Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Friday, December 21, 2012


The 1990's was labeled as the Decade of the Brain by the psychiatric establishment. This 'chemical imbalance' concept became very popular though lacking in any evidence and we began to see the rise of labelling of young people and vast increases in use of psychiatric drugs. The 1990's was also sadly the period we began to see serious school violence arise. It is interesting to note that nearly all of the children involved in the situations of school shootings were involved in the mental health system and undergoing treatment with one or more psychotropic agents: Shawn Cooper, a 15-year-old sophomore at Notus Junior-Senior High School in Notus, Idaho, fired a shotgun at his fellow students. Cooper was on Ritalin. Thomas Solomon, a 15-year-old at Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia, shot and wounded six classmates. Solomon was on Ritalin. Kip Kinkel, a 15-year-old at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, killed his parents and two classmates and wounded 22 other students. Kinkel was on Ritalin and Prozac, an anti-depressant. Eric Harris, one of the Columbine High School killers, was on the anti-depressant drug Luvox. Yale researchers, as published in the March 1991 Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, found in their study of Prozac at least one 12-year-old who started having nightmares. The boy dreamed of killing his classmates at school until he himself was shot. The researchers took the boy off Prozac and he recovered. Then they put him back on the drug, apparently thinking that the anti-depressant could not have caused the nightmares. Once drugged again, the boy started to have acute suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Black box warnings exist on antidepressants and it is known they can cause violence and suicidal thought in young people. We need to investigate this issue further, for it appears that we are now dealing with the tragic aftermath of this "Decade of the Brain" -Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.,B.C.S.A.,DAPA batushkad@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Autism, Trauma, Extreme States of Mind- Drug Free Relational Approaches- Kingston, Pennsylvania

