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Living with mental illness

When a young person experiences a frightening break from reality, Western experts usually label it a “first-episode psychosis” while many psychologists and cultures define it as a “spiritual awakening”.  Join CJ as she interviews Phil Borges, the director of the documentary CRAZYWISE, who explores the most effective treatment plans and approaches to mental illness.

Phil Borges: YouTube Interview on Crazywise

1:39 Phil shares the healing journey of a gal featured in his documentary that overcame depression using nontraditional healing modalities and Shamanic techniques.
5:51 Phil shares Adam’s story whose psychotic break changed his life and his current recovery which is filled with ups and downs.
12:39 Phil shares his experience filming the Dali Lama’s Oracle of Tibet and how that started his exploration into mental health.
16:10 How long and what was involved as the Oracle of Tibet lost his sense of self and overall health?
17:40 What the Dali Lama asked the Oracle? What are the personal sacrifices that a Oracle goes through?
18:01 What is the initiation that Shamans go through?
20:26 How Shamans see their symptoms are a “calling” to look and explore their inner landscape?
22:24 How does the mental health approach of indigenous culture compare to a Western approach?
26:28 Are all mental illness consider a “calling”? In a conversation afterward Phil mentioned that one of the doctor’s believed that if someone feels that they are subject to external forces (vs. internal calling) that they are less successful using a nontraditional approach.
31:13 What is Phil’s perspective on the role of medications in mental health?
34:01 What is the neuroscience approach to mental illness?
36:05 Why is social,psychological, and spiritual so critical for helping those with mental health issues?
38:21 What were some approaches that seem to work well with mental illness?
42:00 Why is not being isolated, hope, peer Community, and experiencing your feelings important? In a follow-up conversation Phil mentioned this program http://www.theicarusproject.net/files/OpenDialog-
ApproachAcutePsychosisOlsonSeikkula.pdf). Resources for peer groups: http://crazywisefilm.com/#resources

46:47 How can meditation help?

Sandra Ingerman- YouTube Video on how Shamanism can help with Depression and Suicidal thoughts?

About Phil Borges – Director of Crazywise, Lecturer, and Teacher

For over twenty-five years Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books, which have been published in four languages, include Tibetan Portrait, Enduring Spirit, Women Empowered and Tibet: Culture on the Edge. He has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic channels. Phil also lectures and teaches internationally.

Phil’s recent project, CRAZYWISE, explores the relevance of Shamanic traditional practices and beliefs to those of us living in the modern world. CRAZYWISE centers around a young man struggling with his sanity, world renowned mental health professionals, and a gutsy survivor-led movement…all challenging a mental health system in crisis.

Phil’s program Stirring the Fire has produced several short documentaries, a book and an exhibition highlighting some of the extraordinary women worldwide who are breaking through gender barriers and conventions in order to enhance the well being of their communities.

In 2000 Phil founded Bridges to Understanding, an online classroom program that connects youth worldwide through digital storytelling in order to enhance cross-cultural understanding and help build a sense of global citizenship in youth. He also co-founded Blue Earth Alliance, a 501c3 that sponsors photographic projects focusing on endangered cultures and threatened environments.

Phil graduated from University of California as a Regents Scholar in 1969 and was honored with their prestigious University of California Medal in 2004. He lives with his family in Seattle.


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