Mark Forman (Part 2) – Hot Button Issues in Mental Health & Psychotherapy: Trauma, Transgender, Psychedelics, SuperShrinks, Feminism’s Shadow & the Loneliness Epidemic

Mark Forman Integral Psychotherapy Psychedelic Therapy Transgender

Integral psychotherapist Mark Forman, author of the seminal work A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy, doesn’t mince words when it comes to the field he is passionate about: helping people out of their mental pain and dysphoria. Mark’s Integral perspective and longtime work in the trenches—with clients from all income levels, political persuasions, and levels of development—put him in a unique position to illuminate us as to the nuances of the hot button issues new to psychotherapy or ones that have suddenly exploded in numbers: misuse of the term trauma and its diagnostic creep, what the research says about the effectiveness of psychedelics to treat mental health disorders and what that portends for the future, the exponentially growing trend of teenage girls deciding they are transgender and the crying need for more data to help with counseling transgender and trans-curious youth, what is causing the loneliness epidemic, the pressing need to reimagine the male role to balance how feminism has changed the female role, and more. 

Mark describes the “therapeutic zone” that can happen in therapy when inspiration strikes, and shares the latest research on what makes therapists into “super-shrinks” who have client outcomes ten times better than average. He also relates how living in our psychologized culture affects therapy, and how it can get tricky when therapist and client are at different levels of development. Mark’s vast knowledge and big heart shine through the many topics he delves into and his tales of actual therapeutic encounters are eye opening and moving. This is an impassioned, courageous conversation on the front lines of mental health and psychotherapy. Recorded May 4, 2023.

Reflective listening is the beating heart of all therapy.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2

  • Trauma is less severe where there is a sense of purpose & meaning (00:50)
  • The “gifts” trauma can offer: post traumatic growth, a resiliency generating idea that you can give back, take part, reduce someone else’s suffering (04:19)
  • What makes psychotherapy so effective? Research suggests it’s an individual thing rather than which psychological school the therapist follows (07:07)
  • The matrix problem: it’s almost impossible to define outcome measures (09:38)
  • What does research show makes the biggest difference in outcomes? Super-shrinks make a lot of room for negative feedback (11:34)
  • The therapeutic zone: conceptual curiosity, receptive listening, and dropping into the witness or pure awareness (23:08)
  • The developmental stage of the therapist’s effect on the client: where it gets tricky is if the client is in a later stage of development than the therapist (27:40)
  • Reflective listening is the beating heart of all therapy (36:59)
  • Recent research on psychedelic therapy is showing it is amazingly effective: psilocybin for depression and MDMA for PTSD  (38:06)
  • Will the psychedelic therapy bubble burst when the risks become more apparent? (44:46)
  • What about ketamine? (47:57)
  • Trans issues in psychotherapy: the controversy is really over what is the appropriate age to socially transition versus the various steps of medical transition (51:28)
  • Trending upwards exponentially: teenage girls suddenly deciding they are transgender—is this a “social contagion”? What is the right pace of care? (56:39)
  • Are there inherent dangers with surgery? What happens with puberty blockers? (01:00:24)
  • Trans-curious youth, are we treating youth in the most cautious way? And the big need for research and data (01:02:42)

Resources & References – Part 2

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Mark Forman Integral Psychotherapy Psychedelic Therapy Transgender

Mark Forman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with over twenty years experience working with individuals, couples, children, teens, and families. His text – A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy: Complexity, Integration, and Spirituality in Practice – is one of the seminal works in the field of Integral Psychotherapy. Dr. Forman is more recently the author of The Monster’s Journey: From Trauma to Connection, which is a reimagining of the The Hero’s Journey archetype for those who have suffered early childhood trauma. Dr. Forman has an academic background in philosophy and religion and is a long-term practitioner of yoga, reiki, martial arts, and meditation.

Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell

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