The links between madness, creative genius, and spiritual experiences have tantalized philosophers and scientists for centuries. In Healing the Split, John Nelson brings the lofty ideas of transpersonal psychology down to earth so they can be applied in a practical way to explain the bizarre effects of insanity on the human mind. Drawing on a vast knowledge of Eastern philosophy and mainstream neuropsychiatry, he heals the split between orthodox and alternative views with a comprehensive approach that goes beyond both. Starting where R. D. Laing and Thomas Szasz left off, Nelson revises and expands their radical views in light of modern brain science. He then turns to ancient tantric yoga for a synthesis that weaves brain, psyche, and spirit into a compelling new conception of mental illness.
For professionals who seek to meet the needs of their patients more creatively, this book offers a unique synthesis. For people in emotional crisis, it clarifies the distinctions among intractable psychosis, temporary breakdowns in the service of healing (spiritual emergencies), and psychic breakthroughs (spiritual emergence). And for anyone interested in the seemingly inexplicable workings of the human mind gone mad, this fascinating exploration of psychotic states of consciousness will be exciting reading.
John E. Nelson, M. D., is a practicing psychiatrist certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He has worked with psychiatric patients since 1969 and has long been a student of transpersonal psychology and Eastern philosophy.
"An enormously impressive, profound, and important book. " — Ken Wilber
"An overwhelmingly valuable book. " — Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
"John Nelson has written an important and compelling book. He provides us with a thorough, well-referenced review of contemporary theories of psychotic illness, including a broad sweep of how conventional psychiatry views the psychoses. " — The Association for Humanistic Psychology Newsletter
"Nelson's level of expertise with both the Western medical model and the Hindu chakra system is quite exceptional and perhaps unique among transpersonal theorists. Healing the Split would make an ideal textbook for a transpersonal psychology course. " — The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology