Mental breakdown, in the form of “bipolar” or “psychotic” episodes, may often be experienced as having aspects of “breakthrough.” Even amidst severe distress and disruption, attempts at deep healing may be detected. Many avoid discussing this for fear of “romanticizing” disturbed states, but such reluctance can lead to “awfulizing” experiences instead and can impair engagement in treatment and reduce its effectiveness.
Research suggests that in the US, approximately 25-39% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and 15-22% of those diagnosed with mania/bipolar disorder have beliefs that mental health professionals call “religious delusions.” But when people are told that their experiences and beliefs have no value and are simply due to an illness, they tend to either fight back and defend their perspectives in a rigid way, or they shift to attempting complete suppression of what they now see as their “sick” perspectives and experience. Unfortunately, neither of these two reactions have been found likely to lead to lead to recovery.
If reality, and our brains, were simple, then simplistic approaches to mental health would probably succeed more frequently.
This course is designed for people who are open to considering more complex possibilities. What if it’s often not possible to clearly distinguish dangerous and unhelpful states of mind from states that may be spiritually significant and helpful, or part of an attempt to heal from past traumas? Is there a way to approach these questions in a less black and white way, helping people to find their own answers, and/or ways of living with questions that don’t seem to have answers? Might that work better than trying to impose dominant cultural viewpoints and ways of being organized, which themselves may be flawed?
Whatever your spiritual perspective may be, or even if you see yourself as definitely non-spiritual, you can learn to acknowledge that there are deep questions about human existence that are often seen as spiritual, and to recognize the ways mental and emotional crisis often involves confusion around these questions. Then, with that awareness in mind, you can learn how to support people to possibly find their own way to shift from distress and confusion to deep healing and integration.
- Identify ways to integrate spiritual language and metaphors with scientific and psychological language and approaches
- Explain how the core issues in trauma, extreme moods and psychosis are commonly framed in spiritual terms, and how these relate to basic human dilemmas
- Assess extreme moods and psychosis as possibly involving attempts to resolve basic human dilemmas using ways of thinking and feeling that step outside the terms of “mundane” reality, and compare approaches to helping people complete these attempts successfully
- Utilize cultural competence in addressing spiritual issues within a recovery oriented approach to bipolar and psychosis while working with individuals from a variety of traditions and subcultures
When you register, you get “lifetime access” to this seminar. That means even after you complete the course, you can go back and review any of the videos or other material as often as you like, with no time limit.
The course does provide an option to ask questions, to which I, the instructor, will respond usually within a few hours or days. (Other students may also offer their views, allowing for discussion.)