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During the winter of 2015 it became obvious to me that our present way of life cannot continue. It's unsustainable and has to come to an end. I've written about this in my book Crisis : Recover : Rebuild, which is a psychological approach to dealing with the coming changes, but the simple fact is that for many reasons major change is inevitable.
Those that survive this transition will be forced to adopt a simpler way of life. Many things will change, and one of these will be our approach to mental health. Prescription drugs such as antidepressants and antipsychotics will no longer be available - if there are to be any forms of medication these will be herbal based. As a result, anyone who depends on medication will struggle.
The alternative to drugs is psychotherapy, which is a complex field that takes many years to learn and half a lifetime to become good at. Even so, most psychotherapists struggle to make a living as things stand in our society. After the transition those that are still around will be doing the same as everyone else, working hard to meet their basic needs.
Which brings me to the reason for the Everybodies series. In these books I am trying to capture what I have learned through my years of experience as a therapist, and then put this into a form which can be accessible to most people. They are intended as a form of psychological first aid to people and communities who will need all the help they can get after our civilisation collapses.
Until that day arrives, if you can access psychotherapy or counselling you should still do so. A book can't replace the experience of a therapist, although it may be useful as a way of supplementing your therapy if it's compatible with the way your therapist works.
Whatever the critics of psychotherapy may say, it can be very effective, and it has made great advances since Sigmund Freud first started writing about the idea of a talking cure. I feel it would be a tragedy to lose all of these gains, and return to the dark ages of locking sufferers in an asylum. These books are my attempt to make some of the basic ideas of psychotherapy accessible more widely, in the hope that they can be preserved. Another field that has been making massive progress is neuroscience, and if this knowledge could be transferred to psychotherapists the field would make even more rapid strides, making the need for medication a thing of the past.
There is a risk that both the gains made by psychotherapy and neuroscience could be lost with the fall of civilisation. Therefore in parallel with the Everybodies series I have been working on capturing as much neuroscience research as I can, and starting the work of integrating it with psychotherapy. This has led to some fascinating insights, such as a deeper understanding of what consciousness is, and how particular forms of meditation might be used to target specific brain areas that need support. It's already possible to see the results of this research in the scientific understanding we have of stress and trauma, which revolvers around hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Likewise the roles of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which form the basis of many psychoactive drugs, are becoming clearer. There is so much more to learn, so far we have only scratched the surface,
I have been working for a number of years on a project to collate this knowledge, but the field is so vast that it requires a team of many people. I have already acquired a base which I call The Sanctuary where this work could take place, where technology could be stockpiled and solar panels used to provide power. A lot of work is needed to renovate this base and make it habitable for a team.
As if these two projects are not enough, during 2016/17 I developed arthritis and severe muscle pains, which I believe to be caused by the toxic chemicals that are added to food by modern agricultural practises. I have written about this elsewhere on the Hope Street Centre website, but it points to an urgent need for uncontaminated food to prevent team members developing chronic illnesses, and to provide a place of recovery for those who have already been affected.
These projects require money, time, land, energy, accommodation and other resources. Above all they require the right people to commit to make them happen. The strategy for making them happen keeps evolving. I have been very fortunate, in that the Hope Street Centre has supported me while I have done the background work, and has helped to fund the purchase of the site. Without the Centre, and the colleagues who have helped me make it a success, the Sanctuary and the Everybodies series would not exist.
However time is running out, and these ideas are to come to fruition we need more resources. My hope is for the Everybodies books to sell as widely as possible. They are priced very cheaply, but if enough sell they could cover the costs of developing the Sanctuary, and possibly adding more living space and land.
Based on these books and other material we've been developing, my colleagues and I plan to start running workshops which will cover the material in more depth and help anyone interested to prepare for a life beyond the coming transition. We hope that these courses will help those attend to discover their own way of preparing for the changing times ahead.
We are very creative, and I'm sure we'll be coming up with other ways of taking this work forward. Please encourage and support us by buying our books, attending our courses when we start running them, and spreading the word through your networks.