Healing Touch and Spiritist Psychiatric Hospitals in Brazil


First published in the May/June, 2017 issue of EnergyMagazine.com

There are about 50 Spiritist psychiatric hospitals in Brazil, utilizing an integrative approach to recovery, stressing the spiritual alongside physical and emotional therapies that address the true causes of imbalance. Energy passes, similar to healing touch, are central to the healing and health maintenance. This article briefly describes the Spiritist philosophy, its successes, as well as the treatments. Few people outside Brazil know of these hospitals or the 13,000+ community centers that also offer Spiritist therapies in Brazil. Brazilian Spiritists have practiced combining psychotherapy with energy therapies to hasten recovery for more than 100 years. Perhaps it’s time to export some Spiritist wisdom and practical knowledge to help our ailing mental healthcare system in the U.S.


Photo left–Health Providers Visiting Spiritist Psychiatric Hospital in Brazil

 How Did I Learn?

 I am a psychologist by academic training but began my career as a bodyworker and Neo-Reichian therapist. I now direct the Foundation for Energy Therapies, Inc, a charitable organization dedicated to education and research. Energy therapies have been central to my training and my private practice, as well.

 From 2001 until 2012 I spent six months of each year in Brazil learning about Spiritist healing protocols by participating in the activities of a Spiritist Center in Abadiania, a village in central Brazil, as well as visiting other Spiritist Centers and Spiritist Psychiatric Hospitals in many major cities of Brazil as the guest of their professional staff. I was awed and fascinated by the phenomena I witnessed. I saw many people healing from serious physical and mental issues, including cancer and schizophrenia, without the use of conventional medicine’s typical tools– physical surgery and drugs— which are risky. I saw a dramatic display of the positive potentials of healing through the use of meditation, prayer, herbal remedies, peer support, study, and receiving personal “energy passes” from highly trained healers who perform a version of “laying on of hands”, akin to Healing Touch. I wanted to transmit what I learned to others outside Brazil.

Philanthropic donations supported both my travel and documenting what I learned into four books and two documentary films. Throughout this time I’ve often wondered, “Are Spiritist therapies a missing piece in our own healthcare system?” So, I continue to try to build bridges between Western medicine and the unique Spiritist way of healing. Integrative Mental Health for You, IMHU.org, is a division of the Foundation for Energy Therapies created in 2013. It offers online courses for the public and health care providers who want to learn more about an integrative approach to optimal wellness, similar to what Spiritists offer. I also now lead groups of healthcare providers to visit Spiritist centers in Brazil and learn about the effectiveness of the protocols from the practitioners themselves—who are also associate instructors for the week-long seminar. We are able to offer continuing education credits to medical doctors, nurses, psychotherapists and counselors.

Participants love to meet psychiatrists and medical doctors who are also working as healers and sensitives in community centers and hospitals—not fettered by the limitations of being academically trained scientists.

My personal interest is not to proselytize Spiritism—instead, to facilitate observations and experiences that may inspire making positive changes in healthcare delivery in communities outside Brazil.

Spiritism in a Nutshell

 Spiritism is a branch of Spiritualism. The word, Spiritism, was created by Allan Kardec, a French academic, who lived in the mid-19 century. Spiritism refers to a philosophy, really a way of life that includes knowledge of how the world of spirits is in meaningful communication with the world of human beings. Most importantly, it stands for a lively and well-organized path of supporting personal and spiritual evolution.

Spiritists take Christ as an ideal model of being, but, unlike conventional Christians, Spiritists also believe in reincarnation and the impact of karma. They also have no priesthood, no churches nor other accoutrements of conventional religion. Early Spiritualists were simply fascinated with the phenomena of séances and spirit communication and weren’t invested in personal evolution; Spiritism formalized a more serious, disciplined path of life dedicated to becoming more infused with a consciousness like that of Christ—loving and wise, trustworthy and moral.

The numbers of people attending Spiritist activities in Brazil is growing rapidly right now. It’s estimated that up to 40 million people there use the services of Spiritist Centers in Brazil—about a fifth of the population. The activities include training to become healers, as well as classroom study, receiving energy passes, giving and receiving peer counseling, diagnosis by medical intuitives, and an unusual treatment that we can liken to exorcism, called “disobsession”. All of these benefits are given for free in the Spiritist Centers and people of all ages, sexual orientations, cultural and religious backgrounds are welcomed.

