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ISPS-US Opportunity Through Experience: Psychosis, Extreme States, and Possibilities for Transformation
November 5 @ 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
Experience is an essential element of being human. Softly and subtly, or harshly, even relentlessly, it envelops and often enlivens us. Our reactions to experience reflect and create our emotional fingerprints, both defining and expressing who we are. Yet too often, these reactions to experience are pathologized, diagnosed and labeled rather than respected, especially if they are transpersonal, numinous, extreme, or exceptional. Experience can be filled with pleasure, ease and excitement, or it can bring hardship and isolation. Within every experience, however, lies opportunity. While we all share some of life’s most basic experiences, our experiences can also set us apart. When that happens, we sometimes despair of ever being understood. Too often, what passes for “mental health treatment” involves the imposition of interventions that fail to take into account our experiential histories, the social and systemic contexts in which our lives have unfolded, and the relational worlds that were our first teachers and provide the fabric of our days. Yet there are also times when we delight in the coming-together that is the result of deep listening. Opportunities for transformation are all around us, whether those occur in treatment settings, through the arts, or in our encounters with others with whom we feel able to share stories and perspectives.