At times in life we confront obstacles and challenges that are difficult to navigate by ourselves. Grief, loss, physical illness, and the stress of modern life can at times feel overwhelming. Sometimes these stressors turn into deeper patterns of anxiety and depression. It is at these times that finding a good counselor can be an immensely valuable step towards greater well being. When you enter a counseling relationship, you gain an ally to help you see your circumstances more clearly and develop tools for managing the stress in your life.
Jon’s Articles on Holistic Mental Health
Links to Great Websites and Books
The Presence Process : Michael Brown created this process and wrote a wonderful book by the same name designed to ”integrate the traumatic childhood imprinting unconsciously impacting the quality of our adult experience. It systematically introduces us to the mechanics of emotional body cleansing by empowering us with a ten-week experiential procedure that enables us to re-awaken our authenticity, integrity, and capacity for intimacy.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn. Professor and author, Zinn has written extensively about the practcie of mindfulness meditation to help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain and illness.
Jack Kornfield : Kornfield trained for many years as a Buddhist monk in South East Asia and then returned to the States where he taught meditation and then began a psychotherapy practice. He explains ancient Buddhist concepts in a way that is easy to understand, practical and compassionate. He promotes mindfulness and meditation and helps us to awaken our hearts. His book- A Path with Heart is a timeless classic.
Pema Chodron: Buddhist teacher and author who has written numerous books that are deep and heartfelt explorations of the human condition. Her book “When Things Fall Apart” is one of the best books I have read for helping people when they have reached a deep place of sorrow in their life.
Noah Levine: Noah is part of the younger generation of teachers of Buddhist wisdom and mindfulness and has a great deal of wisdom to share, especially around issues of addiction and recovery. His book Dharma Punx is his story of going from homeless drug addict to becoming a teacher, author and counselor.
Written by Chogyam Trungpa, one of the first Tibetan Buddhists to come to the US and teach, he started the Naropa college in Colarado. Trungpa was somewhat of a controversial figure and was known for having “crazy wisdom”. He influenced many people including many of the beatnik writers and poets of the 50′s and 60′s. His main teaching was presented as the Shambhala Training, and forwarded a way of living that emphasized meditation and mindfulness as a way of connecting to one’s “basic goodness” and inner confidence. His most famous book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, is a great introduction to his style of Buddhism.
ALTERNATIVES TO PSYCHIATRY:
Robert Whitaker: Journalist and author who has written extensively on the problems inherent in our mental health system today. His website Mad in America takes a very close look at the overuse of psychiatric medications. His recent book Anatomy of An Epidemic takes an in depth look at some of the fundamental problems with psychiatry and the biomedical disease model of mental health.
Mindfreedom: Advocacy group and alternative resource site for people labeled with a psychiatric disability. There mission statement: ”In a spirit of mutual cooperation, MindFreedom leads a nonviolent revolution of freedom, equality, truth and human rights that unites people affected by the mental health system with movements for justice everywhere.”
“Portland Hearing Voices is a community group to promote mental diversity. We create public education, discussion groups, training, and community support related to hearing voices, seeing visions, and having unusual beliefs and sensory experiences often labeled as psychosis, bipolar, mania, paranoia, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. We aim to reduce fear and misunderstanding, question stereotypes, promote holistic health options, overcome isolation, and create a more inclusive community.”
Safe Harbor: “The world’s largest site on non-drug approaches for mental health.
Thousands of people around the world have recovered from mental disorders and now enjoy the simple pleasures of a drug-free life. Most were told this was impossible. Yet we hear from these individuals regularly.
Many others have been able to significantly reduce their dependency on psychiatric medication. Commonly these people find that underlying their “mental” disorders are medical problems, allergies, toxic conditions, nutritional imbalances, poor diets, lack of exercise, or other treatable physical conditions.”
BeyondMeds: Monica Cassani’s web site on searching for alternatives to the paradigm of medicating emotional distress. Monica herself has come off a large drug cocktail and describes that process here. She promotes a very slow taper off any psychiatric meds. Great resource with tons of information here.
Surviving Antidepressants: A forum devoted to discussing the process of tapering off of antidepressants as well as other meds. A woman who goes by the name Altostrata runs this forum and promotes a very slow approach to discontinuing meds. A lot of information here for folks who are experiencing trauma from fast tapers or from SSRI discontinuation syndrome.
Will Hall: Will lives in Portland and is one of the strongest proponents of reform in the mental health system today and he writes, lectures and gives workshops throughout the country about this subject. Will helped produce the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Of Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal. This is an excellent free resource for anyone who is looking into discontinuing their medication.
Portland Women’s Crisis Line: Please call 1-888-235-5333 if you are a woman in crisis and need “peer support, safety planning, crisis intervention and information and referrals to community resources. The Sexual Assault Program provides specialized services to survivors of sexual assault.”
Oregon Suicide Hotline: Please call 1-800-784-2433 if you are in crisis and are contemplating suicide.
Residential Treatment Resource Page: For folks who want to spend a period of time in a residential treatment center and are working through deep wounds and previous trauma, this is a resource page by the Sidran Institute of treatment centers throughout the country. I cannot vouch for any of them but this is a good place to start and do research on these facilities.