Born in Tampa, Florida, Dr. Dan L. Edmunds is a noted psychotherapist and traumatologist, existential psychoanalyst, social activist, Professor of Existential Psychology and Director of the Critical Psychology Certificate and Alternative Mental Health Services programs at European-American University. Dr. Edmunds for the past 12 years has been dedicated to drug free relational approaches to help those undergoing extreme states of mind (schizophrenia and psychoses, bipolar) as well as aiding autistic and developmentally different persons. Dr. Edmunds has worked with other 80 autistic and developmentally different clients and developed the Autism Acceptance Coalition to promote autonomy, understanding, and dignity of autistic and developmentally different persons. He encourages dignified and respectful ways to help autistic and developmentall different persons. Dr. Edmunds recently published an e- book to BEING AUTISTIC: AN APPROACH TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE which explores autism as a way of being rather than an 'entity' and detail the interactions with over 80 developmentally different clients. Dr. Edmunds has developed relational approaches for autistic and developmentally different persons and had often amzong breakthroughs with these persons all while keeping a focus on the need for acceptance, respect, and dignity. Dr. Edmunds currently resides in Dunmore in Northeastern Pennsylvania and has his private practices in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania in the Endless Mountains region and Kingston, Pennsylvania. Dr. Edmunds pioneered an amazing project where persons who would be typically institutionalized and given large amounts of suppressive medication could instead live in the community or with other supportive individuals and be supported in a way where barriers between therapist and client are broken down. This project has been termed "The Sanctuary project/Prince 104" and has been particularly helpful to persons undergoing extreme states of mind. These individuals often came with severe psychiatric labels (schizophrenia, schizoaffective, bipolar) and prescribed many psychiatric drugs. Dr. Edmunds was able to develop a relationship with them where they were able to feel empowered and reduce their dependency on these psychiatric drugs. Dr. Edmunds wrote the book MYSTICAL METAPHORS in collaboration with a young person who had undergone a psychotic experience. MYSTICAL METAPHORS helps to make this experience intelligible. It is one of the most dynamic and personal stories clearly relating the experience of psychosis. Dr. Edmunds is a contributor to PSYCHOLOGY TODAY in the area of Extreme States of Mind and writes for the Mad in America website. Dr. Edmunds attended elementary school in St. Petersburg, FL and Fort Collins, CO. Dr. Edmunds graduated from Fort Collins High School in Colorado. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Florida and received a Master of Arts in Theology from the University of Scranton. He completed post graduate work in Dispute Resolution at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Edmunds completed his Doctorate of Education in Community Counseling at University of Sarasota. He received Board Certification through the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Dr. Edmunds, from a young age, has always sought for an ethical society based on dignity and compassion. He won a writer's award for Ethical Reasoning sponsored by the Fort Collins Coloradoan in 1987. In 1991, at the age of 16, he was the youngest legislative aide to serve in the Colorado State Senate (working in the office of then State Senator Robert W. Schaffer) and became involved in social activism. He was involved with the Students for Peace and Justice at Fort Collins High School. In 1992, he was on the campaign staff of US Rep. Corrine Brown in Florida and had the opportunity to transport and dialogue with Martin Luther King III. Also in 1992, he organized a Youth Commission in Ormond Beach, FL and been a speaker at various political events. His political commentary has been focused on social justice/equality and civil liberty. He has spoken at numerous political events including a talk to the Pocono Libertarian Party in 2003. Politically, Dr. Edmunds is a left libertarian. He continues to reach out to young people and engage in the activist community through his lectures. Dr. Edmunds spoke at the Wooden Shoe Bookstore in July 2011 and at the Bluestockings Bookstore and Activist Center in New York City on November 26, 2011. Dr.Edmunds has been actively involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement and a speaker at the movements events in Scranton, Pennsylvania and New York City. Dr. Edmunds has served in the past in ministry and as a chaplain for the elderly and veterans. In 1998, he was inducted into the National Honor Society for Theology and Religious Studies and published an article in the University of Scranton's Diakonia Journal for Eastern Christian Studies. He was ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1997, later leaving and entering the EADM, a denomination in the Liberal Catholic tradition and the Society for Humanistic Potential. Dr. Edmunds began to challenge dogmatism and developed a more pluralist outlook. He became interested in Buddhist meditation and in 2007, participated in a Mahayana Refuge Vow Ceremony at the Kadampa Buddhist World Peace Temple in Glen Spey, New York. Dr. Dan L. Edmunds is the compassionate voice in the mental health system. He is a leading figure in the worldwide movement for a more humane psychiatric system and for progressive mental health services. He is a noted psychotherapist, child developmental specialist, sociologist and counselor working with both children and adults. His prolific books have discussed the social, political, and familial processes that create emotional distress and he has developed drug free approaches to aiding individuals undergoing extreme states of mind. Psychologist and Professor Eddy Regnier, Ph.D. remarked that Dr. Edmunds "(has) wonderful openness (and is able) to find calm even in the most troubled situation" and Psychologist and author John Breeding, Ph.D. has stated that Dr. Edmunds is a very clear thinker and writer who has defended and supported the spirited nature of children. Dr. Edmunds' social psychological work has focused on the political, social, and familial dynamics leading to emotional distress and he has frequently commented on the 'numbing' of our society. Dr. Edmunds is Professor of Existential Psychology and Comparative Religion for the European-American University and Director of the Critical Psychology Certificate Program and the Graduate program for Alternative Mental Health. Dr. Edmunds is a member of the International Society for Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy. Dr. Edmunds has posed critical questions to the psychiatric