The Medication Conundrum: Does It Serve or Inhibit Well Being?

January 17th, 2020

11:30am – 1:30pm

Location: The Boulder Jewish Community Center
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Michael Jon Altman, LPC, CACIIHost: Barry Erdman

About The Presentation

The presenter, Michael Altman, will explore the ethical, psychological, and spiritual significance of using drugs. We will delve into the good, the bad, and the ugly ramifications of involvement with prescription drugs and drugs not prescribed as a treatment modality, and also consider the realms of consensual and non-consensual reality. The presenter will use case studies from his private practice along with an overview of the literature pertaining to using and withdrawing from drugs. All drugs, whether prescribed or illicit serve a common purpose: to change the way we feel. Mr. Altman’s underlying premise will be looked at through three different lenses.

The Business of Mental Health: Altman’s client “Roger” was escorted to his office by his Mom. A young man in his early 20’s, he’d recently been discharged from a local hospital following a suicide attempt.  He’d been rejected by a girlfriend and descended into the pit of despair. He arrived under the influence of drugs that both insured he’d been “stabilized” and indicated that we had our work cut out for us due to his inaccessibility created by those same drugs. He was transported to a world of being here but not present, or perhaps, present but not here.

The Art of Psychotherapy: The esteemed psychiatrist and world renowned hypnotherapist Milton H. Erickson MD once cautioned his students to remember that we can never fully know the people we work with. Ideally, we as therapists, express sufficient openness, curiosity, and respect to gain our clients’ trust. But that’s only a starting point. We, that is to say, all of us, are always exposing ourselves more than we’d care to know.  It’s the therapist’s responsibility to pay attention and respect the very symptoms that cause distress and to facilitate with loving kindness, the unfolding of those symptoms. Therein lies the healing.

The Realm of Spirituality: Carl Jung used the term “teleological” to describe the blessed path of individuation; becoming who we truly are. Yet curiously, our individuation is not ours at all, at least not in any way the ego can claim for itself. It can better be named our true nature, unencumbered by our history. Like the master sculptor who sees what needs clearing away to reveal the hidden form within. Was it fate? Good fortune? Who knows?, But one day only minutes before Altman’s session with Roger, he chanced upon a passage in a book on his shelf about shamanism. He was struck by its message and believed it had relevance to his work with Roger. Little did Altman know how this passage would effect the breakthrough to come.

About the Presenter

Michael Jon Altman received his Bachelor’s degree from City College of New York (CCNY) and his Master’s degree in psychology from University of Vermont. He has been a psychotherapist since 1978.  In that time period he was employed as the Education Director of the Boulder County Jail, and at the Mental Health Center of Boulder County, serving as an Interventionist in Boulder Valley schools. He has been involved in various pursuits of healing spanning decades. His trainings and certifications include: yoga, meditation, applied kinesilogy, Dreambody work, NLP, hypnotherapy, and Brainspotting. He currently has a psychotherapy practice in Louisville.

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