The charge? The centers offer what we would call free complementary healthcare. Even the hospitals are in a position to offer free services to the financially disadvantaged for a period of almost a month, but otherwise must charge fees.

Results of Spiritist Healing

“If the spirit is not acknowledged as existing and real, psychiatrists will only pay attention to effect. They will be impeded from divining the root causes and will never cure effectively… New theories—with solid experimental foundation—point at illuminating and unveiling the spirit. But, we need courage, not only to acknowledge these theories, but also to examine them”. —J.L. Azevedo, MD. [i]

Even though contemporary research studies are few, unusual successes in healing at the Spiritist centers and hospitals are reported through stories and some academic studies. In April, 2004, the President of the Federation for Spiritism in San Paulo (FEESP), Avildo Fioravanti, told me in an interview that FEESP has more than a 90% success rate in helping addicts and the suicidally-depressed to recover normal functioning, without dependence on drug therapy. Social psychologist Canhadas[ii] reported in 2001 that 70% experience great improvement and a definite cure of their problems, including all manner of physical and mental illnesses, at Grupo Noel, a Spiritist center in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Ivan Herve, MD[iii], a psychiatrist, completed a 20-year study in another Spiritist Center in Porto Alegre. He reported extraordinary success helping those with profound mental health issues to recover. His study aligns with initial results of 30+% cure rate documented in the 1930s by Dr Ferreira[iv][1]in the first Spiritist psychiatric hospital in Uberaba, Brazil[v].

Spiritist Treatments and Where to Find Them

 There are more than 13,000 Spiritist Centers within Brazil and 160 Spiritist community centers in 34 countries outside of Brazil (including 70 in the USA). Few in the USA offer services in English, as most were created by Spanish and Portuguese speakers who immigrated to the USA and wanted to create extensions of their home countries. Whereas 50 Spiritist psychiatric hospitals exist in Brazil, none exist outside the country.

SpiritismPatients in Spiritist Psychiatric Hospitals in Brazil can elect to have Spiritist treatments in addition to conventional psychiatric care. Psychiatric medication may be used within the hospital but is not relied on as much as it is in the USA and Europe. Psychotherapy and addiction counseling, various therapies (art, music, gardening, and occupational) and outdoor sports are also available. A few of the key practices used for all patients who elect to have Spiritist treatments are laying-on of hands (passé in Portuguese), blessed water, prayer, and peer support.

Patients with severe problems who are not responding to the above treatments can also have sessions with a medical intuitive (a sensitive person who can see into the subtle and physical bodies through their 6th sense and can articulate perceived problems to benefit the patient and the team of healthcare practitioners attending the patient).   These patients may also become the focus of a group of well-trained and gifted sensitives (trained by supervisors to collaborate over decades) who practice “disobsession”. There is no English translation for this word. It involves sensitives who can first perceive if a person has a spirit attached to them that is generating negative thought forms that the patient believes are his/or her own. Such thoughts might include “Kill yourself” or “Kill so and so” or “You are a terrible person”. These trained sensitives can perceive the spiritual and the psychological relationship that attracted the spirit to connect energetically to the patient—the true cause of imbalances. The sensitives in the group are also trained to assist the patient to be freed of the negative “attachments”, aka “obsessors,” and the obsessive thoughts they transmit.

Each of the Spiritist practitioners donates his/her time at no charge. This can amount to a few hours to more than 40 hours per week—depending on how much each practitioner wants to donate time. They believe that donating their time and attention to help others also benefits their own spiritual evolution as it enhances their communion with our divine source.

Spiritist Laying-on of Hands

The Spiritist healers who practice the passes are trained at the community centers and then either work at these centers or go as a group to the Spiritist hospitals at an agreed on time, usually twice each week.

The group serving the hospitals will enter into a ward of patients at the psychiatric hospital and those patients who choose to participate sit in rows on chairs, or in a circle. The healers know the healing protocol and have been taught to interact minimally with patients who might be highly sensitized or in altered states or extreme states of consciousness. The practitioners are asked to have next to no verbal communication or physical contact with patients within the treatment or outside of treatment. Their interaction is focused simply on the healing work and saying an uplifting prayer before the healing begins and after it is concluded within the whole group setting. Blessed water (also energized by laying on of hands) is made available to patients to drink as part of their healing between sessions.

