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Open letter

This open letter highlights the basis, context, purpose, intention, and justification for creating such an institute. We briefly outline the professional services that we perform and, as a declaration of transparency, this letter will address the dynamic outlined in the Addiction as Dissociation Model (ADM) (O’Brien & Marich, 2019; Marich, 2012/2020; Marich & Dansiger, 2021) (O’Brien, 2022, dissertation, in presentation). Thank you for your interest in this endeavor. 

The wounded healer is symbolic of the transformation of consciousness that leads to taking action in one’s life. The archetype has a long history as a psychological profile and professional identity, and represents the dualistic nature of the healing process. As healers, we become fascinated by how what was once insurmountable pain, indiscernible dis-ease, or what felt like the absolute certainty of fate, is replaced when we awaken to a new day that we get to live again. Like after a storm passes, a new profound sense of understanding emerges. The wounded healer concept is also symbolic of this lived experience, which supports our qualitative and phenomenological style, philosophy, and approach. When one finds a new freedom through a process of healing and recovery, one wants to share it with the world. We wish to learn from this intrinsic wisdom and help apply it to the world.

We are all living proof that healing happens and that the insights we bring back are worth sharing, teaching, and researching. Results from our research will be put into action through advocacy, academic publication, and creative expression. Ultimately, we want to engage in supporting the wounded healer inside of you. We believe that we need a place to exercise our healing and perform recovery maintenance, particularly if we want to see true change in the world. Our training program is designed to support the clinician, student, coach, family member, organization, or professional healer to become who they need to be for themselves and for the people they attend to e.g., children, patients, clients, students, families, organizations, and communities. Our shared lived wisdom is best exemplified by the archetype of the wounded healer, hence the name of the institute. We will provide training and workshops on existing methods of the healing arts and explore new effective ways of healing.

 The five main domains of service will be: training, consultation, advocacy, coaching, and research. WHI will provide experiential training (on therapeutic processes, wellness, posttraumatic growth (PTG)), performance enhancement, moral and spiritual development, recovery and the healing arts (namely, processes that activate intrinsic memory reconsolidation and dual attention), consultation on ADM and memory reconsolidation, advocacy through action and creative expression, and personal coaching and professional mentorship, while continuing our existing research on the ADM and subsequent findings. Developed by Dr. Adam O’Brien and his mentor Dr. Jamie Marich, ADM highlights that symptoms from trauma and dissociation are present in addiction presentations and run on a spectrum from normative to pathological. As normative states of the addiction/trauma/dissociative processes have been identified, continuing the investigation into their impact on all aspects of human development and their qualitative utility is being sought after (particularly in areas of memory reconsolidation, therapeutic benefit of modalities that perform memory reconsolidation, reenactments, transferring behaviors, moral and spiritual development, and how the intersectionality of trauma, dissociation, and addiction impact recovery and/or support healing). Due to the impact of dissociative/addictive behavior on the memory system, conscious awareness, and unconscious processes, continuing this research is deemed necessary, for its implications may be vast in the areas of medicine, psychology, philosophy, sociology, morality, and spiritual development. 

As the framework of ADM offers solutions to many of our individual and collective issues, by continuing to explore its implications for societies at large, we unearth a deeper understanding of how to create balance in our human emotional nature, societal and social unrest, existential issues related to life and death, power and control, denial and knowing, and abuse and love. This continued investigation must expand to systems, organizations, cultures, and communities and must evaluate how the ADM can impact them. Furthermore, we also wish to study the normative range of the therapeutic effects of ADM on clinical presentations and different populations, societies, and cultures as well. To this end, we believe that aspects of qualitative research have been missing from the industry of scientific research, as evidenced by the dissertation process and qualitative analysis. We wish to fill in these gaps by investigating the aspects missing from scientific research in order to provide a well-rounded and inclusive perspective. WHI will provide access and new avenues for this research to be performed.

The desire to continue ADM research and to advocate for a comprehensive understanding of the ADM comes from historical context with geopolitical, socioeconomic, racial, and moral developmental realities continuing to bear their fruits. Persuasive findings from his doctoral research led Adam to want to share this knowledge with others for their personal and professional benefit. The lack of awareness demonstrated in different academic fields may be due to the psychological dissociative feature of mass denial, mass psychosis, or mass dissociation/addiction that can be seen throughout history, personal lives, and in different industries, systems of governance, business practices, and professional or political organizations. In part, this is where the WHI aims to expand upon existing ADM research while continuing to explore established findings and limitations, therapeutic effects and methods of memory reconsolidation, and new lines of study to inform future research. We believe that independent checks and balances in the research industry must be in place and that an independent research institute can provide information that adds insights to other research communities. Like any other self-organizing system, organization, or persons, creating balance requires trying something new or challenging ourselves in other ways. We will consult with willing parties to explore how ADM can be helpful when understanding and healing from biological, psychological, social, intergenerational, sexual, economic, racial, developmental, moral, or spiritual traumas. 

Lastly, because academic writing takes too long to write and publish, we will be providing our findings and processes in a variety of forms (social media, artistic creations, workshops, and class formats) to help ensure accurate translation of what is being taught. We will still be looking to get peer-reviewed articles published, but we are cautious of the gatekeeping process in the publishing industry. We want true objectivity from a collective mind to help guide us into our future. We are providing a class structure that is designed for you to take the journey and come to the realization that the intrinsic wounded healer lives inside of all of us and that this is where the seat of wisdom rests. The space between now and then is the only moment where true change can happen. We must understand this now more than ever. Our hope is that you will join us on this journey towards global healing by preparing yourself for your death.

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