During my career I have taught children with learning difficulties, worked in eco-tourism as an environmental interpretation consultant (environmental copywriting), worked with people with HIV/AIDS, people with intellectual disabilities, and children with backgrounds of domestic violence. Before consolidating my private psychotherapy practice, I ran the art therapy department of a private psychiatric hospital, and offered 3-month therapy groups for survivors of post-traumatic stress disorder. After several years looking after the Childhood Abuse Collection at the Dax Centre, one of the world?s largest collections of artworks by people with mental illness and trauma, I remain on their advisory board. In the educational field, my main interest now is to lecture and run workshops for mental health practitioners on the neurobiology of trauma, PTSD and childhood abuse.
My long association with Subud has included committee and helper work and editorial production of the Australian national newsletter. Although Subud was and still is a deep part of me, its belief system did not satisfy me or facilitate my growth and maturity. I am contributing to the Subud Vision website because I want to offer something of what I have learnt since leaving the seclusion of an insular Subud lifestyle.
My article on the latihan and dissociation seeks to redress the lack of research by Subud into its own practices. I am interested in the latihan as it affects us physically, psychologically and emotionally and I do not attempt to analyze its spiritual implications. After defining the phenomenon of dissociation, I explain my personal experience of the link between latihan and dissociation, and why I had to stop doing latihan in order to regain mental stability.
My article presents the latest research into what is happening in the brain when we have religious, spiritual or mystical experience, and I offer ideas about the relevance of this research to Subud experience. I believe dissociation is operating in conjunction with the practice of the latihan, and I discuss the implications of my findings for the mental and emotional health of Subud members and the Subud way of life.
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