Richard grew up with a mother who experienced Nervous Breakdowns every 6-10 years after her first born, a sister who developed a severe sleep disorder and panic attacks after a burnout, a daughter who entered the psychiatric system at around 14 years old, and a burnout himself after too many life issues “ran him over!” Through these, he attended a number of polytech courses in mental health, did Integrated Mental Health Training at Supporting Families, and was member of a number of related boards and quality groups. In 2001 he gave up Consulting Engineering to join the mental health workforce, and has continually studied as required for work since then. However, he says that it is his more esoteric education at places like Theosophy, the Western Buddhist Centre in Auckland, the Awa Tawa Marae healing nights, New Age centres and Esoteric Christian teachings which has taught him the most – along with his own personal experiences, books, meditation and groups like the Hearing Voices Network.
It is from this perspective and an engineering mind for logic and practical common sense that he wrote an article from which the following is an edited version for the HVN.
In 1998 I had a burnout and was given the names of the four Psychologists that the Taharoto Mental Health Unit used. It took me some time to decide which one, but in the end the guy I used was both a qualified psychologist and an ordained minister, though never practicing. He was happy to take any approach that suited me, and we followed various paths at different times. He said three things that stuck in my mind; one, that I had a force 10 burnout – one of the very most severe, and two, that I was the only person he’d met who was able to direct his own therapy sessions whilst in this state, and three, I was the only person he’d had who was not on drugs. Because of this, he called me an amazing person.
It later occurred to me that the reason I was the only one able to lead my own therapy sessions was the same reason as number three; I was not on drugs and therefore fully functioning. And because of this, I was able to observe and learn a lot about the process of what caused me to be unwell, and the healing through it.
It became very evident early on that this was a “whole person” experience. Spirit, Mind, Body and needed to be treated this way rather than the standard western way. In medical language, the west see it as the mind that is having problems, caused by a physical or pathological condition or imbalance that can be treated only with drugs, like all other medical treatments! The happy consequence of this is lots of money can be made; mental health drugs are by far the most profitable branch of all in medicine...
However, not all agree with this approach. Professor Stanislav Grof (Researcher and ex Director of Psychiatric Research at Maryland Psychiatric Research Centre) says, putting off what is frequently a spiritual emergency is not the best solution, but is an option that is not too harmful provided heavy medication is not used to enforce the process...
In his work, and in the even wider research with his wife Christina into “unusual” emotional and mental states, there comes evidence which suggests that drugs are often detrimental to the healing process. And in my own experience, the natural alternatives that work on the brain alone, rather than the whole person, are just another temporary measure also whilst one prepares themselves for the journey. The problem with us western people, we so often want the quick fix, and we want it now. And because we have so often detached ourselves from our true spiritual nature, we fear what lies beyond that which we consider normal in everyday life.
A good healer who can see the various etheric layers of a being can see a dis-ease forming in the outer layers long before it shows itself emotionally or physically. However, in mental health, by the time the dis-ease descends from our outer layers and reaches the mind, it is also often evident in the physical too, if one knows where to look. The medical model of mental health does not take the whole person into account, and treats only the brain as having a chemical imbalance. We are not a brain separated from a body, but a multi-functional interdependent unit. Orthomolecular treatments - as promoted by Abram Hoffer, and their practitioners, look at and treat the total person, to find the overall picture. If the body is out, so is the brain, and vice-versa.
I have found it important to look at and treat the whole person. This is where appropriate and correct use of herbs, homeopathy and orthomolecular are so useful. The mental health drugs do nothing to help here, and just keep on bombarding the brain and stopping it from functioning as it is designed to. And in so doing, actually weaken the brain’s ability to act as the command centre for the body, and so a wider range of ill-health issues often start to follow their use.