The actual energy work typically involves circumscribed gestures where the healer passes his or her hands 3 to 6 inches above the body of the patient starting above the head and passing down the body to below the knees. Treatments last only a few minutes per person, during which time each patient remains seated, eyes closed, if possible. One at a time, the practitioners of the healing work stand in back or in front of each patient, giving each recipient about 3-5 minutes of concentrated attention.

Each healer focuses on transmitting Divine energy (e.g., the Holy Spirit, or Christ’s Love, or the energies coming from highly evolved disembodied spirits or angels) to the patient. To begin, the healer becomes focused, which involves shifting to an inspired state of consciousness whereby the healer perceives himself as a channel through which God’s healing energy can flow to the patient. After a prayer to invoke a stream of Divine Energy for healing, the dynamic healing then takes place through a continuum of transmission of energy: from the Divine source to the spirit of the incarnate healer, and from the healer to the subtle and physical body of the patient. An observer would see a series of strokes above the body to disperse energies that can lead to imbalance followed by a series of long strokes above the body to enhance the body’s self-healing systems. The practitioner sending the pure vibration of compassion and care is considered essential to success. In order to transmit that vibration the “pass-giver” is continuously involved in “reforma intima” (Portuguese for inner transformation so as to become more loving and wise)

SpiritismOn site nurses say that patients find peace with the treatments and the calming influence usually lasts for days after the treatment.

Are We Ready for This?

 About eight years ago I went to the largest psychiatric hospital in my state of Vermont in Brattleboro, VT to offer my services for free and spoke to two administrators in leadership positions. I wanted to bring the Spiritist style of “laying on of hands” to the patients who were suffering on the locked “addictions ward”. I had collected a team of trained healthcare providers and ministers who would come with me to offer the kind of treatment we had seen given in the Spiritist Psychiatric Hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil. We promised to do the healing work in a group for patients who wanted it, under the watchful gaze of the hospital nurses. We promised not to have physical contact with the patients or engage them in conversation or exchange contact information. The hospital turned the offer down. No explanation was given other than “it’s too unusual”.

In Brazil the culture is more receptive to the philosophy and practices of Spiritism. Not so long ago, Brazil was populated with indigenous cultures that believed in the spiritual realms, were well acquainted with subtle forces of energy. When slaves were brought in from Africa they, too, had similar beliefs. The colonists from Europe intermarried with these cultures. Thus the cultures acknowledging subtle bodies and interacting in powerful ways with the spirits began to blend with the more Christian culture of the Europeans. As a result, healthcare practices in Brazil to this day often intermix conventional biomedical care with homeopathy, energy work, use of herbs, and accessing the wisdom and love of spirits in a more integrative approach to health maintenance.

The Vermont hospital’s response to me might be an indication of how far distant our conventional care systems are from bridging to a more integrative approach to mental health care. Despite recent research findings regarding the positive impact of prayer, meditation and laying on of hands, it appears as if there are still very few ways of bringing energy medicine practices into psychiatric care in most of our US-based institutions. Hopefully, we will continue to build bridges and construct a practical application of spirituality and energy work in mental health care in the future.


Author: Emma Bragdon, PhD, is well-known for her two classic books contributing to the field of Spiritual Emergency (1988 & 1990). She has also published 4 books and co-produced 2 documentary films on Brazilian Spiritism. The 30 minute film “Spiritism: Bridging Spirituality and Health” documents the work of Spiritist Centers and Hospitals in Brazil and the USA. Online store at Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/emmabragdonco-20; Website for courses at IMHU: IMHU.org/courses. Information on trips to Brazil: EmmaBragdon.com/Brazil-trips.

Key words: mental health, Spiritism, Spiritist, psychiatric hospital, laying-on of hands, spiritual healing, energy passes, recovery, healers, sensitives


 [i] Azevedo, JL. MD. (1997) Spirit and Matter: New Horizons for Medicine. Tempe, AZ: New Falcon. p.66)

[ii] Canhadas, C, (1999) Cura Espiritual, Uma Visao Integradora Corpo-Mente-Espirito. Masters Dissertation for Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Sao Paulo.

