My goal is to help whatever is trying to happen in the moment become more known. I believe that by leaning toward – not away – from disturbing experiences, we not only make meaning of an experience, we make it less disturbing.
I speak and host workshops around the topic of “mental illness” from an experiencer’s point of view. I offer trainings in non-pathologizing frameworks for experiencers, professionals and allies who are interested in liberating themselves from the mainstream “disease model” of mental illness. I eagerly deliver my message to anyone interested in hearing it. If you are frustrated and left feeling empty-handed around matters of human distress, altered states, psychiatric labeling and the mental health system, I offer a fresh perspective and look forward to meeting you.
I travel and give presentations, trainings and workshops. I work with individuals from any location via videoconference and telephone. I am based in the South Puget Sound region of Washington State.
It is important to note that am not a doctor, psychiatrist, or licensed therapist. I am a Process-Oriented Facilitator and the techniques and attitudes I employ often fall outside the scope of traditional psychotherapy.