establishment and to society as a whole and has developed approaches towards helping distressed individuals that are compassionate and empowering and encourage self-determination and autonomy. He has been an advocate for social justice and for human rights in the mental health system. He has helped many individuals given various serious psychiatric labels live a more fulfilling life and be able to reduce or eliminate their dependency on psychiatric drugs. Many persons who have been damaged by bio-psychiatry have come to Dr. Edmunds for consultation as a last resort. Dr. Edmunds was one of the first to alert to stimulant induced mania and has been an expert witness in cases of involuntary intoxication by psychiatric drugs and has also assisted in situations where persons were to be involuntarily committed. Dr. Edmunds has extensive experience aiding those undergoing extreme states of mind (what is commonly diagnosed as schizophrenia, bipolar, schizoaffective) and those who have the experience of hearing voices. He has worked with over 80 autistic/developmentally children using a relational approach and has been a proponent of the autistic rights movement. Dr. Edmunds' articles "Entering Their Imaginative World" and "The Value of a Relationship Based Approach to Autism" and his book , "Navigating Through the Mainstream" detail some of his loving, respectful, and supportive work with autistic children and their families. Dr. Edmunds has also been involved in successful drug free intervention for children and teens with challenging behaviors, particularly those who have received such labels as Bipolar, Conduct Disorder, ADHD, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Dr. Edmunds has been involved in family mediation and offered expert testimony in family courts. Dr. Edmunds' has been active in issues of social justice for some time. Dr. Edmunds' work has become known internationally. He has been featured in various news articles and nationally syndicated radio programs. He previously hosted a local radio program addressing children's mental health. In 2002, while still a doctoral candidate, he was the one of the first mental health professionals to alert to stumulant induced mania and the rise of ADHD labeled children being labeled with bipolar as a result. In 2006, Dr. Edmunds founded the International Center for Humane Psychiatry, an emancipatory movement of mental health professionals, survivors and others seeking to replace biological psychiatry with more humane and dignified therapeutic means of helping those in distress. Dr. Edmunds' article, "Restoring the Soul to the Mental Health System" was published in the Aaina Journal of the Center for Mental Health Advocacy in Pune, Maharashtra, India and he is currently collaborating in research with the Bapu Trust for Mind and Discourse in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Dr. Edmunds has been involved in mental health reform efforts in Ireland. He is the author of "The Meeting of Two Persons" and "Mystical Metaphors" as well as numerous articles related to humane psychiatry, ethics in mental health practice, family dynamics, child and adolescent development, and autism. "Mystical Metaphors" was written in collaboration with a young person who had undergone an experience labeled as psychosis. The text seeks to make the experience understandable to convey the emotional distress and needs this person had. "The Meeting of Two Persons" discusses the social, familial, and political factors leading to emotional distress, the role of oppression in our lives, and the role of the therapist as activist and advocate. Dr. Edmunds has served as a pastoral counselor, Professor of Existential Psychology, psychological associate/evaluator, psychotherapist for community based agencies, clinical director for a therapeutic equestrian program, coordinator of therapeutic communities, and was previously a legislative aide and registered professional lobbyist. He is Board Certified in Sexual Abuse Issues through the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and is a member of the International Society for the Psychosocial Treatment of Psychoses. Dr. Edmunds hold Diplomate status with the American Psychotherapy Association. In addition, he has been a consultant to special education departments and provided educational advocacy services. Dr. Edmunds has lectured and delivered seminars throughout North America and has been a guest on radio television programs among them the nationally syndicated radio program "Take America Back", Talk of Connecticut WRDC-AM (Hartford, CT); The American Law Journal television program on Philadelphia CNN Affiliate; Highway to Health (Tropic Wave Radio, Melbourne, FL), PsycheWhisperer with A.J. Mahari, AM Radio in Clearwater, FL , WHO AM 1040 in Des Moines, Iowa; Paranormal Science on WILK-FM (Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA), WPUL-AM 1590 (Daytona Beach, FL), KFNX (Phoenix, AZ), Naturally Autistics New Generation Radio program, and Freedomain Radio. Dr. Edmunds is a contributor to Psychology Today in the area of Extreme States of Mind. Dr. Edmunds' radio broadcasts are available on ITunes. In 2006, Dr. Edmunds was the keynote speaker at a protest of a psychiatric conference in Niagara Falls, New York. This conference had been promoting psychiatric drugging of infants. Dr. Edmunds presented at the 4th Annual Alternative Education Resources Organization Conference in June 2007 at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York and at the 2005 and 2010 conferences of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. Dr. Edmunds has guest lectured or presented at the University of Scranton,Pennsylvania State University (Worthington-Scranton), Russell Sage College, Keystone College, and the University of Florida. He has delivered training seminars and offered consultation to a number of mental health agencies. Dr. Edmunds' approaches have helped to return a 'soul' to the mental health system. With a combined background in community counseling, philosophy, activism, and comparative religion, Dr. Edmunds has sought to integrate new ways of finding meaning and purpose for the persons he serves. Much of his work has been in helping people undergoing emotional and mental distress come to a greater sense of wholeness through personal growth and self-transformation processes. Dr. Edmunds is a member and supporter of the Unconventional Foundation for Autism, an organization for research on alternative therapies. Dr. Edmunds is also a member of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Dr. Edmunds can be contacted by e-mail for consultation at batushkad@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Noted existential psychoanalyst and psychotherapist Dr. Dan L. Edmunds will be expanding his work to Kingston,PA. For further information or to arrange a consultation, please see: http://selfgrowth.com/experts/dan_edmunds.html