[iii] Herve, I. et al. (2003) Apometria: A Conexao Entre a Ciencia e O Espiritismo. Porto Alegre, Brasil: Dacasa Editora.

[iv] Moreira-Almeida, A & Moreira, A. (2008) “Inacio Ferreira: the institutionalization of the integration between medicine and paranormal phenomena.” A presentation at the Convention of the Parapsychoogical Association and the Society for Psychical Research. Note: Dr Moreira Almeida has been prolific in writing articles and creating youtube videos that describe Spiritism and the value of spirituality in healthcare.

[v] Bragdon, E. (editor) (2011) Spiritism and Mental Health, London, UK: Singing Dragon.


Posted in alternatives to psych meds, anomalous experience, Healing Touch, Integrative, Meditation, mental health, non-ordinary states of consciousness, Psychiatry, Spiritism, Spiritual Healing, Spiritually Transformative Experiences

TSA Airport Scanners

airport scanners



…[When] the backscatter radiation levels the old airport scanners were putting off began showing an increased incidence of cancer in TSA agents (along with the lawsuits that quickly followed),  the devices were finally yanked. The TSA quickly scrambled for another solution.

Now they also want us to believe that the replacement technology, millimeter wave “digital strip search” scanners, are also “perfectly safe”.

Don’t believe it for a second.

The TSA failed to adequately test these devices for health and safety factors as well. Unfortunately, in today’s world, security trumps human safety. These millimeter wave technologies are designed to bombard innocent travelers with high frequency energy particles known as terahertz photons.

A study conducted by Boian S. Alexandrov et.al. at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, revealed that these terahertz waves could “…unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.”

airport scanners

In other words, this study is the smoking gun that raises serious concerns about the impact of terahertz radiation upon fertility, fetal development, and cancer.

Now think about the thousands of people who are subjected to these levels of untested energy particles every day in the name of “National Security”. The military’s Active Denial weapon uses millimeter wave technology to create an intense burning sensation on the skin’s surface using a 95 GHz (3.2mm wavelength) beam.

But the TSA tells us not to worry about their millimeter waves [in airport scanners] because:“Millimeter wave technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off the body to create the same generic image for all passengers.”  This is completely inaccurate because the nature of millimeter waves is that our bodies and water are excellent absorbers of these waves. Millimeter waves do penetrate and absorb into our skin.

At the microwave technology center in Malaysia, health subjects were exposed to microwave radiation between 20 — 38 GHz, the range in which the TSA scanners operate. They found that millimeter waves penetrated the subject’s skin at depths of between 1.05 mm at 20 GHz to 0.78 mm at 38 GHz. This is enough to penetrate below the epidermal layer of the skin.

Millimeter waves have been reported to produce a variety of bioeffects, many of which are quite unexpected from radiation penetrated less than 1 mm into biological tissues.

Of particular concern is the citing of studies that show there is an irreversible water memory effect by millimeter waves operating in the 36GHz frequency, and that the millimeter wave effects on blood plasma vary greatly from one person to the next.

Does this information make you extremely uncomfortable? Well, it should. And it should also make every one of us mad as hell.

…Alternation of DNA can be subtle and deadly down the line. Who would ever make the connection that a TSA scanning machine might have contributed to any negative health effects you eventually experience?

If you are a frequent air traveler, like myself, you should be concerned about your levels of exposure. If you’re a TSA agent, you should find another job.

…[Want to avoid the scanners?] Go to a medical supply store and buy a cheap inexpensive arm sling and put it on before going through TSA. If you can’t hold both arms up over your head while in their scanner, it renders the results totally unusable. They know this and have to let you opt out for medical reasons…

Author Bio:

Dr. Kathy Forti  is a clinical psychologist and author of the book, Fractals of God.

Above are excerpts from her article that can be read in full on http://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/02/19/los-alamos-study-finds-airport-scanners-can-rip-apart-alter-dna/

IMHU usually only publishes posts about mental health and this article is more broadly about health in general.  If you would like to explore the online and live presentations IMHU offers, please go to IMHU.org/courses.  Enjoy!  In May we are launching an exciting 4 week course, “Nutrition, Micronutrients and Mental Health” with Dr. Pam Shervanick…an extraordinary expose of the power of nutrition on recovery from mental disturbances.




