Nondual Perspective the Key to Understanding Schizophrenia and Psychosis

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I am delighted to share the release of a very important book that is likely to shake up the mainstream understanding of psychosis/schizophrenia, showing clear evidence of the role that spirituality plays in these extreme states.

Following is one of several press releases that have been distributed:

Recent Research on Recovery from Schizophrenia Suggests that Eastern understandings of Mind May be the Key to Making Sense of these Disorders

Dr. Paris Williams, known for his groundbreaking research on people who have made full medication-free recoveries from schizophrenia (as mentioned in the New York Times), has just released a book, Rethinking Madness, that presents a serious challenge to the mainstream understanding and treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

In Rethinking Madness, Williams documents how the recent domestic and international research (including studies conducted by the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Mental Health) suggests that full medication-free recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is not only possible, but may actually be the most likely outcome given the right conditions. Furthermore, the findings from Williams’ own research suggest that many individuals who recover do not simply return to their pre-psychotic condition, but actually undergo a profound positive transformation resulting in a sense of wellbeing and life competence that far exceeds that which existed prior to their psychosis.

All of these findings fly directly in the face of the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia and psychosis, so it’s not surprising that as these research findings continue to emerge, we see the first stirrings of a fiery controversy that may very well continue to escalate until we are forced to consider a radical restructuring of the mental health care system and indeed the very foundation of our understanding of madness. In Rethinking Madness, Williams takes the plunge directly into the heart of this controversial topic. He begins by disentangling the complex web of research on schizophrenia, attempting to make sense of how it is that the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia has become so profoundly mistaken. He then goes about crafting an altogether new vision of madness—one that brings in the latest recovery research and integrates both Eastern and Western understandings of the mind to make sense of the findings of the emerging research.

As this new vision unfolds, Williams suggests that we arrive at both some unsettling realizations and some very hopeful possibilities. On one hand, we are forced to recognize that our current mainstream paradigm of care may actually be causing more harm than benefit, both for those so diagnosed and also for their friends, family members, and society at large. On the other hand, we discover that those who find themselves struggling with these challenging disorders have a very high likelihood of moving on to meaningful and productive lives.

Finally, in a compelling twist, we discover that those we often consider to be “mad” may very well be caught in a profound wrestling match with the very same core existential dilemmas with which we all struggle. Williams suggests that the real key to understanding these vexing experiences comes not from the findings of the latest brain research, but rather from the findings of human consciousness that have arisen from many years of introspective inquiry into the deepest layers of human experience—findings that have arisen from the Western existential movement over the past couple of hundred years as well as findings that have arisen from thousands of years of such inquiry within the nondual traditions of the East—particularly Buddhism, Taoism, and Advaita Vedanta.

Dr. Paris Williams works as a psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He offers the rare perspective of someone who has experienced psychosis from both sides—as a researcher and psychologist, and as someone who has himself fully recovered after struggling with psychotic experiences.