Here is an interview with Paul, who was hospitalized twice for psychosis.
Paul, you say you have experienced psychosis. What do you mean by that?
“I would not even call it that way. If someone asked me, if I had experienced psychosis, I would say Yes and No.
The term has for me a very negative connotation, since psychosis is a term to classify illness.”
“Now being sick is not a problem, but I would argue that there is huge difference between being sick and being crazy. I experienced myself as crazy but not sick.
So basically my experience or state of mind was crazy but also an epiphany.”

When did you start experiencing it? How has it affected your life? How old are you now?
“The first time was in January 2015 at age 18. After many worries and problems I dealt with before, I began to believe in god. Having found god, I started to really feel myself again. This caused me to think that I could handle the problems of the world all alone by talking to world leaders.
I then felt that I had killed my ego, or at least the definition of who I was. This made me think that If I had killed myself, I was no longer human and therefore directly directed by god.”

Have you been hospitalized for it? If so, how long?

“After talking to a baptist priest, telling him I had the mission to save the world, the cops came and put me in closed psychiatry.”
What was your experience with your hospitalizations? How did it help? How did it not help?

“The positive facts had been that I was in a space where nothing was too crazy to be done and that I was safe.
I also enjoyed spending time with the other patients.”
“Not help:
– The horrible medication
– the diagnosis of a bodily illness
– being locked up
– being victimized
– seeing other patients being strapped down to their beds
– being dehumanized to fit a certain box (psychological multiple choice tests e.g.)”

Have you been put on medicines for psychosis? If so, which ones? For how long? What has been your experience with them?
“250 mg Amilsulprid 5 months, effects: being sleepy all the time, feeling like killing yourself, not be able to think, not be able to feel, Lazyness, becoming fat, depression, sleeping all day”
“400 mg Seroquel 1 year: all of the upper + sleeping like a stone without dreaming, becoming really stupid and losing memory.”
“25 mg Aripriprazol 2 months: restless legs Syndrome.”
“10 mg Haldol one time: I can´t remember.”

What do you think generally about what mental health currently has to offer people with psychosis?
How did you learn about IDL?
“I read “Waking up – using Integral deep Listening to transform your live in January 2016.”
What is IDL, based on your experience?

“IDL is a way to experience oneself as a multidimensional being.”
“By becoming an emerging potential, meaning an epitome of, for instance an issue, a dream characte, or generally for what whatever comes up in one´s mind, one is able to both broaden and deepen one’s sense of self.”
“IDL allows the (emerging potential) to become the epitome, to experience it transform and to listen what it has to say.”

Have you done IDL interviewing? If so, how many? What dream characters and personifications of life issues have you interviewed so far?

“I have done around 10 IDL Interviews that always offered a new and fresh perspective.”
“One of them (the first one actually) was an epitome of my inner child represented as chocolate crunch which helped me to connect to feeling both innocent and happy. This had been an important experience. I had felt for months that connection to my childhood was lacking. It even went so far that I could not remember how I felt as a child; I did not have real childhood memories, solely mere reconstructions of events that took place. By accessing my inner child, IDL connected me not only to feel myself again but also brought back the capability to remember my childhood memories.”
“Another epitome presented itself as Merlin´s hat that then transformed into a reggae mop.”
“The reggae mop was very chill and told me to relax instead of getting into elitist spiritualism.”
“Another important interview resulted in finding that dualism, such as between being psychotic and sane, are mere rationalizations that can be transcended, allowing to profit from experiences that were before denounced as psychotic, and also to stop thinking in the terms of psychotic and non-psychotic.”
“This was a great liberation from the urge to feel a need to adapt to labels, and clinical diagnoses.”
“The amount of suffering that is created by such labels is tremendously ferocious. IDL is thus exceptionally helpful since it operates without clinical diagnosis and encourages its users to step out of harmful dualisms such as “paranoid schizophrenic” vs “normal.”
“I am currently working on the results on an interview that dealt with anger. The interviewed character includes the benefits of anger, such as sense of justice, compassion and confidence, and transcends self-destructive qualities of anger by transforming them into a sense of humility, service and duty.”

Have you worked with any of the recommendations? If so, which ones? What has been the result, if any?

“I have taken the recommendations seriously. They have improved my life in multiple ways and realms:
– social: usually the interviewed potentials do not play social games, their recommendations help to step out of such social games that normally prevent genuine relations
– focus: my ability to concentrate; characters are not caught up in distractions, they help to
focus on essentials
– Peace of mind: by application of their recommendations, and the experience of finding some kind of inner peace and compass.
– Joy: by getting to know parts of oneself that simply enjoy life.”

It is a common belief in psychotherapy that the job of mental health is to “strengthen the ego” or build up one’s sense of self. Psychosis is thought of as “decompensation,” or the fragmentation of one’s sense of self. IDL interviewing looks like it is contradictory, like it weakens the ego, like it tears down one’s sense of self. In your experience, does it? If not, why not?

“The notion of an ego creates suffering, says Buddhism, for instance. During psychotic states the notion of ego is in a transcendental process that can propose solutions for problems arising with a narrow definition and identification with ego. Common psychiatry and psychotherapy tends to devalue the transformative power of that experience. Instead of broadening the patient´s sense of self, it tries to put him back in the definition of an ego, such as it may be conform with society and cultural norms.”
“IDL, in contrast, values the experience and integrates both the pre-psychotic ego, the psychotic experience, and helps to use the transformative power of psychosis, to feel okay about oneself again. IDL is transrational. It includes and values the psychotic pre-rational experience, integrates the rational observation and finally transcends both of them.”
Have you done any IDL meditation?
“Naming meditation served as a way to detach from thoughts, feelings, sensations etc. and helped to both focus on being and improving awareness. It was a way to find quietness.”
I wish that mental health professionals everywhere could read Paul’s comments. While the current approaches to the treatment of serious mental health issues have their strengths, they obviously have much room for improvement. Paul has done an excellent job of explaining how and why Integral Deep Listening can help mental health professionals and coaches help their clients.