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Pharmaceuticals & The Sedated Society

The Sedated Society: The Causes and Harms of our Psychiatric Prescribing Epidemic‘ (Palgrave Macmillan 2017).

Edited by Dr James Davies (co-founder of Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry in UK), the book contains chapter contributions from a team of global experts, including Joanna Moncrieff, Peter Kinderman, Peter Breggin, Sami Timimi, Peter Gøtzsche and Robert Whitaker.

Over 15% of the UK and 20% of the US adult population take a psychiatric medication on any given day, and the numbers are only set to increase. When these figures are set against data exposing the poor outcomes and harms these medications often cause, it becomes apparent that their commercial success is not due to their therapeutic efficacy.

The book reveals how pharmaceutical sponsorship and marketing, diagnostic inflation, the manipulation and burying of negative clinical trials, lax medication regulation, and neoliberal public health policies have all been implicated in ever-rising psycho-pharmaceutical consumption. As increasing sedation of society may be leading to a more disabled society, this book closes by calling for total reform.

“’The Sedated Society’ is a provocative critique of the over-prescription psychiatric drugs, their minimal effectiveness, and the dangers they pose. The authors are eminent experts and their conclusions are important and troubling. It should be required reading for all medical students.”
—Prof Irving Kirsch, Associate Director at the Harvard Medical School

Copies can be ordered from Amazon US here: https://www.amazon.com/Sedated-Society-Causes-Psychiatric-Epidemic/dp/3319449109/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487336349&sr=8-1&keywords=the+sedated+society

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Posted in Depression, drugs, health, medication, mental health, Psychiatry, research, Uncategorized

How to Successfully Choose a Long Term Partner

Don and Martha Rosenthal

by Don Rosenthal

It happens frequently for one in search of a lifetime partner that he or she meets someone, they click, and fall rapidly in love. In a short time they are both high on the delicious emotions of the early romantic love. They may also experience an intensified high from the quality and newness of their sex. These highs are so compelling that they lead both partners swiftly to the conclusion that they have met their lifetime mate. With such intense love and connection, how could the union be anything but a lifetime of bliss together?

The fact that such a disturbingly high percentage of relationships—well over the majority— end up either in splitting, living in constant conflict, or going dead, suggests that the predicted bliss emerging from such beginnings is almost always greatly misleading. In fact, how high the high moments are at the early stage is a very poor predictor of long term relational success. For someone seriously seeking a lifetime partner it would be wise to abandon this misleading criterion and to look for another one that would more accurately predict the likely success of the long term endeavor.

Are we able to identify one? The answer is “yes.” Before the end we will suggest what that quality in a partner might be; but first we lay some groundwork.

Resentment: the Plaque in the Arteries

From decades of observing couples in all stages of relationship in our workshops and counselling, Martha (my wife of 46 years) and I are clear that the chief ingredient of most failed relationships is resentment. When not properly dealt with, resentment gains ground ceaselessly, choking off the flow of good will and love. This plaque in the arteries of relationship is invariably mutual, since resentment expressed by one party entails the diminishing of love, thereby triggering resentment in the other. As it bounces back and forth between the partners the resentment grows. Here is the central factor in the darkening of feelings and the lessening of love.

If resentment can be caught early and dealt with, before it has the chance to grow like a tumor, unchecked and dangerous, a relationship stands a far greater chance of success. It makes sense, therefore, to uncover the favorite breeding grounds of resentment as a crucial place to interrupt—before a destructive pattern is created.

We all want a relationship where we can communicate our feelings if we are upset by our partner’s behavior, and be understood by them. We have observed much resentment originating when such communication is attempted. The partner who is told by their mate, “I was hurt by what you said to me,” or “I was angry at what you did yesterday,” is likely to experience this as a threat. Out of their fear the confronted partner often becomes defensive, which invariably means that they are in no position to hear the upset one. The outcome is increased resentment.