Sunday, May 20, 2012


The problem may be time. Thoughts of yesterday, hauntings from yesterday, caught in yesterday, today conjures up yesterday, some cannot see today, and today brings new struggles, and tomorrow seems so far off, and we fear it may not arrive, or tomorrow will pull us back to yesterday, to the point we never know today. When in conflict, if we could only remain silent and be able to express the others viewpoint to their satisfaction before we speak. Life is limited and such a precious thing. If we were told the day of our demise, I am sure that it would change immensely our attitudes and our relationships, but the fact is- we know not when this precious life will end, yet we waste our times in quarreling and the most trivial of pursuits. Let us live cherishing each day, and even when we struggle, knowing that each moment, each breath, conveys meaning and purpose, if we so choose.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


World Autism Day: Forging Emotional ConnectionsEncouraging autistic acceptance and understanding.
Published on April 2, 2012 by Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D., B.C.S.A. in Extreme States of Mind
I met with a 5-year-old autistic boy who was non-verbal. He came into the office and began banging his hands on the computer keyboard. The secretary’s immediate response as it typical was to suppress that behavior and make it go away. Instead, I told her to let him go. We had a ball pit in the center of the room, and I told the boy that if he wanted to keep hitting the keyboard that I might have to pick him up and toss him in the ball pit. He continued, and I picked him up and tossed him in. He got out of the ball pit and walked back over to the keyboard. This time, he did not hit the keyboard but outstretched his hands toward it and then fell back into my arms for me to toss him in the ball pit. He giggled and laughed and then spoke the words, “do it again.” I was amazed. Relationship was at the key of this interaction and an emotional connection was forged. I entered into his world, and he reciprocated and entered mine.

I met with a 3-year-old boy who was also non-verbal. He had been placed into foster care almost from day one of his life and both his parents were violent and abusive and there was chaotic family dynamics. The foster family were not equipped to deal with the challenges. The boy would often have intense meltdowns lasting an hour at a time where he would scream and cry uncontrollably. The first thing was to explore why this was occurring, what was triggering it? Why was this child becoming so frustrated and overwhelmed? I came to learn that the foster mother was working a lot, and there would be periods of separation. This is was at the root cause, and it was later acknowledged by the family. Typically though the establishment would see these meltdowns as ‘dangerous’ and problematic and want to shut it down with an antipsychotic drug rather than seeking to understand why it is occurring. I would spend time with the child, letting him take the lead, and just merely being a presence, and hoping he would allow me to enter his space. I encouraged the foster parents to do the same, however this did not occur. These foster parents made the decision that with their current dynamics that it may be better for the child to be in a home where more time could be devoted. A new foster family was arranged, where no other children were present, and the foster mother stayed at home. The child thrived in this setting, and his language developed at a rapid pace, and the meltdowns became minimal. The foster parents began utilizing relational approaches and spent much time seeking to understand and make emotional connections with the child. Gradually, they began seeking to have him interact with peers, and this became much easier for him to do. Their entire approach was based on acceptance.
I received this letter from the father of one of my former clients who at the time was 7 years old. “Dr. Edmunds has developed a strong rapport with (my child). He even waits at the corner of our street in anticipation of his visits. More importantly, over the course of the summer we saw a definite improvement in (his) socialization and behavior at home…I have been extremely impressed with Dr. Edmunds’ extensive knowledge…I also appreciate the comfort we receive in learning of positive results he has achieved with other children. Although I have read extensively myself and spoken with his developmental pediatrician, Dr. Edmunds has been able to translate his theoretical understanding into practical steps that have helped (my child) and us.” In my work with this young man, I sought to build a connection and a relationship and as the father notes, this came in a way where he would await my visits whereas he was previously known to be one who was somewhat disengaged and oblivious to others. I used his interests and his strengths to build this connection and in the process of him opening his world to be, I began to introduce him to that of the mainstream, so he would have an awareness. He had a number of sensory concerns and transitions were always challenging for him, but we worked through pro-active ways to address this. When transitions came forward, he was more prepared ahead of time to deal with them and therefore the need for meltdowns reduced significantly. I also always sought the engagement of the parents. This is the key component, I was present for a brief time, so it is the parents who ultimately must carry things onward and continue to help their child in making emotional connections and being able to navigate through the world.

