Questions from the Field: Teachers and the Schizoid Process

Question

can you recommend a teacher who understands the schizoid process and how to navigate through such a split in consciousness? I need to work with someone who has a profound understanding of this terrain. Thank you. (referring to this article: — the-risks-of-masculine-practice-paradigms ) I don’t have a tumblr account so I don’t actually understand how this works. My email doesn’t show up on this page.

Answer

This is a difficult question for anyone to answer, especially without knowing you, your tradition, your level of practice, your level of distress, and the like. I also do not know of many clinical psychologists who also teach meditation, but, if I thought I had major schizoid process going on, then I would try to find a clinical psychologist who could also teach meditation styles from vajrayana, which addresses relationship and embodiment. Barring that, I would look for a specialist in personality disorder and address that first.

Most of what I wrote in the post you mention comes from vajrayana Buddhism and from various articles I read. There is a world of difference between being subject to the schizoid process described here, as many people are, and having actual schizoid personality disorder, which impairs functioning significantly.

One difficulty is that meditative practices are not meant to treat psychiatric disorders, and clinical interventions are not meant to lead to liberating insight. They are separate domains. Jack Engler’s chapter from Transformations of Consciousness: Conventional and Contemplative Perspectives on Development clarifies that healthy ego functioning is, ideally, a prerequisite for beginning a meditation practice.

If you think you may have an outright personality disorder, then it is imperative to be evaluated by a clinical psychologist and to enter long-term therapy. However, the very notion that you would seek such help and ask this question almost in itself throws personality disorder into doubt: People with true schizoid personality disorder rarely seek help. When they do, it is usually because they have suffered the acute loss or the threat of loss of an important relationship. Then the therapy is short term because they characteristically cannot trust people, including a therapist. Personality disorders are tough, and clinical psychologists in my acquaintance tell me that they are nearly impossible to treat.

Why not write to Jack Engler and ask him what to do or for recommended therapist-teachers? https://zmm.mro.org/teacher/jack-engler-phd/

I hope this response helps some. 

Jenny

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