Defenses Take Many Forms

Defensiveness can take many forms. A most common one is explaining oneself, or self-justification: “I had good reason to do what I did, and I didn’t mean to hurt you….” Another is denial: “I didn’t do what you said.” Another is attack: “What, you accuse me? You do it too, even worse!” Another is accusing the other of overreacting. Other forms of defense may include withdrawal, emotional meltdown, or inappropriate sarcasm or humor.

What they all have in common is simple: in being defensive one is in a state incapable of understanding their partner’s reason for being upset. The one who is trying to be understood about something that genuinely troubles them, is guaranteed in the presence of defensiveness to be frustrated in their desire, because the defensive partner will invariably tune out the other’s reality.

Here lies perhaps the major source of resentment. As a couple with human flaws, my partner and I are bound to do things regularly that don’t feel good to the other. There needs to be a way of conveying this effectively and of being heard. Without this capacity the most unfortunate message is transmitted: “if I behave in ways that bother you, I don’t care”. How can an intimacy flourish in such an environment? Yet such is precisely the situation in a disturbingly high number of relationships.

The reader might ask him or herself, how do I respond when my partner tells me they are upset with my behavior? Do I perhaps get defensive? If so, can I see that my partner may not feel that I am interested in hearing their truth?

In order for them to feel understood, what do they actually need from me? It can’t be that I always agree with their perspective on things, their story, because that is simply unrealistic and impossible. And yet, when they tell me their feelings I can’t argue with them, because it feels as if I am being defensive, and they won’t be heard. What they realistically have a right to ask for is that I be more interested in understanding their reality than in being right. That I will be able to put myself in their place and understand them. I need to show them that their feelings makes sense. In short, my task is to validate their feeling.

What is Validation?

To validate is to show the other that under these circumstances their feelings make sense to me. They are not crazy or inappropriate. And I can understand the connection between my actions and their feelings. It by no means requires that I agree with their assessment of the situation. In fact, it is possible to validate even when I strongly disagree. But it does require that I have the capacity and the willingness to let go temporarily of my personal perspective on the matter. Perhaps I may search my memory bank for an experience similar to the one I am trying to validate. It is an art to be able to put myself in their place and show them convincingly that their feelings make sense to me. In return for this gift I may receive a fresh perspective on some of my unconscious behavior patterns that might well deserve a closer look.

An example may clarify our meaning. Lets say my car was being fixed, I borrowed my partner’s car to go shopping, and it took longer than I had thought. I had an appointment on the phone when I returned home. In order to make that appointment on time I had to rush home. This meant I didn’t have time to put gas in the car, which sorely needed it. My partner discovered the gas indicator almost on empty when I returned the car, and got angry with me for my carelessness in not handling the gas myself.

Most of us, in the face of our partner’s upset, feel a strong impulse to defend ourselves, sounding something like this: “Look, I had a really important conference call at 3:00 and I simply didn’t have the time to get gas. You’re being unfairly upset at something I couldn’t help!” Or, “Okay, okay, so I’m not perfect! Don’t you ever make mistakes, especially when you’re pressed for time? Give me a break and stop coming on like you’re so perfect!” Or, “Why is it that you’re always finding fault with every little thing that I do? I can’t do a thing without you blaming me and getting upset over practically nothing!” You can imagine how unsatisfied our partner feels. In fact, this may well be the start of another cycle of resentment.

What did they actually want from me? For their upset feelings they were awaiting a validation, which might sound like this: “I can see why you are angry. The one time I borrow your car I return it with the gas very low, which means you have to handle one more thing the next time you go out, and maybe even worry about making it to a gas station. You always make sure the car has enough gas when you bring it home, and I can see why you would expect me to have the courtesy to do the same when I borrow your car. My failure to do that must have felt really disrespectful. I can understand your upset.” To receive such a validation usually softens the feelings and even helps them to release. But, alas, most validation does not arise very easily or naturally.

The Value of Validation

Couples who have learned a thing or two about the art of intimacy understand that to validate is to bypass a great deal of potential trouble. Ideally, if validation does not arise naturally during the upset, one can ask for it. Although it takes a while to learn well, the skill is greatly worth having. Whoever has learned how can offer it when requested. In fact, it makes sense on several levels for a couple to have an agreement that validations will be given upon request. Not wanting to give one is no longer an acceptable excuse. This ups the ante for relational integrity, as well as guarantees that one who really desires validation can count on receiving it.