I worked with an autistic child who was blind and had paralysis in his legs. When frustrated and overwhelmed, he would require a helmet at times because he would bang his head. Many would dismiss any attempts to engage with him believing him to be ‘too disabled’ or ‘too troubling.’ But even here, there was work done in assessing his environment, seeking to alleviate those things that caused distress and overwhelm. And emotional connections were able to be made with him in spite of his challenges and differences. I let him take the lead, and he would at times grasp my hand and lead me through his house. In spite of his blindness, he knew his surroundings by touch. He enjoyed listening to music and he had one game he would play where he would cover himself with blankets and giggle. These were important emotional connections not to be ignored.

Autism is not a disease or an entity. It is not something that we must seek out to eradicate. Rather, it is a mode of being, an umbrella term to describe how one relates (or does not relate) to the world. If we look at autism as an entity, a ‘thing’, then this leads us to develop programs that will seek to alter the person into something they are not nor will or can ever be. It causes us to seek to alter the person by force, coercion, and manipulation.

Behavioralism has sought to modify the person, the existential approach rather seeks to understand. How the autistic person behaves should be seen as a form of communication, possibly the only form of communication they may possess to describe their joys, sorrows, or distress. The world of the autist is often misunderstood, one may see the person flapping their arms, and see this as ‘strange’ and in need of suppression. But if we look inwardly and explore the meaning behind this action, we may find it is telling us of something, it is indicative of how that person feels. It is one of their few ways to be able to share their experience.

A commonly used approach with autistic persons is Applied Behavioral Analysis where the child works on drills for up to 40 hours a week with a therapist. This type of program separates the child from their parents. The repetitive drills often lead to depression, humiliation, and rage. The entire system is built on this concept of altering the person by force, seeking to gain their compliance to an arbitrary ‘norm’ of what a child must and should be. Instead, we should realize and respect the various developmental stages both perinatal and postnatal that occur and understand that developmental differences exist. These developmental differences exist, and those wanting to aid the person must realize this, and then help the person in discovering their being, of who they are, and to be able to embrace who they are. Early intervention programs sometimes force children into meaningless, repetitive tasks and are geared towards conformity, solely seeking to prepare the child for the classroom, but not taking into account other aspects of the person.

A child with cerebral palsy may be autistic, a child placed under conditions of sensory deprivation may be autistic, a child exposed to a toxin may be autistic. Autism is merely a term we have decided to use to label how a person has developed and relates differently to the world. If I am an American and travel to a foreign country and know nothing of the culture or language, I am bound to struggle. If I am an American and travel to a foreign country but have learned something of the language and culture, it will be far easier. This is the direction I believe that programs to aid autistic persons should be geared. Not to alter the person, but rather to help them to be themselves while also having an understanding of the ‘mainstream’ and being able to navigate through it.

Monday, April 02, 2012


Humane pioneer's work lives on

Editor: Oct. 7 marked what would have been the 84th birthday of the noted psychiatrist R.D. Laing, who sought to bring a humane perspective that promoted dignity and freedom for people in emotional distress in an era of restraints, lobotomies and insulin coma.

Dr. Laing wrote the groundbreaking books "The Divided Self" and "The Politics of Experience" and fearlessly challenged the establishment.

His work remains relevant today particularly as we are in a climate of medicalization of human experience.

Ronnie Laing's work has inspired drug-free relational approaches for people undergoing extreme states of mind as well as autism and developmental differences. Though missed, he will not be forgotten.


Sunday, January 08, 2012


I encountered a young man, around 12 years old during a consultation who was having the experience of hearing voices. it appears that most prior 'treatment' involved simply suppressing by psychotropic drugs or ignoring the experience. During my brief time, I sought to journey with him, to build a connection where he would feel that he was safe to share his experience. He discussed with me hearing two voices, one male, and one female. And as he began to relate his past experiences and the recent loss of a relative, it began to be very obvious that these voices filled a need in his life. The grief issues had never been processed and information was concealed from him. he had been very close to this relative. Therefore, it was obvious that he needed to hear from this relative in some way, to know that things were "ok". And that is exactly what the young man told me, that this voice was that relative. The other represented another emotional need. I was pleased that I was able to journey with this person and come to a level of breakthrough and discovery but saddened that no one had ever thought of doing this before.

Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.,B.C.S.A.,DAPA