One may find that the capacity to validate on request is not a luxury, but an indispensable component for maintaining a thriving intimacy. It may even become difficult to imagine how an intimacy could possibly succeed with a partner who, when told about my difficult feelings, is unable to show me some understanding, due to being defensive, about why I am upset. Without the capacity to validate on request, negative feelings are likely to build swiftly until they poison a relationship, and likely render it unpleasant to participate in or to behold. Imagine the difference when one lives in a relationship where he or she knows beyond doubt that they can always be heard and understood if they request it, due to the partner being non-defensive, no matter how difficult or loaded a situation is. The need to hold onto resentment withers; the trust level flowers.

The Quality Needed to Maximize Success

We can now return to the question of what quality in a potential mate will successfully predict the greatest likelihood of a thriving intimacy. I believe it is the willingness and the capacity to learn how to validate.

Were I considering someone as a potential partner I would first make sure they understand how important the proper handling of conflict is to the success of a relationship. Then, I would make sure they understand the importance of validation replacing defensiveness, and had learned or were willing to learn how to validate. Finally, I would want to try it out with them to make sure they have the capacity to validate effectively. The best tools are now in place to address any difficult situation, and a thriving intimacy awaits.

Author: Don Rosenthal, Relationship Counselor

Website: www.awakeningtogether.com

Email: couples@sover.net

Don shares more of his wisdom in a course at IMHU, “7 Essentials for Creating Thriving Relationships”.  Click here for more information.

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Posted in health, relationship

The State of Mental Health in America



Mental Health Facts, Stats, and Data: Key Findings (2016)

  • 1 in 5 Adults have a mental health condition.That’s over 40 million Americans; more than the populations of New York and Florida combined.
  • Youth mental health is worseningRates of youth depression increased from 8.5% in 2011 to 11.1% in 2014. Even with severe depression, 80% of youth are left with no or insufficient treatment
  • More Americans have access to servicesAccess to insurance and treatment increased, as healthcare reform has reduced the rates of uninsured adults. 19% of adults remain uninsured in states that did not expand Medicaid. 13% of adults remain uninsured in states that did expand Medicaid.
  • But most Americans still lack access to care. 56% of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment. Even in Vermont, the state with the best access, 43% of adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment.
  • There is a serious mental health workforce shortage. In states with the lowest workforce, there’s only 1 mental health professional per 1,000 individuals. This includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses combined.
  • Less access to care means more incarceration. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama had the least access to care and highest rates of imprisonment. There are over 57,000 people with mental health conditions in prison and jail in those states alone. That’s enough to fill Madison Square Garden three times.

Mental Health in America 2017 [links]

 In the above links you will find a Collection of Data across all 50 states and the District of Columbia answering the following questions:

  • How many adults and youth have mental health issues?
  • How many adults and youth have substance use issues?
  • How many adults and youth have access to insurance?
  • How many adults and youth have access to adequate insurance?
  • How many adults and youth have access to mental health care?
  • Which states have higher barriers to accessing mental health care?

 Our Goal [at Mental Health America]:

  • To provide a snapshot of mental health status among youth and adults for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation;
  • To track changes in prevalence of mental health issues and access to mental health care;
  • To understand how changes in national data reflect the impact of legislation and policies; and.
  • To increase dialogue and improve outcomes for individuals and families with mental health needs

 Why Gather this Information?

  • Using national survey data allows us to measure a community’s mental health needs, access to care, and outcomes regardless of the differences between the states and their varied mental health policies.
  • Rankings explore which states are more effective at addressing issues related to mental health and substance use.
  • Analysis may reveal similarities and differences among states in order to begin assessing how federal and state mental health policies result in more or less access to care.

 The article was taken from Mental Health America‘s website:


Mental Health America is committed to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness. They advocate for prevention services for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated services, care and treatment for those who need it, and recovery as the goal.

They believe that gathering and providing up-to-date data and information about disparities faced by individuals with mental health problems is a tool for change.


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Posted in Anxiety, Depression, mental health, research, suicide
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